Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Matthew Schnipper writes about the Keds Champion in white.
It’s never good when a pretty girl disses you, even indirectly. So I cringed slightly when Alexi Wasser of imboycrazy.com wrote in The Blind Leading the Blind, her periodic listing of life lessons, said, “wearing really dirty, worn in Keds COULD give people the impression that you’re homeless.” I took slight solace in the “really” in that sentence, as there is a difference between some scuffing and shoes that look like swamp thing has been wearing them since birth. But I tend to hover in the dirt range closer to the bottom of the marsh. Though I do have a very nice apartment, I’m not changing my shoes.
I started wearing a hat recently. It’s super plain and adjustable, a nice bright blue with no logo. It looks like nothing. It’s the other end of the Keds top to bottom “no style” look I would like to cultivate. I mean “no” not as in “without” or as if I am lacking in style (lord I hope I do not look like a douche), but as in “none,” like my style was translucent or non existent. Having to look like something every day is a burden, so to keep it as acutely nulled is the goal. Once someone asked Project Runway judge Michael Kors why, if he’s such a fancy designer and thorough critic, does he always wear a black blazer and black shirt? Surely Nina Garcia goes through much more than the motions. He answered that he needed to take the complication out of his own wardrobe so that he could focus on that of others. I’m not preposterous enough to equate myself with Michael Kors (also I am not quite as jowly), but the principle of a kind simplicity is one I hope to mirror. There is complication everywhere, in everything, it’s best to keep yourself unencumbered.
What’s perfect about white Keds is that they embody the ideal of classic casual ease (a man on the street in Texas told me my new ones were old school. He seemed excited.) while giving a nod to an appreciation of sleekness. Unless it is brutally snowing plus hailing and also with like rivers of blood outside my door, I wear Keds. I just get really heavy socks. The shoes get dirty, they get worn in, it’s natural. They can deal. I don’t want to look pauper filthy, but a touch of crud is the same as a morsel of flavor. And, when it gets too bad, you just get more. These shoes do not change. I buy my Keds at Shoegasm, a word I dislike saying aloud. Though gaudy by name, even they understand the need for classics.