The release of VICE Books’ DOs & DON’Ts, Book 2 unleashed relative anarchy last night at Powerhouse ARENA, that Dumbo stronghold and Vol. 1 hotbed on Main St. The room was a maelstrom of vodka poured from chrome missiles, cheeky undergrads, a short but pungent series of missives from Genesis P-Orridge (of incendiary bands Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV) and a sea of pseudo-mandatory customized nametags presented to each visitor upon entry, deeming each of us either a DO or DON’T, with superlatives such as “Am I Asian?”, “Sandusky Vibe”, and in my case, “Retarded Gallagher Brother”.
And so I took to the crowd to ask the most enticing of these partygoers about their own ethics of style. We posed five simple questions. Where do you reside? What are your style DOs to live by (as in: your personal credos, lessons to offer, and wisdom imparted)? What are your style DON’Ts: that which you consider wack, or which you would otherwise never indulge and would always advise against? How would you characterize the style you rocked ten years ago? And finally, where do you see yourself stylistically ten years from now, be it via your own unique take or future trends to come? The results were as crisp as a pilsner-and-Burberry-doused letterman jacket coming fresh off the ironing board. This one’s prêt-à-porter, y’all.
“Never wear white socks with any sort of dress pants. Gym socks and dress pants: never. Jean shorts are coming back, but never the ones that come to your ankle. Even back when people were rocking cross colors, those JNCO shorts were a face cringer.”
From left: BONNIE (Millburn, NJ) & SHRIYA (Upper West Side)
BONNIE: “I’m pretty grungy, but you wouldn’t know it tonight. I’m on the pretty side tonight, I guess. I love denim on denim, primary colors, and navy blue. Ten years ago I was probably wearing something from The Limited Too. I always wanna be able to wear a miniskirt and not look disgusting. No varicose veins when I’m old. And I think drop crotch skinny jeans are evil and never should have happened.”
SHRIYA: “On the contrary, I own two pairs of drop crotch sweatpants and I love them. I always try to dress like a teenage boy. Sometimes my mom would buy me floral dresses, but I’d always go for athletic shorts. I’ve always wished I could be a teenage boy, because they’re kinda grungy and don’t really have to care about stuff. They don’t take showers, and I hate being high maintenance. Converse, Nikes. I wear a lot of my parents and brother’s clothes.”
CAT (East Village)
“I believe in fucking up, not down. I believe in taking pills instead of exercising to get thin. I prefer a lanky look as opposed to a beefy muscular one. I believe in wearing dirty white clothes, like a zanni from commedia dell’arte, or an old carpenter. I believe in messy makeup if you’re a girl, and looking like you’ve had sex all night. Lots of eyeliner. I don’t want men wearing those fancy shoes. Men should dress poor, and if women dress slutty, they shouldn’t worry about it. Women should stand around looking dumb and chewing gum. It’s a pretty look. And you should always hold your cigarette up to your face in photographs. Too many Huckleberry Finn hats these days. People aren’t glamourous enough. I’m a real narcissist, so I generally pay the most attention to myself. I think more people should be narcissistic, and dress to get attention. Ten years ago I was 19, wearing the exact same thing. Skimpy mini skirts in clubs. In ten years I’ll probably just be wearing vintage punk rock shirts and messy jeans. They’ll be the same shirts I have now, but they’ll all be worth like $500.”
ALEJANDRO (Crown Heights)
“I go toward brighter tones and interesting patterns. There are a lot of ways you can make the world beautiful, and one is in what you wear. Don’t wear things you’re uncomfortable in. If it’s a color or fit you don’t really like, it just shows, an
d you’ll exude that feeling to others. Ten years ago I was a sophomore in high school, so I think was still wearing baggy jeans and pretending to be straight. I looked nothing like this. Right now I’m going through an 80s Bowie thing. I’m guessing I’ll grow more refined as I get older. Cleaner lines, but I’ll always stay true to rock and roll.”
From left: A$AP FERG (Harlem) & NATHALIA (Toronto)
FERG: “However I feel in the morning or afternoon, whenever I wake up, that’s how I dress. Whether it’s hot or cold, it’s gonna be some fly shit. Fly doesn’t have to Prada this, Margiela that. It can be Vans with no socks on a summery day. Fly can be Gucci boots in the wintertime on a New York street. My DON’T is that I hate the fox tails people wear. Hell yeah, that’s a big assed DON’T.”
