Don’t be freaking out. I’m just saying hi in the third world manner to each and every one of you, dashionistos! 🙂
Last Saturday, I went on a full-day mission not-so-impossible named closet reorganization. My closet wasn’t terribly disorganized by any means; however, it was really time for me to get off my ass and separate top from bottom in order to make life easier come every morning. Midway through the part fun part draining mission, I started getting traumatized by the following realizations:
– Top (shirts and t-shirts): 50
– Bottom: around 45-plus.
– Outwear (coats and blazers): 15
– Sweaters and cardigans: 15
– Shoes: 20-something pairs (within sight. Several others were lying somewhere else.)
– Accessories (belts + scarves): 23 or 24.
The trauma I experienced in that particular moment had less to do with the numbers themselves than with the cold fact that I have been underutilizing the vast majority of them for the longest time. As I kept chugging along, I became increasingly and painfully aware that many articles of clothing I had only worn once or, worst, had never worn at all since the date of purchase. Some might call me a lucky motherfucker because I have options while they are so fed up with having to wear the same things over and over again, but truth be told I couldn’t take any pride in it. Yes, there were items that no longer fitted me perfectly due to my body transformation, but the numbers were few and far between. And guess what? They work just fine with some small tweaks. As for the rest of the wardrobe, either I was appalled by their pristine conditions or I realized I’m always wearing them in the exact same way. That shirt with this pair of jeans, this pair of chinos with that sweater so on and so forth.
One of the things about fashion that appeals to me is the creativity expressed via dressing, and I think I need to do what I preach here more often. Then, this idea about a long-term series on the blog flashed into my mind.
Each week, we’ll take on a specific challenge- a specific article of clothing in fashion terms- and seek several different solutions.
This sort of visual diary will supply my scattered brain with ideas whenever I think about an item and at the same time assist you in dressing in case you need it. I usually snoop around and notice questions like how to wear this or that or what shirt to pair with these jeans etc. You bet your ass I love to offer my take on that.
Oh and here’s another motive: I will be on a shopping diet until next February at the soonest as a big chunk of my income will go straight to the savings account for some traveling in early 2014. Give me all your luvin’ right now because #1: A shopping diet to fashion addicts is what AA is to alcoholics. We need everyone to stand by us and cheer us on, and #2: as usual, the outcome of my trips will be an influx of stories and photos for your viewing pleasure.
So the bottom line is: it’s going to be fun and I hope you’re coming along for the ride.
To commence the series, let’s talk about the denim shirt, which, while not the most popular one in the shirt department, is greatly stylish and practical and resonates with what many of you have. Whichever part of the world you’re from, I’ve got you covered in this mini guide. Say if it’s currently summer in where you live, scroll down to look #1. If you’re looking for some last-minute fall and winter inspiration, head straight to #2 and #3. If you’re in Australia, proceed to #4 and #5 because strangely enough, it’s spring over there.
– Backstory: I purchased this Abercrombie & Fitch vintage wash denim shirt 4 years ago when I was still a college student for a mind-blowing $29. It still lies predominantly in the shirt pile despite the many moves I have made since the fateful day when we crossed paths and remains in an exceptionally good condition after repeated wear and wash. Bash Abercrombie all you want for their tacky clothes and their vulgar, sexually tantalizing ad campaigns, but their fabric quality is quite commendable considering how much they charge you especially during sales season. As a matter of fact, I love all the A&F items in my wardrobe. Turns out I’m not the only fan. David Beckham loves himself some Abercrombie too.
– Problem: When it comes to this denim shirt, I swear by this double denim formula which has earned me a fair share of compliments. While compliments never cease to feel good, they come with unwanted side effect. My right brain (the side that affects creativity, colors, and all that artsy stuff if you’re not in the least familiar with psychology) automatically turns on its hibernation mode. Below is an almost identical outfit which still has that cool factor but is getting a tad repetitive. I’m wearing it with a white t-shirt underneath, Levi’s Slim-Fit Jeans, Hugo Boss Suede Boots, Diesel Black Gold Belt and Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses.
#1- The perfect summer garb: It’s really funny because people come up with a legion of names for a combination of a simple shirt and white shorts. Does French Riviera or New England Preppy ring a bell? For me, I’m just shooting for a simplistic name- summer outfit and call it a day.
