Getting dressed is like telling a joke. Are you doing hack material??
Plus cheap vibey sneakers, undulating new caps, fall overcoats & more
Blackbird Spyplane back with you. Today we’ve got:
Dope cheap vibey unisex sneakers no one’s checking for
Very wAaAaVy new caps
Highly coveted roomy fall overcoats
BUT FIRST — a compelling “Personal Spyplane” question from a reader —
“If you have to ‘explain’ why a fit is good to a non-jawnz enthusiast, is it a bad fit?” — mattlbrnche
Some people say that putting together an outfit is like writing a sentence. Meaning that, if your “grammar” (e.g. choice of colors and materials) is in disagreement, your clauses (proportions) are jumbled, there’s a cacophony of plosives (logos, graphics) and hard k sounds (angled seams, zippers, other hardware), etc.? Your sentence is gonna be an unpleasant, incoherent mess. Whereas if your s**t is mellifluous and precise and elegant and surprising and snappy? People are gonna wanna hear more of what you have to say baby.
Here at Blackbird Spyplane we believe that sometimes putting together an outfit is like telling a joke. Crafting a good “clothes joke,” you still want your “writing” to be considered, but you also want it to delight (and/or challenge) people in ways they don’t see coming — to contain some ineffable sense of unpredictability. You might go absurdist, or slapstick, or satirical, or bone dry, but in whichever register you operate, you want to have fun with, and maybe even subvert, semantic conventions; to pace things so that you don’t step on your punchline; to find sharp and novel ways to express relatable ideas; and to cultivate your own distinct P.O.V. while keeping your material from going stale. And of course you want to be laughed WITH and not AT !!
So: If you have to explain a fit to someone, does that mean you bricked it? Well, most people will tell you that “if you have to explain a joke, it isn’t funny.” But that’s not always true. Maybe the person you told the joke to is an open-minded and sweet-natured child. Maybe they are kind of dumb (it happens!). Or maybe they come from a different culture than yours, which is all to say, maybe they are someone un-versed in the reference points that your joke draws upon and plays against.
Because, yes, some jokes feel universal — e.g., a guy hitting his head on a lamp (I’m chuckling just thinking about it), or an animal with obviously fake arms doing human things, like Toonces the Driving Cat pouring chloroform into a cloth (below left) or Triumph the Insult Comic Dog holding a microphone (below right).
But other jokes aren’t universal. They rely on context and shared knowledge.
Outfits span the same divide. So if a non-jawnz enthusiast doesn’t “get” your outfit, it might owe to a “sauce knowledge gap” between you — even if, ideally, they find the fit pleasing to behold on some baseline level regardless.
What feels extremely useful about such encounters is that they present you, the clothes-rocker, with an opportunity to see yourself and your choices in a productively new light / from a new angle.
Because there’s a ton of “joke constructions” that mimic the shape of “funny” but are not actually funny. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever looked at Twitter. For a year or so there you could write some banal, boring s**t, then put an “AMA” at the end, and it looked like you’d just made a clever joke, even though you absolutely did not. There are hundreds of examples of this on that site by now. A lot of them have to do with ways to “joke” about 2 things. Post pictures of two unlikely celebrities with the caption “True Detective Season 2.” Post a picture of two appliances with the caption “The Two Genders.” Post a picture of two suburban-white-women with “Karen”-type haircuts with the caption “Choose Your Fighter,” etc., etc.
If you show the above type of “joke” to someone without Twitter brain poisoning, they will not laugh — and they’ll be correct not to. Because this is a case where a certain “in group’s” shared knowledge creates the illusion of humor in humor’s objective absence. In a similar way, there are garments you can wear that signal “drip” to a certain group of people who view those garments as intrinsically, totemically slapping, but which are in fact not particularly saucy in any meaningful sense. Shout out as always to one of my all-time-favorite Throwing Fits jokes:
Articulating why you love a garment can be difficult, and obviously if your swag-deficient interlocutor is hella aggro or fundamentally uninterested in it, feel free to give that kind of conversation a miss.
But encountering someone from outside your “jawn in-group” and trying to explain to them why you think your fit slaps can be productive in all kinds of ways, e.g., edifying a swagless homie, sharing your enthusiasm with a broski you love but who does not care about clothes in the same way you do — or maybe realizing you’ve been dipping into hack material and you need to sharpen your d*mn act!
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