Damocles’ Style ….

Farang

Team Farang, my parkour idols ever since I got interested in the discipline. 

This is a bit random, but I felt like discussing my own style and what I particularly like in clothing. 

Ever since I was in high school, and discovered for the very first time what a hoodie was, I have been interested in clothing ever since.

It’s not as strong as my love for tactical gear (I still need to get myself a plate carrier) but there is definitely a keen interest in how to clothe myself. One of the very first blogs I followed on WordPress, and have been an avid reader ever since, was BAMF Style, whose erudite and excellent analysis of so many important pop culture and obscure outfits, have enthralled me and informed my own choices.

I mostly buy a lot of muted, earthy colours. Being a Melburnian, this obviously means a lot of … blue. I’m kidding of course, in reality, the natural colour of this city is black.

But I honestly don’t own that many black items.

My approach to colour tends to be very dark navy blues, with lighter colours like brown and greys to balance out the whole look. Overall, I would have to say my style is quite muted, more akin to blending in with the crowd, than trying hard to stand out and be a personality.

It also tends to be quite functional, with many of my purchases based around my EDC policy, and thus I need a lot of strong belts, pockets and looser cuts to hide my various gadgets.

There are so many looks I would love to explore. A great example I adore is the 80s Miami Vice aesthetics of pastel pinks, blues and aqua, but with my physique and “mentality” when it comes to clothes, I cannot pull off such a look.

Another admirable trend I love, are the colours that often people of African descent can pull off. I love the bright purples, yellows and oranges that they pull off with such ease and aplomb, but, my skin tone and physique again, lacks the ability to handle such brightness.

So, how do I dress myself?

Predominantly in 3 styles.

Street. Paramilitary. Suave.

Each of these style represent a rather unique period of my life and dovetails nicely with the obsessions I had at the time. However, the current theme I noticed in all of them, are practical elements that always pay service to the gadgets I have on board.

These gadgets, have grown over the years, but currently they stand at this list:

  • Suunto All Core Watch
  • Milspec550 Paracord Trooper Bracelet
  • Samsung A90 Phone
  • Ipod Nano 7th Gen
  • Dr Dre. Powerbeats Pro headphones
  • CAT Tourniquet
  • Pelican Flashlight
  • Leatherman Skeletool
  • Car Keys
  • Pocket Tissues

It is a lot of gear to carry around, and given my perchance for running, I have to definitely have freedom of movement in whatever clothes I wear. I’ve ran in suits, street-wear and jeans, and enjoyed the feel of all of them.

If I can’t burst into a sprint at a moment’s notice, I automatically reject the garment.

So with those caveats in mind, here is a breakdown of the styles I follow.

Street.

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David Belle performing a stunt in the film: District 13 Ultimatum (2009)

The first real style I began to invest in, once I left the bubble of high school, was street clothing.

I was obsessed with cargo pants; their utility, baggy fit, and durability beautifully dovetailed with the amount of concrete I was slamming my body into, when I was getting into parkour.

I still recall fondly my Under Armour cargo pants, which served me for nearly 5+ years, and got so worn around the knees, there were giant holes there. I had genuinely gone through the wringer with them and to pair with these pants, I mostly wore Nike black runners, and my black Reach parkour shirt.

If I was cold, I would buy a cheap hoodie, that I didn’t mind ripping holes into. I ended up going through two hoodies.

The first was a cheap British brand, I forget the name off, in which, after a year, the hem was perforated with holes, from my rough landings. The second was my Ubi-Workshop Assassin Creed II hoodie, which had a small eagle peak atop the hood.

It was this amazing red/black design, that I absolutely loved to wear everywhere and it was also tight and streamlined, thus allowing me full freedom of movement in it.

I was also skateboarding a lot back then, having just bought a cheap board, and then spray-painting it black and adding a red Spiderman logo on it. It suited my hoodie a lot, I must say.

That was my main look, I rocked throughout most of university, skateboarding or running around in that outfit, eager to feel pavement under my feet, instead of carpeted tutorial rooms.

I still own a lot of these items, but now I’ve added a lot more colour (pastel pink and blues) and long-sleeved shirts to them. There is a uniquely Melbourne brand I shop at, called Sure! whose streetwear I love, and support, because “streetwear” should ideally be linked to the city whose streets you love the most.

