Style as psychological armor

by DGO Web Administrator

At those times we feel like a bull’s-eye for the hot arrows of injustice, when everyone else seems in control of our fate, when we are scared and our souls feel tiny and lack confidence, I suggest that one way we can fight these indignities is with style (a kind of a small way, I know. But still, it is right there in the closet …)

As well as keeping us out of pervert-jail and satisfying a basic human need, we really can use our humble clothing as a suit of armor, a superhero outfit, or just the costume of a Bad Ass – a simple method of protecting our souls and vulnerable skins against the nonsense of the World while stylishly projecting élan, strength and self-respect. (Even if we don’t feel it!)


Knee-high, lug-soled leather or rubber boots give us killer traction while leaping over large puddles of deep bullshit and provide unmatched shin protection from Life’s unexpected kicks.

Wearing heeled shoes and boots – wedges, platforms and chunky heels – gives secure stature when we need to tower above.

Wearing over-the-knee height boots can make us as cool and intimidating as a pirate and as authoritarian as a dominatrix, if only we believe. Play at possessing Machiavellian power in a one-piece jumpsuit and tall boots like all-powerful Mom from “Futurama.” Combat boots snarl “Faaaack you” like a London punk in the ’70s AND holler “I! CAN! KICK! YOUR! ASS!” like a drill sergeant, covering the whole left/right badass spectrum in one boot style.


Let it be our go-to material for gutsiness on days of weakness. Accessories like hats, gloves, vests and belts can give us a feeling of protection, even off the motorcycle. It is as dauntless and charismatic as rock ’n’ roll itself. A leather jacket, vest or boots can salt-up a too-sweet dress. I wear a heavy leather wristband on days I need to be reminded to “toughen up, wimp.” When we’re down, the sensation of slight compression by a leather garment can feel a little dangerous (But we can take it!) and also strangely comforting, like a hug from Danny Trejo.

A giant leather satchel may be a bitch to lug around but IN it, we can carry everything we may possibly need to deal with the day: Preparedness is self-possession. Also helping such conviction is the hitting-weapon created with said 18-pound, lumpy, boulder-sized shoulder bag. Just saying.

Need to feel lightning-quick and super stealthy? Channel Bruce Lee in a matching slim-fit track suit and running shoes. Seventies ninja-casual looks a lot like Steve McQueen in “Bullitt,” both in a black turtleneck and black pants. Add a black leather jacket for the slickness, confidence and style of an un-indicted gangster.


Hats can be useful as blinders to the unappealing contents of a harsh world. When everything is a bit too much to take in, a brimmed hat helps to un-see or ignore sights offensive to the sensibilities.

A bartender friend of mine uses her brimmed fedora to help regulate and minimize the stressful sight of 200 thirsty bar patrons waiting to yell drink orders in her face on a super-busy night.

When your head feels like it may explode from tension, the hat will keep your brain inside.

And, of course, it provides literal protection – from rain, snow, cold, projectiles (real and imagined), bad juju or alien radio waves* (tin foil hat styles only*).


Capes are not out of the question. The 1960s did capes best in thick, warm fabrics that always look chic and yes, just so happen to be commonly worn by those with superpowers. Imagine it flowing gracefully in the wind as we gently and fairly prevail over unreasonable villain-types. Wear a cape with the boots to Avenge like Emma Peel. Trench coats can have the same result, but with the added cleverness of Inspector Gadget and Sherlock Holmes. While wearing the trench, pretend you have a classy and intimidating British accent.

Our favorite things

They are the best friend who always has our back, whispering, “You look awesome; you can do it.” The jeans that feel like a part of our body, the perfect T-shirt, that most flattering jacket – these garments hold our history and memories. I believe they hold our mojo, wash after wash! Wear them in times of wimpiness to remember when we prevailed, had a good time, made the best decision, kicked ass, left the world a better place.

Let’s draw some inspiration from the contents of our closets and see it as a bravura-cache of secret weapons. With a bit of pretend and creative courageousness, we can “fake it till we make it” through the tougher times, just by getting dressed.

Heather Narwid owns Sideshow Emporium, a vintage clothing shop soon to be moving (again) from downtown to a permanent location at 32nd St. and County Road 250. She heard you have a truck and wants you to know that you look particularly nice today.


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