I read a lot of fashion and style magazines and these days I go to a bunch of fashion events. Often I ride the 1 California bus to get to them, which is great because I love Chinatown.

The best thing about the 1 bus, besides the joy of having your face planted in sweaty-after-work-armpit, is seeing what some of the grandmothers who live in Chinatown are wearing. The other day I saw a woman wearing a Pokemon baseball cap, a sweatshirt with “HILLFIGER” scrawled in all caps across the front of it, sweat pants with “Pink” written across the butt and socks with Playboy Bunnies on them. (I couldn’t figure out to a way to get a picture of her for you without seeming rude or stalkerish, for which I apologize.)

I love this look. I love that she seems to be wearing whatever her grandkids grew out of, size wise or coolness wise, and not thinking a thing about it. I used to just pass these outfits off without a second thought but now I’m finding them the most interesting outfits I see.

Usually, outfits are an attempt to communicate the ego of the wearer to the rest of the world world. 99% of the outfits I see (especially at fashion events) scream “love me” or “I’m good enough” or, my least favorite, “I’m better than you”.

This woman’s outfit didn’t seem to be saying anything like that. Sure you could simplify it and say it was just expressing poverty but none of those pieces started out cheap and all of them were in perfect condition. So what I was hearing from her outfit was either selflessness or a giant raspberry.

Constantly watching people try to pass themselves off as better than they think they are is depressing and the desperation is draining. This was the first outfit I’d seen in a long time that I found rejuvenating.

I realized that her outfit was like the found object art of clothing. A bringing together of objects as a result of chance rather than ego or striving. And I think anything selfless or ego free in the world of fashion is incredibly fresh.

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the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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