Here's a fun little fact about me: I've always been attracted to men who I thought had the potential to dress better than me. The guys I've dated have represented a fairly vast range of personal styles—from urban to preppy to outdoorsy—but each one has in some way cared about they way he looks, and at least made an effort. And that would include my current boyfriend, Joel.
A child of the San Fernando Valley just outside Los Angeles, my boyfriend (yes, the very same one who just moved in with me) is heavily influenced by the aesthetics and culture of this region. He had a skater phase as a teen—doesn’t every California boy?!—and, as such, the man literally owns more shoes than I do. When we first started dating a few years ago, I walked into his apartment and was greeted by not one, but two racks full of sneakers. I thought: OK, this might work.
In addition to skater culture, I would say his largest influences are hip-hop culture, architecture, and Japanese modernism, as indicated by his predilection for fitted caps, slim-line jeans, and geometric prints. And here’s where my fashion lessons come in: He’s taught me a lot about the value of curation. He takes his time to really decide what he likes, and when he makes the call, he doesn’t go back on his word. This is valuable for me, because my closet is essentially a Rolodex of my past impulses.
If something fits me and I’m even mildly enamoured with it, I will wear it at least once. (Give it a shot, right?) Joel isn’t like that—he knows precisely what he likes and he doesn’t really deviate. Now this doesn’t mean he never ventures into unknown sartorial territories; it's that he only does so when he really believes it's the right choice for him. In this way, I’ve again learned from him the valuable fashion lesson of how to curate.
If it were up to me, I would opt to have limitless closet space where I could hold on tightly to everything I once adored, just in case I wanted to wear it again some day. More than once, Joel has inspired and encouraged me to purge my wardrobe a bit, bringing to my attention the things I truly want to keep—and those things I should probably part with.
The other side of this educational coin: He really understands and reminds me every day how to have fun with fashion. As a person who loves fashion but also works in fashion, it can be quite easy for me to take myself way too seriously at times. I forget that dressing myself each day should not be a chore, but rather a joy—something fun and somewhat experimental that allows me to express myself. Perhaps it’s his overgrown collection of T-shirts featuring various and sundry cartoon characters, but for whatever it’s worth, the man always manages to have fun with his clothes, and he looks good doing it.
In conclusion, do I think of my man as the Kanye to my Kim? The mere thought makes me laugh—it’s not that he’s completely made over my style, but rather that he helps inspire me to make my own aesthetic that much cleaner, better even. And for that, I’m thankful.