Cityscape

Apparently the best way to inspire me to write a post these days is to give it an abstract theme. Maybe I’ve been out of creative writing classes for too long. Or maybe all the aesthetic posts on Tumblr are starting to make me think differently. Who knows?

Any way, as I’ve traveled it has become increasingly clear to me that, while we may say all big cities are the same, every place has a feeling all its own. At times I can sum it up in just a word or two that encompasses the feeling of a place.

This post is less about the actual style of these cities, but more about styles that embody their feeling. Some of it overlaps.

Also, I recognize that I picked the four most obvious cities that one would expect in a post like this. (high-five self). But I wanted to pick cities I have visited–three of them more than once–and that I could identify a comparable style for, so this is what you get.

cityscape

New York is….gritty and electric

New York is one of those cities where you can turn a corner or walk far enough down a street and suddenly feel like you are in a totally different place. You can go from some of the nicest neighborhoods in the world to centers of business and economy to trash piled on side streets. It really never sleeps, horns and sirens echo through the brightly lit night sky at all hours.

New York is hyper-masculine white t-shirts and leather jackets. It is dark business suits. It is ready for anything, armed to the gills with tech and layers of clothes to keep you going all day.

cityscape2

Paris is….elegant and magical

Paris feels unlike any place I’ve ever been. It is ornate and majestic, without being loud or aggressive. It is elegant white buildings with small wrought-iron balconies. It’s a glittering dream and somehow effortlessly cool at the same time. Paris is proud and historic, with ghosts of the past down every boulevard and alley. Paris could beat you in a fight, but would probably just turn its nose up instead.

Paris is either all dark or all pastels. It is sleek lines and tailored clothes. It is funky mixed patterned and pops of artist colors. It is totally clean and a little purposefully disheveled.

cityscape1

Los Angeles is…free and loud.

Los Angeles is a city of dreamers and artists and people looking to make their way into a sunnier future. It is expansive manors and apartments stacked crookedly and high. It is bright sun and righter colors. It is self-expression and carefully honed looks. It’s a little cheeky, but laid back. It is eternal summer.

Los Angeles is bright colors mixed with loud patterns. It is jackets and beanies when it is way too hot to justify them. It’s jean jackets and tank tops and sunglasses. It’s sleeves and pants that are just a little too short.

cityscape3

London is…comfortable and unforgetting.

London has a long memory. It’s streets still know the kings and peasants that used to walk them. It is a cup of tea and a biscuit on a rainy day with stacks of books and warm blankets. It is personal and anonymous. It is classic and a little shy, but ultimately cooler than you. It has as much culture as it does history. It is a place you want to be a part of.

London is shirts buttoned all the way up. It’s cozy sweaters and wool coats. It is skinny jeans and leather boots. It is dark neutrals and thick scarves. London is layers at all times of year.

 

Part of the reason I love to travel is how even in the smallest details, nothing is the same. I hope to do more of this series and include cities like Portland, Munich, and Rome. Let me know if there are any cities you’d like to see and the feelings they embody.

(How obvious is it that I have spent the least time in LA?)

Subtlety is Key

“Menswear is about subtlety. It’s about good style and good taste” -Alexander McQueen

There’s a reason we have so often warned against clothes, particularly t-shirts, with obvious logos, brand names, or photos on them. Even if it is a well-know, well-respected, or frankly, expensive brand, having a logo branded across your chest looks a little less than sophisticated.

Also this

Truth from Ian Bohen

is a problem most easily hidden with plain, nondescript shirts.

But, occasionally, a shirt is just too good to pass up or let go. So here’s what you do when that is the case:

Note: Funny phrases are rarely as clever as you think they are. Avoid trying to wear your humor on your literal sleeve.

Aim for black and white or a neutral and one other color. This keeps even a busy image simple and doesn’t draw the eye to quiet the same degree.

Another way to tone down the message/focus on the shirt is to layer. Use another shirt or jacket to cover part of the design, making it interesting, but not the focus.

subtle logos

There are times where it is okay to try to be witty – and that is when you are unabashedly, but subtlely, reping yourself. This Stark Direwolf/Iron Man shirt is clever, but it is infinitely better on Kit Harrington and Robert Downey Jr. It’s an extra level of inside joke. Most people can’t really get this, but you know, it was worth mentioning.

Too Clever

And my personal favorite is this hat:

Blake.

Bob Morely wearing this hat at Comic Con is a clear reference to his character, Bellamy Blake. But, the hat is vague enough that it could literally refer to anything. I want one – do I love the retired tennis player James Blake, or the Romantic poet William Blake, the character Bellamy Blake? You don’t know*! I love it.

*It’s a trick question, the answer is all three. (Although full disclosure: my favorite Romantic poet is John Keats. I would gladly accept a hat that read “Keats.”

Fine Art

In order to make up for my long absence, and also because this is where my mind went, today’s post will be both long and a bit academically involved.

The history of art is marked by distinct styles, not unlike fashion, that take almost total control for awhile before being discarded in favor of the next trend. But the thing is, these periods of art live on, not only in our museums, but in the clothes we wear. Here are five distinct ones:

Gothic – High and Late Medieval Period

Gothic art and architecture is marked by intricate, layered designs, using flying buttresses and pointed arches to support high stone walls and ceilings. Gothic buildings often feel heavy, dark, and a little dangerous. The clothing counterpart is highly structural, layered, and voluminous (not the baggy pants and trench coats that sat in the hallways of your high school).

Wear: Long Wool Coats, Tailored Pants, Pointed Leather Shoes, Leather Driving Gloves

Gothic Period

Rococo – Late Baroque – 18th Century

Rococo took all the grandeur and glitz of the Baroque period and made it more playful. Using lighter colors, asymmetric designs, and fluid curves, Rococo was just as ornate as Baroque, just lighter. The clothing counterparts are light-weight, airy, pastel, and patterned.

Wear: Open Linen Shirts, Pastel Paisley, Gold

Rococo

Impressionism – 19th Century

Impressionism is one of those self-explanatory names, it is art that gives an impression. Rather than painting images with clear details, the Impressionists used pointillism or distinct  brush strokes to capture the essence of a design or image. The clothing counterparts are small prints, complimentary colors, layered patterns.

Wear: Patterned Jackets, Patterned Shirts and Ties, Blues and Purples

Impressionism

Folk Art – Varied

Folk art is, by some definitions, the opposite of “Fine Art”, but work with me on this one. Folk art is art from humble origins, often untrained, and completely based on the culture of the place of its origins. The clothing counterpart is cozy, chunky knits, and casual.

Wear: “Tribal” Prints, Shawl Collars, Sweaters with Jeans

Folk Art

Pop Art – 1950s

Pop Art challenges old artistic traditions by using pop culture and mass media images to create art. It is easily distinguished by the use of bright and neon colors, geometric shapes, and repetition. The clothing counterpart is bright, bold patterns, and sleek lines.

Wear: Bright Colors with Patterns, Converse All-Stars, Slim Silhouettes

Pop Art

Are there any other art movements you’d like to see as clothes?