Old Work Boots & Camouflage Cargos: How NOT To Let Your Man Fall Out Of FashionSerge Bielanko
(This is Part 2 of a 2 Part article. You can view Part 1 here.)
Let it be known that the evolution of a fashion disaster is not something to take lightly.
I mean, c’mon, we learn from other people’s mistakes as much as we learn from our own, right? And let’s be honest: it’s a lot less painful to stand back and simply bare witness to someone else’s fashion mistakes, some other grown man’s carnival of faux pas than it is to experience it ourselves.
Plus, there has to be some kind of sociological value to putting yourself out there, in picture format, to be chuckled at by the masses, don’t you think?
It’s sort of like observing the lemurs leaping off the cliff.
We stand back.
Our jaws drop.
We back away from the cliff.
Thus, I feel the need to expose my true self to you, dear reader, as a man caught up in a conundrum of stylistic misses and missteps the likes of which the modern world has rarely known. I am a married man. My wife is still quite beautiful and she dresses with a certain ‘street savvy’ that would allow her to walk down any Broadway or High Street anywhere without knowing that heavy encumbering notion that afflicts those of us who just can’t seem to get our freaking look together.
So, I owe this to her.
My kids are cute and lovely and they make my world shine with their daily smiles, and someday soon they will be dressing themselves. And I am of the belief that they will take after their mommy (what choice do they have?!) when it comes to fashion and style and all and so I have to recognize the fact that if I continue down the ultra-relaxed path of Heinousness that I have been following the past few years, I run the risk of shaming them in public places just by showing up dressed like that tobacco chewing mechanic Cooter from the Dukes Of Hazzard, and I don’t want that to be the mustard stain on my legacy.
So, I owe this to them.
And you, you people out there in cyber-land, I like you. Okay, I don’t really like you all that much, but I don’t dislike you enough to watch you have to wander down through the dark lonesome caverns of shabbiness that I have had to pass on through. I wouldn’t wish that on a rotten anchovy, so I’m not about to wish it down on you.
So, this is for you, too.
This is a hard and riveting look into the mind of a husband /a father/and a man who slowly, but surely, descended into the madness known amongst the more fashionable set as “not giving a sh!t.”
So, belly up to your screen and watch and learn, ya’ll!
The laughs and cringes are all on me…
Joe Cool-ish 1 of 22There was a time, not to many years ago, before kids and marriage whittled down my sense of fashion, when I managed to look half-decent. I even wore pink, which means you're fashionably confident, right?
Casual Chic 2 of 22I would wear button-up shirts, even to a weekend gathering of mountain men and Indians. I was no schlub and I wouldn't be seen as one, even by men dressed up as friggin' Grizzly Adams.
Vested Interest 3 of 22I always wore a nicely tailored wool vest on stage with my band and I even had a few that I chose to wear when I wasn't on stage, you know...to portray my very own look. I called it 'Street Dandy.' And, no, it never really took off.
The Dad Thing Sets In 4 of 22Then, Violet was born and I turned most of my attention to being a pop. Which is a wonderful thing, I suppose, except in regards to the hit your wardrobe begins to take. I began to buy Pink Floyd shirts at Walmart. And that's never exactly a good sign, huh?
Big Bad Boots 5 of 22Gradually, I began to let my footwear choices narrow down, too. I had begun working construction just before Violet was born and by the time she was one, I wore nothing but the same steel-toed Timberlands that I also wore to work. My wife began to comment then on the changes she was seeing in my style of dress. Hmph.
Favorite T-Shirt 6 of 22Once, in a thrift store, my wife handed me a dumb blue t-shirt and said, "I predict that this will be your favorite shirt now." I laughed in her face and threw it in my Bag Sale bag. Who could have guessed that before the week was out I had begun to wear the stupid thing 3 and 4 days a week until it actually evaporated on my back one day. A favorite t-shirt is nothing bad, I suppose. But one worn damn near every day? Jeez, I was slipping bad.
Trucker Hat 7 of 22Long after the trucker hat came and went as a short-lived much- maligned fashion statement, I continued to wear them. My fat head is so big that I rarely find any hats that fit me, and so I chose the look of the 1977 big rig driver. Then I tried to get my little daughter in on the act and Monica threw a fashion intervention just in time.
From Bad To Worse 8 of 22Working construction, I had a couple of pairs of Carharrt work pants. They were the kind that you could drive a nail into and it wouldn't actually go through...like body armor, I guess. Well, after a time, I began to just keep 'em on in the evening when I came home tired and couldn't be bothered to change out of them. Then I began to enjoy wearing them. Then I began to wear them even on my days off, like a football player wearing his uniform at the beach. Oh man.
Saved By The Chucks? 9 of 22I almost saved myself at one point. My daughter had such cool little sneakers and so I thought, "Hey, I should get myself a pair of those Chuck Taylors that the cool kids are wearing." So I did. But, I was too far gone, I was too used to my enormous clob-hopper boots by that point and so the sneakers felt like slippers on my feet which freaked me out. They ended up in the bottom of the closet after two outings.
