Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Friday, July 19

Gapers Block

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printdude / September 17, 2007 7:16 AM

That dude who shows up in my bathroom mirror every morning and every night.
He's the one who knows what's "in"

Emily / September 17, 2007 8:11 AM

The people on my morning train. The high school girls and Trixies are always showing me what not to wear since they're draped in all the trends at once.

mike / September 17, 2007 8:48 AM

The latest issue of Wassup!

(btw, that should be '"in"?')

Winediva / September 17, 2007 8:56 AM

The gays.

Emerson Dameron / September 17, 2007 9:32 AM

I have the attention span of a 9-year-old meth addict, so I tend to befriend people who give me a steady stream of weird shit to check out. But if I'm ever into anything "in," it's usually by coincidence. Whatever is hot now will be ice cold in six months and get reheated in 15 years.

madachode / September 17, 2007 9:45 AM

I am not a sheep, I don't need to follow other morons who think they know the way.

fluffy / September 17, 2007 10:01 AM

whatever old people are into

Sol / September 17, 2007 10:05 AM

Alan Greenspan.

jgs / September 17, 2007 10:11 AM

My tongue tends to be my primary arbiter of taste. I think that's why i've never got into ironic t-shirts or stupid hats... i couldn't fit them all in my mouth.

peta / September 17, 2007 10:30 AM

The Go Fug Yourself girls

Jake / September 17, 2007 10:42 AM

I've been lost since Seth Cohen went off the air.

I'm Serious / September 17, 2007 11:12 AM


kate / September 17, 2007 11:40 AM

Gary Busse.
That dude knows what's up. Or wassup, as it were.

Steve / September 17, 2007 11:47 AM

People magazine.

It can be very hard to tell what celebrities are, in fact, beautiful or well dressed in any given year. People provides me with a list that I can clip and save and refer to, then discard when the new one comes out.

Thanks, People!

G.P. / September 17, 2007 11:57 AM

I take cues from things I see on The Sopranos and from Rat Pack culture. I'm not a meathead, I don't wear double-breasted pinstripe suits or silk socks. I just love cigars & whiskey and the emphasis on nice clothes.

p / September 17, 2007 12:15 PM

if appropriating black culture to a degree palatable to sassy white women ever goes out of style i might be screwed. i feel pretty safe though.

skafiend / September 17, 2007 12:42 PM

Nobody. I just see something and if I like it I get it or do it or eat it or drink it, etc. Oh, there have been the unfortunate fashion choices along the way (that Panama hat I thought was so cool, the supersonically brief foray in to baggy jeans), regrettable social decisions (club scene - not for me).

But I'm with Emerson: I find that the things I like suddenly become popular and friends think I am following the trend instead having it sneak up on me. I'm not trying to make myself out to be an arbiter of taste, but take that whole "swing scene" thig for instance. I developed a taste for the whole bowling shirt, music thing LOOONG before that whole "scene" came to Chicago (My mom had a ton of Louis Jordan/Jackie Breston albums). Maybe there was some semi-unconscious outside influence, but I could never really pinpoint it. But unfortunatly, the clothes and music became a "thing" and rather than look like a trend hound, I gave it up. Still listen to the music though...

Anyway, I just do what I like and if it happens to fall into the category of "in" so be it. Next, I'm trying "real" hats again. Death to the baseball cap!

graumach / September 17, 2007 1:30 PM

I've always been too inattentive and apathetic about such things, personally. I like what I like...and if I don't see it on the rack or hear it anywhere, I step up my efforts to seek it out on the offroads or make do until it becomes marginally "in" enough to turn up somewhere. But, like many people, I think there's much better and more productive ways to spend one's time and attention than worrying about such stuff.

Self-appointed authorities on such matter should be regarded with skepticism, at best. For instance, some of the people with the worst taste in music I've ever known have been musicians.

Having a casual, broadly acculatured sense of what's "stylish" or "good" is the best compass...especially if have have some sense of what works on a "classical"/ridumentary aesthetic basis.

