This has been a strange autumn so far. Temperatures haven’t dropped to appropriate December levels yet, and judging from the number of men wearing flip flops I’ve seen in the past few weeks, it’s lulling us into a false sense of security. You might be safe now, but New York weather is tricky and dump a foot of snow on you without a moment’s hesitation when you’re least expecting it.
Whenever I see a person reading a book out in public, I always feel compelled to find out what it is. This compulsion does not usually extend to opening my mouth and politely asking the person what it is they’re reading. “Hey, is that any good?” from a stranger while I’m engrossed in a book gets my attention, albeit warily—I like to recommend things and yammer away about whatever book/media I’ve been consuming, but I also think it’s a bit rude to distract a person who is clearly busy and probably not looking for a conversation. Even worse, it might just be a disguised pickup line.
So instead of risking the ire of fellow bookish strangers by speaking to them, I covertly stare at the covers of books in hands and on laps until they’re raised enough for me to make out the titles. Come to think of it, maybe this is actually worse. Oh well.
Ah, the topknot. Commonly known as the “man-bun” when spotted on a male human, but I don’t think it’s necessary to gender a particular hairstyle—just “bun” also suffices. Its rise from relative obscurity as street fashion to a roundly-mocked mark of male hipsterhood was sudden and confusing. No one had a topknot, and then everyone had a topknot. I had a topknot. It’s very easy for a topknot to happen to you, all you have to do is fail to get a haircut for a few months and also dislike having hair hanging in your face.
When we remember vintage fashions, it’s generally the glamour that stands out the most. The Gatsby glitz and the movie stars of classic Hollywood tend to come to mind first. However, not everyone was gliding around like Grace Kelly or vamping it up with Theda Bara. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people probably just kept wearing what they always wore, with small adjustments to account for different items being available or the trend of a particular cut of cloth or hairstyle. Men especially have been wearing basically the same thing for centuries with minor differences in things like neckwear, the length of a coat, or the size of a lapel.
As a design element, arrows are both compelling and open to a variety of interpretations. They could mean that you know where you’re going. They could mean that you don’t know where you’re going. You are a weapon, or a direction. You might feel a spiritual connection between yourself and an object propelled at high speed until it hits a target. Maybe you’re into archery, or maybe you feel attacked and wish to shield yourself. They seem to be a popular element in branding designs from the past five years or so, so you could also just be a designer who is stuck in hipster logo go-to aesthetics.
As a person grows older, certain things about their appearance become more prominent. For some, it’s centered around clothing. The fedoras and high-waisted trousers that were once the sartorial status quo are eye-catching relics of a bygone era when worn in 2015. For others, it’s etched in the body, like an interesting pattern of deep wrinkles or an impressive nose that has only grown in size and character with age. For this gentleman I saw reading the newspaper, it is his eyebrows. They grew like luxurious caterpillars out of his forehead, gently waving in the breeze as he frowned at the latest reports of economic disaster.