A Descent Into The Valley Of V-Necks 10 of 22By the time Violet was a few months old, I had also grown oddly fond of the shirts I had begun to wear for work. They were those Hanes V-neck white things. They come six to a pack, 12 bucks a load. This fashion statement swiftly went out of control and soon I had a closet that consisted of: my favorite t-shirt, two pairs of work pants, and 2,246 paint-splattered V-necks. Monica, my lovely wife, was so thrilled.
Henry Arrives! 11 of 22When Violet was two, our son Henry arrived. I celebrated his arrival into our life by trying to bring just a little bit of that old fashionable Serge back to the future. I got my hair cut and bought a button-up shirt at Target. But, too much time had passed, I'm afraid. Here, my hair appears to be a cross between a strange monk and one of The Ramones on a bad hair day.
Henry Arrives! Part 2 12 of 22In our first family portrait together with Henry (Violet was at home with her Gran Elaine) I appear to be portraying a sweaty mechanic who uses a pork-chop comb photo-bombing a new mother and her sweet young child!
‘Giving Up’ 13 of 22In the summer shortly after Henry was born, I had begun to pack on a few extra pounds. 'Symapthy pounds', us dads call them, weight packed on in homage to our recently pregnant wives. By then though, the ruse was up as Monica was back to her high school figure while I continued to grow laterally. Here, I exhibit one of the definitive signs of men 'giving up' in the fashion sense. Look and laugh as I am photographed IN the water, wearing Hawaiian shorts and a western shirt. IN THE WATER. This, might have been rock bottom, but I can't say for certain.
Looking Kind Of Rough 14 of 22The debacle continued, of course, as I got caught up in work and parenting (excuses/excuses) and failed to even realize that I was pretty much a schlub now. Here, I go trick-or-treating with my daughter. She was a cow. I was a honky-tonk Phillies fan carrying a little cow.
A George Clooney Wish/Joke 15 of 22Often seen with a child carrier on his back, the American Father went to a nice salon and asked for his mop to be trimmed down. What do you have in mind, they asked him. George Clooney, he answered. The sweet girl giggled under her breath and did what she could. The only thing then separating the American Father from Clooney was 117 plastic surgeries. Poor guy. At least he tried.
Autumn Leaves 16 of 22In this picture, my daughter and I raked leaves in our leaf-raking gear. And that's fine, except that my leaf-raking garb was also what I pretty much always wore. Sexxxy. huh?
Try Try Again 17 of 22At times, when the moon was just right or whatever, I would try and break out one of my old nice shirts and maybe a pair of something for my lower half that wasn't designed for brick-laying. But somehow, I always managed to blow it. Like this day, when I just might have slipped through the world without many snarls from the more fashion conscious, except that I chose to include an empty people mover on my back as part of my ensemble. At this point, I was so 'Dadded out' that it makes me chuckle. (But don't YOU laugh!)
A New Home, A New Look 18 of 22We hit Pennsylvania a little over a year ago, and when we arrived here I meshed a few of my more pathetic looks together to form...that's right....a brand NEW look! I began to combine bandanas (to keep my unruly hair away from me) with camo cargo shorts and a variety of t-shirts (90% white V-neck: surprise!). After 6 months of that, my poor wife finally snapped and told me that I looked pretty bad. So...
The Return Of The Clooney 19 of 22....so, I went and had my hair cut again, in hopes of firing up my wife's purring engines with a brand new me! Except, I went for the Clooney again. I even had the girl at the chop shop Google Image search his head. Here I am looking EXACTLY like the dapper star...if they ever fished his water-logged carcass out of Lake Como after six days of 'sleeping with the fishes.'
Then… 20 of 22Still, you have to be able to laugh at it all, you know? I see myself back when I first met my sexy wife and I see a guy that was thin and dressed pretty cool and I just have to chuckle a little at the whole thing. Life is a dream and we dream it according to whoever we are at any given moment. So yeah, I might have taken a detour into some bad looks, but it's never too late to hit the gym. And it's damn sure never too late to be a middle-aged guy wearing $250 skinny jeans from Urban Outfitters. Is it?
… and Now 21 of 22Even if I haven't quite climbed out of my fashion rabbit hole yet, at least I have one thing going for me. At least my kids are too damn young to be repulsed and ashamed by their father's hideous ensembles just yet. As for my wife...well,...Monica: I'm still a hottie on the inside, babe!
Crawling Back To Paris 22 of 22It might take me a while to get back to looking like a Fashion Week male model. Paris is a long way off and its hard to free yourself from the self-imposed shackles of dressing to un-impress. But, I'm still alive and I'm still kicking. And, I'm back wearing sneakers everyday, no big boots to be seen on these old pegs. And hey, that's a start, right?
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