Page 1

MATERIAL arielle morgan

First Edition Copyright Š 2011 by Arielle Morgan All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or any portions thereof in any form. Printed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Arielle Morgan Philadelphia, PA

MATERIAL designed / edited / photographed / written by

arielle morgan

CONTENTS Definition ............................... 9 I. Brianne ................................. 11 II. Curran ................................. 25 III. Madison .............................. 39 IV. Mark ................................... 53 Acknowledgements .................. 67


1. noun. The matter from which a thing is

or can be made. 2. noun. Cloth or fabric. 3. adjective. Denoting or consisting of physical objects rather than the mind or spirit. 4. adjective. Important; essential; relevant. according to the oxford american dictionary





I had a ton of clothing, but I got rid of all of it. Now I have a uniform. But, you know, I feel like it’s still me.




BRIANNE the uniform

Tell me about yourself.

this is sweet. So I was always wearing some sort of boot My name is Brianne Murphy. I’m 21 years old. I’m from and some sort of dress. I had this one brown jumper that Coatesville, Pennsylvania and I am a religion and visual was, like, a sack, but was super cute. For some period of time I wore these hand-knitted gloves. Wearing gloves, anthropology student. you know, whatever. Then I went to college and I kept Describe your personal style. I often describe how I dress as a uniform. I used to get dressing like that for a while and basically, the only reason really into personal expression of style, but then I just I dressed like that was because I had a ton of clothing. But started cooling it down. So, you know, typical – not that then I got rid of all of it, and so now I have a uniform. But, I don’t think about what I wear, but I feel like there’s a you know, I feel like it’s still me. A lot of flannel, a lot of certain category that things that look like me fit into. I v-neck. What’s your uniform? don’t know what category that is, though. What are important elements of your style? Over the winter, it was a pair of cuffed jeans, with laceI normally always have one earring. One long earring, up-the-front boots, and this sounds very lame – but an and I always wear my rings and my bracelets. And my toe American Apparel v-neck, because they fit better than ring, I always wear my toe ring. This winter I wore those other ones and they’re super comfy, and a flannel or a high boots. Those were my staple. And one pair of jeans. sweater. And that’s it. That’s pretty much all I wore this Those were also my staple that I incorporated into every winter. Whatever! outfit. Other than that, my hair. My hair is my greatest Can you see a progression in the way you accessory! Nose rings! I always wear them. Constantly dressed? incorporated. Yeah, probably. Because I started dressing, like, “indie,” when I was in high school. How has your style evolved? I was, when I was younger, super awkward. Then, in How did you dress before? high school, I really got into my groove and was dressing Like a nerd! I’m pretty sure I used to shop at Old Navy, super weird all the time. I started thrifting when I was and, you know, whatever when you’re fuckin’ 14. I wore in 11th grade, or maybe tenth grade, and was like, oh, stuff from Old Navy and 5.7.9 or something shitty like


that. Then Goodwill opened my horizons, and I was like, ohh, it’s an art form... There was one year where I was like, I’m gonna wear a dress every day. And I’m pretty sure I wore a dress every day. It was a struggle, but I did it. Then in college one year, my uniform was spandex! That was heinous! Don’t know why I did that. I was so sloppy, it was a big grandma sweater and spandex, because I was like, I don’t care! This year is just the v-neck, the dark jeans.

my style says about me, that I’m not girly! It says I’m a fuckin’ man. Pretty much.

How do you get dressed?

How do people react to your clothes?

On days that I actually get dressed, I’ll wear a skirt, so I normally just pick out the skirt. Which isn’t too hard because it’s, like, one of five. Then go from there.

Were there any restrictions on your clothing choices while you were growing up? I couldn’t wear a bikini for a while. However, I was allowed to wear fucking snake-print platform boots when I was seven. Which, in retrospect, was an awful choice. I just couldn’t dress like a hussy, like every other god-lovin’ parent won’t let you do.

