Portraits by Lauren Cali
Fashion does not stop at clothes. It is the candor, the culture, the politics of a view that has been brought upon from the past, the present, the anticipatory future. Like plaque left behind on teeth, so have we Chicagoans been offered minor brushing at the enamel that are our problems. Crime, debt, overall disappointment in the governing of our explosively beautiful city, have left us busting. Busting out of our wits and (unfortunately) our sweat pants. We are historically epic people. On top of our broad shoulders rests the weight of the cosmopolitan Midwest. Our journey has been one that is defined by both coasts. However, when it all comes down to it we should neglect to be defined by that geography but more by our own lack of topographical diversity. We are the plains and should be governed as steady as the ground below our sometimes retched feet.
We have been left disappointed and apathetic about our surroundings as a city, about what is to be done so that justice can be brought forth. So much so is this lack of trust in our governing body that we, for many decades, have neglected to feel good about the clothes on our backs. We relegate them to sports teams and elastic bands, forgetting that there was a time before when men would dress accordingly for appropriate events and yes, my fellow male citizens, weekdays are events. Once there was a time when men had taste and not just for Italian beef but for tailored lines and relevant cuts. The men of this city dress as though they just woke up and have to rush their wives or surrogate mothers to the hospital. We are the Midwestern gem, an oasis amongst the corn. We are not simply Wrigley Field. For those of you who oppose better dressing (actual dressing) move to the suburbs or your auto-appointed Abercrombie ghettos… I believe it’s called Edgewater.
To the women of this fair city, I don’t understand you. I understand one must tame hair and jobs require you to tie it up but there is no reason to continually do it throughout the day or the weekend. If I see one more tumor shaped masse of hair atop the scalp of a Chicagoan female, I intend to let you know how I feel. There is no reason, as well, to wear flip fops anymore. I understand the need to showcase that pedicure you paid for- getting your money’s worth is a very local characteristic that many of us as citizens share. So, why not just clean them up and save the theatrics for the most special of occasions. Save them for yourself. Besides, flip flops are not proper footwear. You look like a fool and if there is one thing I will not permit, it is to have my fellow city dwellers looking poorly along with the rest of America.
Today, fellow Chicagoans, is when I shall fight for your right to not stand for the informal ways that the local government sometimes seems to run this city. The criminally gross lack of funding for the envy of other public transportation systems the US, the hallowed CTA. The gross lack of belief in the specific dichotomy that relates us to one another, separate from the rest of the country. No longer shall we be agents of the mediocre. Tree lined streets and flowery medians are nice, but what we need is a revolution.
Too long have we been at the mercy of the King and like our forefathers fought for their independence from the seemingly benevolent tyranny of the same old system of corruption, so shall we. We shall fight for the taking back of our image and sweeten the sour taste of commentators who develop it when speaking of our fair city. We, the people, are not corrupt.
Admittedly this is a difficult city to run. The violence and the corruption tends to come out from nowhere. Or does it?
We must first change ourselves if we wish to change society. A better dress for the poor, I say, at a low rate. It isn’t that difficult and the answer might already be in your closet. We must fight to dress ourselves better, in order to live better. To dress well and more important, relevantly, is to fully understand the world around us, the world around you. Perhaps a city mandated dress code isn’t the answer. That would be absolutely tragic and whoever was in charge of it would be implementing there own personal agenda that I’m sure would not take into account the fluid nature that is fashion. If only there were someone who could stand for style and elegance as the antidote for the violence and crime and corruption. Someone who could fight violence not with more violence, but a passive resistance to the culture that leads people to continue that level of behavior. Pants should not be at ground level and white t-shirts should not encompass the whole frame of a man. Prison fashion should stay in prison and if it is at all necessary, you should be taken back there or taken there. If only there was someone…
Alas, there is: I, Roberto Del Rio, aka The Indumentarian, formally announce my run for Mayor of Chicago. I will run on a platform of decency, a platform of truth and a pair of platform shoes. I hope I can count on your vote, Chicago.
Don’t be a stranger, but do be stranger…