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StyleID: Stags With Swag

November 17, 2011

Erica Bellman
StyleID: Stags With Swag

There’s snow on Baldy, there’s hail in Claremont, and we’re alternately shivering and sweating between classes.  Dressing for fall in SoCal can be an impossible guessing game, and I'm tempted to throw in the towel and rock the flannel-and-sweats look for the remainder of the season.  But CMC seniors Cooper Brown (’12) and Jeffrey Kang (’12) seem to have it down: they manage to look fantastic, regardless of the weird weather. I caught up with the guys outside the apartments, where they were enjoying a mid-afternoon cold beverage and some characteristically intellectual conversation.  Cooper and Jeffrey each have a distinct sense of style that's informed by their wide-ranging interests. They're neither pretentious nor conformist, and always wear what they find most appealing, appropriate, and comfortable.  Next time you see Jeffrey and Cooper bicycling around Claremont, be sure to note their swag.

Cooper, you’re looking dapper today.  What are you wearing?

I’m wearing Levi’s 511 jeans—they fit well, so I just buy these in every color I need. I have on my Adidas Originals high-tops, a striped scarf from Fred Perry, and a button-up.  This is a J. Crew peacoat and sweater; I like J.Crew because you can dress nicely without paying a ridiculous amount. Their clothes are conservative, and hearken back to timeless styles that won’t look dated anytime soon.  This is one of my Nixon watches—I have two, because they’re simple, casual, and go with everything.

What inspires your personal style?

I think trying to stay on the cutting edge is kind of a losing battle.  You’re going to lose the battle if you wear a lot of the dumb sh*t GQ tells you to wear.  I read something about how we should all “wear yellow” right now.  I would strongly advise against wearing yellow.

For me, I’d say old films are most inspiring, in particular the French “New Wave.”  I like the looks from many Jean-Luc Godard films, like Jeanne-Pierre Léaudin “Masculin Féminin.” I think the Italians are a bit too flamboyant, but the French always look terrific.

What do you think someone’s style says about him or her?

It’s the first, immediate interaction—and that’s integral.  People always say style is a good way to show your personality; I guess that’s true, but then you run into trouble with the label obsession our culture has.  People might call you a “hipster” or “prep,” but I think it’s really about whether you’re well-dressed or not.  Jeffrey and I are completely different in our styles, but we both try to dress well.  That’s all that really matters.

What article of clothing could you not live without?

Well, there’s shoes.  You can’t get in too many bars without shoes.   I also love my peacoat—my sister hates it, but I love it.

Who on campus do you think has the most killer style?

I think Tyler McBrien (’13) really got it right with Professor Lobis.  Those spectacles—they’re awesome. Professor Petropolis, the chair of History department, is also very well put-together.

How has your sense of style evolved over the years?

I’ve gone through a lot of phases, you could say.  I’ve been through the punk phase, the I-don’t-give-a-shit phase…  I’ve built off each of those phases.  I still wear a lot of the things I’ve accumulated, but in a new way.

If CMC were any article of clothing, what would it be?

It’s got to be the tank top.

Jeffrey, you’re looking excellent yourself.  Tell me what you’re wearing.

I’m wearing some burgundy loafers, navy blue socks.  Burgundy cords, a button-down, and a cardigan sweater.  We don’t need to talk about labels—we really don’t.  This gold watch I’ve had for a while—it’s my fathers.

What inspires your style?

The weather.  I’m from Pasadena, just nearby.  I always check the forecast for the day to see what’s appropriate.  Also, comfort—comfort is key.

On a side note, I’m interested in what actually defines today’s style.  We look at britches or hoopskirts and think “costume”—what will people 100 years from now call our “costume?”

What do you think someone’s style says about him or her?

It’s the first thing you see.  In our culture, we’re all about the visual.  Often times that thing that’s inside the shell might not correspond with how someone sees you.  It’s always better to just be yourself.

Who on campus do you think has the most interesting style?

Professor Eric Haskell at Scripps.  Oh man, he monograms everything.  I’d never seen a monogrammed sweater, but he has one.  Wow.

How has your personal style evolved over the years?

In high school my uniform was khakis and a shirt and belt—all day, every day.  Then I started accumulating things, like Cooper, and incorporating them.  We’re young, so we’ll be acquiring things for some time.  If you’re able to buy nicer, well-made things, you can wear them the rest of your life.  This is just the beginning.

How would you describe CMC’s sense of style?

Ultimate comfort.  And I suppose it is just comfortable to wear sweats or a t-shirt…

What’s your biggest style DON’T?

Tight clothes.  Very tight clothes.  It just looks awkward.

What article of clothing could you not live without?

I’m in love with these shoes I’m wearing, and I think I’ll just buy them the rest of my life.  These tassels—they are little mink tails.  I was buffing them one day and the tassel came off, so I added these fur tassels myself.  Plus, they keep my shoes clean.

Want more style? Check out Falling for fall, Sweet and Petite and Wear it CMC.

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