My mom used to tell me that I looked homeless. But I don’t know, whatever. That was the grandpa sweater phase. Sometimes she tells me I look hard – I don’t know What do you think your clothes say about what it means, really; tough. I look tough. She also used you? to tell me that I used to dress nice. I mean, this is just my I don’t know. I think my clothes say I’m in college. I think mom, though. I don’t think I do anything outrageous, so they also say... well, I feel like there’s a lot of stereotypes nobody’s ever like, that’s wild! I got my picture taken by that go with the way I dress. Not that everyone who’s “like Phrequency once, though. me” dresses like me, but I feel like you can pick out the How do you go about buying new clothes? people in your class that’s like, oh, she’s one of those girls. Over the past few years I’ve only bought a really On that bike, with those shoes and whatever. And that small amount of new clothing and I try to buy things hair. Whatever that means, I don’t know what that says. I secondhand. I guess it’s more interesting when you look mean, it obviously has to say something about me, because for stuff secondhand, but I do have new stuff. I don’t have it’s how I’m choosing to ornament my body. I think that money, so I look at things that are on sale. I also look for most of the time, it says that this isn’t the most important something that I’m going to wear, especially if it’s kind of part of my day, what I’m wearing. But at other times I expensive; then I need to know that I’m going to wear it. think it shows that I’m easy-going. Which may or may not Talk about your hair and makeup. be true. Since I was younger, my hair has been something that I’m

What are some influences on your style?

I guess it’s if I see people. It’s not someone that I’m like, man, I want to dress like Miley Cyrus. It’s like, if I see people, and that looks cute. I do get envy sometimes where I’m like, I wish I could look like that girl, she looks girly all the time. I feel like I don’t look girly. That’s what


making some sort of statement with. Last year I shaved the side and had the rest long, but before that it was just this big faux-Julia Roberts hair, where it was just a mess. Then every time I reached a crisis point in my life, I ended up cutting it; by the middle of last year it was super short. Really short. Like, ridiculously short. But it’s easy now,

I’ll probably just do research in a nunnery and shave my head. Fuckin’ strip away my identity! Take my hair with it! 17

I have this really cute dress. It reminds me of a ‘50s tea party. I never wear it. It doesn’t fit into my uniform.



it’s growing out, and it’s still curly. I have this stuff that makes it curl better. But other than that, I wake up, and I spray it, and it’s done. I like to wear mascara all the time, I don’t know why. And concealer, but whatever. But if I put eyeshadow on, then it’s a special day. Or I’m feeling extra shitty about not dressing nice.

It’s a circle scarf, but it’s a sweater. So it’s all connected and long, and you wrap it around.

Does anything in sentimental value?




My mom gave me this shirt that used to be her sister’s – she passed away when they were both young, and I never Do you have anything that you never wear? wear it, but I would never, ever get rid of it. Like, ever. It’s I have this really cute dress. I just hemmed it. But I don’t so tiny! God, 1960s children were tiny! This kind of pales know – it reminds me of a 1950s tea party dress. It’s super in comparison, but I got this really awesome tan jacket cute with big pink flowers. I never wear that. It doesn’t fit with a fur collar that’s like, mm! Love that. It was seven into my uniform. dollars. I never wear that either. Sometimes, when I’m What’s your favorite piece of clothing? feeling fancy. I can’t really wear it every day. I thought I just got this really sweet sweater from Buffalo Exchange, about wearing it to school. I’ll probably do it next year, as I guess three months ago. It’s tan and it’s super soft, but my big “senior statement.” the neck is, like, a wrap-around loop thing. I don’t know How does your room relate to your clothing? what that’s called. Not a cowl – it’s a scarf in a sweater. I think my room is a lot more me it has been since I’ve been at school. I feel like this room is it. I treat that one little space by my mirror as an altar, and I have seashells that I found, and stones from special places, and this really pretty stick that I like. I have books and pictures that I care about. I think it’s a good reflection of me. It’s a good space. I like it.

Do you ever feel strange or out of place because of your clothes?

Oh, yeah. Because, you asked earlier – what do your clothes say about you? I don’t know what they say about me, but I definitely know what they don’t say about me. There are certain things that just aren’t me – I feel uncomfortable when people are stereotypically attractive. That’s not what my style is. So if it was a group of people and I was hanging out, I would feel like a bum. I’m 14 years old in my head, and I’m like, everybody looks nicer than me! I look stupid, I want to look nice! But that would only last for a little while, and it wouldn’t actually mean


anything and I wouldn’t change anything about the way I dress.

Do you ever feel like people look at you differently?

