Last weekend, I was tasked with cleaning the house while my wife had taken our son out for the day. Naturally, I wanted to maximize my productivity since I wasn’t sure how long she would be gone. So the moment she walked out that door, I sat on the couch to watch some TV. I started watching a gala honoring one of America’s premier poets. I think his name was Justin Bieber. Apologies. I just realized how ridiculous that sounded. I meant Mr. Bieber was one of Canada’s premier poets. Now that I think about it, it wasn’t really a gala so much, as a Comedy Central Roast. The details aren’t really relevant. What is important is what was said by rapper/actor/lawn-gnome stunt-double Ludacris, while roasting fellow roaster, Snoop Dogg.
“Luda” as those of us in the know call him, was admonishing Mr. Dogg for being a man over the age of 35 and still wearing Chucks, aka Chuck Taylors, aka Converse All-Stars. If you don’t know, Chuck Taylors are as American as Apple Pie, Levi’s, and helicopter parenting. These classics are a staple of most American males’ wardrobe at some point in their life. They still are (or were on last Saturday) for me. But Ludacrisseses’s comments shook me to my core.
Am I too old to wear Chucks? Surely you jest Ludacris! After all, if 30 is the new 20, and 40 is the new 30, then 40 is obviously the new 20. What was my point again? Ah yes, Chucks, or for you spanish-speakers out there, “Los Chooks.” I was having a perfectly nice Saturday morning, until Luda hurled my entire reality into a tailspin. Was there, indeed, a cutoff age for wearing these iconic sneakers? This whole “cleaning the house” business (or bidness, as Luda would say) would simply have to wait. I had more important things to attend to.
I wheeled about, with haste (Does that sound more mature than saying I turned and stomped upstairs?) Then I flung open my closet doors. I’d like to say that I scanned across my footwear shelves, but that would not be accurate. The truth is I looked at my smelly shoe mound, about half of which fell onto my toes when I opened the closet door. “Is this the shoe collection of a grown man?” I thought to myself.I had a few pairs of brown dress-shoes for work, and a few black ones.
Then I saw a couple pairs of white sneakers. Those were fine for any age. Next I noticed my workout sneakers; perfectly appropriate and utilitarian. Then I saw my Chucks. As of last Saturday, I had two pairs. I’ve probably owned seven or eight pairs throughout my lifetime. I remember getting my first pair when I was about eight years old. It was summertime and we were planning a road trip to Washington D.C. for the 4th of July. Those were happy times, when the capital wasn’t run by an evil horde of corporate megalomaniacs, but merely a well-meaning cadre of sexual harassers.
Anyway, one of the pairs in my closet were almost identical to that first pair I had. The originals were black, and these were charcoal grey. The other pair in my closet were an off-white color. Those were my classic go-to with jeans and a t-shirt. But now I didn’t know what to do. Did I look ridiculous still wearing these? Was I trying too hard to hold on to a youth that had already passed me by? I had to figure this out, so I did what any reasonable man would do. Namely, I grabbed a handful of clothes out of the closet and threw them on the floor. I was well overdue for a home-alone solo fashion show. Only the mirror-mirror on the wall could tell me if I could still pull of this look.
I tried on a few pairs of khaki pants with polo shirts and my Chucks. “I don’t think this looks ridiculous” I said to myself. Then again, does anyone ever think they look ridiculous when they get dressed? Even if they look like a joke? Kanye must know how dumb he looks in that red hat, right? He has to. I had passed my first test, but I still wasn’t convinced. I worried that maybe the sneakers still looked age-appropriate because they were paired with slacks. However, I rarely, if ever, wore them that way. The real test would be the jeans and t-shirt look.
I threw on the first pair of bluejeans I found on the floor and grabbed a favorite t-shirt. Then I laced up my shoes again. I stood in front of the full length mirror and slowly raised my eyes to see how it looked. “Well hello you magnificent son of a bitch.” I said to myself in the mirror. I looked cool as hell. Then I wondered if I was just used to seeing myself in this gear, and that’s why I thought it looked good. I also wondered when the next season of The Bachelorette was scheduled to begin, but that’s not really germane to the story.
I asked myself “Why does it look good?” It took me a minute to come up with the answer. Ultimately, I realized that it looked good, because it looked like me. That’s really the key to unlocking your own sense of style as guy. Wear whatever feels like you. If you feel good in it, and its comfortable, you can probably pull it off, regardless of age. So to answer the question I posed at the beginning of this post; Is there a point where you are just too old to rock your Chucks? Hell no. That’s just Ludacris.
If you want to read another silly story of my ridiculous style questions, you should check out Don’t Call Me bald.