I remember in high school there were two types of cool. You were either a prep or skater. The preppy kids wore a lot of Abercrombie, Lacoste, and North Face. Lots of designer purses and some Urban Outfitters thrown in there for the girls who wanted to be “boho” for a year.
Then there were the skaters and emos. Lots of piercings, dark colors, and dark music. But they also had their “brands” like Vans or Volcom.
Ten years later and cool still has those two meanings. There still are people who want to be “preppy,” religiously purchasing designer wear from their Louis Vuittons to their Burberrys. For those who think those brands are too “mainstream,” they turn to the likes of Proenza Schouler or Alexander Wang.
We still have the other type of cool. Skaters and emos have grown up to be hipsters. Whether they shop at American Apparel or at a thrift store, they still brag about the uniqueness or rarity of their clothes that make them oh so unique.
But there is now a third type of cool that I witnessed in New York. You see, people think in order to be cool you have to have certain brands or follow certain trends. But people who are actually cool are so confident and independent that it doesn’t matter what they wear, they exude “cool” because they embody it.
When I met people in NY, it was easy to see who was actually cool and who was trying to be. The people covered in expensive crap or hipster stuff from head to toe had a superficiality about them that reeked desperation. But when I looked at the real cool people, they looked so relaxed and comfortable with who they were, that they didn’t need to prove it.
Thinking back to the cool kids in high school, it made me realize that it wasn’t the brands that made them popular. Those kids were already cool because of who they were, but they happened to be wearing certain clothes that made onlookers associate their clothing with popularity. Thus, making the wrong assumption that you need cool clothes to be cool.