This year’s been really weird, and when I had my head shaved, I thought I knew what I was about. I don’t think that I ever got looked at differently; or I think that even if that happened, I was like, whatever! It doesn’t matter anyway. If you make the decision to shave your head, there’s a certain level of self-assuredness that’s just like, whatever, this is going to look fine. The only shit that I ever get is from my mom. I’m like, Mom, you clearly don’t understand what year this is. Because no one’s not going to hire me because I have a nose ring or a tattoo. And if they wouldn’t, that’s not the job I want! I feel like I surround myself with pretty liberal people. My one professor was like, every time I see you, your hair gets shorter and shorter! After you get back from India your head’s just going to be completely shaved. Dude, shaving my head is a life goal. I thought that shaving half my head would satisfy that goal, but I don’t know that it has. So I don’t know what to do. When I don’t have my curls, I miss it. It’s a bummer. It’s frustrating getting them back. Eventually, honestly, I’ll probably just do research in a nunnery and shave my fucking head. I feel like people can get away with it, especially in Philly, but there are a lot of stigmas that go with girls with shaved heads. I would let them shave my head. Fuckin’ strip away my identity! Take my hair with it!








I never wanted to look like anybody else. I wanted my own style; I like to take risks. 27


CURRAN the original

Tell me about yourself.

but I was always wearing something creative. My style My name is Curran J. Swint. I’m 24 years old. I’m a was always nice, and it was always creative and it was fashion stylist, I’m a blogger. I have a blog called Kings original. I got “most original” in high school – and we Rule Together. I’m also getting into photography. I’m an used to have to wear uniforms. So I had to be some type of event planner; I host an event every first Sunday of the stylish kid. I’m inspired by a lot of different things; even the stuff that I used to wear back in the day I might bring month called Arts, Beats and Eats. back out. A lot of trends happen; they come and they go. Describe your personal style. My personal clothing style is original. I didn’t really have a But people might burn out a trend; when it’s burned out, choice to dress like everybody else when I was growing up. everybody’s not wearing it anymore. You can be that one My mom wouldn’t allow me to wear certain things, such that still wears things. as white tees. So I had to dress differently than everybody Why do you dress the way you do? else, and just growing up around people like my father I never wanted to look like anybody else. I always wanted and my uncles; I’m kind of a melting pot from all their my own style – just from me being younger, people styles. So I’m growing up watching how they dress; it all thinking I was gay because I used to dress a certain way, but it wasn’t really that much out of the norm. I just might just came to me. What are important elements of your style? have worn brighter colors than anybody else. I always like I have a lot of pinstripe. Pinstripe, floral, polka dots, to take risks. I always like to be like, ok, I see something stripes, patterns. I like patterns; I like all the types of that I like, I grab it. I don’t know how I’m gonna put it shapes, stuff like that. I like mixing stuff as well; that’s together, but it’s gonna come down to, okay, this goes with something I like playing with. I also like to have nice this, this goes with this. I just buy it, and then it all comes accessories, from glasses to hats. I wear a lot of fedoras together. and jeffs – newspaper hats.

What are some influences on your style?

Andre 3000 is one of the people that I look up to as far as I went through a lot of phases. I never really wore a blazer fashion; people call me Three Stacks. A lot of people have until a year or two ago. I wasn’t really a shoe guy; I used called me Will.I.Am lately, but I don’t really look at his to wear Tims, a couple years ago. My style always evolves, style. My dad, he’s been in the fashion industry for a

How has your style evolved?


If I’m wearing certain things, I feel like people aren’t even going to feel it. They’re not even going to understand what I have on; it’s not going to be appreciated. They might look at me as being a weirdo, or being gay.



