All photos of my shitty old clothes were taken by my dog Rocky Li, editor of Third Looks.
After dropping the inaugural "Getting Fresh with Wilbert" on the asses of yet-to-be-fresh dudes out there, I started to get a bunch of feedback from readers. I was surprised to find out that a lot of you guys are under the impression that a brother like myself has been fresh since I was floating in my old man's nutsack. That is certainly not the case. "Fashionable" dudes don't just come out of the womb attached to a Thom Browne umbilical cord and a Raf Simons placenta—even though that would be dope. Like my music taste, my style has crawled along a treacherous and embarrassing road that has taken me from a Yankee-fitted cap with a Chineese logo and a CD copy of Three Dollar Bill Y'All$ to a pair of Junya Watanabe short shorts and an original vinyl pressing of Out to Lunch!. And even though I'm happy with how far I've come, I'm still trying to move forward, discovering new tunes and reinventing my look like a black and broke David Bowie.
Mouth breathers everywhere should find solace in the fact that getting fresh and having good music taste is a process that has nothing to do with your DNA. I realized that unlike my propensity to produce hard stools whenever I eat too many dairy products, I could totally do something about my style and music tastes by simply deciding that music and fashion were things I wanted to give a shit about and becoming comfortable with ignorant yokels assuming that I like dicks in my butt.
So to help motivate you to stop wearing shirts that are so baggy you look like you robbed Previous and making iTunes mixes of Dave Matthews titled 'GETTING LAID FOR SURE,' I've thrown together a selection of songs and clothes I've worn and listened to through the ages that exemplify my journey from dweeb to dope-ass freshness.
Coogi Sweater X Ja Rule's "Always on Time" ft. Ashanti
When I was in middle school, way back in like 2002, there was nothing I wanted more than to lose my virginity to this hella-thick light-skinned girl from the next town over, get 100 percent completion on GTA: Vice City, and cop a fly-ass Coogi sweater. I wanted a Coogi joint because the most gangsterific gangster rappers wore them. Biggie, who wasn't as dead back then as he is now, even name-dropped the sweater in the song "Big Poppa."
Today, I wouldn't be caught dead in anything made by Coogi. The only people who wear the brand now are white dudes trying to be ironic and super thugged-out cats because they still think it's a luxury brand. If I owned Coogi, I'd cash in on this phenomenon and brand some malt liquor, because hipsters and hood dudes love 40s.
I'm paring this sweater with Ja Rule's sappy "Always on Time," because just like the sweater company, Ja is a mere shadow of his former self. When his first single "Holla Holla" dropped, I thought he was on that gully New York shit. Then 50 Cent called him the "cookie monster" and his street cred disappeared. My disappointment in his fall from grace is analogous to how I felt when I realized that old stick-in-the-butt Bill Cosby was the originator of the Coogi sweater swag. I like making white people feel uncomfortable. So I want absolutely nothing to do with the Huxtables.
Ralph Lauren Sweater and Polo X Incubus's "Talk Show on Mute"
Ralph Lauren is one of the greatest designers who ever lived, repped by superhero rap guys like Kanye West and Raekwon. It's not his fault that the energy drink-sipping, secret circle jerking, ultra-masculine assholes who regularly try to pick a fight with me outside the bar go apeshit for a pony on their shirt. Or that some black and Latino people really ruined the prep look by wearing those knockoff polo shirts that were like a size 10XL, extended past their knees, and had what looked like a tumor-stricken horse plastered across their chests. In spite of all of that, I still love Ralph—even if I probably wouldn't wear his shit today unless it was deadstock from the 80s or had no logos on it at all.
I still love Incubus too, because they were the first band I saw in concert with my dad. Sadly, the same asshole dudes that wear polos and have an acute affliction of penis envy love Incubus and will talk your ear off about how awesome it is to pump iron to "Megalomaniac." Also, by saying I like Incubus, even in a nostalgic way, I've totally lost all my critic crediblity in the VICE office. Oh, well.
