"When I went to school I used to wear the same clothes, they used to laugh and joke but now I’m fucking all these n****s' hoes." - Speaker Knockerz
I'm not sure when it happened, but there came a point in which I became unable to wear anything that wasn't black. Color felt like I was screaming at people. "Blue! I'm wearing a blue shirt! Look at my blue shirt!" The way I already had felt about graphic tees, logos and jewelry began to recede dangerously. Now I was limited to black, my only choices amongst different textures and silhouettes.
Black felt subdued, like I wasn't making a statement. Or, rather, I could pretend to myself that it was me that people were seeing instead of some ridiculous items with which I had chosen to define my appearance. I shuddered at the thought of a yellow, just the fact of it being so incredibly, inescapably fucking yellow.
My whole life has been a Sisyphean exercise in trying to look less silly. Adolescence was a series of oversized hand-me-downs from my father. A classmate of mine came up to me once and asked if my parents were unemployed, ostensibly because I was dressed like shit. But as a kid, you don't care because the overwhelming anxiety associated with the fact that people can actually see you has not nestled itself comfortably in your psyche yet. I neither look at myself really, nor did I think about myself as an object. I just sort of walked through life like a first-person shooter.
But as that reality sets in, you start to curate. You start rejecting. You reject logos. You reject flash. You reject unnecessary embellishments. You reject formal. You reject prep. You reject Americana. You reject streetwear. It all just seems so stupid, all of those aesthetics, but you care so much about having the right thing. You're trying to wife, not phase in and out looks, while constantly having to experience the Kanye "kill self" moment when you see pictures of yourself from the previous year.
Before you know it, your closet consists of only black T-shirts, black hoodies, black jeans, black sneakers and black jackets. And, if you do the same thing every day, it will become you. People will consistently question your choice. They will ask you if even your boxers are black (they are). Just like that you've lost control. You've become a parody of yourself, unable to find the escape from judgment that avoiding colors was supposed to afford you.
Someone recently asked me if I wanted to try doing whippets, but before I could answer, my friend next to me responded, 'Alex has worn the same outfit for his entire life. He's not about to take a new risk.'
I wore a grey sweater for a few days any my entire world fell apart. People were asking each other how they felt about the fact that I had switched it up. It was an event. This part of it is actually kind of tight. You have the ability to make a choice that genuinely shocks the people around you just by putting on some indigo once in a while, or rocking that all white when you're feeling godly.
But once backed into the all black everything corner, it's impossible to fully escape. Nothing else feels quite right. You've become an uniformed icon. Everyone who knows you can't imagine you in any other form. Steve Jobs doesn't make sense without the turtleneck, or Jordan without the Bulls jersey. No one remembers Frieza's three preliminary forms. I eventually had to put that grey sweater back in the closet. It had been adding entirely too much stress to my day.
Someone recently asked me if I wanted to try doing whippets, but before I could answer, my friend next to me responded, "Alex has worn the same outfit for his entire life. He's not about to take a new risk." But that was never what it was about. It was about not giving people the chance to judge you based on what you're wearing. We’ve all assumed someone is completely undeserving of life on this earth based on seeing them wear a T-shirt that says something like, "Beer Pong Champion." Why sell yourself short like that? Why lend your identity to a slogan, a brand or even a sports team?
To wear all black is to try to give yourself the clean slate, and to give others as little as possible. But there's no getting away from the fact that you've made a choice. You've voted. This is the way that you're presenting yourself—as kind of a coward, at the end of the day.
So, wear some stupid shit whenever you can gather the courage and refuse to consider what anyone thinks of your T-shirt that expresses your unique fondness for the game and artistry of beer pong. Say it broadly and proudly across your chest. It's liberating, I would imagine. I mean, I don't know. I've never tried it.
Alex Russell is dressed in all black like The Omen. He'll have your friends singing, "This is for my homies." Follow him on Twitter here.