trends, just do you throughout the whole year. You don’t have to be like, oh, we’re wearing varsity jackets now with patches on them, we’re wearing jean jackets now, let’s all wear jean jackets now. No. Do you. Mix it in. I have a lot of things that are trendy now, but I don’t wear it all the How do you go about buying new clothes? I try not to buy new clothes. I have a lot, but I need more time. And if I do wear it, I’m wearing it different. I wear clothes, honestly. You need certain pieces. You can have a it my own way. I’m not wearing it because everybody is lot of clothes, but you might not have the key pieces. You wearing it – only because that’s what I want to wear. might need a white button-up, you might need a certain How do you personalize trendy pieces? color belt, a brown or black belt, a green belt. You might The varsity jacket has a patch with a C on it, and on the need a nice hat or a nice shoe. All the shoes I have might other side it has K.R.T. It’s vintage. I might wear it with not go with everything. I need nice socks, different color some cargo pants, some New Balances, or some jeans, some socks that go with everything I have. I really don’t buy high-top boots; or you might wear it with some boat shoes new clothes – just whenever I happen to be out, I see or some loafers. Skinny jeans, baggy jeans. Anything. A something, I buy something, if it’s a nice price. lot of people will wear it with a baseball hat; I wear it with a fedora. I wear it with glasses, shades. A jeff hat, bow tie, Do you follow any style “rules?” There’s no rules I really follow at all. I just do whatever sweater. I want. I try it on; I think it looks right; I walk out the How does your home relate to your clothing? I have everything organized. I have the jeans I want to house. How did you become a stylist and blogger? wear the most, I have my colored pants, with colors and I actually never wanted to be a stylist; I just liked to get stripes, all on one rack. I have all my shoes together. I dressed. I worked in my dad’s clothing store and I used to have all my button-ups, cardigans, all the long-sleeved on dress a lot of people that came in. That got my name out one side, all the short-sleeved on one side. for me, dressing a lot of people, so people would be like, I Talk about menswear. want him to pick out my clothes. I also used to have fashion There’s not too much guys can really do. You can wear shows for the store, and I used to style all the people that jeans, you can wear slacks, you can wear cargos. You wear were in the fashion show. I started doing other fashion a button-up, you wear a three-down, you wear a T-shirt; shows for various people who had fashion shows in the you wear a blazer. Every man kind of looks the same; city, and then people started asking me to style them. it’s just what brand he has on, what type of quality it is. Everybody always looks at everything because that’s what How much do you try to be on-trend? I never was a trend guy. I denied a few job offers to write really describes a man. His accessories might enhance his posts about trends, because trends were never something outfit. He might just have on a white shirt, fitted jeans, a I was a part of. I don’t condone trends. I’d rather see belt and some shoes with his socks showing; but he might people be creative with their own style – don’t follow the have some nice accessories – a chain, a watch, some glasses while. Also, my partner, Taji Nahl, is another guy that I really look up to. Pharell, Kanye; all them guys that I used to look up to when I was growing up and getting more into the fashion thing.




and a hat. You can always have on a regular type of outfit, but you can enhance it with your accessories. There’s not too many ways you can go as a man when dressing, so it’s more about your colors, more about the quality of the stuff that you have on, and how the stuff looks. That blazer I got from Retrospect. I think I payed, like, $30 for it. It’s the color of the blazer, and it’s kind of got an old-school, a little ‘70s look on it.

How do people react to your clothes?

They used to react differently, but now I’m the only person that can pull certain things off. That’s what they say right now: I’m the only person that can pull that outfit off, or they like what I’m doing. People always look me up and down, let me say that. People always look me up and down and see what I have on. It’s more how I put things together. I might have the same thing somebody else has, but it’s in how I put it together, and I make whatever I have on cool. Oh, Curran has his jeans rolled up with a pink pair of socks and some black sneakers – that’s cool. Or, Curran has on sweatpants with a jean jacket – oh, that’s cool. So it’s more people admiring my style, to see like, okay, what is he doing. What makes this outfit – if Curran is fly, what’s fly about him? They just check me out.

Are you ever nervous about wearing some things?

I actually am sometimes nervous about wearing certain things. It’s not even about wearing certain things, it’s about wearing them out. Especially in Philly, if I’m wearing certain things then I feel like, where am I going? People aren’t even going to feel this, they’re not even going to understand what I have on; it’s not going to be appreciated. They might look at me as being a weirdo, or being gay. It’s so judgemental. It’s not that I really care

what people think. It’s just, is this outfit really worth me going out? Should I save this, or should I just rock it and show people this is what’s going down right now? What are you gonna do: hop on the wave now, or hop on the wave later?







I was a strange kid. I had strange interests, a personality that didn’t match my age group. I liked to read a lot. I was only in public high school for two years. I left and started doing cyber school from home – ‘cause I hated high school. I never fit in. 41


MADISON the professional

Tell me about yourself.

