A Sartorial Shift
We lack inspiration and creativity in our gifts to our kids this season so this Christmas all J2 and Cricket will be receiving are clothes. Or mostly clothes. Cricket is tired of receiving clothes from me, I’m sure, because if I see something cute and on sale I’ll get it and send it to her in college in lieu of the usual cookies other moms send. I’m wondering how she will react when she opens box after box of sweaters and shirts. I can almost hear her voice say in a her usual deadpan, “Thanks mom” as she reveals each gift. Because of that I went out of my way to find her some kickass shoes I know she’ll love, but I’m sure she’ll withhold any enthusiasm because that is just how she rolls.
J2 on the other hand asked for nothing but clothes. He’s a clotheshorse and as much as I try not to think racially I wonder if it’s a black thing since I had to threaten my husband yesterday to toss a pair of pants with a large ink stain on the pocket and a big rip in the crotch. J doesn’t care about clothes at all and I remember growing up how my older brothers used to always take time and care of how they looked, making sure to starch their jeans to get a well defined point in them. Straight black men were metrosexual long before it took over gays and the mainstream. But then maybe it’s less of J2 being half black and more of his being young.
So we went to Macy’s to find clothes for him. J said her requested more jeans because he had outgrown the ones he has. We stopped by a pair that J liked and looked at them. He was sure J2 would like them but I wasn’t so sure.
“They say slim fit,” I pointed to the label on the pants. “Will he like those? Doesn’t he like them baggy?”
“These will be baggy on them.”
“No, I don’t think so. Aren’t slim fit like cigarette pants for guys?”
We debated it and were about to walk away when a young 20-something black male walked by. I stopped him and asked if he worked there. He said he did.
“What is the deal with these pants?” I asked him. “Are these going to be tight? Are they cigarette pants for men?”
He assured me they weren’t anything like cigarette pants for guys. They did have cigarette pants if we wanted them.
“No, no, we don’t!” J and I said together.
He gave us the spiel about how the pants could be baggy but not really loose. He liked them himself and wore similar pair. We talked about how young men seemed to have a penchant for wearing pants so low their behind stuck out ; he smiled a briliant smile and shook his head.
“These can go low but not that low,” he said. “I don’t really like those kind of pants myself.”
We nodded our heads and took two pairs.
On the ride home I noted how J2’s style has changed since he’s come to live with us. When he first came to live with us he wore nothing but very baggy pants and white tees, even in winter. His style is now something of a mix between Urban prep and suburban wannabe. He’s lowkey, but clean and always in blue (he would look better in yellow or orange).
“He won’t wear the pants his mother always buys him,” J said. “I don’t know why she buys his pants so big. The last time she got him a size 36 and he is a size 30.”
I know why, it’s the way the urban kids wear their pants. Even though the weather is getting cold a lot of young men are still wearing their baggy jeans right above their knee. Even the les-thugs are wearing them that way, too. But lately I’ve been seeing a shift in the way a few urban kids dress. Some urban guys are wearing normal jeans, polos with hoodies (always the black hoodies) and big black rimmed glasses without the lenses. It’s like urban nerd wear. One kid that comes in I really love his style, he has his hair close cropped with designs faded in the temple and light brown contacts that make his eyes sparkle. The style reminds me of the guys when I was in high school eons ago, when guys dressed so fresh they sparkled without the bling. I hope it’s a precursor of things to come.
“Maybe you should encourage J2 to tell her what he really likes so then she won’t waste her money on clothes he won’t wear,” I suggested.
“Yeah, I guess…” J said, his voice trailing off. Which means he won’t and J2 probably won’t. Which is sad because instead of buying clothes for the independent young man he’s becoming she’ll be buying for the young kid he used to be. Maybe it’s for the best because although clothes make the man in some cases it also makes the relationship.