In partnership with Hill City.
I have four brothers, but it is only my older brother, Haim, who cares about style as much as I do. Until we were out of my parents’ house, I interpreted his interest as a sort of compulsion. When we were very young, he insisted on having, basically, every pair of mesh basketball shorts on the market. When we got a little older, it was all about whiskered skinny jeans. By the time we were in high school, the currency became bright button-down shirts. Between these peaks were minor blunders-as-valleys—the spring he spent wearing JNCOs, the summer he could not see past paisley and through the vicissitudes of his changing style, there was always an emphasis on sneakers. In our adult lives, Haim is no longer just Haim—he’s Single Uncle Handsome Haim the Influencer and he’s really developed unwavering care for and a sense of his own casual personal style.
But I’d be hard-pressed to say that we share style sensibilities—that if I were a guy and he was a girl we’d dress alike. (When asked, Haim said my style “could get weird sometimes.”) I’m more invested in using my style to challenge myself, to crack a code, to make something difficult—like, say, existence—feel easier. Meanwhile, Haim is more of a figure-it-out-then-recreate-it-ad-infinitum kind of guy. These differences are probably why I was so hellbent on casting him as my counterpart for this story, a classic tale of one piece, two ways—pitched for Hill City, the new cool activewear brand who make technical mens clothes that technically look great on women. That’s not their tagline, but maybe it should be. Idk.
Anyway, I instructed us to take the same hero piece (the Insulated Wool Shirt Jacket in charcoal heather, the Thermal Light Shirt Jacket in stone and the Heavyweight Fleece Hoodie in light grey heather and style it in our own ways to compare the outfits.
Not to toot my own ass, but I think the idea was bang on. When asked how the clothes integrated with his wardrobe, Single Uncle responded: “They are literally the definition of my style. Dress for comfort above all else while attempting to look cool in the process.” Obviously his definition of cool is subjective, but we can talk about that later.
Now, because I’m me, I obviously also psychoanalyzed the Freud out of us, so, you know, have fun reading on!
Look No. 1 featuring Hill City’s Insulated Wool Shirt in Charcoal Heather
The styling process: Whereas I’d prefer to define my personal style as a deli sandwich bar, Haim agrees without my needing to speak for him that his style is definitely more “casual and sporty,” adding, “I’ve always preferred comfort—I’m a sneakers-over-shoes guy.” These differing philosophies are reflected in the more formal approach I took to pairing the shirt with a knit turtleneck, gold chain belt, wool trousers and the pop-o-purple sandals. His point of view? “Nothing beats the combination of a hoodie under some sort of jacket.”
Psychoanalysis: I’m flexible, he’s rigid. Where I prefer to demonstrate unconventional use cases as they relate to my clothes, testing how far I can take the wears out of their comfort zone, Haim is a bit more literal, preferring to keep them squarely within the parameters of the designer’s intentions.
Look No. 2 featuring Hill City’s Thermal Light Shirt Jacket in Stone
The styling process: Haim said he’d have chosen this jacket in black because he gravitates toward darker colors but I basically forced us to go with the stone. You know what he said in response? That this was his favorite look from the whole shoot because of the jacket. I did this insane thing wherein I turned a dress into a top (Indeed, that gold dress with jewel-encrusted boobs is actually a top) and folded it into gold brocade shorts, slapped on a pair of socks and clogs then completed this disco-chilada (like an enchilada, but shinier) with the jacket. Where would we wear these looks? Ironically, the same place. We both answered, “Out to get a meal.” Novel, huh?
Psychoanalysis: He’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert. He prefers that other people set up proofs of concept, I like creating the proofs of concept. Why? How? Well! As you can see, he’s two for two with hoodies under jackets whereas I am two for none with any traceable pattern and that, my friends, is by design.
Look No. 3 featuring Hill City’s Heavyweight Fleece Hoodie in Light Grey Heather
The styling process: Haim picked this piece and tbh, I never would have. There was a merino half-zip that had my g-dang name on it, which I’m still dreaming about to varying degrees of strong REM sleep but I am !up! for a challenge, so a challenge I accepted. His thoughts? “I’d wear this out to dinner, to meet friends for a drink, to meet a date, you name it!” He went on to express that most of his wardrobe is hoodies because they’re “functional and versatile.” Then, because I needed a styling pro tip, he told me a good way to dress them up is by adding an oversize knee-length coat and a beanie. That did not sound like a good solution to me, so after toiling with wide-leg pants and trouser jeans and mini skirts and shorts, I landed upon a pair of white jeans, an ivory blazer and velvet mary janes. Now, lo and behold: my unexpected favorite look.
Psychoanalysis: I am less receptive to meeting people in the middle when I feel strongly one way or another (e.g. sweatshirts are not for me) but incidentally it seems that I, too, can surprise myself by letting someone else take the wheel. As for Haim — a rose is a rose and was always a rose: another day, another hoodie.
In broader conclusion, I’d like to ask ~you~ who wore Hill City best in each of the three instances? Did we succeed in visually expressing the multifarious nature of the garments? Are you inspired? Will you try this with a sibling, or partner, or co-worker on your own? And per question no.1, the winner gets to keep one of my daughters, so be honest, be critical and don’t forget, he’s single.
Photos by Franey Miller.