Embracing the Utility of Winter Style, One Sturdy Boot at a Time

upstate new york utility shoot man repeller


rony is a useful accessory in fashion, an effective styling tool. Add something unexpected, weird, a bit off — combine two wrongs or juxtapose them — and you’ve just tied a cool little bow on an otherwise unremarkable outfit.

I don’t know what that is. Maybe it’s a rebellion against the insistence that fashion as an industry and a concept is too uptight and self-serious. Maybe it’s always been there: to shock (back when people could still be shocked), take risks and declare new guards to those clinging to old ones. Maybe it’s meant to pull fashion back down to earth and tie it to reality. Maybe it’s because there has to be some sort of code that signals to everyone in-the-know that you know too — that you know you’re essentially wearing the exact same thing your mother did while visiting her college roommate in Maine, mid-winter, in the mid 1980s, except your sweater is the ironic, intentionally hip version (it’s Acne, actually, or it’s “vintage” L.L.Bean via eBay, because isn’t that amazing/hilarious? And please note the punk-ish earrings that counter it).

Of course, a change in scenery can strip away your ironic crutch in a flash. Say you’re wearing a half-zip Patagonia fleece around New York City, with your very cool Carhartts and trendy chunky sneakers. You meet friends for brunch, have a Bloody Mary at a place with an hour-and-a-half wait, and then — feeling ambitious — you get on a train and head up to small coastal New England town, or in the other up direction, along the Hudson River Valley of New York. Suddenly, upon arrival, your fleece takes in a massive drink of fresh air: Thank you! Bless you! You’ve brought it home where it belongs! Hallelujah!

But what then? Is it still considered a fashionable piece of clothing based on the fact that just a few hours south, it’s trending in overheated, overpriced restaurants? Or have you, by returning it to the woods where everyone else seems to be wearing fleeces for the layer’s warmth and sweat-wicking nature, swung so far back around to its original context that it lost its stylish meaning and has resumed only practicality?

Would that be such a bad thing?

Is it like finally setting free a wild fox you found and fostered (wounded paw), only to find out that your furry kid has no idea how to be a wild fox? (An existential style panic: Oh my god, outside of New York City, I don’t look fashionable in this! I look like I’m prepared for a hike! Who am I?) Or is it like ending of Fly Away Home, where natural instinct eventually takes over and the hand-fed geese head south? (A confident affirmation of one’s own personal style: I know who I am underneath these clothes and therefore, I feel pretty stylish, even if I am matching the hike leader from knit-beanie-head to camp-sock’d toe.)

On an individual style level, you can only answer these questions for yourself. But we thought it would be fun to at least see what happens when a van full clothes that were originally designed for woodsy weekends outdoors — then made cool in the context of designer runways and city sidewalks — shed the irony, just for a few hours, as they headed north.

Art Direction/Production: Emily Zirimis
Photography: Tory Rust
Photography Assistant: Alejandra Vzqz
Production Assistant: Louisiana Mei Gelpi
Stylist: Amelia Diamond
Market: Elizabeth Tamkin
Market Assistant: Imani Randolph
Hair: Kira Stuger
Makeup: Isabel Rosado
Models: Ansley Morgan, Jada Renee

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond

Amelia Diamond is a writer, creative consultant, and Man Repeller alumnus living in New York City.

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