I have a few cigarette cases. Cigarette cases are, let’s face it, pretty fucking cool. When I whip mine out, we both know that I’m pretending not to know that they’re cool. The facts behind my cigarette case are this: I have taken my straights out of an ugly Camel blue pack and transferred them into said case. And I haven’t done this because it’s practical; I’ve done it because I think it’s trendy. Now, the thing about the cigarette case is that it’s only actually awesome if you deny, against all evidence, that you have actually done this. You have to pretend that you came out of the womb brandishing a gold-gilded case filled with fags. And that’s the direction we’re all heading in: desperately trying to appear as though we hadn’t actually tried at all.
The ‘I woke up like dis’ fad is at an all-time high. Ripped jeans are back on the scene, Adidas are selling trainers with ‘handcrafted mud’ already on them and ‘normcore’ has taken the world by storm. The debilitating – and quintessentially English – fear of being ‘keen,’ has found its sartorial voice. The word ‘try hard’ is being thrown about left, right and centre – and we’re all trying very hard to avoid being labeled as such. We’re living in an age in which you can buy trousers with paint pre-splattered on them, to masquerade as an artiste without ever coming into contact with paint. It’s a foolproof hoax.
We can all recognize those Topshop ripped jeans from a mile away: the completely straight, neatly frayed symmetrical tears are hardly convincing. And yet they still manage to generate the illusion that you went to the Ruskin art show, had a really MENTAL night at cellar, ended up at a Cowley house party and woke up in the kitchen saying ‘how the hell did this shit happen?’ Oh, and you just forgot to take that choker off after that 1999 house party, that time you were five and still didn’t give a shit. I’m gonna just bite the bullet and say it: if you look like you’re ‘cool,’ it almost certainly isn’t effortless.
Yes, you didn’t wake up like that – and what? Those ‘edgy’ sportswear jackets and sweatshirts that have crawled out of the woodwork aren’t random items you picked off your floor this morning. Neither do you care so little that you forgot to change after hitting the gym. You probably went to Urban Outfitters and paid 30 pounds for them. And so did we all. I’m sorry to say that the ‘I just rolled out of bed’ look is very much put together. While we’re at it – not one of us accidently slipped their socked feet into sandals without giving that decision a lot of careful thought. And I know the holes in your t-shirt are all fake. We are spending a lot of money on looking like we found our clothes in our grandparents’ attics and pretending we couldn’t care less what we matched them with. I think it’s time we came out and admitted it: we are all ‘try hards.’ And it’s nothing to be ashamed of.