Yesterday I noticed a waiter in his late twenties at my local cafe was wearing Nudie Jeans that were designed with the back pockets sitting half way down the back of his thigh instead of on his arse. They were the kind of jeans that were designed as a response to the original concept that young guys let their jeans fall below their underpants line. It was originally a sub-culture youth thing, now the product was designed to be specifically made for that application in which case it had lost all its authenticity. It looked like this waiter had no more than two years to go before he would hit 30 and this was the age I hit when I began to give up streetwear. The problem with streetwear is that it has a shelf life. It often is dictated to you from what is happening in popular culture as well as sub cultures or alternatively, perhaps it is your own sub culture that you are creating (ouch I'm so hot right now). Whatever it is, it starts off as something original or relating to a small bunch, then it is filtered into the main stream production houses until it is run into the ground and nobody wants to touch the stuff anymore. In the case where people don't give it up, that is like skateboarders who skate into their forties, often they hold onto these products as a kind of memento 'this was the best time in my life, I never want to forget it, now where are my Converse???'
A few years ago, when I was perhaps more 'trendy' that I am today, I recognised that there was a movement of pants coming through in Sydney which hung so low in the centre that it looked like someone had taken a massive dump in their wet pants and it was causing this drape effect. At the same time, there was a second wave, an addition to this look, and this was the long draping to the knee t-shirt or long sleeved t-shirt which tested the boundaries of 'is it a man's dress or a is it still a t-shirt'. On all fronts I began to squirm. I had totally lost interest in subscribing to these new looks. It was not that I was afraid of being experimental, far from that, I had always been the most outlandish, no, rather it was that I thought streetwear had strayed too far from what I wanted for myself in my thirties.
The trouble with these new fantagled streetwear lines is that the shelf life of them means you get very little use out of them other than the season they were created in. Very low cut jeans you find you can't wear with a shirt properly because you are constantly tucking yourself in. Pants which drape in the centre don't lend themselves to a starched shirt either. You are forced to make sure your top drapes like your bottoms. Then comes the shoes too. You will be forced to wear a pair of Lanvin sneakers to boot which then won't pair nicely with your more conservative jeans and your regular light blue shirts. In the end, once you commit to these street fashions, it reminds me of the old adage 'in for a penny, in for a pound'. You can't have one foot into streetwear and one out, it doesn't work like that. And, so, naturally, I had to gravitate to fashions which were more versatile and had a longer life span. Just like in politics, if you want to capture the most votes, you need to hold the centre line.
In working with a classic wardrobe I have found that whilst you can still purchase ridiculously flamboyant items based on the quality and colour of wool of fibre, the pattern of the weave; whilst you can add a tie, bow tie or braces into the mix; the beauty of this kind of dressing in your thirties is that if you want to dress up or down, the choice is ultimately yours. You can have one leg in or out depending on how you feel on the day.
That is why, for the time being, I subscribe to the classic wardrobe for style and I won't be returning any time soon to street wear. Street wear is for the young and for the innovative and those that wish to challenge the status quo. As I head into my late thirties I no longer have the energy to take up the challenge. Fortunately, I missed the tattoo epidemic and bog pants but I have photos of keppers, Street Fighter machines and ying yangs from the 1990's that I can use to say that 'once I too was relevant to my era'.