style girlfriend girl talk

What I learned about style from the men in my life

lessons in life and style

Clearly my childhood haircut was the inspiration for that of Annette Bening’s character in “The Kids are All Right”

It’s my dad’s birthday next week (happy birthday Dad!) and it got me thinking about the gifts he’s given me in my life. Not the cheesy stuff like a sheltered childhood, college education, or healthy sense of self-worth..though there was all that too. No, I’m talking about the sweet threads he’s passed down to me (or more likely, that I’ve swiped from his closet), like the rad University of Wisconsin Marching Band t-shirt that’s just the right shade of faded red, the belt I have no idea how he ever fit into but that sits on my hips perfectly, and the old repp tie I use as a headband.

So today, I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’ve learned about style from the men in my life:
my brother: that skinny guys have it hard, yo. Going shopping with my brother, I see how difficult it is for him to find a pair of jeans that fits. Some brands assume he’s still in a band, wanting to rock out onstage in skin-tight pants, while the rest of the supposed “slim fit” stuff swims on him. He made me realize we need a revolution in sizing for men’s clothing. True to size! True to size! Union! Union!

my first crush: to take off my fashion blinders. Keegan Wenkman — totally his real name, by the by. According to Facebook, he lives in Portland, so he’s probably too busy drinking coffee, or perhaps working at a coffee house (he never was very motivated) to read about men’s style here. But if not, hi Keegan! Remember that time we kissed outside my house? That was awesome — Keegan was a skater. Not that I ever saw him with a board, but he wore the clothes, so that seemed to count. Since all the other boys in my class let their mothers dress them in head-to-toe Gap topped off by a Starter jacket, I thought Keegan was just the coolest for rocking the style boat.

my last boyfriend: That camo pants and hooded sweatshirts can be a perfectly acceptable work uniform when you label yourself a “creative.” As the owner of a design studio who’d worked his ass off for ten years to get to where he was, he was the boss, but didn’t feel the need to dress like a typical corner office type. I admired his entrepreneurialism and I liked that he was the master of his own sartorial destiny. Now that I’m orbiting in the creative universe myself, I appreciate it even more. Because even though I don’t wear camo pants often, I like that if I want to, I could.

my brother-in-law: the wonders of wrinkle-free dress shirts. Yes, they’ll fall apart in a year, but wear ‘em – and don’t iron ‘em – while you’ve got ‘em.

my best guy friend: that style is about so much more than clothes. His appreciation for good design extends to bikes, tables, kitchenware and more. I love that he’s so enthusiastic about making every facet of his life beautiful and efficient and smart. I find it a worthy goal to live with that kind of intention.

my dad: to believe in evolution. In middle school, my dad was a chubby nerd (his words, not mine) whose best friend was the school librarian. In college, he was a hippie tuba player in flared jeans and a dew rag. In all my baby pictures, he’s sporting a child molestor mustache. Now, he rocks sweater vests and subtle plaids. Six decades in and still getting cooler. Way to go, Dad.