the-top. But I was 14 and I needed that kind of identity. I My name is Madison Reinhold; I’m 20 years old. I’m a was the odd man out; I felt the need to express myself in what I wore. I was a strange kid. I had strange interests, double major in linguistics and German and I work at a personality that didn’t really match my age group. I Rite-Aid. really liked to read a lot, and my taste in music... I was Describe your personal style. I usually go pretty simple. I don’t wear colors. I’m Italian only in public high school for two years. I left and started so I have Italian coloring; I’m very pale and have dark doing cyber school from home because I hated high school. hair and eyes. So I wear a lot of black, and darker jeans, I I never fit in. like dresses in the summer because I hate wearing pants. Can you see a progression in the way you And I like floral prints, ‘90s floral prints. dressed? What are important elements of your style? When I was 15 I worked at an antique shop, so I constantly I’m not particularly casual. I think on any given day, I had access to vintage clothing and I could dress however I could walk into an interview and be fine with what I was wanted. I could be really spunky and middle-aged women wearing. I’ve worn lipstick every day since I was 14, so always really liked it. Then I got a job at a teahouse where it’s just routine at this point, and it just feels strange I actually had to dress professionally – black dress pants, not to wear it. I’m comfortable and it doesn’t draw too appropriate shirts – because it was a classy little place. It much attention, not that it’s plain clothing – but it’s not was kind of a shock; I had to rebuild my entire wardrobe particularly bright, there’s not many patterns, nothing because I had nothing like that. Everything I had was crazy and outrageous, but I learned to really like it. That’s very eccentric. when I started moving into blacks and neutral colors and I How has your style evolved? When I was 14, I wore nothing but vintage clothing. Crazy realized I never had the coloring for what I was wearing – print dresses; I would make my own clothes, I would get sorry, 14-year-old Madison, you don’t look good in a bright ‘60s aprons and sew them into shirts. I wore the most yellow dress from the ‘60s! It just doesn’t work with that horrifying things – I was going through my closet when I hair! It exposed me to a whole different style of fashion. went home last. Most of the stuff I would never think of ever wearing today, just because it’s so bright and so over-

How do you get dressed?

I have a thousand black shirts in my closet; a thousand


I always love the image of the ‘90s businesswoman. I’ve always been attracted to that. I think it comes through sometimes in my hair and the blazers - and the shoes, the little heels that I’ll wear in the summer. 44


plain-colored dress pants; then I have dark, well-fitting, nice jeans. Because everything’s so similar and so basic, I don’t have to plan out outfits. I can just go into my closet and throw any combination of things on and everything goes together. I always wear a belt and I always tuck the front of my shirt in. If I have a long-sleeved shirt, especially if it’s button-down, I roll the sleeves up. I don’t like things hanging around my wrists; I can’t wear bracelets. No jewelry. I don’t wear jewelry. I don’t like to accessorize. I wear my one pair of black boots – that I’ve been wearing for the past two years – fall through winter. And then I have a pair of sandals and a pair of shoes for summer. There are certain patterns and things that I layer. In the spring and the summer it’s the same basic Madison outfit every day: a pair of dark jeans, usually a black shirt and then a blazer thrown on top.

surroundings. It all goes together. There’s a correlation. There’s a certain look and certain time periods that I’m attracted to; it’s a strange mixture. I tend to take random things and put them together and somehow make them work together. That jadeite cup shouldn’t look right next to the African-woman candy tray, but I still think it looks good together. I can’t explain it. I think it’s certain color combinations. I guess the one thing that wouldn’t match up is that there is a lot of color in here. And I don’t wear color.

What are some influences on your style?

Talk about your makeup.

How do you go about buying new clothes?

Everything I get is from thrift stores. I don’t make that much money, it’s cheaper, and there’s not many things that I like that are new, unless it’s a plain black T-shirt. There’s a place called Community Aid back where I live. It’s this Christian thrift shop and they play this horrible What do you think your clothes say about Christian rock radio station. All the clothes they get are from the perfect generation of women, so I can get the you? I’m a classy woman! I don’t know. That I’m not sloppy? I ‘90s, early 2000s classy dresses that I want – the Liz don’t want to look sloppy, and like I take care of myself. Claiborne dresses. I’m really bad with coats. When I go to I’m not looking for any kind of attention. Sometimes I thrift shops I always find coats and jackets that I like, and wear some low-cut shirts. People think I’m older than I they’re so cheap. That’s the one thing I’m excessive with. I think I have seven coats in my closet. It’s ridiculous. am. I’ve had people think I was a professor. I always love the image of the ‘90s businesswoman. I’ve always been attracted to that and I think it comes through sometimes in my hair and the blazers, and the shoes, the little heels that I’ll wear in the summer. As far as the house is concerned, I guess there are some Asian influences. It’s not a conscious thing, but I tend to be drawn to certain Asian stuff, like the lamp, the oriental rugs. It’s a strange mixture of things.