NATHALIA: “Rabbit feet. I hate rabbit feet. You ever see that, on key chains? People say it’s good luck, but that shit is bad luck!”
FERG: “But I’ll fuck with furs. I got a mink at home. And Lil’ Kim did kill a fur bikini one time. That was a killer chinchilla bikini. I’m 23 now, so ten years ago I was wearing like 6X jerseys, Vincents, Genesis jackets, throwbacks, colored Jordans, Pepe jeans. And I was doing Uptowns. Ten years from now I see myself in a big assed garden, butt assed naked with a pet giraffe, and my wife riding a rhino while she’s wearing a fucking crown.”
“My number one fashion lesson is to just be comfortable. This is my personal credo: never follow trends. Be your own tastemaker. (Slipping suddenly into an impression of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman: ‘Whoo-wah! In my day, I’d take a flame thrower to this place!’ I’m an actor, man, what do you want from me? I digress. Ten years ago, I had some ratty Chinos on. A decade from now I see myself in a very futuristic, avant-garde suit. A bespoke suit. Not Gucci, not Prada, not Dolce & Gabbana. Tailor made.”
SELF-IDENTIFIED AS “SOME GERMAN BITCH” (Greenpoint, by way of Germany)
“Take a risk. Don’t play it safe: if you’re boring, no one’s gonna remember you. My style “Don’t” would be flip flops. Crocs too. You’re not at the beach, honey. Ten years from now? Fashion’s all about reinventing the wheel, reconstructing what’s been around, mix and match. When I was back in Germany, I was confused by fashion, but I had a lot of fun. I was a raver, but also grew up on punk. They wanted to me to pick sides, but I had a sick match of blue hair and neon bracelets. This season: grunge is back. Corduroy and wool sweaters.”
SHAY (Lower East Side, by way of Australia) & MARCEL (LES)
SHAY: “Be yourself all the time, full stop. Wear a lot of sparkles, I love that shit. Bright colors. Have attitude. If you don’t wanna wear any clothes, then fuck it: don’t wear any. Leggings are not pants. I can’t stress that enough. Ten years ago, I had a pair of tie-dye overalls. I wish I’d kept them.”
From left: KP (Times Square, “Unwillingly”) & COLS (Hoboken, “Also unwillingly”)
KP: “The most important thing in the world is spiky things, platforms, everything alien, jumpsuits, and trampolines. You can have dreads, but if you only have one, that’s a problem. Ten years ago I was in scrunchies, smiley face t-shirts, and high waters. Ten years from now: holographic glasses and horns coming out of your head.”
COLS: “There’s no such thing as too much, but if you’re uncomfortable, you look uncomfortable. Ten years from now I see myself weighing a hundred pounds, wearing futuristic clothes.”
“Always take a friend shopping with you. I went through a phase of buying things that were six sizes too large, which I thought was super adorable when I didn’t have my friend there to say, ‘Miranda, that looks terrible.’ Also, I don’t see why anyone should ever have to wear panty hose. They make your legs hot. That’s not your skin, it’s weird shiny nylon. Ten years ago I had a pair of mom jeans that I thought were pretty cool, but they totally were not. And I had a pleated skirt that I wish I still had, but it got stolen with my luggage in an airport a few years ago.”
EMILY (East Village, by way of Chicago)
“I always try to color block and pattern block. I don’t try hard at all. I literally roll out of bed and still look somewhat put together. If you’re changing too many times, maybe you just shouldn’t leave the apartment. Ten years from now I hope to be more sophisticated: your thirties are where you peak stylistically. At least I hope so.”
From left: ALEX (South Bronx) & ALEXIS (Bedford-Stuyvesant)
ALEXIS: DON’T look like Chris Brown or Rihanna. I’m not feeling these people taking e-pills and popping molly, going from hardcore rap to doing rave drugs. In ten years, I’ll be dressing like it’s 2012.
ALEX: DON’T dress from what you’ve observed. Dress from where you’ve been. DON’T live on Tumblr. If I see one more OBEY hat, I’m done. Ten years ago I was in giant tees and South Pole jackets. In ten years I’ll be in a platinum speedo and biodegradable Diddy suits. That’s what it’ll be like after Obama.