The other day I found myself desperately rummaging through my wardrobe attempting to find some sort of needle in a haystack of ill-fitting garments and obsolete accessories. I HAVE. NOTHING. TO. WEAR. Yes, I decided that amongst all the things I ain’t got time for, I really needed to make time for a wardrobe update. I needed a new style, a new ‘look’. And what better place to start than General Pants, the go-to store for all Sydney trend-setters?
For those of you not from Australia, General Pants is an overpriced clothing store that appeals to three core style groups; indie-identifiers, modern punks, and ‘non-mainstream’ hipsters (ironically, a very lucrative market segment). Whilst it presents itself to be a subversive urban-wear outfitter, in actuality, General Pants can be considered the McDonalds of the retail sector; they can be located in just about every shopping centre you enter. Walking into one of these types of fashion stores is comparable to crossing over into an absurd alternate universe….a universe where all the cool kids appear to be keen on hideous short-sleeved Hawaiian-print shirts… a place where one does not require any optical justification to wear thick-rimmed specs… a world I soon realised that I do not have time for.
It was not long after I took my first steps into the local General Pants when I actually grasped the fact that I stood-out like a dad at a One Direction concert. When did I become so uncool? I dress like a grandma compared to these trend-setters, and not in a well-styled, vintage sort of way that indies seem to appreciate. My feminine floral frock starkly contrasted against all the punks rocking ripped muscle tanks inscribed with ‘Nirvana’ and the indie musicians wearing plaid pants and boat shoes. I felt so out-of-place standing by all the bearded hipsters sporting a strange style combination of bucket-hats and suspenders (apparently it’s mo-vember all year round for hipster males).
As I self-consciously explored racks of foreign looking apparel, I began to second guess my decision to revamp my wardrobe. Picking up a ‘top’ that could only be described as a cut-up bandana, I questioned whether this ‘indie punk look’ was really for me. I proceeded to browse though jewellery and handbags, where I struggled to find anything that wasn’t ripped, studded, spiked or embroidered with skulls.
My hopes of looking up-to-date gradually faded away like the stone-washed fabric of the denim bomber jackets hanging on display racks. In fact, the odds of finding anything wearable in this store were looking smaller than those mini-shorts worn by the mannequin near the window. When suddenly, I spotted something mildly appropriate stashed away in a far corner. I saw something plain…something minimalist… something with sleeves… something that would cover my midriff:
“Perfect,” I thought “I’ll just check the price”.
WHAT? $89.95? But it’s a grey turtleneck?
I was just about to stealthily return the overpriced jumper back on the rack when I heard the dreaded words, “Oh, that’s so you, let me put it in the change room”.
I just wanted to evaporate.
Turning around, I saw a young staff member who’s outfit appeared to be inspired by a strange mixture of Johnny Depp, a ninja and Batman.
I nervously made my way towards the changing rooms, passing rows of Doc Martins, loafers and Converse shoes.
“I’ve put you in here, give us a yell if you need any help with styling”
….He knows I need help with styling. Is it that obvious? Do I look that daft?
As I slipped on the jumper with great care (after all it would cost me about a days worth of pay), I noticed the obscure polaroid posters and indie wall decorations glued on the inner walls of the changing room. They featured lots of images of old style bicycles, galaxies, triangles, wolves, and men with exaggerated moustaches. Hmm ok then….
The changing room’s dim lighting forced me to exit the comfort of the dingy box and use the stores’ communal mirrors. I was doing a few twirls and debating whether or not the oversized, overpriced jumper suited me, when Batman reappeared to save the day (or the sale).
“Grey is totally your colour”… a really diplomatic way of saying that I’m dull and uninteresting.
“Yeah, I’m not too sure,” I replied.
“Well sweaters are really in right now” ….. It’s winter, of course sweaters are in.
“Uh I’ll think about it,” I lied. I wanted to get out of this place.
It was at that very moment I realised, I ain’t got time for this. I ain’t got time for looking ridiculous in MC-Hammer inspired leopard pants that everyone else seems looks cool in, and I ain’t got time for trying on tops that are sheer in places that shouldn’t be sheer.
Indeed, my experience at General Pants has enabled me to realise that transforming oneself into a ‘trendy hipster’ encompasses matters far beyond a wardrobe overhaul…. it demands a complete lifestyle change. I ain’t got time for foregoing my car for a bicycle, nor do I have the ability to incorporate a strict vegan diet into my life. I listen to far too much Katy Perry to ever be considered indie or punk, and fact is, I will never be hipster because I don’t own a polaroid camera.
I admire hipsters, indies, punks and metal heads that can pull-off the clothes sold General Pants, but maxing out my credit card on all things avant-garde? No thanks, I’ll stick to my ‘mainstream’ wardrobe.