Style Logs: Peer Pressure & Growth

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Will Walker. Photo: Olivia Obineme

Will Walker. Photo: Olivia Obineme

What’s up strangers and friends with style? I’m back at it again like I’ve got a pair of white Vans! I hope you guys are as excited to dive back into this segment of the Style Logs as I am. When we last got together, I gave you an introduction into when and where I started my style journey! For this next entry, I want you to hop back into the ride, strap on your seat belts and continue the journey with me.

I want to jump back to my elementary school days, real quick! As I mentioned previously, my early years in private school didn’t allow me to really get that wavy with the garments, however, I got a firsthand taste of how your clothing selections could heavily influence your social standing to a certain degree! As a kid, all you can think about is making friends and being popular with everyone at school, so this was a crucial aspect for a lot of elementary and middle school kids. As an adult, I can admit to having days where no fucks were given regarding my particular dress for the day, but the younger adult version of me had absolutely no concept of what ‘giving no fucks’ meant. So the ‘no fucks given’ attitude was not an option for a kid that could only impress his crush with the fashion plays on the limited number of dress down days.

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

How many of you had that one kid, or kids, in your neighborhood or school that always had everything?! I was definitely not that kid. Walking around in the latest trend just wasn’t an option. Although my parents did their absolute best in providing me with things, they were things I “needed” not “wanted.” Growing up in Cleveland, OH, both of my parents were at a high school level of education, working blue collar jobs, and trying to provide me with better opportunities in life. We moved from the city into, what was considered at the time, a better neighborhood, and whatever was left from the move was spent to send me to private school. Despite the hardships, my parents always kept me neat and looking nice, just the way a normal kid should look, but this meant absolutely nothing when being among peers that could only relate with others based on the costs of outfits.

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

If you weren’t rocking Cross Colours, Karl Kani, or baseball jerseys with the short sets, along with fresh Jordan sneakers then you probably lost a few cool points on the social ladder—or it may have felt that way. I was always a somewhat cool kid and my parents kept me in decent footwork, but it was definitely tough showing up on dress down day without the latest hot brands! I know that most of the SWS readers are probably well removed from elementary school, but if you take a minute to think back, you’ll remember that sometimes kids can be cruel. I’m just glad that I wasn’t a kid in today’s social media era because the jokes, bullying and embarrassment would have continued even after the school day was over. I’m feeling anxious just thinking about the level of savageness of today’s youth. I wouldn’t have been able to deal…

My bad—got sidetracked a bit, so let me get back on topic. My reference earlier to the Cross Colours, etc., was to point out the fact that most of us growing up probably felt the pressure to wear the current trend or brands so we could escape some form of social ridicule. The need to fit in or keep up with my peers was a driving factor in how I approached my style and fashion choices for the next few years.

Photo: Olivia Obineme

Photo: Olivia Obineme

My biggest take away after writing this month’s post is that my style journey has been a part of a long process, but I’m really happy with the evolution and what I end up wearing when I leave the house! It also dawned on me that I spent so many years buying different fashions to fit in and gain acceptance from people that I’m really not even that cool with anymore. I really wish that I understood the message behind the motto, “The clothes don’t make the man, but the man makes the clothes,” at an earlier age. The younger me wouldn’t have been thankful for that lesson, however, you learn things at your own pace and it’s probably for a specific reason. I’m grateful that I’m still learning about fashion, style, life and about becoming a man every single day. If you’re not learning, then you’re not growing. I take it as a positive sign that my life is evolving in the right direction. Thanks for staying tuned to another read and I hope you come back for the next one in this thing, called the Style Logs!

Later,

WWW Jr.

Will is a Cleveland, Ohio native who now calls Baltimore home. He’s a full time engineer; however, when he’s not making the world a better place he spends his time as a member of Treason Toting Co., planning events and populating their social media accounts. In addition to these efforts he’s an aspiring chef and also runs a mentoring program that introduces Baltimore City middle school students to S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) initiatives and careers. He moved to Baltimore over a decade ago to attend Morgan State University and has since fallen for the appeal of Charm City. You can keep up with him through social media as he tries his best to pursue his dreams, goals and enjoy life all while trying to "Make it in Baltimore" (for all of those fans of the HBO series Make it in America)!

  • Jetun Bailey

    thanks w to the third for that trip down memory lane. i can certainly relate to not being one of those cool kids with the latest gear, esp in HS. As a matter of fact, my very very limited fashion options is what propelled me into a career in fashion and def influences my sense of style today.