How does your home relate to your clothing? I think that if I’m sitting in my apartment, I fit with the


I put on foundation because I have lots of blemishes; I had bad acne when I was a kid. When it’s winter I put blush on because I get deathly pale. I look like a ghost. That’s partially my mother – my mother would force me to do that as a kid. She’d say, you look too pale, put some blush on! Such a fucking Italian mother. And the lipstick, I wear dark red lipstick. Which, honestly, I don’t even think about anymore. I don’t even see it when I look in the mirror. I can’t go out without it. I can’t leave my house without it, and it’s not a vanity thing. I just feel weird. It’s like going out without a bra on. You know, something’s

If I’m sitting in my apartment, I fit with the surroundings. It all goes together. There’s a correlation. The one thing that wouldn’t match up is that there’s a lot of color in here. And I don’t wear color. 47


wrong. Something about me looks wrong – oh, my boobs are down to my knees. That’s what it is.

What’s your favorite piece of clothing?

The thing I wear most often would be dark, well-fitting jeans, black scoopneck or v-neck, because I like a little cleavage in there. It fits my body type, it’s flattering. And a black blazer. I just got a dress at Community Aid. Three dollars, Liz Claiborne, fits me like a glove, and that’s my new favorite thing. It’s not a wear-everyday thing. This is one that I can’t wait to break out now and then.

Do you have anything you never wear?

I have this great sweater – but I can’t think of ever being in a situation where it would be appropriate to wear. It’s this red sweater that buttons down the front and it’s got black fur around the neck. It’s a great sweater, but I will never fuckin’ wear that thing, ever. If I could go back in time to 1995, to a business Christmas party, maybe then I can wear it.

Does anything in sentimental value?




I have a black sweater from the ‘50s that was my mom’s when she was my age. That means a lot to me. My robes are precious to me. I love my robes. Here’s the thing when it comes down to it, I’m not a clothes person. I like to be naked or as close to naked as I can possibly be.







I’m saving up money right now, trying to get a thousand-dollar tailored suit. I need that for the summertime. I’m getting there.



MARK the gentleman

Tell me about yourself.

My name’s Mark Shifreen. I’m 21. I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. I work at Brooks Brothers.

Describe your personal style.

I just dress, like, traditional – traditional American, I guess. I always try to wear a tie, a shirt and tie.

What are important elements of your style?

A nice tie. That’s the focal point, if you look at someone, it’s right there, so you’ve got to have a nice tie. Don’t want to look whack. I like bow ties, or skinny ties. Knit ties are great too. Wool ties. All different patterns. I don’t like anything too outrageous.

Do you ever feel strange or out of place?

It’s weird when I go back to Maryland, everyone dresses really poorly. In Philadelphia I get dirty looks for the way I dress, but when I’m in New York City, it’s acceptable. It’s cool.

How do people react to the way you dress?

Some people compliment me; other people make fun of me. I don’t really care. They’ll just call me a faggot or something, nothing that’s gonna hurt my feelings. I think girls think I’m cute, or something.

How do you get dressed?

I guess it all depends on the weather. I always pick my shirt out first, that’s the first thing. Then my tie. Pants Do you follow any style rules? I try to make everything match – belt and shoes. I’m a are the last thing I really care about. I like shoes a lot. I skinny person, so slim fit, stuff like that. I don’t want love wingtip shoes; I think they’re pretty awesome. What are some influences on your style? something baggy; it just looks bad if it doesn’t fit. My two grandfathers always wore shirts and ties and Has your style evolved? Since I’m working now I’d definitely say my wardrobe has. always looked extremely dapper. They were the greatest I can actually afford stuff I want, so I definitely dress a men that ever lived. They both were in World War II, and lot nicer these days than I used to – poor. Like, T-shirt they were really good family men; and they don’t make and jeans. I couldn’t afford nice stuff. I had a few decent them like that anymore. I try to emulate them in every way possible. A lot of people in the ‘40s; that kind of style button-downs, but nothing spectacular. was really awesome. I definitely bite off of other people’s Why do you dress the way you do? I don’t like looking like everybody else. It’s better to stand style; it’s not like I’m reinventing the wheel or something. out.


How do you go about buying new clothes?

I see something I like and buy it – impulse, I guess. Why not?

