My Fashion Identity Crisis

Recently, I've been thinking about the way I used to dress. A few years ago, my look consisted of J.Crew oxfords, Lacoste polos, Top-Siders, seersucke
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Recently, I've been thinking about the way I used to dress. A few years ago, my look consisted of J.Crew oxfords, Lacoste polos, Top-Siders, seersucke
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Recently, I've been thinking about the way I used to dress. A few years ago, my look consisted of J.Crew oxfords, Lacoste polos, Top-Siders, seersucker and bleeding madras, and I was perfectly content. But then I came to New York, found myself surrounded by hipsters and cool kids, and had my first fashion identity crisis. At first, it seemed just fine to go to Brooklyn in penny loafers or the LES in my funny Ralph Lauren cardigans, but as time went on, I decided my look needed to change. I can pinpoint the exact moment: a Rag & Bone sample sale, where I tried on a certain black jacket that made my friend tell me I looked like Pony Boy from The Outsiders. And just like that, it happened. I was hooked. Suddenly, skinny pants seemed oddly apropos, and Top-Siders could infer irony, rather than preparedness for a yacht. I discovered Cheap Mondays, and down the rabbit hole I went. It was part announcing that I'd moved, part excuse to buy all new stuff, but looking back, I realize I just wanted to dress myself as the new person I knew I was becoming. (I think this may be what happens to girls, when suddenly, at fifteen, they enter hardcore eyeliner years until college.) It wasn't until I visited home again that my new clothes seemed like interlopers in my arch-WASP closet. I had spent most of the year trying to reconcile the two aesthetics, until I realized that all I really wanted was to climb into my chinos and be me again. And so I did. I left my Pony Boy jacket at home, with the Marc Jacobs sweatshirt I just had to have. And now, I feel comfortable enough to say, I'm not cool, and I don't need to be. Guess I just needed a fashion crisis to figure it out, though I'll save my Rag & Bone jacket forever, like baby shoes . --BRETT KANE