The Evolution of a Shirt

shirt

I bought this shirt a year and half ago.  I was working at NBC, snuck out to H&M and bought it.  I almost didn’t though.  I mean, who wants to take a fashion cue from Jay Leno.  Thankfully, I had female with me at the time.  I asked her, what the female consensus on denim shirts were.  I’d watched enough Seinfeld to fear this reaction.

She told me to go for it, but gave me two HUGE pieces of advice.  First, wear it with black jeans to avoid the whole Canadian Tuxedo thing.  Second, roll up the sleeves.  I bought the shirt, followed her advice and never looked back.

It immediately became my favorite shirt.  The ’98 Pedro of my sartorial rotation.  The go-to shirt.  In a year and a half it saw more than it’s fair share of Friday night bar scenes, first dates, and failed impromptu Rihanna meet ups.  Even Ryan Gosling totally stole the look.

Then today something happened.  It was over it.  I saw the shirt in my closet, put it on, and just felt – ehh -.  A year and half run as the shirt and I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.

Tonight, without a true ace in my sartorial rotation, I wore it out anyway.  I thought, I’d give it one more chance to recapture its magic.  And even though it received a compliment, it couldn’t buoy the once “go to shirt.”

So, it’s time.  It’s time to retire the shirt.  Maybe, like Jordan in ’95, Jay in ’06 or Clemens in ’04, in ’06 and in ’07, it will come out of retirement and one day return to prominence.  But for now, Good Night Denim Shirt, you had a great run.

My Side Chick

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but lately (about the last month and half now) my blog game has been kinda weak-sauce

This is attributed to fact that I’ve been social mediaing and writing a twice-a-week blog post for a new e-comm menswear site.

So, if you want to catch up on some mensweary, fashiony, style write ups head over to HERE.

FNP.S.  Next week I’m coming back hard.  IN PURSUIT OF FRESHLY PRESSEDNESS

Cruel Summer and The Rise of Haute Rap

GOOD Music’s Cruel Summer leaked the other day and I finally got a chance to give it a spin.  There’s no doubting it came from the mind of GOOD Music founder Kanye West.  Sonically it has all the traits of what I call Haute Rap.  Which is becoming Kanye’s signature style, you can hear it on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or on Watch The Throne‘s lead single H.A.M.

What is Haute Rap?  You may have heard the term Haute Couture.  Haute Courture translates to “High Fashion,” haute meaning high and couture meaning dressmaking or sewing.  You can see Haute Courture on the runways of Paris, New York or Milan.  It is high class fashion that is hyper stylized often pretentious and never accessible.  The Haute Couture influence on Kanye cannot be overlooked.  The summer before My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy came out Kanye interned at Fendi and in Italy with designer Giuseppe Zanotti.  He’s released his own shoe designs for Louis Vuitton and in 2011 he premiered his own women’s fashion line DW at Paris Fashion Week.  Haute Rap therefore can be translated to “high rap.”  It shifts the focus from lyrics to production.  Production becomes overly complex and extravagant.  Drums are secondary to instrumentals and vocal sampling is often disregarded.  Gangster or socially conscious lyrics are substituted for what’s know as luxury rap (rapping about material good and indulgences).  It all creates something that sounds slightly ominous and much more opulent than past rap music.

It’s more than just the sound.  The effects of Haute Rap can be seen as well as heard.  The cover art of Kanye’s recent albums are unprecedented.  For My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy Kanye commissioned prominent New York artist George Condo for the cover art.  The Watch The Throne cover was designed by Italian fashion designer Riccardo Tisci.  And if you’ve seen Kanye’s 35 minute short film Runaway you know it’s unlike anything the hip hop world has produced before.

Kanye’s influence.  In the last eleven years Kanye West has been the most influential man in hip hop, and it’s not even close.  He produced Jay-Z’s The Blueprint and effectively brought back sampling as the predominant sound of hip hop.  On The College Dropout and Late Registration he proved you didn’t need to have a gangster persona to be accepted by the streets, thus paving the way for new school of rappers like Wale, Big Sean and J Cole.  On Graduation, Kanye experimented with house beats, synths and electro-pop, most notably sampling Daft Punk.  Which have become staples for rap superstars like Nicki Minaj, Pitbull and Flo Rida.  On 808s and Heartbreaks he proved rappers can sing and even border on emo, a technique Drake and Kid Cudi later cashed in on.  It’s still unknown if the hip-hop world will embrace Haute Rap, while My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy received universal acclaim, outside of Kanye himself, no rapper has expounded on it.

Cruel Summer‘s effect on Haute Rap.  My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy introduced the world to Haute Rap.  It was unlike anything anyone had ever heard before.  It was the best album of 2010 and that’s saying a lot considering 2010 was an extremely good year for music.  H.A.M. fizzled and was eventually only released as a bonus track on Watch The Throne.  If Cruel Summer succeeds it will probably pave the way for other rappers to embrace the Haute Rap movement, if it flounders it will probably spell the end for the Haute Rap era rendering it nothing more than an experimental phase in Kanye’s musical career.

In the end, music is the expression of self and nothing expresses Kanye like Haute Rap,  hyper stylized often pretentious and never accessible.

Excuse My Inner Teenage Girl For A Second

mini-rant

Considering I’m a 23 year old straight male who likes football and rap music the next statement may come off as odd.  Tavi Gevinson is awesome, and I love her blog, and I think she’s cool as hell and if I had to be a 16 year old girl I wish I could be her (note: if had to be an 11 year old girl I would be Willow Smith).

If you don’t know who Tavi Gevinson is, she’s a 16 year old fashion blogger who I can only describe as “Michelle Williams meets Fran Lebowitz meets an instagram account meets Sandy from Grease meets Michelle Tanner.”  Her blog is called TheStyleRookie where she makes playlists, takes pictures, posts about fashion (she already parties at exclusive Fashion Night Out events) and writes about life as a 16 year old girl.  And I love it, is that weird? (Yeah, it’s definitely weird).  She’s already 2041x cooler than I am or ever will be.

I kind of think she may be the real life female version of Benjamin Button.  That would at least explain her interest in Bob Dylan, Sonic Youth and The Smiths (awesome!!).  It would definitely explain her style (also awesome).  And it would  totally explain why she already has more personalty than half the actresses in Hollywood (i’m looking at you Jessica Alba).

After quickly reading what I wrote so far I want to say, I have a STRICTLY PLATONIC like for her, let’s not make this weird people.

I guess what I’m trying to say is Fuck Anna Wintour, Tavi Gavinson is the -ish.

#TeamTavi

The Sunglasses Hall of Fame: Sunglasses and Advil

A few months ago I began curating the first ever Sunglasses Hall of Fame. The Sunglasses Hall of Fame will honor those who have shown a steadfast appreciation for sunglasses, have pushed sunglass culture further and have influenced the current sunglass  landscape.   

Tom Cruise was the inaugural member to the Sunglasses Hall of Fame.  Today, he will welcome a second member.

Mr. Kanye Omari West.

In the 21st century no man has put his stamp on Sunglass culture more than Kanye West.  Whether it’s single-handedly bringing back shutter shades (picture below) or unabashedly wearing sunglasses inside, at night or anytime he pleases, he continues to drip swagu.

Classic Kanye Sunglass Moments include:

Stronger
Gold Digger
808s and Heartbreaks
2007 VMAs

G.O.O.D. Music Cypher
2008 Grammy’s
Vman Cover
All of the Lights

Congratulations to Kanye West on joining The Sunglasses Hall of Fame.