But then again, my neighbor wears a kilt, a Guinness or Harley Davidson t-shirt, a baseball cap, and Doc Marts -- all day, every day. So maybe that shows how the above principle is totally subjective and far from ironclad.

graumach / September 17, 2007 1:33 PM

And, sorry...I meant acculturated.

jaci k / September 17, 2007 1:49 PM

i think people innately have their own style, whether they choose to follow it is another story. I have gotten lazier in my older age and like looking at fashion mags online to see what in my style is out there. same with music. i read pitchfork, but it't not gospel.
i tend to also believe that most stars have no sense of their own style (they are always acting as someone else, etc), so stay away from anything related to one.

mucifer / September 17, 2007 2:30 PM

WLUW, pitchfork, jockohomo, teens, bravo, stephen colbert, BUTT magazine, BET, guanabee, yourdailyawesome, youtube, and countless other blogs that like what i already like. finally, i'm a gay guy (duh) but find that lesbians tend to know more about the world outside of tight pants and sassy one-liners.

mucifer / September 17, 2007 2:31 PM

WLUW, pitchfork, jockohomo, teens, bravo, stephen colbert, BUTT magazine, BET, guanabee, yourdailyawesome, youtube, and countless other blogs that like what i already like. finally, i'm a gay guy (duh) but find that lesbians tend to know more about the world outside of tight pants and sassy one-liners.

eric / September 17, 2007 3:42 PM

Whoever invented the black tshirt/jeans/sneakers look. Unless I'm out in Lincoln Park looking to hook up, in which case I don the untucked blue dress shirt with a white collar. And my big f*cking TAG Heuer watch.

areweinhighschool / September 17, 2007 3:58 PM

skafiend / September 17, 2007 4:19 PM

Johnny Rocket / September 17, 2007 4:46 PM

Eric Zorn knows the score.

Ramsin / September 17, 2007 5:18 PM

I watch the weddings and parties on "Assyrians on the Move" to see what my various relations are wearing. Then I adjust it to match my always superior shoes.

jaymce / September 17, 2007 7:18 PM


jgs / September 17, 2007 9:20 PM

Hey graumach, does your kilt wearing neighbor happen to live in hyde park? Because if he doesn't then there's another dude down here totally biting off his style. Maybe there's an arbiter of that taste that they both slavishly follow.

paul / September 18, 2007 7:53 AM

I personally hate large groups of humans, so I avoid most physical places/doings that are 'in' cause they're just too popular to be comfortable.

So to figure out what to avoid, I use all the local-based interweb portals (that includes you guys).

As far as fashion goes, a male my age has very little fashion choice, and that has much more influence over fashion sense. i.e. every male clothing store is either ridiculous for me (Abercrombie or Brooks Bros.) or is something innocuous like the Gap, which has three styles of shirts, 2 of which I hate, so I wind up wearing the same shirt 80% of the rest of the males my age are wearing.

I've been doing me shopping at a Farm and Fleet, which seems to differentiate me. Follow my lead gentleman.

Slack-a-gogo / September 18, 2007 8:03 AM

I go with my gut - if it feels right, do it. Occassionally I end up doing something "in", but just as many times I don't. But it's easier to keep track of things if you're going by your own tastes rather other peoples. And cheaper too.

peta / September 18, 2007 8:47 AM

Those are some seriously ugly shoes, Ramsin.

Hal / September 18, 2007 9:03 AM

Regarding clothing: The six-months to a year-old social ripples from the gay community. And even then, probably the Land's End catalog.

Regarding music: I have become my parents. I swore that I'd make sure I would always at least be able to recognize any song in the top 10, but I ceased to give a damn. I generally like the stuff at the gay bars the few times I go, but unless there's a video with that little bullet at the beginning and ends, I have no clue who or what it is.

Regarding food: A mix of the cooking shows and Gourmet magazine. I'm a litte closer to hip here.

Overall, I'm the worst gay man ever. They're going to take away my certification at this point...

Lori / September 18, 2007 9:07 AM

The Walton's

peanut / September 18, 2007 9:45 AM

as enjoyable as it is to watch trends come and go (i saw that victorian librarian thing coming a mile off, btw), let's face it: i have worn the same three pairs of pants for the last 2 years.

mucifer, do i know you? your allegiance to BUTT magazine has given you away.

skafiend / September 18, 2007 10:01 AM


are you nuts? Most of those shoes are pretty cool. Even I could play those off. Thanks, ramsin

My new arbiter of taste: the Gapers Block message board. You saucy bitches, you....

eric / September 18, 2007 10:07 AM

No'fense, Ramsin/ska, but I agree with Peta on the shoes. They're too overdesigned for me.

