This is meant to be both a personal fashion manifesto as well as a public call-out of my good friend Christopher Rhett Henry.
If you think back to Wheel articles of yore, you may remember a fashion trend penned by said Rhett Henry called “Dadpunk,” a love letter to jean jackets and paisley-patterned shirts. In its origins, Dadpunk is a critique of masculinity, which is unequivocally awesome. But it has evolved from that. It is my personal belief that Dadpunk has become institutionalized and somewhat corporate.
Exhibit A: How many people do you know who own jean jackets? Exactly.
Exhibit B: Dadpunk, Rhett claims, is supposed to be about wearing what makes you happy. I’m sorry, but what is so happy about a pink blazer?
Dadpunk raises an important question. My answer to Dadpunk is Lazy Chic. As someone who wore a uniform five out of seven days of the week throughout high school, it used to be very difficult for me to get dressed when I came to college. So, I decided that trying to meticulously put together “cool” outfits that “match” was a colossal waste of time. To justify my lack of style, I said to myself things like, “You don’t need layered shirts,” and, “Patterns are for squares.”
Some have called my fashion sense “hip” (I’m looking at you, Mom). Others have called it “Mompunk,” which is giving me way too much credit. What these people don’t understand is that my sense of style is motivated by blatant laziness, entirely mediated by the elements and my whims, neither influenced nor informed by fashion trends or anti-fashion trends. That’s not to say that I’ve never tried to be hip. Trust me, I have. But every time I did, it was an unmitigated disaster.
Lazy Chic is a critique of Dadpunk’s critique of masculinity. It operates insidiously. It is everywhere and comes from everywhere. It pervades society and is in constant flux and negotiation. Resistance to it is futile, because it creates its own resistance (thanks, Foucault).
I would say that Rhett did not respond to requests for comment before press time, but that would be a lie because I did not make any attempt to reach out to Rhett for comment before press time. Sorry, Rhett.
The following is a simple, anecdotally-driven guide to making yourself seem “hip” and “trendy” while maintaining your supine lifestyle.
1. Happy Mistakes
So, I’m a REALLY big Doors fan. There was a time when my account on music website Last.fm (yes, I still use Last.fm) could have belonged to a middle-aged man who may have been a Deadhead at one point but now teaches the guitar in his basement and frequently jerks off to “Baywatch” reruns. One time, I thought it would be really cool to buy a Jim Morrison shirt off the Internet. It took approximately two weeks to get to me, which in this day and age is frankly ridiculous. I open up the package and lo and behold: not a Jim Morrison shirt but a Jimi Hendrix shirt. Now, when I wear my Jimi Hendrix shirt, people probably think I’m a pretentious music snob. Don’t get me wrong; I like Hendrix. I wish I had written “Little Wing.” But I did not intentionally buy a Hendrix shirt, and for that I am eternally grateful. Because not only did I avoid the actual pretentiousness of wearing a Jim Morrison shirt unironically, but I come off as cool and into music without trying at all. So, the ultimate lesson here is every time you really try to be hip, it won’t end well, and you might as well let fate happen to you.
2. Velcro Is Key
This past summer, I studied abroad at Oxford University in England. I was told that British weather was abysmal, and I should come prepared. So, naturally, I packed lots of close-toed shoes and rain boots. Little did I know that Great Britain was about to have one of the hottest summers in history. When I got to Oxford, I bought a pair of Clark’s sandals that functioned as my walking shoes. Purely practical. I did a lot of walking while abroad. But something else happened that summer. I discovered the wonder of Velcro. Why don’t all shoes have Velcro? Why isn’t every adhesive made of Velcro? Velcro is amazing. It’s quicker than shoelaces, safer than slip-ons and certainly makes a more satisfying sound than zippers. Many people think I wear these shoes as a fashion statement. But I actually wear them for the Velcro. Velcro is key.
3. Hoarders Always Win
If you know me at all, you know that my black crossbody bag is kind of like another appendage. I’ve had it for years, and it may be falling apart, but it’s not going anywhere. The bag is leather, nondescript and very worn. It’s the perfect size to fit my wallet, some makeup essentials, pens, moisturizer, a small notebook and other odds and ends. I wear this bag all day, every day. To class, to bars, to fancy dinners and probably would to weddings if I ever got invited to them. It’s not that I don’t like other bags. In fact, I find designer bags to be works of art. The reason I never take off this bag is simply because it’s portable, does not require hands and goes with most outfits. So the lesson here is usually things that are convenient and fit in with your lazy lifestyle are also things that make you seem like you’re rejecting mainstream fashion trends.
4. Dress for the Weather. If You Want.
There’s really not much else for me to say here. Sometimes, I dress for the weather if I remember to check my weather app. Sometimes, I don’t. The lesson here is that if you’re cripplingly lazy and live in a place with a mild climate like Atlanta, you can get away with that pretty easily.
— Rupsha Basu, Executive Editor