Everything comes back to language.
When I began writing this site I envisioned it as little more than a hobby, a down-time diversion in between working a “real” job. I imagined myself wearing a daily suit and tie, and so I always thought that my interests, both in the real world (ah yes, that elusive IRL) and on this site, would lean toward the classically tailored. Of course, it took less than half a year of writing Wax Wane for me to realize that the thought of me entering any office wearing the same sort of suited style as my father was little more than a farce. As my graduation neared and the workforce loomed, it was even more evident that a wardrobe of Savile Row suits and Italian ties was not in my immediate, or even extended future. And now, as summer has come to a close and I’ve found myself writing on a full-time basis, I can say that I’ve only worn a suit once in the past six months. That’s not to say that I’m ready to sell my lot of unstructured sportcoats just yet (although that day might be nigh) but I can say that these jackets, which were once among my most prized possessions, now sit idle on their hangers.
What began as an exercise in building not only a wardrobe, but an internal encyclopedia, based on the tenets of traditional menswear, has now evolved into a far more personal discovery into what makes me, for lack of a better term, happy (a term that I favor simply because it is so free of any set criteria.) This isn’t to say that I don’t still have a fascination with the “classics” (which after all aren’t even that “classic” anymore), but it’s time for me to admit that right now, that’s not for me. There’s no reason for me to dress up in cuffed wool trousers to sit at my laptop all day, it is simply not applicable to my lifestyle, nor my present state of mind. Maybe one day I will arrive back at that point, but for now, I’m much more interested in buying clothes that I like simply because I like them. I do not set out to fill any void in my wardrobe, or buy things because some list says that I “need it” (again, if this is what brings you joy, please do not let me discourage you, as I said, this is entirely personal) rather I’m just trying to reveal in the fact that for now, I can really wear whatever I want.
I could say that what I’m looking for is something “personal” but that word means very little without knowing me, well personally, so I think a better term word be that I’m searching for things that are unique (another word I favor because it is so open-ended.) This has lead me not only toward more obscure, interesting points of entry (hence my aforementioned infatuation with Japanese brands) but also towards items that are going to be unique on a more surface level. What I mean by this is that I’m interested in pieces that I can not just own, but take ownership of.
And so it’s pieces like Apolis’ Indigo Wool Chore Jacket that I am now most enamored by at this moment. It is a basic, appealing design – four external pockets, a wool body, a rounded collar, made in the USA, but more importantly it will crack, crease, and gain character with each wear. And yes I realize that this sounds identical to a sentence from a piece on raw denim circa ’08, but that doesn’t make the merits of this jacket any less real. I’d rather pare down my wardrobe into pieces that are unmistakably “mine” than garments that “look good” but derive from an external, rather than an internal place. This post, like so many on this site, is rife with overused words which might as well mean nothing at this point, most of all “style.” Yet, this realization, as admittedly basic as it is, marks the first time that I think I’ve ever really been able to understand what the word style means in the context of myself.