Do I look chumpy in this??
"Mall Grab" style moves & more
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The Plane — back once again, celebrating 3 years of “unbeatable recon” this week. Today we’ve got:
a flotilla of cheap & slappy vintage gems to have on your radar
Insider intel on how to find new designers and where to cop beautiful things worldwide, including a deep-cut secondhand Yohji and Comme PLUG
phenomenal music from a slept-on FIT LORD getting a rare reissue
BUT FIRST — During our last Personal Spyplane open call on IG, @sustainable_sleeves asked a question on the theme of chumpy jawn signifiers:
“What gives the biggest ‘mall grab’ energy?”
Last year we wrote a profound essay about the kinds of rules and pejoratives that in-groups use to identify and exclude “interlopers.” The mall grab is one of these: a way of holding a skateboard — one hand on the trucks, board hanging lengthwise, wheels turned away from you and grip tape against yr leg — that tends to mark you among “more learned” skaters as a noob / kook / bozo…
In-group rules can be invoked in very d*ckheaded, uncharitable, and wack ways, which we’re against. And the notion of How to Do Things “Right” often serves to encourage conformity and (especially in the case of clothing) reinforce class snobbery.
BUT at the same time, we do gotta respect the impulse to draw the borders, and honor the arcane customs, of a subcultural community — and to encourage newcomers to that community to at least learn those customs before they attempt to break from them or flout them outright. We are talking about the simple virtue of a healthy, “student-like” humility. When you travel to a foreign land it’s generally good to respect local customs rather than TRAIPSE and BLUNDER obliviously. We’re a pro-connectedness-of-all-things sletter, so we tend to view man-made borders as arbitrary and onerous — except in those crucial and beautiful cases when borders are important! Because you can’t have distinct traditions and communities without borders, and a world with zero (cultural) border-building of any kind risks devolving into bland, oppressive monoculture.
As far as the specific question about what gives the “biggest mall-grab” energy when it comes to jawns-wearing, there are specific garments (newsboy caps, double-monkstrap shoes) and specific brands ([REDACTED]) that might read as “wrong” at any given moment. And yes, our distaste for the unpleasant paradox that is visible “no-show” socks has been made clear by now.
But besides some stray cases, there’s not really one single dorky method of clothes-rocking that feels quite analogous to the mall grab. That’s because:
Fashion consists of many sub-communities, each with its own bylaws and “sauce shibboleths,”
The nature of fashion is that what reads as cool & fresh & interesting across these communities is by definition constantly in flux. And
It’s hard to identify any Rule of Dressing (e.g., “no brown shoes with black pants”) that can’t be freaked with vision & sauce….
You could argue pretty compellingly that “wearing something ill-fitting” is mall-grabby. There’s something to this. A poor fit — shirt straining at the shoulders, jacket riding up weirdly at the front, pants enormous and shapeless yet also they have a pronounced cameltoe?? — can quickly & fatally “give the lie” to an otherwise cool garment…
But at a certain point this is a “you know it when you see it” truism … and, in fashion, there aren’t even any absolute, unchanging, unfreakable standards around fit itself!
Seen in that light, outfit-assembling is less like showing up at a skate park, or taking a seat at a Ginza sushi counter, and more like stepping into the d*mn stu to make some art. As with, say, portraiture, it can help you tons to learn the history & the fundamentals, but you don’t need to be hidebound by them. Because there are technically “right” and “wrong” ways to paint, but these values are constantly shifting — and the wrong way will commonly be seen as more innovative & exciting than the right way. In other words, try not to make bad art, but be an artist when it comes to these fits, baby!!
NOW CHECK OUT THESE HIGH-VIBE, LOW-COST VINTAGE SLAPPERS —