The Case of the Cardinals Cap.

Well, hello. Hopefully you still recognise me, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written anything. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people egotistical to apologise for not having blogged recently because, let’s face it…I’m sure you’ve survived without me.

Shockingly, this week I’m going to be doing a bit of philosophising (though it’s definitely going to be like…philosophy lite) rather than being all snarky. Or at least, I’m going to try. A realisation hit me this week, and that realisation was just how heavily my fashion sense (vom at that phrase, makes me sound like I think I’m Spider-Man, except…fashion-y) relies on what I’m reading, watching on TV or listening to. Before I get too much into it, I thought a few examples would probably help.

Pic credit to the lovely Kylie @ Memoir Mode

After my trip to the Louboutin retrospective at the Design Museum I found myself lusting after shoes like these Nelly spike heels. Sadly, they don’t do them in my size…But my new obsession went far beyond an interest in these seemingly Rollerboy influenced shoes, I started noticing the prevalance of spikes and studs everywhere. I’m not going to use the words ‘punk chic’, because aside from being a complete oxymoron the very phrase makes me want to vomit on a Dwarves record. The Ragged Priest, for example, have a ton of spiked denim jackets and stuff in Topman that I’d never really noticed until after my visit to the Design Museum. All of a sudden, I found myself wanting everything they do.

Example number two. After reading the sublimeĀ The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, my love for baseball was rekindled. I’ve recently spent some time in diners nursing a drink and watching ball games (I’ve also clearly been reading too much Bukowski), and the little number pictured above also made its way into my wardrobe. Despite having rarely seen the St Louis Cardinals play, the novel lent them a mythic quality that stuck with me long after reading it. While I was buying the cap I wondered whether or not purchasing (what amounted to) a replica of Henry Skrimshander’s cap was ridiculous, I ended up deciding that it was no different to buying any other movie or TV merchandise. I also thought ‘whatever, I already know I’m ridiculous.’

If you don’t know who the dude is above I’m not angry, but I am disappointed. As well as making lovely jangly acoustic music as City and Colour, Dallas Green (yes, he does have the coolest name ever) also helped to completely reform the post-hardcore scene in the early 2000s as a member of Alexisonfire, one of the most diverse, technical and intense bands to come out of the last century. Shamefully, I’d sort of forgotten about them (or rather iTunes shuffle had, since that’s pretty much exclusively how I listen to music) until pretty recently and I now have them on repeat almost constantly. It’s no secret that DG is one of my idols, and I recently picked up the shirt-jacket pictured on the right above fully aware that it was ‘very Dallas’. But here’s where things get interesting – at the time I bought my St Louis Cardinals cap, it hadn’t registered that Young Cardinals is the name of one of Alexisonfire’s albums. Hmm.

The fact that I chose to buy a baseball cap belonging to a team from somewhere I’ve never even been at the same time that I was getting back into Alexisonfire in a big way really suggests to me a subconscious inclination to tie as much of this stuff together as possible. I’ve always had a pretty versatile style (from scene kid to preppy Hamptons dude), and it’s always been very much dependent on my surroundings. However, the case of the Cardinals cap (which sounds like an episode of Scooby Doo) suggests to me that there’s something much deeper going on when people decide what clothing to wear.

In the past, it has generally been assumed that people dress as Goths, preps etc for one of two reasons – 1) to fit in with their peers or 2) to express themselvesĀ (c.f. parents reassuring themselves ‘it’s just a phase, they’ll grow out of it). If my hypothesis is correct, then neither of these statements alone are evidence enough for people dressing in a certain way. Rather, the very content of certain types of music, film and television shows has the power to influence actions. Potentially much, much more power than the advertisements that break them up. The insinuations that accompany this idea are pretty dangerous – if media has this power over people, does this mean that video games and rap music really are responsible for increases in high school violence and young men acting in a degrading way towards women. Was The Daily Mail right all along?

19 comments

  1. Jared

    Your not weird, or at least you’re not the only one. I keep eyeing up those faux-fur vests they sell in the women’s clothes section because I want to make a Game of Thrones chic outfit.

  2. michael9murray

    One other alternative response is to purposely react against all the input – that way you miss out on most things that are going on and have to catch up later, and lead a rather dimensionless life.
    Welcome to what was my world.

    It’s more interesting doing what you’re doing – mostly because you can do it with others: to ‘plough the lonely furrow’ is… well, just lonely.

  3. ohbygolly

    Yes, most definitely! I feel like my style is as sporadic as my interests. In high school, Alanis Morissette and The Cranberries had me running to the thrift stores buying Old Man polyester pants and tight little kid tshirts accompanied with a statement hair-do. —Now, my love for classic novels and philosophers, and Mates of State have me dabbling in lady-like attire with a quirky, fun flare. I think it would be naive of us to assume that we formed our fashion rather than some other influence assisting us. (haha, I personally love when a person likes horses or flames or etc., and then builds a wardrobe of graphic tshirts and totes with those images. Now that is cute. ;)

    • Stu Bradley

      No flames or horses, but you’ll find a ton of wolves on my sweatshirts and stuff. And I liked wolves before the hipsters did. Outhipping the hipsters…

      • ohbygolly

        haha, that last statement was supposed to be sarcastic but in totally forgetting those hipsters are in someway pulling it off. I guess I was talking more of the head to toe image of a graphic. Like the cat lady or something. And… I’m so glad you are outhipping the hipsters!

  4. Moi Contre Le Vie

    Absolutely! I grew up on all the fabulous black & white movies and Audrey, and Grace,and the Rat Pack and it had a huge impact on my personal style. And I’ve noticed that for weeks after re-watching one of my favorites my tastes will be a bit more dramatic and throw back than usual.

    • Stu Bradley

      Very cool. I think after watching Ocean’s Eleven for the first time I decided I was going to wear a suit all the time. I sharp got bored of that…

  5. suzy

    of course that’s the way it works, and boy does the thought ever creep me out. from the way we dress to the way we treat each other, and everything in between.

    also. the drum fill in this song starting at about 1:20 is one of my favourites of all time. it’s brilliant.

  6. Kylie

    Oh wow I love that top photo ;) flattered you are using it on your fab blog. Yes films definitely influence my dress sense. I loved the film Hope & Glory ( watched it over and over again growing up) it sparked my interest for that era. Also another example..I am getting quite excited about Great Gatsby, I am sure I will be wearing more dropped waist dresses soon

    • Stu Bradley

      Yeah, that pic is pretty good. The girl who took it is kinda dope too. And totally, interesting that the whole ’20s revival is set to take place when the movie launches – again, I wonder whether it’s a subconscious thing or to what extent it’s been ‘planned’.

  7. ciaran

    Oasis. 1994. After getting a ‘demo’ tape with (I think) NME and then seeing them half-way down the bill on a Saturday at Glastnobury. Started wearing Adidas trakcsuit bottoms with a white shirt. And grew a bowl cut. Everyone stared at me like I was a freak. 2 years later, most of the people being thrown out of Yates Wine Lodge looked the same. Oh well.

    On another note; baseball caps – why is it now almost impossible to buy a ‘traditional’ cap, that isn’t some sort of terrible trucker retro affair? When did they all start having those big flat, New Era style fronts?

    • Stu Bradley

      Excellent stuff. This is definitely something that’s always been around, I just feel like it’s all getting more…concentrated or something.

      And yeah, if you want a normal cap you better get yourself on eBay/a flying DeLorean, buddy.

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