So it's settled then. Peta and I are your arbiters of style.

/I kid, of course.

Bill V / September 18, 2007 10:50 AM

Not much of anything, but sometimes a little of everything.

And what relative was that above that said "Tankboy"?

graumach / September 18, 2007 11:06 AM

Hey jgs,

Actually I've seen a couple of other kilts around town lately. So maybe that's "in" and a trend-to-be is being spearheaded.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my caber-toss lessons...

mucifer / September 18, 2007 12:23 PM

hey peanut! have you seen me scouring the indie-porn @ quimby's? takes one to know one!!

lolo / September 18, 2007 12:47 PM

Whatever you do, stop copying Lolo.

Lolo takes steroids, then Lance and Barry take steroids.

Lolo shaves his pelos, then Britney shaves her pelos.

Lolo dances on YouTube, and then everyone dances on YouTube.

Everyone stop trying to be like Lolo!

spook / September 18, 2007 12:54 PM

Yea, I guess you could say "Spook Style" evolves, shifts, and changes somewhat like seasonal fashions…

For ideas, I "turn to" folks like Cornel West, which is why I'm currently all about learning “how to die”.

For cloths, when I’m freed, from the sad British tradition of pressed shirts and silly ties that link men to a barbaric past, I turn to my memories of New Orleans, what I call “Quarter Rat Casual”.

On simply how to be, I mirror Blagg the Axman
and Allan, both of Gapers Block fame

frank / September 18, 2007 2:35 PM

johnny love

Angela / September 18, 2007 3:08 PM

Maureen Dowd

Guest / September 19, 2007 8:29 AM

This is funny. Everybody here claims to follow no arbiter, because they're independent thinking adults with no need to follow trends. They're too cool for bandwagons, they say, too smart to be lemmings ... and yet you go out and walk around the city and everybody wears the same things. There seems a disconnect here.

ditto / September 19, 2007 9:06 AM

i completely agree with guest. but who says theres anything wrong with following a trend anyway? if you like something, you like something, that should be the end of the story.

Chad / September 19, 2007 9:16 AM

RedEye is a great source of news and the hippest trends!

spook / September 19, 2007 9:29 AM

What did one sheep say to the other sheep

"who says theres anything wrong with following a trend anyway?"

Bahhhhhha Bahhhhha Bahhhaaa.

p.s Where is Allan on this?

charlie / September 19, 2007 9:41 AM

That one guy on American Roadshow....

You know, the guy with the bushy blond hair who is kinda short and has sort of thick features. Did anybody check the pants he was wearing in Hawaii?

Him and the young dudes on the PGA tour who have brought back the glory days of golf attire. White belts and shoes combined with bright colored pants!

Actually I just pay attention to just about everything and cut my own style. "It's not what you wear but how you wear it"

Most of the music I run across lately is purely accidental.

My home is a complete mash of styles from the last 200 years. Good design is good design no matter what era or school it's from.

Except for a short stint in college and shortly after(early 80's) of wearing nothing but vintage new stock (Lots of paisley and printed oxford shirts from the 50's and 60's) combined with black jeans or khakis and Chuck Taylor's I have pretty much dressed the same way since I was 18 years old.

So to answer your question: I really have no idea.

skafiend / September 19, 2007 9:55 AM

...and everybody wears the same thing...

Yeah, like... jeans and a t-shirt and gymshoes.

Can you be more specific? If everyone is wearing earmuffs on their head turned the wrong way, THEN you can say everybody is wearing the same thing. But if you mean generic stuff like jeans, a t-shirt, gym shoes, etc., that's not following a trend, that's life.

p / September 19, 2007 10:38 AM

I am (whether you know it or not) behind it all. I make a decision on what is cool to me, then unveil to several key Opinion Leaders, who follow my lead, who are in turn mimicked by Early Adopters, who are photographed by People With Cameras and Computers, who's minglings are observed by Buyers For Stores, who sell it to You and Your Mom and Sister. But really it's me sitting atop the Cool As Shit Pyramid telling you what to do. I come from a long line of this Realness. My uncle invented "Flannel Shirts" and another uncle came up with "Beards" and "Beards while Playing Music." My mom's sister opening the first goodwill store in chicago and it wasn't to help low-income people find cheap clothes it was all for Grass Roots Fashion Irony. My sister cobbled the first ever pair of Doc Marten's and was the First Ever Person To Loiter With Pink Hair On Belmont Avenue Smoking Cigarettes. Also my dad came up with "Wearing Gym Shoes When Not Doing Calisthenics" and "Forgetting What You Were Talking About While Drunk." I invented green pants, matching turtlenecks for couples and short-alls. Your Welcome.