Honestly, when it’s summertime, the only garment I want on my body is my own skin because as soon as I put something on, I start sweating like a whore in church. However, being nude isn’t a feasible option whether you reside in New York, Paris or the third world so I’m going to cover my private parts with Abercrombie, Esprit shorts and Lacoste Seersucker Striped Slip-on.
Originally, the shorts were full-length jeans and bought when my waist size was hovering around 32 on good days and 33 on bad days. (In case you want to gift me pants, I’m now wearing size 30.5. LOL. Size 30 is tight and uncomfortable while size 31 is slightly loose.) I contemplated what to do for a very long time and had no answer until recently. (I couldn’t give it to my cousins or friends because Vietnameses in general are short and tiny.)
Since shorts were always in short supply in my closet, I grabbed the scissors and cut without blinking. At first, they looked horribly uneven and amateurish after the operation, but then I accidentally discovered one of the best cost-free ways of all time to make them look like they’re naturally cropped. Of all time, I’m telling you. Just put them into the washing machine. One wash is enough to add a good amount of frayed and distressed effect. As for the waist, yes, I had to have a tailor fix it for $2. Très cool, huh?
#2- The sweater weather look: Fall is well underway in the western hemisphere which calls for some cozy sweater action. Because I miss the gorgeous fall weather in New York so badly, I plucked this breton stripe sweater from the pile and experimented by pairing it and the shirt with formal wool trousers. Grey and light blue coordinate, right? A look like this will make the cut even when you work in a corporate environment. Just remember to NOT half-tuck the shirt. I’m wearing AllSaints Moat Crew Neck Jumper, Club Monaco Wool Trousers and Hugo Boss Suede Boots.
#3- Layering like a mofo: Layering is the key to staying warm during winter. The number of layers depends on where you live, but generally speaking 3 is a good number. Starting with a t-shirt then a cashmere sweater then your denim shirt and finish off with a knee-length overcoat, you’ll be ready to brave the cold. I tend to wear dark colors during winter not necessarily because they’re the “standards” or I like them better than bright colors. I just need to hide all the fat that’s growing inside of me every passing winter day.
However, all-black is something I never ever do, and I fervently believe you shouldn’t either. Add some whimsical details to your outfit, you know. To illustrate, I’m teaming AllSaints Harvard coat, Gap 1969 Jeans, Paul Smith Black Otter Runway Boots with a dirt-cheap but very Paul Smith-looking houndstooth scarf acquired in the village (village-village, not East or West kind of village).
#4- Springy look: When spring rolls around, we can start peeling off some layers and incorporating some light-weight items. I was quite inspired by Balmain SS14 collection— denim shirt, peacoat and slouchy jeans so I opt for Uniqlo Light-weight Peacoat, All Saints Rubble Gun Jeans and Del Toro Camouflage Slippers.
#5- Pre-Summer look: Fashion is crazy because there are so many seasons in one year. Fall, Pre-fall, Resort, Spring/Summer blah blah blah, but I love it. When it’s not chilly enough to warrant the presence of a lightweight coat or jacket, team your denim shirt with slim-fit chinos. The amazing thing about a denim shirt in this hue is that it goes with almost every chino color out there. Black, midnight blue, beige, camel, military green, grey, teal, terracotta…you name it, I tested it. Don’t forget to roll up your chinos for some instant coolness. Here I’m wearing Closed Eaton Tapered-Leg Chino and The Generic Man Wingman Wingtips shoes.
There you have it: The Confused Dasher’s 1,700 word guide on how to wear the fuck out of your denim shirt. Mine really is a trophy item because it’s so cheap but serves me so well all year round. If you have one in your closet, I urge you to pull it out and think about a new way to wear it. OK, one more question before I let you go: did you like this post? I sure did, so if your answer is yes, feel free to share it on your Twitter or Facebook and leave a comment below. I’d LOVE to hear what you think. Plus, if there is any item you’d like to be “solved”, let me know. We’re in this together, k?
P/S: Due to the instructional nature of this post, it was impossible for me to shoot outside. Otherwise, I’d have burned like a freaking vampire under the sun. How do I know? Because Alexander Skarsgard warned me (NSFW materials so proceed at your own risk).