Despite a difference in opinion about the 2011 University of Maryland football uniforms–not only was the “Pride” uniform awesome beyond description, but the players were so obviously pumped to be wearing it–I love the Wesley Morris’ “The Sportstorialist” column at Grantland.com.
The Maryland flag is head and shoulders (LOL…or something) above every other state flag in the Union.
It fills a void in fashion writing especially in light of the recent widespread hetero-male-awareness of style beyond jeans, flip-flops, and a GO GREEK [insert frat letters here] t-shirt from two years ago that just barely fits over a burgeoning beer belly. In fact, The New York Times recently profiled a crop of what they called “macho fashion bloggers, writing for a post-metrosexual world.”
But those blogs focus more on runways, street-style and lifestyle, while much of the credit for that new-found awareness among the average couch potato has to go to professional athletes. Now I would love Morris’ column if its only purpose was to call attention to and plead for an improvement of the sartorial choices showcased by the LPGA, but what makes him stand out is the respect he has for fashion as a social construct.
In what might be my favorite of his columns, “The Rise of the NBA Nerd: Basketball style and black identity,” Morris comments on how black style has evolved from being undeviating in its emulation of rappers to being more nuanced and varying. In one paragraph, where he makes the point that before now Kanye West would have been too weird to be successful, Morris writes,
“But 21st-century blackness has lost its rigid center, and irony permeates the cultural membrane. More than kids knowing they can be president of the United States, it might be more crucial to the expansion of black identity that — thanks to, say, N.E.R.D or Odd Future — they know they can be skate punks.”
I love following men’s fashion blogs and writing like Morris’ because I think fashion tells us so much about how a person wants to be perceived by the world, and for a long time now, fashion as armor (as Bill Cunningham called it) has been underutilized by men.
In one of my favorite pieces of writing, fashion-related or not, a GQ feature entitled “My Father’s Fashion Tips,” Tom Junod writes about how his father used obsessive grooming and fashion to elevate himself into something more than just a suburban dad, if only in his own mind. And despite the fact that this man only ever found marginal success career-wise, the confidence he projected as a result of the image he so carefully cultivated left an impression on everyone he met.
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