Carrie / September 19, 2007 10:42 AM

I tend to see what I think looks bad on people and make a mental note not to wear it. Like, "trendy" girl on the train the other day- she was wearing pink knee-high socks with cowboy boots, shorts, a "vintage" tee and a big, wide elastic belt. Way too many things going on at once. She also looked quite uncomfortable in it, so I decided that I would never, ever wear anything like that.

graumach / September 19, 2007 10:45 AM


As far as the supposed sameness one sees about town, I've had a number of friends who moved here from elsewhere say the exact same thing -- one going so far as to say that it's almost like everyone here wears one of about 4-5 varieties of "uniforms." As harsh and unfair a generalization though that may be, there is a little something to it. Chalk it up to some midwestern variety of unimaginativeness, incuriosity, pragmatism, or outright laziness.

Or maybe, just maybe, the clothing outlets around here just offer far too little in the way of options. I'm inclined to assign some blame in that direction -- especially with men's clothing, of late. Which is exactly why I'm going to continue taking all my fashion cues from lesbians.

mucifer / September 19, 2007 11:17 AM

it's all about the lesbians.

spook / September 19, 2007 11:38 AM


my sources have been tracking you son!

Maybe you've heard of me?

See lots of folks see me on the darkest inner city Chicago b-ball courts and think I’m just a younger version of former New York Knicks, John Starks cause I got heart like that!

But on the real, I'm the Executive Director of The International Word Exchange Conglomerate.

On the basket ball court (or around the court drinking a 40 with the homies), when I hear a word or phrase like “and- One!” “Step Off ” “You just got Served” “talk to the hand” “ School You” “ Lets roll” “Chill”
etc, etc,
I quickly break out a tiny computer, enter and bounce the word or phrase off a satellite dish to a under ground “Word Up Central Command”. in Lagos Nigeria.

The word is then disseminated to about two-thousand full and part time “Word Agents” world wide. From New York to London, to Tokyo. My agents (all ages) hit all urban centers where folks from the African Diaspora hang. There, they drop these words and phrases in conversations.

My Women agents shooting game (speaking) to men, male agents shooting game to women, my gay employees follow similar rules.

Next thing you know, white folks in Idaho are saying the same hip word. It's so massive!
I’m sure you can imagine the income generation options. Some times we get rappers to say words or phrases to promote companies, like when Biggie Smalls said "my rhymes are more John Blaze than yours!"

It’s all good!

I also over see the international hang shakes/ gestures division, feel me?

spook / September 19, 2007 11:42 AM


Carrie, I hope I run into her on the blue line!

What were you wearing? Sounds like you're hate'n

I see nothing wrong with borrowing concepts from original styles

Carrie / September 19, 2007 12:16 PM

I forget what I was wearing that day. I mean, I have my "I hate my outfit" days, but really, she was just trying too many trends at once and it just didn't work. I looked at her most of the ride home and determined had the socks either been shorter or not showing, the outfit probably would've worked. I know you need tall socks with boots, but these were a little out of control. haha! Yes, out of control socks!

kelly / September 19, 2007 9:29 PM

When I think "trends" the first thing to come to mind isn't even fashion. They're things like what site are you blogging on? First of all it was like, geocities, then diaryland then everyone went to blogspot to using the more advanced typepad etc.

Or friendster to myspace to facebook.

Or how microbrews were trendy, then it went back to the beer you used to sneak from Dad's fridge (schlitz coors pbr).

Personally, I am so untrendy, I get stuck on one thing (like drinking shitty beer always and forever) or wearing the same thing I figure it's um, got to swing back some time.

Don't worry, I'm not wearing "mom" jeans or anything. But jeans in a current cut/style, with basic t's are my "trend" always and forever.

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