I don’t really do Supreme or anything similar, mostly because the concept of paying a lot to look a bit “drab” is bizarre to me. Streetwear should be comfortable, affordable and representative of your city. Anything else, just seems excessive.

If I had to sum up my streetwear, it’s mostly long-sleeved shirts, tapered pants, a lot of clothes from the Team Farang store and admittedly, a whole lot of black, because the holes and damage don’t show up as much, when I engage in rolls and tumbles across concrete.

My streetwear, is essentially based around parkour. Comfortable, slightly stylish and sleek outfits that make me feel cool, (physically and mentally) when running through the streets of Melbourne.

Out of the three styles, this one is probably has the least amount of investment in it, because I don’t do parkour as much anymore (even though I really want to), but it is the first adoption of any particular approach towards fashion.

And there are always things on the Team Farang store I really, really want to wear.

Paramilitary.

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Lucas Botkin of T.Rex Arms fame, smiling for once. 

Out of the three styles, this is my general preference and the most I’ve actually invested in.

Christened by me as the “off-duty cop” look, it is the style that military or police adopt when trying their best to “blend” with society, but really, to anyone in the business, they stand out like a sore thumb.

It is also a look, that once called out, you can instantly see what it is.

Functional, practical, and slightly mismatched. You can instantly spot why certain articles of clothing enable certain movements and concealment of gadgets. It is also getting increasingly expensive, with the rise of “military Gucci” gear, like certain type of clothes costing exorbitant amounts, because they look good and serve a good function.

Very unlike a lot of gear out there that just serve a function and look horrific.

In my case, it bought about a whole new obsession with flannel shirts, and henley shirts. I ended up with a whole host of colours to suit any mood I am in, and I always invariably ended up rolling up my sleeves and leaving that shirt unbuttoned.

Due to my size and style, I actually buy a lot of these shirts from Muji whose style and philosophy allow for comfortable, simple and nondescript clothing really help play down my paramilitary vibe. Their flannel colours are always nice and I enjoy the little collar to add some depth to the shirts.

For my base layer, it tends to be henley shirts, or just good long-sleeved shirts ideally from Superdry or since I have recently explored and upgraded to this brand, Arc’teryx. Out of the two, I preferred Arc’teryx for their colours, fit and overall feel, but my biggest issue are their stock in Australia. The Canadian and American sites really showcase how much they have on offer, and the Australian website is truly awful in comparison.

I would also love to access the Arc’teryx LEAF collection but that is an impossibility here. I also adore their jackets. I am currently saving up for one, and will be very happy once I get their outer-shell jackets.

Another brand that has actually grown a lot here, is 5.11 Tactical whose pants are phenomenal for this style. They strike the right balance between functional and aesthetic, in particular I love their Defender-Flex jeans which just hits everything I want in a pair of denim pants.

In addition to that, I frequently wear their Apex pants, and swear by them, as one of the most comfortable and utilitarian pants out there.

A typical look for me, everyday, is to slip on a long sleeved Arc’teryx shirt, a nondescript Muji outer shirt, my 5.11 jeans, and my Under Armour Valsetz combat boots, with a Arx’teryx beanie to finish the look.

Every single one of my gadgets feel good in the pockets, or hidden away on my 5.11 belt (I have yet to get a belt from T.Rex Arms) and I feel like nothing is loose or showing too much on my body.

The outfit makes me feel rugged, ready and prepared for absolutely anything, while feeling relatively stylish and casual about anything.

I absolutely love this look, and feel like it is the best representation of who I am, and what I am about.

I’ve probably spent far too much accessorising this style too, with an ever growing list of beanies, gloves, Maxpedition bags, sunglasses and caps.

It is very American-influenced and I don’t mind too much if I am honest. Ruggedness is something I aspire for.

This style is at the moment, what peak Damocles emulates currently.

Suave.

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Daniel Craig as 007 in Casino Royale (2006) 

Admittedly, one of the biggest influences for me growing up, in terms of cinema, narrative, style and even as a role model, was Daniel Craig and Martin Campbell’s interpretation of James Bond in the film Casino Royale.

Still my favourite Bond film to this day, with every facet of Bond ticked off beautifully, from exotic locales, to sultry femme fatales (Eva Green still captivates me to this day), Casino Royale was one of those films I rewatched so much, I almost remember every line.

