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Cleaning Out the Closet

Posted on Sunday, August 23 at 9:52 pm by h5kang | Category: Blog, Hannah Kang | 2 Comments

I’ve been spending the past week and a half back at my parents’ home, where I’ve been mollycoddled through a couple of stomach-churning illnesses and incredible suburban boredom. Coddling or no, being home always makes me regress back into a whiny little 15-year-old with questionable behavioral habits. Symptoms include constant complaining, pseudo-cynical philosophical commentary, holing up inside the bedroom for most of the day for no particular reason, and refusing to take part in the household chores. I like to believe I’m a well-adjusted, productive member of society, but last I checked, productive members of society don’t whine about the necessity of cleaning house. And for no reason does said productive member ever hand over all the distasteful jobs to her naïve younger brother, who by this time has plenty of other things to do with his time than handle someone else’s immaturity.

Or so my mother tells me.

In my attempt to wait out the sickness and keep from raiding the dog-eared high-school novels collecting dust on my bookshelf, I started closet-cleaning. I do this every time I come back home, when filled with a rustling, fidgety sort of energy. I pull out everything that I’ve ever owned and worn, study each one carefully and decide whether or not I want to keep it. I manage every time to walk out with two gigantic shopping bags filled with clothes I’d forgotten and discarded somewhere in the back of my spacious closet—and yet, the closet never seems to deplete itself of all the useless gym slacks or the high-school-era hoodies.

So, I recently pulled out all of my clothes and plopped them into a messy, cottony pile onto my bed. Pants that were several sizes too big for my frame? Tossed. A supposedly classic white oxford shirt, with a hem far too high to be considered au courant? Tossed. The hated, oversized high-school hoodie? Tossed (and how!). Unflattering gaucho pants that nobody other than dancers wear nowadays? Tossed… and on and on and on.

I ended up—again—with two shopping bags chock full of old clothing and a neatly organized wardrobe, and was struck with the fact that the next time I came home, I’d do this again. And again. And again. I brought this up to my patient family, who joked that I probably clean out the closet for the excuse of filling it up.

They might be right, more or less, but there’s more to my obsessive-compulsive wardrobe organization than that; cleaning out the closet feels a bit like I’m pulling out fragments of my own past, recalling the moments that my old self must have gone through, and deciding whether or not that part of me has to be let go. The old stuff just doesn’t fit me—the excess fabric, the natural slouch, the dye faded from one too many tumbles in the washing machine. It’s a duty to get rid of them and make room for what I can still keep.

I am, after all, a productive member of society.



The Pixies: Your Art Is in My Entertainment!

Posted on Friday, August 21 at 9:21 pm by Wes Culp | Category: Blog, Wes Culp | 0 Comments

Entertainment vs. art. What exactly distinguishes the two? Well, entertainment is easy. It’s like dessert: sweet and goes down smooth. It doesn’t take any effort to like cheesecake. No one ever had to beg little Johnny to eat dessert. But it is ultimately unsatisfying if that’s all you consume. Art is complex. Art takes time to eat and digest. Yet like a full course meal, it’s more satisfying. As a member of the “big-boy club,” I love dinner and dessert, both figuratively and literally. I can listen to a Godspeed You! Black Emperor album on the way to a KISS concert.

However, the most fulfilling experience one can have is when entertainment and art make sweet love and give birth to a genre-redefining band like the Pixies. The day I first heard them was like the first day that one guy got his chocolate in that other guy’s peanut butter. At first I was like, “What is this? Your art is in my entertainment!” Then I tasted it and my whole musical perspective changed.

The Pixies are a band that few people have heard of, but everyone has heard someone influenced by them. They released only five studio albums between 1987 and 1991 before breaking up, but their distorted, dissident and oddly poppy sound would set the stage for the entire alternative scene of the early 1990s. Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain confessed that he was trying to write a Pixies song when he wrote “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Any modern band that plays with a “loud, quiet, loud” technique is paying a small homage to The Pixies. Blur, Weezer and Radiohead have preached the gospel of The Pixies for over two decades now. Come on pilgrim, it’s time to listen.

If you’re some funky outcast who loves listening to Morrissey while dancing like a Peanuts character, I need your attention. If you’re a soccer mom who loves blasting Nickelback on the way to Target, I need your attention. If you ever want to look around on the other side of the music pond, use The Pixies as your raft band. It will make your transition into a whole new world of experiences and felicity a lot more pleasant. Quit listening to the same old crap. Go digging for fire.



Do It Yourself

Posted on Friday, August 21 at 9:02 am by h5kang | Category: Blog, Hannah Kang | 0 Comments

It seems frivolous for me to sit here every week, typing out stuff about wardrobe choices and stylistic values. It’s a very serious time here, folks. Our wallets are weeping, jobs evaporate without warning, gas prices are climbing. Nobody can quite take their eyes off of their depleting bank accounts. How could I possibly prattle on and on about clothing and wardrobes when nobody else could care less? How could I possibly think about spending money so?

Firstly, what I talk about here on these Uwear blogs isn’t a subject directly linked to your wallets. I haven’t at any moment brought up a suggestion of things you can buy, or any of the upcoming “must-have” trends that most people, in fact, do base their blogs on. It’s not reasonable to assume, of course, that the wardrobe shouldn’t ever be updated—if your clothes really are an expression of self, and self always changes and matures, then your style should also be fluid—but I’m not going to try and pretend that the times aren’t bad, okay? They are.