Where do you shop?

I shop at a lot of places. I like going to New York and shopping, but specific places – I just like going to New York City, really. It’s the best place to shop. Philly’s okay. There’s some good thrift places, but now that I have a new job, I feel like I don’t even have to buy thrift now, I just buy new stuff. There’s some really good thrift stores in Philly, and New York. There’s tons of awesome vintage places. You can just make a day out of it, it’s great. Go up on a weekend – just bring a bus ticket and a hundred bucks, you can buy yourself something nice.

How much do you spend on clothes?

On average – no less than a hundred bucks on something. I’m saving up money right now, trying to get a thousanddollar tailored suit. I need that for the summertime. I’m getting there. It’s gonna be really nice, I’ll tell you that much. From Billy Reid in New York, they have some awesome suits.

Do you sacrifice anything to dress this way? I don’t eat a lot. I try to sell things to make money for new things, but I usually just end up giving stuff away.

What do you look for when you buy new clothes?

I have a lot of ties for my age. I have, like, 30 ties. That’s a decent amount. But I need more. I think that’s a really important aspect to the wardrobe. All about ‘em. I’m saving up to get these ones, they’re hand-made in England. They’re gonna be awesome, but they’re, like, a hundred Euros each. What’s that in America, like 150, and you have to order three of them to have them shipped to the States, that’s like $500 or something. Whatever, fuck it, it’s gonna


look good on me. I only really get stuff made in the U.S. or Italy or England because I don’t want something cheap. I think there’s a lot of expensive stuff that’s overpriced, and it’s made in China or something, it’s a rip-off. Or you look at the tag and it’s made in Bangladesh or something, for a hundred bucks. That cost, like, five dollars to make. That’s bullshit.

Is there anything you would never wear?

Jeez, I’m sure. There’s lots of stuff I wouldn’t wear… I wouldn’t wear some, like, K-Mart suit or something, some cheap suit.

Do you get your clothes tailored?

Some of them. I need to get more stuff tailored, though. Definitely my sports jackets, always. It just looks ridiculous; it makes you look fat if it’s not. Bring in the sleeves, and the body sometimes needs to be adjusted.

What’s your favorite piece of clothing? I’ve got these boots I like, and the first really nice buttondown I got. I guess maybe that’s it, that’s what started the


My grandfathers always wore shirts and ties and always looked extremely dapper. They were the greatest men that ever lived.

� 59


You ought to see my liquor cabinet; it’s pretty impressive right now. Clothing and liquor is essential to being a gentleman. 61


whole thing. So maybe that button-down. It’s blue and green check, and I just really liked it, and I got it on sale. It was only a hundred bucks. That started the whole thing, for better or for worse.

Does anything in sentimental value?




I have this military watch that my grandfather, my dad’s father, gave me. It doesn’t even work; I need to get it fixed. But I wear it the majority of days, unless I have a suit on; it doesn’t really go. I’ve got a necklace he gave me, too; I wear that every day.

Talk about your room.

I still have a little more cleaning to do. You ought to see my liquor cabinet; I re-upped on all that. It’s pretty impressive right now. I think clothing and liquor is essential to being a gentleman. It’s a dying art. I’m pretty good at it.

What does being a gentleman involve?

Just living the life. Looking nice, having good liquor, eating good food, going nice places. Being a man.




AC KN OWLEDGEMENTS This book would not have been possible without the extremely gracious and accommodating participation of my subjects. Curran, Brianne, Madison and Mark – thank you for allowing me to creep around in your rooms and take pictures of your stuff. Thank you for answering all of my questions. Most of all, thank you for getting dressed – not only for my shoots, but for choosing to make a statement about yourself every day through the clothing you wear. You are an inspiration. I’d also like to thank my classmates in Photo Seminar. I can’t imagine spending days in a basement with anyone else. Thanks especially to Brad Larrison for lighting Mark’s shoot. Thank you, Dr. Trayes, for teaching me to be a photographer and for pushing me to constantly improve and to accomplish things I didn’t know I could do. Everyone has a story about the things they own; I hope to hear and pass on as many as I can. Thank you, finally, to all those in Philadelphia and elsewhere who take the time to express something about themselves through their clothing and other material possessions. Although your stories might not be written down, you make the world more colorful and more interesting. Thank you. 67

Four stories of personal style, identity and expression.


Four stories of personal style, identity and expression.