10 Articles of Clothing My Girlfriend Let Me Borrow While Secretly Upping My Fashion Game
Doc Martens, chokers, flannel shirts and ripped jeans – Nico explores the wardrobe of her post-hardcore punk-rock significant other.
Since first meeting my girlfriend, I remember being mildly intimidated by the way she looked. Lots of black, ripped jeans, leather jackets, combat boots, a textbook punk if I ever saw one. But cool, and dangerous. Crack open any supernatural young adult romance novel and you’ll understand.
I don’t know if she’d been planning it all along, but over time this fashion-conscious beauty managed to upheave my entire wardrobe into something more streetworthy. She mostly did this by “lending” me articles of clothing, with every intention of swaying me toward the light. So often, in fact, I had to consult a “Looking Back on 2016” fashion article just to help sort me out, and remind me of her skills.
Let’s take this journey together, where I air my old fashion woes and how I’ve overcome them, thanks to the low-key efforts of my post-hardcore punk-rock significant other.
Growing up, my parents wouldn’t let me colour my hair anything other than with highlights, or something else “natural”. But with my new girlfriend’s high school hair adventures (erm, experience) at my disposal, I finally took the plunge and bleached my thick dark brunette locks, before exploring any colour I could – pink, blue, periwinkle, violet. (It’s currently a nice dark shade of magenta, as I work my way back to pink.)
Along with the drastic colour change, she also managed to convince me to swallow my fear and slowly progress from undershave, to side shave, to double-side shave, and the anxiety shakes that came with each one. But hot dang have I never felt more badass than when I had buzzed hair. Not to mention less overheated in the summer months, as long, thick, curly hair is friendly to no-one in high temperatures.
I feel like this one might not be that big of a deal to a lot of people, particularly because leggings-as-pants has been popular for a long time. But in that same amount of time, I never really understood why. I even thought it was ugly to wear leggings instead of just putting on some black skinny jeans. Boy oh boy, was I mistaken. Nothing compares to the comfort and contentment of leggings and a baggy shirt, purple hair pulled back into a high bun on a Sunday morning and eating brunch at the nearest breakfast diner. But I digress.
3. Ripped/Distressed Jeans
There was always something about ripped jeans that really spoke to me, even before the intervention on my wardrobe. Something about them is so laid back and “don’t give a damn,” that I always wanted to be a part of. Growing up in a conservative neighborhood and friend group didn’t really allow much room for that. Whenever I would wear them, the older generation would smirk and ask, “Did you buy those jeans for the holes?” to which I’d reply: “Yeah, I even paid extra.”
And so, while my old wardrobe consisted of 2 or 3 pairs of plain denim, now my closet is full of pair after pair of ripped black skinny jeans – and a few pairs of unripped black jeans for, you know, work, or whatever.
4. Doc Martens/Boots
I wore Doc Martins before meeting my sweetheart, of course. They’re not only reserved for the fashionistas or, in my girlfriend’s case, punk-rock hooligans, but the ones I owned were brown with red flannel. As soon as I started wearing black pants and leggings on the regular, it wasn’t going to happen. Even I, with my underdeveloped fashion-palette, knew brown shoes with black pants was a no-go.
Seeing as Doc Martins are designed to survive a nuclear apocalypse (and more) and are therefore priced accordingly, I couldn’t afford another pair right away and had to make due with some generic black boots for the time being – until my #1 gal-pal gave me a pair of hers that she never wore.
These maroon Docs, with their extra-long black laces that had to be wound around the ankles a few times before being tied, took my breath away. Finally, I could mosh in the pit with the rest of them (can, but won’t. Moshpits scare me, as I am weak and fragile like a tiny bird.)
5. Bomber Jackets
I am a fiend for jackets. All jackets, big and small. I hoard them like a pregnant cat hordes the lids to water bottles behind the couch. My closet was probably 70% jackets, even before my big clothing overhaul.
With this in mind, the sudden influx of bomber jackets in trending styles and the like is probably what heaven feels like. I think I own at least five of them (one being Harley Quinn’s jacket from the Suicide Squad movie. It was comic con weekend and I am weak-willed, don’t laugh). My favourite has to be the embroidered jacket my favorite punk degenerate (girlfriend) bought me for my birthday.
