Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
"I am forty-four years of age. I am not interested in dressing like a college student like the gay men that are wearing Abercrombie as they wave on the ferry as they dock on Fire Island. I am not dressing to fit in. I am not dressing for anyone else’s approval.
At forty-four, I am embracing all the things that I love about myself, as I have come to know what suits this body and this evolved personality. As a teenager, I was so awkward with being rail thin and sexually confused that I hid my body with my clothing. Baggy pants, oversized t-shirts, slouch socks (yes, it was the 80’s) and trench coats. And since it was the 80’s, I am certain that I was wearing some knock off Cazelle sunglasses. In effect, I was a teenager that looked as if I was in a witness protection program. In my twenties, now finding my self expression as a gay man and wanting so desperately to be attractive, my style was akin to skin tight pants and body conscious t shirts (because of course, as a gay man I started working out to give “body” which is so very necessary in our culture, it seemed to me at that time). Accompanied by dyed blond hair and experimenting with drag on occasion (every Halloween to be exact). My thirties style settled in on more masculine attire that was more J Crew and Barney’s Co-Op; confident and ready for business even as an artist, which leads me to the glory of forty-four. I have a clearer sense of who I am and I am fearless in showing that with my style, which is very masculine/feminine. I play with fur, wide brimmed hats, old school Italian cut 70’s slacks, and Carrera sunglasses. I am a child of the seventies, so I think that Teddy Pendergrass, Diana Ross, and images from Studio 54 have influenced the style that says the real me. From day to day, I have a different style, depending on how I feel. I am a bit of a peacock with color and pattern. I have some great pieces. I feel my best when I am dressed to the nines for no reason on a Tuesday. My closets hosts a killer cream colored Vivienne Westwood coat, a vintage Valentino blazer, MuDu London hats, a row of tuxedo’s from Hugo Boss - with a Calvin Klein and Top Shop tossed in for good measure - vintage fur scarves, Tom Ford bow ties, a vintage three piece Blue Velvet suit that I bought from the costume shop of the California Shakespeare Theater, and structured jeans and knit wear for long legs from All Saints. When you are forty-four, I believe, your clothing becomes investments. You buy pieces. You know your grown up style.
I dress with the promise that you get better with age. Age is nothing to fear. Embrace. With style and dignity. To remain young is a travesty.
As I borrow from James Baldwin, we should blast the myth of the “Ageless American Boy.” “The phenomenon, unprecedented in the world, of the ageless American boy; it has something to do with our desperate adulation of simplicity and youth-how bitterly betrayed one must have been in one’s youth to suppose that it is a virtue to remain simple or to remain young!”