True Religion Jeans + Ed Hardy T-Shirt X D4L's "Shake that Laffy Taffy"
So, this is probably my worst look ever. It's almost as if I regressed from the Coogi and RL polo, which weren't great—but not the worst. Wearing Ed Hardy and True Religion, on the other hand, is pretty much like wearing a scarlet letter that says you find Jeff Dunham funny and the last book you read is by Tucker Max. To be fair, I was wearing this stuff in 2006 in Ohio. None of my friends even knew what this shit was back then. I worked two mall jobs so I could buy a pair of True Religions that were two sizes too big on sale from some horrible boutique. Now they sell the shit at T.J.Maxx for like way less. When I think of all the Number (N)ine I could've bought with the money I wasted on this shit, I get a little upset.
Back when I was wearing True Religions, I used to go to clubs a lot and dance with girls to D4L's "Laffy Taffy." That song has an uncanny ability to make big bootys shake really fast on your midsection, but it is also a horrible, horrible song. Just see if you can get through the first verse while sitting in a non-club environment. The singer sings so off-key, it almost comes off like some kind of intentionally off-putting, next-level Captain Beefheart shit. Unfortunately, there's no big reveal after repeat listens. It's just a shitty song that only sounds good when girls are half-naked and you're drunk. Just like True Religions and Ed Hardy only seem like a good outfit choice when you're trying to pick up overweight Midwestern girls that go out in flip-flops and Juicy sweats.
The Hundreds and Crooks and Castles Tees + Nudie Jeans + Nike Dunk High Dontrelle Willis Collection Royale X Kid Cudi's "Day 'N' Nite"
OK, so this is the "streetwear" look that I was wearing back in 2009. It's certainly a step up from Ed. It would be stupid to say that streetwear is eternal, considering it's a thing that is supported by obsessive consumption of new things. But, the idea that clothing can be a form of expression and canvas for art is interesting to me, even if it isn't 100 percent sincere. When I wore this shit, I kind of felt like I was a wall with fly-ass graffiti on it. The Hundreds shirt (top left) was my favorite because I'm not too crazy about the institution of law enforcement—unless I've just been robbed or beaten up. The only problem with this style was that too many people jumped on the bandwagon and were doing it all wrong. Plus, who wants to sit outside waiting for sneakers to drop as a grown-ass man? I have a job! I've got work to do.
I'm pairing this up with Kid Cudi, my hometown hero who knows how to get fresh with the best of them. When I met him in a sneaker boutique on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, he had a different pair of Jordans on each foot. I thought it was the dopest thing that a person could ever do, until I realized how much nicer sneakers are when they're made with really soft leather by non-slaves in Italy. I still respect Cudder and this way of getting fresh, but after discovering Common Projects and hearing that WZRD album, I realize some things just aren't for me.
Ale et Ange Cap + Robert Geller T-Shirt + Patrik Ervell Trousers + Bernhard Willhelm x Camper Hiking Sneakers/Trainers + Hope Weekender Bag X Brian Eno's "Baby's on Fire"
So, here we are. It's been a long dogged journey of bad taste and ugly True Religion bell bottoms to reach freshness. The reality is that most likely, this look will seem wack to me in like five years and that is totally cool because to me this whole thing is about reinventing yourself and moving forward. When I was a kid my favorite food was cereal; I would eat that shit for breakfast lunch and dinner. Captain Crunch, Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs, Honey Nut Cheerios, you name it. But I haven't had cereal in like a year and a half. My tastes have just changed. Now I get down with some roasted duck, it's my new go-to food and I had never even tried duck until like two years ago!
So, in short, try some new shit and experiment. Even if you fail miserably and wear things that you will later think are lame, at least you tried to step out of the box and do something different. With that sentiment, I want to end this post with Brian Eno's "Baby's on Fire." Actually, I picked that song for no other reason than it's dope and it is what I listened to this morning when I was squeezing out one of those extra stiff milk turds. I felt like I was giving birth to a baby on fire, forreal!
Previously - Clumpy Deodorant Reggae Rude-Boy Swag