What I Wish I Could Pull Off But Can't

I have never owned an article of clothing from Abercrombie & Fitch. Whenever friends commiserate about their cringe-worthy middle school wardrobes, I can brag that I avoided the trend of buying $50 shirts from stores that double as sensory deprivation chambers. While I wish this was because 13-year-old David didn’t care about what was “cool” to wear and marched to the beat of his own drum, the truth is that my drum was definitely rented from someone else. I would’ve loved to wear Abercrombie, Hollister, or Limited Too For Boys, but I self-identified as too dorky to wear the first two and the third one is made up. Rather than run the risk of being called a fraud, I self-policed and didn’t even try to dress cool. Boys like my classmate Drew could wear A&F graphic tees that said “You look like my next ex-girlfriend,” but I knew I wasn’t meant to rock that (or have a ton of next ex-girlfriends). I’m now an Adult Person who doesn’t care as much what other people think of my style choices—it’s been years since I would ask seven people for advice before buying a striped polo at Old Navy. That being said, there are still plenty of clothes I’d love to rock that I just don’t think I can pull off. Here are a few.


Any hat. For the eight years I spent as a Boy Scout, I had to wear a red beret as part of my uniform, which was an issue on several accounts. For one thing, I wasn’t an adorable French orphan or a hunky military man, which are the only two groups who should ever wear berets. More pressing was the fact that my head's too big for any hat. For eight years I wore a beret with the back cut out of it so it was wide enough so I didn’t look exactly like an acorn. Rough stuff, y’all.

The two big hat trends I currently feel excluded from are dad hats and those black, wide-brimmed hats everyone either started wearing because of Beyoncé or American Horror Story: Coven. A note on dad hats: aren’t these just baseball hats? Like, why are we suddenly calling them dad hats when they’ve been around as baseball hats forever? I’m not making it up that we’re doing that, right? Okay cool, thanks for making me feel less gaslighted. I can’t wear those, and I can’t wear Beyoncé hats that make me look like a YouTuber who hasn’t realized yet that he’s not going to sustain himself financially on Ariana Grande parody videos.

Big scarves. There are certain prerequisite skills for pulling off a scarf, such as an understanding of layered outfits, strong shoulders, or knowing how to tie a scarf. I lack all of these, plus I don’t trust myself to wear a big scarf because I’m afraid I’ll use it as a pillow, fall asleep on the T, and wake up at the end of the line.

Skinny jeans. I wish I could rock these on principle, even though every beauty campaign now tells me I Am Still A Person Who Should Buy Clothes Even Though I Have Pudge. If I ever become exorbitantly wealthy I’m going to pay a tailor to sew me into a pair of skinny jeans that I normally wouldn’t be able to pull on over my birthing hips.

A varsity jacket. I promise I wasn’t a total loser my entire childhood, but I feel like any guy who at one point hid in the unlit crevice of the locker room to change for gym class secretly wishes they were sporty enough to earn a jacket with a football patch on it. In 2010, I almost bought a McKinley High School varsity jacket when I attended the Glee concert for the second time (too much to unpack there in 1,100 words). I ultimately decided against purchasing it, which is a decision almost as good as deciding not to sign up for Emerson’s First Kiss video back in 2014. My low-key fantasies of being #masc enough to wear this status symbol may have to wait until my next life when my Moon Volleyball team wins the space station regionals.

Diva cups. Not really a style thing and not applicable to me for self-explanatory reasons, but a lot of my menstruating pals are into these and I think they’re awesome in theory.

Chokers. I’m the kind of trend follower who likes to follow trends lightly, so that it doesn’t seem like I’m trying to fit in when in fact I am. I feel like it’s too late in the game for me to get into chokers, even though I really like the ribbon ones that make everyone look like they’re pledging Kappa.

Jorteralls. Here’s the thing: I’m not meant to pull off jorteralls. They basically don’t exist in my size, which I know from a year’s worth of scouring the internet for a pair. Still, I refuse to lose hope that one day I’ll be browsing at The Gap and stumble upon size 35 jorteralls that make me look resplendent. What could be more fun than a clothing item that obscures my front, showcases my calves, and incorporates denim? People have pointed out to me that I could just buy overalls and cut them, but I guess I’m a jorteralls purist.

Septum rings. Can these come out when you sneeze? If so, I’d end up doing that. And if not, I’d make my septum ring really gross. I breathe through my mouth more than I’d like to admit, and I don’t think blocking off a chunk of my nasal space would improve that.

A tattoo of Joni Mitchell. As much as I’d love to ink my favorite Canadian songstress on my arm, I don’t anticipate my body staying shaped like a human body for more than another thirty years or so. Nobody wants to see Joni’s face sag as my skin sinks, just like how no one wants to see me weep to Court and Spark as I walk around in public. Rompers. There’s something about these glorified onesies that I’m obsessed with, and in my heart, I’m holding on to the hope that there’ll be Men’s Rompers within the next ten years. Gender is a myth, let me have this! I’m pretty prone to moose knuckle so that may be a problem, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

Photo by: Caitlin Stassa & Monika Davis