Dark blue silk with pink cherry blossoms on the back and white racing stripes on the sleeves, be still my heart. Now that I think of it, her mom is a seamstress for a living, so what’s stopping me from coercing her into embroidering all of my other blank-canvas bomber jackets? Or, at least, helping me out with my own embroidering machine so I can sew stupid quotes like “It’s A-OK to be GAY” on everything?
6. High -Waisted Jeans/Shorts
Out of everything, except for the comfy leggings/brunch combo I mentioned above, one of my favourite new outfit co-ordinations is this: baggy t-shirt tucked into high-waisted (ripped) jeans. I don’t know why, I can’t explain it, but I don’t bat an eye when people say high-waisted “mom” jeans are unflattering or whatever. Have you ever actually seen a person in them? Any person at all? They’re incredible. They hug the waist in all the right places and accentuate every curve on a body. Love it. I can’t get enough.
Not to mention, they’re less likely to fall down than regular jeans, I’ve come to find – though maybe not for everyone. My girlfriend has ripped out a number of belt loops on her pants through daily upward pants-tugging. Good thing her mom is a seamstress, I guess.
Listen, I am not a big fan of 90’s fashion, give or take a few things. And for a long time, while I appreciated chokers from afar, I always thought they were a little silly, and worried about people laughing at me if I ever wore one for myself. Then here comes this beautiful, grungy, punk girl I would later date, wearing chokers and thick collars like she couldn’t give a damn about what everyone else thought, and suddenly I wanted to be everything she was.
So, I bought some ribbon and started tying my own, instead of spending $20 on one at any store. I’ve laughed out loud with one in my hand before after checking the price, and there’s something I can’t quite place about wearing a bold choker around your neck. Something strangely empowering and alluring and confidence boosting. Honestly, if you’re having a bad day fighting against your self-esteem, nine times out of ten a choker is all you need. Trust me, I’m a doctor.
Ah, yes, beanies. The “I forgot to wash my hair last night” saviour for people everywhere. More than that, though, they’re somehow perfect for all hair types, whether it be curly and thick or straight and thin. Their magic holds no bounds.
Before now I always thought beanies were reserved for cold dads in winter, and those ruffians you would see bumming around skateparks as a kid in the anti-drug videos which cops would bring to school. While that stereotype may still hold true in some sense – my girlfriend is exactly the type to bum around skateparks and whistle at cute girls as they walk by – I’ve found that beanies certainly do more good than harm in terms of turning a “just rolled out of bed” look into a “just rolled out of bed but still lookin’ fine” purposeful grunge look.
The world of baggy flannels is a true enigma to me. There are so many rules and so many variations I never would have expected. With all that variety in length, size, pattern and color combination, an ordinary flannel might be one of the most versatile pieces of clothing in my closet. A perfect formula exists, and humanity continues to research it.
Personally, outside of my girlfriend’s watchful guidance, I’m also a fan of high-waisted pants and a form-fitting flannel buttoned up to the neck, accentuated with a gaudy necklace of some sort. I know that stepping off the predetermined path is dangerous and I should be more careful, but going rogue feels dangerous and liberating. I think I understand why people steal cars and joyride now.
Self-confidence is probably the most important and my favourite of all the things my girlfriend has clued me in on. Whether I’m dressed to the nines or in leggings and a t-shirt, and for the times I’m afraid to try something new because I don’t think it’ll flatter me or I believe people on the street will judge me with their noses upturned, the only thing I should have in mind is myself and my own fashion choices.
Should they be out-there like my purple locks, or more reserved like a buttoned-up flannel, the most important fashion accessory you can pin to your lapel is some confidence in yourself and how you look. I know this sounds like a Sunday school lesson for bright-eyed kiddos, but I’m being really honest, here. I never would’ve learned the magic of chokers or beanies had I been too afraid to try them. I never would’ve learned how much I like the way I look in long jackets or with the cuffs of my jeans rolled up, had I not taken the dive and stopped caring what every baby boomer on the street thought.
So shave your head, colour your hair, tie a ribbon around your neck and flaunt your long stiletto nails – you owe it to yourself to feel good. After all, it’s your body. Not your mother’s, not your friend’s, not some rando’s at Starbucks.
Images copyright Panicward 2016