Just because the 4th of July is but a small spec in the rearview mirror of the '88 Bronco we call life, that doesn't necessarily mean we have to give up celebrating the numerous great achievements of our fantastic country. So as we enter the month-long, holiday-less lull before Labor Day, I invite you to join me as I look back at, and rank, the garments that can definitively be described as "American as f*ck".
10. MMA Shirts
These would've performed better if it wasn't for the fact that a ton of guys in the MMA are Brazilian and, having never been to Brazil, I can only surmise that EVERYONE down there has at least one or two Affliction tees that they don to the "cabana" to drink "caipirinhas" and play "futbol" in, surrounded by multiple bronzed women wearing small bikinis with sun-tinged hair and college degrees in hospitality management.
9. Crew Socks
Much like beer, crew socks are available in 6 or 12 packs and will help to break the ice when meeting potential hookups at a Tuesday night Chili’s happy hour. They’ve also been the obvious sock of choice for NBA players, vintage skaters, Mark McGrath, and Garry Shandling, probably.
8. Fanny Packs
All joking aside, I love fanny packs
. I'd wear one daily if it didn't mean I'd be ostracized to the point of crippling insecurity and subjected to the all-too-familiar image of girls pointing at my crotch and laughing. And although I dropped microeconomics to follow my genetically inferior heart to a minor in anthropology (?), I still know a thing or two about supply and demand. So I demand that you all help me to revive the fanny pack and I'll supply you with high-fives. That's how that all works right? Cool.
7. Weird Ass Shoes
The propensity of our fellow statesmen to always buy the most stupid looking shoes they can find and wear them to the most inappropriate places they can think of boggles my misunderstood mind. I may dress like a conflicted 14-year-old skateboarding paralegal fresh out of junior college, but even I know that when I throw a pair of pants on, complementing them with a pair of Vibram FiveFingers will make me look more confused than Dario Saric's creepy mustache and magenta bow tie
6. Casual Khaki Cargo Pants
The US armed forces wear them and Michael Jordan puts them on to golf in
. That gives 'em the definitive cred they need to survive this not-at-all-arbitrary rundown. Every now and again, some wildcard designer will try to bring back cargos and a gaggle of "fashion bloggers" will write about them, but few will actually wear them, as they're utterly pointless as everyday pants in the real world.
As Americans, wearing sweatpants in public at least 4, 5, or 200 times throughout our lifetime is really no biggie. If there is one garment that stifles fascism whilst promoting ideas of freedom, democracy, and comfort, by golly, it's shapeless athletic wear. Throw in some knockoff Adidas Slides and a borderline offensive sassy Tweety bird shirt and you've got yourself a very solid "weekend in Kansas" look.
4. Alma Mater Sweaters
I went to a state school founded in 1961, where our mascot was a 6-inch tall burrowing owl, so I never really understood the alma mater sweater until I moved to a place where universities had this strange, foreign concept called “tradition”. And since college ain’t cheap but talk is, Americans will show you, in the form of voluminous crew neck or hoodie, how much they're willing to pay for institutionalized superiority: ~$45.99 + tax.
3. Tank Tops
Every time a tank top is worn publicly, the value of our dollar increases 0.035%. Tank tops are a vital fiber in the cultural quilt that keeps the United States of America safe and protected; representing toughness, an adventurous spirit, and our predisposition to show off our sweet, sweet ‘ceps *kisses left ‘cep, kisses right ‘cep*. For example, Wolverine wears a tank top, and he’s immortal and made out of some magical aluminum I don’t understand. Brad Pitt sports an iconic one in Fight Club while explaining what the hell dissociated personality disorder is (brains, brawn, general badassery), and even Nick “Wickerman” Cage was looking hard as sh*t in Con Air while getting all sensitive about putting a stuffed bunny rabbit back into a box. Damn tank tops are glorious.
2. Cowboy Hats
Sometimes, I like to think of Canada as America’s cowboy hat. But since Canada isn’t America, I just end up feeling confused, sad, scared, and helpless. Much like how I imagine Canadian’s feel all the time. Anywho, if America had to wear one outfit for the rest of its life (read: forever), it’d consist of worn-in denim trousers, a durable pair of boots, a tank top under a University of Phoenix sweatshirt, and a hat. F*ck yeah.
1. Blue Jeans
Although the long-legged story of jeans originates in Italy, they are truly an American item. It all started when James Dean wore them in Rebel Without a Cause, and although I've actually never seen the film, IMDB informed me it's about “A rebellious young man with a troubled past [that] comes to a new town, finding friends and enemies.” Which sounds an awful lot like a metaphor for America's development. Later, The Boss sports them on his album cover to the aptly titled BORN IN THE USA, and, to keep the scales even, cowgirl Calamity Jane wore jeans all the time when she was doing dope sh*t like chillin’ with Wild Bill Hickok, probably high-fiving bandits and taking refuge in the fact that they had awesome monikers. Personally, I’m surprised the American flag isn’t made out of denim.