This leads to what I’ve noticed as a burgeoning trend these past two years: DIY. Do It Yourself, once an unfortunate admission of an empty wallet, has turned into an acknowledgement of creativity; and—if the creator is good enough—a business franchise unto itself. Fifteen-year-old Camille of Childhood Flames (http://childhoodflames.blogspot.com) experienced a burst of profit and popularity when she first gave out instructions to her Miu Miu skirt dupe, and then moved on to various other DIY projects that included the much-copied shredded t-shirt and the oversized black sweater with a skull cutout. Kelly Framel of The Glamourai (http://theglamourai.blogspot.com) designs jewelry pieces for Shrimpton Couture and her own little Etsy shop, as well as working as a freelance stylist. There are, of course, people in different fields of beauty DIYing various other things: Amanda of Dr. Frankenpolish (http://drfrankenpolish.wordpress.com), for example, hosts a blog devoted specifically to “frankening” (the term for DIY polishes): custom-making completely unique shades and textures oneself.

And really, that’s where all the charm lies, doesn’t it? In the face of all the advertising, marketing and sobbing, empty wallet—the chance to make something truly one’s own, labored on with one’s own hands, inspired (and only inspired!) by the individuality of other people. Uniqueness. A physical manifestation of a personal, creative character. And that, my friends, is what style is all about.



Electric Company

Posted on Sunday, August 16 at 9:57 pm by RobertRimm | Category: Blog, Robert Rimm | 0 Comments

The refrigerator and stove. ATM and auto-pay. Self-service checkout.

The computer and PDA. Facebook and Twitter. Google and a million and one others.

Drive-up, drive-through, drop-off everything.

These and all the other accoutrements of daily living can be accomplished with little or no human interaction. But what do our hours mean without meaningful or even passing companionship? In the drive for technological supremacy and efficiency, many tasks can now be accomplished at any hour of day or night, with just a few keystrokes or gallons of gas.

But put two or more motivated people in a room together on a compelling project and watch the reciprocity, the dynamics, the results. The meter of daily life rolls by so much more genuinely with work and challenges, with love and laughter.

Sure there are outages. Projects may not come to fruition on time. Promised delivery dates can get pushed back. Contracted workers don’t always follow through. People may become hamstrung by a gamut of roadblocks. Use these experiences to fix weak links, to learn from, to improve efficiency.

Gauge what you will need for work, for relationships, for living. Then double it. Given this fascinating, imperfect, striving world, allow for what will inevitably go wrong. Plan for inescapable delays, for certain detours that can often add richness and heightened satisfaction if we allow ourselves to be open to playbooks that don’t always follow prescribed patterns.

Rates of failure may be high. The real tests of dependability and reliability come when the birds aren’t singing, when the sun isn’t shining, when the promised isn’t forthcoming. Yet when two or more people are determined, and not just the kind of determined that passes for a dictionary definition, but the sort of resolve and strength of character that leads to powerful results, anything can be accomplished.

Embrace those with like-minded goals. Form partnerships and become adept at networking. Don’t be fearful of heart-to-heart conversations. There will never be a substitute for true human interaction.

Seek the company of others and watch the sparks fly.



Why Do We Wear What We Wear?

Posted on Wednesday, August 12 at 7:41 pm by h5kang | Category: Blog, Hannah Kang | 2 Comments

There must have been a certain point when you’ve gone shopping with someone—family, friends, it doesn’t matter. But you picked out an item that someone else turned up their nose at. It seemed fine to you. What about it offended them?

This happened to me very recently. One of my friends and I were shopping to celebrate our newly freed summers just a few days ago. We’re very well-matched in terms of a lot of sartorial opinions (favorite designers, styles and so on), but I’d picked out something and tried on what she wrinkled her nose at. When we were on our way out of the store (I didn’t get the item), she picked out a pair of sequined, flimsy hot pants, shook it under my nose, and said, “Do you like it?”

I considered it. A poorly constructed, immodest piece of scratchy fabric that probably concealed less than it promised to. I could offhandedly think of a few people who would look amazing in said sequin hot pants, but I wasn’t one of them. “No,” I said.

“That thing you picked out,” she said, “is just about this thing’s equivalent.” She tossed it on the bin where we’d found it, and we made our way out. But the event stands out now in my mind as a moment where constructions of reality crumble, a little, in the face of differing opinions. I’ve been rolling the thought over and over in my mind. Why do we wear what we wear?

Most men I know suffer under the impression that women dress to look good for men. Most women I know suffer under the impression that men dress to look good for women. Most men and women I know actually don’t know the reason why they dress the way they do when they get up in the morning. I don’t, either, but I know a few things I do consider when I’m picking out items.

For one, take a look at how I’d described the pants. Poorly constructed, immodest, scratchy and unreliable.

These are the things that I don’t want to be.

I know that I dress the way I do because dressing in any other way seems to clash with who I am. I’m not a colorful, quirky, whimsical person. I’m not a tomboy or a solemn person either, which might be why I reach for stripes, dark shades with pops of color, comfort, durability and clean shapes. I want to be sophisticated, mature and able to take all kinds of hard knocks and dirty washes. I want to be around for years, until I’m too thin and washed out to be worn anymore. I want to be there for ages, and I want to do it in style. That is why I wear what I wear—I want that part of me to be accessible to any eye.

Why do you wear what you wear?



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