Three years ago, the street-style movement felt like a mini revolution. Guys like The Sartorialist used a digital camera, a blog, and photographs of real people with real style to upend the closed clique that is the fashion world. Suddenly, instead of looking to the runways for inspiration, the style-minded started stealing ideas from online photos snapped on the world’s hippest streets. It was fresh, it was democratic, it was inspired. But now it just feels lame.
Here’s why: When the street-style trend went nuclear, all the accidental “Who, me?” unselfconsciousness that once made it so fresh was tainted. The streets became the runway. Next thing you know, wannabe style icons are stalking Sartorialist-favored avenues, hoping to be photographed. And—even worse—the fashionistas loitering outside the shows in Europe transformed from insiders who live the life into try-hards working overtime to get photographed. What everyone quickly learned is that the best way to get noticed is to go over the top—to identify every trend and pile them all on at once.
These days, the supposed cool kids look like straight-up jackasses. It’s like, dude, why is your tie tucked, your collar askew, your pant rolled, your sleeves cut off, your jacket double-breasted, and your pocket square poufing so high it’s licking your earlobes…all at the same time? You know it’s bad when bros are making Kanye West seem like a bastion of restrained taste.
So what does all this mean to those of us who want to look stylish without becoming fashion victims? Be careful when imitating what you see on the blogs, and remember to take it one trend at a time. Avoid the temptation to go full Salvador Dalí. If you’ve got on blue-soled shoes, maybe you don’t need a matching blue bolo tie. If your trousers are artfully rolled, maybe you don’t need to tuck in your tie. And for the love of God, don’t make somebody stop you in the street to tell you that your ankle bandannas are showing.