Let’s face it — homeless people aren’t exactly fashion icons by popular (Anna Wintour‘s) standards. The fact is, homeless people don’t sit in pristine office quarters terrorizing interns. That’s because their office is the park, and the closest thing to interns would be squirrels, who are useless at faxing important documents. So, yes, if presented with the opportunity, any wise homeless gentleman would likely continue to favor that old camo trenchcoat over this season’s Proenza because it’s warm, holds up against the elements, and blends well with the life he leads.
The next time you find yourself considering that Swarovski-crystal studded PVC leather leotard that fits like a glove (30% off!) at Barney’s, honestly ask if it’s a good lifestyle fit — i.e. “As a law student who hasn’t seen the sun in months because I’m in the library 24/7, where the #$&@ am I going to wear this?!”
Note, “the gym” is not an acceptable answer.
Homeless People Liked Flannel Before It Was Cool
Sorry, hipsters. When it comes to the comfy, low-maintenance, flawlessly-hides-all-those-bacon-grease-stains flannel trend, homeless people were wearing it long before everybody who is anybody pretending to be nobody.
Homeless People Style With Personality
Oscar Wilde once said, “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable we have to alter it every six months.”
I think what Mr. Wilde was referring to is fashion trends — the lifeblood of the apparel industry and the reason why we’re all an army of identically dressed, broke fashion zombies.
Homeless people are free of the evils of mortgages and fashion trends, which allows them creative free-reign when it comes to how they express themselves through their wardrobe. Beer shirt + tutu + tiara + yellow wellies? Why not?
Trends are limiting in that they rarely flatter anyone but pin-thin models (what’s with this romper craze?!) and they severely limit your individual creative expression. Becoming your own style goddess doesn’t take talent as much as practice, along with a big dose of bravery in taking those decisive steps away from your bedroom mirror and out into the real world. Dress on your own terms, you’re too pretty to be a fashion zombie!
Homeless People Embrace the Art of Layering
I’ll be the first to admit there have been many days where I have misjudged the New England weather and stood shivering in my adorable new gladiator sandals in the frozen sleet. Or all the times where I declined a jacket because, “It’ll wrinkle my dress!” and spent the day as a frigid fashion victim.
Living the homeless lifestyle means you have to be prepared. The life of a fashionista is no different. It means taking that ideal outfit into a un-ideal world. There will be blizzards, there will be monsoons, there will be 90 degree heat, and girlfriend, you better be prepared. Bring a cardigan and check the weather before you dash out in those peep-toes.
They Go Green
Next time you happen upon a homeless person on a street corner or on a park bench, stop and ask him (or her) where they got that cowboy hat. They’ll probably tell you the most fascinating story detailing the what/when/who/why/how they came to find/barter/steal the object in question. What you will probably not hear is, “OMG there was this crazy sale at The Limited!”
Realize how much power you have when you decide to shop smart. Know your products, know where they came from, how they were made, what they are made of. And when it comes to shopping in each other’s closets, remember that one girl’s “Goodbye, Good Buy!” is another girl’s “Hell-oooo!”
Homeless People Make Do With What They Have
Word on the (Wall) Street is that this ongoing financial debacle comes as a direct result of our inability to show some self restraint with the Amex and live within our means.
In no way am I suggesting you should dress like you are in the throes of financial ruin. That would be no fun at all. What I am suggesting is that like all other facets of life — love, career, family — fashion is an ideal we continually build towards. Just as very few will be made CEO of a Fortune 500 company right out of undergrad, those of us in our early twenties are struggling to pay for rent let alone designer handbags. The fact is, you can lust after that Chanel bag with every cosmic thread of you 24-year-old soul, but the fact is, you will appreciate the artistry and craftmanship that goes into this highest tier of luxury handbag when you’ve done your time and are in a better position to own such a piece than in your twenties when it would represent little more than an extravagant status symbol. Make do with your Marc by Marc, and keep building toward a more fashionable future.
Homeless People Are Not Defined By Their Clothing
Life’s extremes become disturbingly clear when you take a step back to realize that while you’re in your walk-in closet grumbling because you have nothing to wear, there are those with stomachs grumbling because they have nothing to eat.
So that homeless person with the shabby oversized jacket sitting alone on a bench will be dismissed as “just another homeless slob,” personal experience has shown them to harbor some of the most interesting stories and insight on the world around us.
So next time you see a homeless person sitting alone, buy them a sandwich and just listen to what they have to say about current fashion trends and/or the meaning of life. You might be surprised what you learn.
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