We Paint Ourselves

Bill Cunningham gets quoted a lot on this blog and it’s not by accident. Obviously he’s my favorite photographer but really the man had my dream job. He people watched all day long and took pictures for a living. I do that, but just for fun, for the diary/chronicling aspect of things.

Cunningham said famously that clothes, fashion are the armor that we all wear against every day life. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. We are all blank canvases and we paint ourselves before we go outside to interact with the world. Recently when I went skiing, on one of those four hour interminable bus rides, I realized I was wearing plaid sweats, my BU sweatshirt with my Killington Mountain sort of Grateful Dead hybrid t-shirt and LL Bean boots. I was struck by how New England preppie I looked. New England preppie is basically the style I identify with the most. I love those knitted sweaters and the boat shoes. I love that kind of varsity stitching on things. I started thinking too that I don’t consider myself to be a fashionista but I do choose what I wear every day really carefully. I have an array of t-shirts from ski resorts, all of my weird animal and Godzilla t-shirts and just my general tendency to use my simple clothes to say things. We all make choices in that category, whether we admit to it or not. For me too, it’s kind of funny to walk into class at the university wearing some ski resort t-shirt with an animal on it. Yeah, usually the t-shirt is underneath a pricey preppie looking sweater or sweatshirt. I do work at a university after all. I don’t have one of those tweed blazers with the leather elbow patches. Yet.

I’ve done my fair share of street style photography. I guess that’s the best way to put it. I spent years running from one side of Boston to the other and I saw A LOT of people. Now I’ve switched gears a bit, and I carry my Holga camera with me and I snap what I think would look good in black and white or if I turn the camera upside down. That’s kinda where I am with things. But I know I’ll get back to shooting street style again. The best fashion show is definitely on the street, always has been always will be, as Bill would say.

Here are some of my favorite street style moments from over the years, from my COMPREHENSIVE archive:

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