Banger Boots Hunt
Plus when you should follow a trend, great new unisex moleskin shirts & more
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The B.L.I.S.S. List — our comprehensive guide to Beautiful Life-Improving Spyplane Staples — is here.
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Peep our list of the world’s 35 slappiest shops, where Spyfriends have added a ton of gems in the comments.
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— Jonah & Erin
We got a compelling Personal Spyplane reader question the other day:
“When should you follow a trend?” — alone_in_the_grimdark
I (Jonah) wrote a classic Spyplane tour de force essay about how trend cycles work, how it’s impossible to escape them, and why that’s not necessarily a “bad thing.” As far as “when you should follow a trend,” the two places my mind goes are:
1) It feels obvious but bears emphasizing that if a trend leaves you totally cold, there’s no point in forcing it just to conform to some intellectual-sociological state of being “on trend.” There’s got to be some emotional ~ philosophical ~ aesthetic attraction drawing you toward a given garment or style, otherwise you’re going to look and feel uncomfortable and unconvincing if you hop pon it.
However, sometimes you can feel an attraction to a trend and still engage with it uncomfortably and unconvincingly — at first. For instance, I heard the Sonic Youth single “100%” on the NYC alt-rock station 92.3 when I was an 11-year-old Spyplane and it blew me away. My lil a** thought it sounded insanely sick, and I’d seen a chill older skater kid or two rocking Sonic Youth Mike Kelley tees, because some nascent “trend literate” part of me sensed that the song emerged from a “more-exalted” grunge-adjacent genre that was cooler and more popping than the radio grunge I knew about. So I went out and bought Dirty on cassette and… found basically every song besides “100%” and “Sugar Kane” strange, off-putting and confusing!!
And then I ferociously pretended to like it anyway. Because, even amid that fog of strangeness and pretension, I felt there was something for me in the music. I rode my discomfort and confusion through multiple listens, letting the music shift and expand my parameters... With time I came to appreciate that Sonic Youth are one of the Top 5 American rock bands* ever. All of which is to say that we tend to mock “posers” and “trend hoppers,” but trend-hopping can be a kind of learning, too.
2) Try to taxonomize a trend so that you aren’t just engaging with it in a vacuum. That is, try to identify broader categories and principles that “hot sneaker x” embodies, iterates on, or pushes back against, then plot out your own relationship to the trend accordingly. Seen “taxonomically,” the Samba isn’t just a shoe that a lot of cool-ish people are wearing — it’s a minimal, low-profile sneaker, different people have been freaking it in different contexts since the late 1940s (!), it comes in cooler and more-plentiful color options than the similarly minimal and low-profile Stan Smith, its proportions tend to make feet look small, which creates a surprising frisson when paired with, say, wide pants, which themselves make legs look big, etc., etc.
The greater context you have, the more confidently you can decide not only which jawns and trends you like, but which ones are right for you stylewise. This is sort of like the difference between touch-typing and hunting and pecking. When you’re hunting and pecking, there’s no flow to your prose, no holistic relationship to the broader keyboard, no overarching expanse to your vision. Some of these lames are really on their HUNT ‘N’ PECK flow with the fits and boy it looks bad!!
But when you’re touch-typing?? Your fingers have a steady, fluid command of the full keyboard and tap out these FIRE BARS with a pleasing, steady rhythm. That’s how I’m tryina dress !
SPEAKING OF FIGURING OUT WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU —
I’m on a Boots Hunt. For a decade-plus basically all I’ve worn footwear-wise are sneakers and hiking boots. But over the last year and a half I’ve been feeling the call of the boot proper once again, and trying to find a pair that will weave itself propitiously and unassumingly into my whole MF gestalt.
My last “boot phase” was circa 2008. I still bust out my old Opening Ceremony x Timberland lug-sole moc-toe joints every now and then, not to mention some almond-toe black suede boots from the defunct NYC line Cloak from time to time. But I’m looking for something cleaner than the OC Timbs and a little more hardbody and utilitarian-vibed than the Cloaks.
For whatever reason I’ve just never felt comfortable in low-top hard-bottom footwear, but I’ve felt deeply comfortable in boots as long as I’ve been wearing them. I think this has to do with the way that boots — like the sneakers and hikers I gravitate toward — more readily connote “utility” and “activity,” which I tend to like in a piece of footwear, whereas I tend to be averse to the relative “dressiness” (not to mention “office vibes”) of hard-bottom shoes. Obviously there are exceptions but that’s generally where my taste & comfort lie. ALSO the shaft of a boot creates a pleasing bridge layer between foot and pant, mediating the ever-important “F.A.P. (Footwear Ankle Pant)” Interface in a way I f**k with.
So my aim is to get one (1) versatile pair of boots that I can live in, rack up these steps, and beat up and resole as necessary. I’m not merely OK with a splurge on something well made, I refuse to cop some cheap trash that will junk itself posthaste. Colorwise, I’m looking for black since that will go with more s**t.
And O! I’ve got a shortlist of slappers —