The other day, I met a friend for dinner in Midtown. I was tired and hungry and generally moody. The entire trip to meet him, I couldn’t help but be consumed by negative thoughts. Listen, I’m all for positivity, but midtown in New York City during the summer is anything but a positive place, and I found myself saying over and over again:
We. are. gross.
Let me be more specific. New Yorkers, Americans, whatever – and I’m making a huge generalization here – do not take pride in what they wear. I am not exempt from this statement. We really, truly, don’t care how we look. Maybe it’s the American, nay, the New York notion that work is the most important thing you do. Maybe it’s the trickle down effect of being “so busy” that makes us neglect our minds, our bodies, and our creative selves. Whatever it is, we need to work on it. The most stylish people in the world live in this city, and I saw perhaps only two of them on the way to meet my friend. The rest of the poor souls looked as though they had rolled out of bed, slapped on whatever their eyes first touched, and left the house without a second thought.
When I lived in Spain, you would smell a man before you saw him. Sweet smelling but not overbearing cologne would hit your nose and you’d turn around to see the most perfectly coiffed gentleman. Every time. Shiny leather shoes, suit tailored within an inch of its life, exceptional hair across the board. It’s not that Spanish guys are better looking than American guys. It’s that we don’t care and we’ve never even given ourselves a chance. We think pink shirts on guys are too “girly” and that skinny jeans are too “metro” or “gay” and we tell ourselves these lies, why? I’m curious what happened and when because American men used to look like this:
That’s my Grandfather, Frederick O’Connor Sr. who served in the Coast Guard. Hell, even on the deck of a ship he looks more dapper than half the gents I know. We need a reality check and fast.
We work ourselves to the bone and everything, everything, falls by the wayside. I realize that putting clothing on our bodies is wayyyy down on the list of important things, but it is important. How we look affects how we feel and how we feel affects how we perform. What if we just decided today that we’d never make a fast fashion purchase again? What if we decided we would spend a full 60 seconds every day planning our what we wear? What if we challenged ourselves to wear a new-to-you outfit every day for a week? You don’t have to be a millionaire or have a stylist (alright, maybe a stylist 😉 to look on point every time you leave the house.
All I’m saying is that we can do better, New York. We’re a good looking city and we deserve to treat ourselves as such.
That felt GOOD.
top image by Ashley Caroline.