Smile Politely

C-U in Style: Asif

Asif, student

Grey Sweater: Jack Threads
Printed Jacket Sweater: H&M
Jeans: All Saints on Michigan
Shoes: Sperry Topsiders

Smile Politely: How would you describe your sense of style?

Asif: I definitely go for a more preppy look just because I’ve been at a uniform school. I don’t have a particular style exactly, just whatever fits my identity, and that could change. One day I want to dress like a hipster and have something “hipsty”… something with weird prints, like this sweater. I dress the way I want to be perceived that day.

SP: What do you think is the most important part of a guy’s outfit?

Asif: Shoes. Because I think that’s the first thing girls notice. But not just that…
I think the smaller parts of an outfit are more important. Everything else has to be put together to match the smaller things. I have crazy socks, and people notice and they’re like, “Oh my God, that’s different.” 

SP: When did you first start developing your style?

Asif: My grandparents and my parents always taught me to dress well, but I started developing that more so junior year of high school. I went to uniform school, so on casual Fridays, you wanted to make sure people noticed you and to be different. I realized that if you dress a certain way, then people treat you a certain way. You should dress to show the world who you are.

SP: How did going to a prepatory school influence your dress?

Asif: Uniform definitely forced me to embrace a very preppy look. I collect ties; I really like ties, and you can’t wear ties without having a suit, so of course I love those.

The school gave me a sense of what it means to be proper all the time. I’ve noticed in the Midwest that a lot of people think sweatpants and basketball shorts are acceptable in a social setting, but when I was in the East Coast and Australia and wherever else I lived, it was just not acceptable to athletic clothes all the time. Even when I was in Australia, I went to private school, and if you did that over there, you would get scolded.

SP: How is your style influenced by all the places you have lived?

Asif: Well, I was born in Australia, moved to Florida, then North Carolina, then Tennessee, Texas, New York, Boston, Toronto, back to Australia (Melbourne and Sydney), and finally, I moved here.

Australians are super into their hair. Aussies have really crazy hairstyles, so that influenced me a lot. Also, the norm in Australia is jeans and a polo shirt for casual wear and something you would have to wear outside as opposed to sweatpants. When I moved here, I noticed that in public school there is a progression: Monday is sweats, Tuesday is sweats and nice shirt, Wednesday is jeans and t-shirt, and Friday is dress shirt, pants, and nice shoes. I had to adjust my style with things like wearing shorts to school; that was a big deal for my grandfather to see because it just wasn’t acceptable anywhere else.

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