It also sparked an interest in reading the Bond novels, a series which admittedly hasn’t aged particularly well, but serve more as an example of thinking and mindsets popular back then.

What did surprise me though, were the highly detailed description of luxury, interspersed with interesting prose about life, death and action scenes.

The food, clothes, drinks and locations were all vividly described in such detail, I can still remember memorable scenes of Bond eating a meal in the books.

Casino Royale nailed that level of detail and bought it into the modern age.

I don’t think there is a single outfit in that film, that Bond wears, that I have not sought to replicate in some shape or form, except maybe that Hawaiian shirt at the beginning of the film.

The leather jacket in Miami with that pastel blue colour remains something that haunts me, knowing that I can never pull of leather as well as Daniel Craig.

The dark blue Sunspel polo in the Bahamas remains an item, just out of my reach, my bank account unable to justify the price.

Casino Royale remains the fundamental template upon which I still base a lot of my looks around when it comes to more expensive and suave taste.

British luxury brands, are definitely something I have acquired a taste for, but am unable to afford.

Take for example, N.Peal whose amazing cashmere range has been featured extensively in Skyfall, Spectre and No Time To Die. The promotional imagery of all the films, have, in some shape or form, recommended N.Peal, even more than Tom Ford.

The gorgeous tactneck for the Spectre poster, and the classic British military-styled blue jumper for No Time to Die had me salivating for something similar to garb myself.

 That cashmere. 

The perfect blend of luxury and tactical classiness on display there. I don’t think you could look anymore espionage-y if you tried.

And that … is mostly the limit of my suave style. I adore functional clothing that is luxurious and stylish, and would probably gladly swap a lot of my flannel for those jumpers, if I knew I could pull them off confidently.

My style is mostly modelled after Bond’s casual clothing, less his suits, because admittedly, I don’t see myself wearing suits that often.

However, were I to fully suit up, I would probably no doubt spend 5K on getting a Tom Ford Windsor Suit. Tom Ford’s brand and style has become something of a quiet admiration for me. I love that he somehow balances American styling with hints of British and Italian in his suits and I really cannot wait to get a suit and have it tailored to me.

But currently, I will confess, I would rather get plate armour given a choice.

But the paramilitary style for me is actually nearing completion. I’ve nearly maxed out on all the items I really want to purchase. The suave style is my next target and I will no doubt be looking to get N.Peal items very, very soon.

In fact, I only recently bought a Barbour jacket, similar to Bond’s Skyfall finale which was easily the standout costume in that film. Something about the ruggedness, earthy tones and colour combination truly, told me that I needed to adopt something similar.

Skyfall-Barbour-Jacket-4

Skyfall’s Barbour Jacket on display in the highlands of Scotland.

The suave style is something I have a lot of interest and passion for, but … goddamn it, it is just so bloody expensive.

Soon though. Hopefully, one day I will achieve the heights of masculine fashion and be the envy of my past self.

Bonus: Racing

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Charles Leclerc of Ferrari fame celebrating.

Even more of a pipe dream than my suave dream, are motorsport uniforms. I love racing suits and their casual uniforms. Classy, sporty and evocative uses of sponsors, I have always loved helmet designs and race suits, whether it is Formula 1 or MotoGP. Something about how utilitarian and functional they are at high speeds, while maintaining a distinct aesthetic really makes me wish I owned one for myself.

I particularly love helmet designs and if I am ever at a stage where I can customise my own, I will be over the moon.

I would probably go for a base of British Racing Green with accents of creamy gold  and a motif of a sword on the back of the helmet (sly reference to my name here).

But that description doesn’t really do justice to how it looks in my head.

Street, Paramilitary, and Suave. 

Those are the main styles that I wear in reality. I have invested the most in paramilitary and am seeking to expand my suave style.

Out of them all, I love paramilitary, since it feels like an extension of my personality.

But secretly, I really want suave to be the “me” people associate with.

Anyway, that is a brief breakdown of the style I predominantly wear, out and about.

Clothes are almost certainly a secret and quiet passion of mine, with so much variation, colour and styles out there, just waiting to be tried and worn out.

I do love fashion, but am certainly too poor to afford it as a pastime.

Damn it … N.Peal

~ Damocles. 

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