I haven’t yet hung my winter coat back in the coat closet, but I haven’t worn it in nearly a week. I transferred the grey sweatshirt I was wearing under it instead to the underneath of a corduroy sport coat, my favorite black one and the one I’d wear year-round if the weather permitted.
So you know what that means: It’s time for the wardrobe of spring.
I probably write about this every year, but every year I think more and more about my fashion choices as I continue to hone my look and style. I try to pin it down, then experiment with the edges of my range, attempting to explore new accessories and colors so I don’t get too predictable or boring.
This year, for example, I bought my first bow tie. Initially it was for a photo shoot, but I’ve wanted an excuse to own one and learn to tie it anyway, so I searched for the best all-purpose tie that would be slightly casual and found a cotton black pinstripe at thetiebar.com. The problem with bow ties, in my opinion, is that they either look too formal (as in, part of a tuxedo) or not formal enough (as in, the sunny California or southern looks of the short-sleeve button down, madras shorts, and Van’s slip on shoes). I want something in between those, something dressed up but not too colorful, something casual but still polished, something notable but not overpowering.
I have often said that I want people to notice me, not my shirt or my tie or my shoes. I want people to think, “Sinclair looks good today!” rather than, “I like Sinclair’s shirt!” The trick to that, for me, is a casual understatement of colors and patterns while still keeping the look polished and clean. I wear a lot of jewel tones, ruby and garnet reds and emerald greens and sapphire blues, and I use accessories as highlights to bring some spark and spunk to any given look. I want my pants and shirts to be the backdrop for my accessories, really, and all of that should be the background for my sparkling personality, for the things I say and do to be the bulk of my personality to come across, and for the rest of it to be subtle and classic.
I’m not into fads, I’m not into what’s hot and what’s happening and what this year’s trends are. As a pagan who celebrates the wheel of the year, however, I am into corresponding my fashion with the seasons, with breaking out the more springy pastel colors when the weather starts turning and bundling back up in the fall with burnt oranges and crisp reds. Part of it is purely practical, while enduring the very specific four seasons of New York City’s weather patterns, but part of it too is keeping an eye on the progression of the years and using my body as a piece of art to enhance my understanding of where this little blue and green planet is in our journey around our sun, Sol.
New York City has made it possible to pursue fashion in ways I never expected—especially because anything or everything goes as fashion at any time. One would not necessarily look out of place wearing a wedding dress or a ball gown going down Fifth Avenue on a random Tuesday—well, maybe I would, since I would probably look like a drag queen, but hey even that would not be so out of place. I could wear a tuxedo to dinner on a Saturday. I could wear a full three-piece suit every day of the week. I could wear big huge clashing bright colors and probably just be stopped by some fashion scout photographer while walking down Broadway. (Or at least that’s what I imagine those people who wear that kind of thing are attempting to do—or do they really think it looks good to pick out your wardrobe colors from a pack of Starburst candy?)
I love that about living here. When I go back to the West Coast, the same jet-setting outfit I was casually wearing to travel to the airport and sit around in the waiting room becomes instantly too formal the minute I get off the plane in Seattle or Portland. But here, I can head to brunch in a tie and button-down and casual pants, and I don’t necessarily feel out of place.
I just feel like I look good.
Perhaps it’s the post-college upgrading of my wardrobe more than it’s even the place, though I think being in New York City has helped. I was never one of those college students who rolled out of bed and into tee shirts and school-branded sweatpants, but there were certainly plenty of folks around me who did. I was more of a jeans and polo shirts kind of guy during that time, though I struggled with being aligned visually with the fraternity boys, so I’ve often had a love-hate relationships with polos, especially the colorful striped ones.
But when spring rolls around, I miss my bright orange one with the blue and black stripes. It sounds bold, and I suppose it was, but it was also comfortable and stylish, and perfect for coming out of the winter doldrums of January and February.
This year, now that spring is rolling around, I’m thinking about fashion, but I am particularly focusing on going to the gym more frequently, meaning four times a week, and doing more cardio to work on the spare tire I’ve been acquiring. It is a beautiful thing that my other girlfriend, Kristen, is an amazing baker and is a pro at making pies, biscuits, scones, galettes, and of course her signature rosemary sea salt chocolate chip cookies—but it means my figure has suffered a bit, and I would really like to get back into those great button-down shirts and slacks that have been hanging in my closet all through the winter. I generally like my body, even it’s slightly larger than average frame that seems to be the weight at which I am most comfortable, but I can feel that I’m carrying a few too many extra pounds right now and more than the aesthetics, it’s slowing me down. That is a completely different column topic—but that is what is on my mind while I’m thinking about spring fashion.
Meanwhile, though, I am going to rock the shit outta that new bow tie. And possibly order a few more colors, since the black one, really, is a bit more formal than a spring bow tie needs to be. I thought it would be versatile, but really it’s just dressed up. Maybe a nice baby pink or blue, or a dull yellow or gold tone would be nice. I have just the shirt I can pair with it.