17/11/2015
#JudgingYou

Words by

Brandon James Cook

It takes a wise man to know that he was wrong - but it takes an even wiser man to admit it.  

For years I passed judgment on people, based on what they threw on their bodies.

I have been a judgmental tween, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Joan Rivers hosted Fashion Police (rest her soul).

Exhibit A: Kids running around the clubs wearing Nike tracksuits and lad jackets. I’m sorry, but you just look suspicious. 

This may have had to do with growing up rough and gay in the suburbs of Melbourne, where the only person you knew hanging on the street in trackies was your weed dealer.

This suspicion only transformed into horror as the look became mainstream, when it trended on Tumblr and became ‘sports luxe’. 

But that was, of course, before I discovered the look was crafted for comfort over style. Turns out the advancement into an Internet fashion trend was just a bonus. 

Exhibit B: Wearing activewear to anywhere but the gym? You must have something to prove. Your capacity to register leggings as pants is strange and terrifying. There’s a reason why that activewear music video is so damn popular.

Which is how I felt until some gal pals let me know that sometimes brunch on a Sunday doesn’t demand a fashion show. That, and it’s great for tricking people into thinking you really care about fitness.

All of my judgments, however, paled in comparison to the ones I held for chinos. 

Exhibit C: Chinos.

For so long I saw chinos as the legwear of pompous yuppie dickheads. 

This may, again, be due to my upbringing: growing up in the suburbs, surrounded by other regions of a higher class. Places populated with people from wealthy backgrounds – who deemed quiet residential areas further out from the city as lower-class shitholes. And they were never afraid to let me know. 

Even now, I can see them on my news feed, standing together in Instagram pics with other genetic lottery winners, holding glass flutes in their hands filled with Dom Perignon. Expensive haircuts, shirts buttoned to the neck, suit jackets…

Chinos. All of them, in cream chino trousers.

Pair those with boat shoes, and you have the quintessential posh Cool Dude yuppie. His shirt is Ralph Polo, he can personally relate to Gossip Girl, and his car cost more than my HECS debt. 

But one day, something changed.

One day, my skin-tight denims couldn’t hack the heat.

One day, I slid on my first ever pair of cream chinos.

And it was a revelation. A comfortable, breathable, aesthetically appealing revelation. 

They were beyond a summer comfort, and never again will I doubt their wearable beige bliss. I have embraced them like a mother might clutch a newborn, or a Xanax when that child reaches high school. 

My wardrobe and attitude has shifted. My scathing prejudgments were never based in truth, but a bitter, scorned, self-made fantasy. I was wrong about chinos, and I’m sorry. I was wrong about them all. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Ralph Lauren for some new slim-fits.

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