…some kids have a hard time in high school… and they need clothes to act as a force field around them, either to set themselves apart or to join the goofballs, the Jay Z fans, the Star Wars nerds. I was never that unhappy, never an actual weird kid who needed armor. Whenever I tried joining a cohort with my clothing, it was trouble that led nowhere, neither placing me in a new peer group nor throwing me out of the village. I was missing that psychotic teenage flair and the upkeep was too much, so eventually I’d run out of steam and wear a combination of minimalist Christmas gifts, hand-me-downs from Dad (the most stylish category), and the few clothes my summer salary afforded me.
I came close to finding my cohort when hiphop was just beginning to kick in. I started wearing jeans, mesh hats, and black referee sneakers with fat red laces. That lasted for a little while. But it was only in the last five years, as an adult, that I realized that I could wear tailored clothing with good boots and look like I resembled my own thoughts. I’d basically been waiting to be a grown-up, for a moment when my clothes weren’t just a mute default position.
Sasha Frere-Jones, Worn Stories.