Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Crime & Fashion

This weekend, possibly Friday, two women were shot on N. Cap and S walking their dogs. The suspect was a black male wearing a white T-shirt and jeans. When I read that the first thought that jumped into my head was that a lot of the neighborhood characters wear white t-shirts and jeans. Unmarked white tees. No logos. No distinguishable markings of any kind.
This got me to thinking about what are the white shirt/ blue jeaned young males wearing these days and the differences in the sea of white shirts. Sticking with the T-shirt, you have your low and high v-necks, scoop neck (but isn't that more of a feminine style?), crew neck. I also know there are several ways to wear a tee, there is tight, slim, loose, and baggy. Baggy being if it were to be tucked in it would look ridiculous. Also some male styles that are slim there are shirts that are long, particularly tank tees. Then there are also ribbed t-shirts, but sometimes you have to get close to tell. Rarely seen, and thus not likely worn, are the muscle shirt and mock neck.
Then you have jeans. No acid washed. No flared pants. Rarely any tight fitting ones among the hang out on the sidewalks of Shaw crowd. I haven't looked closely enough to spot if a certain style of jeans, like carpenter pants, is shunned or favored. The pants favored do fall in the relaxed and baggy, as they leave a lot of butt room. Apparently, regular fit will show if you got a saggy rear.
Since I'm not a guy, are there other details in causal men's clothing that I missed? Also when white boys in striped polos and khakis become a usual description for perpetrators, I'll take a closer look at them too. Just to be safe be be wary of the ones with popped collars.

Hanes Men's Clothing| Men's T-Shirts

Levi's Jean finder



At 9/05/2007 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the point of their fashion choice is to blend in so as to not be picked out of a crowd by (a) witnesses and (b) cops.

I think we see the oversized baggy white t-shirt and baggy jeans for a reason. It's easiest to conceal things in pockets and the waistband.

If only we had some more fashion on the streets of DC. Criminals are so unimaginative here... and yet so productive.

-Master of the Obvious

At 9/05/2007 11:54 AM, Anonymous bogfrog said...

You could work with nbdinz to follow various people walking through your nabe and surreptitiously take fashion photos.

At 9/05/2007 12:17 PM, Blogger Mari said...

I'm not really comfortable taking pictures of people. Unless they are in the process of doing something illegal. Also elements of the element are web savvy, so that's another thing I occasionally keep in mind.

At 9/05/2007 10:05 PM, Anonymous jimbo said...

You should be Tim Gunn's sidekick on 'Guide to Style'.

At 9/06/2007 9:28 AM, Anonymous Stanley H. said...

This post illustrates that an "us and them" atmosphere exists in the neighborhood. The difference ultimately isn't defined along racial lines, it is defined by different cultures arising from fundamentally different worldviews reinforced by differing socio-economic classes.

Replace the word "Element" with the term "Urban Redneck" in your post, and this tiny neighborhood is visible within a much larger context.

At 9/06/2007 11:42 AM, Blogger Mari said...

Maybe it is clear to you and some others, but I'm not versed in the shorthand you're using to make a point about a 'larger context'. Clarify.
And in a diverse neighborhood you're going to get a little 'us vs them'. Also the worldview may be a little fluid (depending on age)as some of us have observed how young black men who could be members of the black middle if they stayed on the right path, but got seduced by the self-and community destroying thug life or waylaid by something stupid. Lucky, one kid who wandered off the path, eventually got back on. But he could have easily been another white tee blue jean aimless male.

At 9/06/2007 12:34 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Where are my manners? That should read "Please clarify."

At 9/06/2007 2:27 PM, Anonymous stanley h. said...

Have you noticed that this is a divided nation? "Red State v. Blue State" "Dems v. Repubs" "Christian Conservatives v. Everybody"

Then we have the ever-present-through-human-history: "Haves v. Have-Nots". Or "Rich v. Poor", if you will.

That's the larger context. Peculiar that it isn't obvious give current affairs.

Are there no young white/latino/asian/black/mixed/etc. men and women in other parts of the country who are lead astray by popular culture and/or sheer ignorance? If you think it is a phenomenon exclusive to DC, you shoulda went on a long road trip instead of renovating your house.

Just my opinion.

At 9/06/2007 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"given current affairs"



At 9/06/2007 3:50 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Mari vs Everybody... dang you make me scared to leave the house now ;-)

It can be divided or united depending on the situation or the topic at hand.
I try to stick to the local. This blog tries to stick to the local. Local meaning my street, TC, Shaw, Old City, DC, DC metro area, and maybe DC-Baltimore Corridor. I also value the first person experience (though I'm willing to entertain non-local statistics when one can analyse the study mechanics) over non-local stories or conditions where this very local audience cannot gage it with their own 1st person experiences.
I'd like to think that the value of this blog is that I keep it local, and in that people can gage how much truth there is to what I (or commenters) may be expressing by walking out their front door, engaging with their neighbors, or on their way back from work.
The other thing is that I'm an AfroAmerican woman I would love, LOVE, nothing better than to see all my people succeed and make it to the promised land that my parents and those before them fought to gain. My ethnic/racial group has some things we're still working out, so I tend to take a slightly greater interest as a member of my group.
The thug-life culture is being lived out here with people getting shot at (and plain shot) blocks from my house. It's lived out when I see drug dealers hanging out on the corner when I come home from work. Heck, I haven't had a frigging TV in the house for months on end and I can get a sense of the thuggy life walking a couple of blocks. You can get a sense of it simply by living here.
My best friend went on a long road trip, apparently you see a lot of interstates, a few McDonald's, several gas stations, and your legs get tired. Very car-centric. I'm partial to train travel. Maybe you had a different experience, tell of your first person experience on the road and it's application to this post's topic.

At 9/08/2007 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stick to the local? Walk eastbound on your street until you reach North Capital Street, look to your right, and observe the big dome in the distance.

If this were Chicago or LA, "sticking to the local" would make more sense. You own a piece of the Capital of the United States of America. But go ahead, confine your thoughts to your block. That pervasive mentality is one of Washington's many problems.

Your experience of the USA, the country in which you live, is confined to anectodes told by a friend who drove a long distance and saw some McDonald's along interstate highways? That strikes me as sad. Did your friend think about getting out of the car at places other than McDonald's? Living, working, and studying in other parts of the country are viable alternatives to driving on interstates. Hey, I know someone who is on a 1,000+ mile hike right now, from the Mexican border up to the Canadian border. Maybe I can set him up with your friend? They likely have sooo much in common.

If you can't tie your life experiences into the larger culture in which you live ("the larger context"), you're missing something. But that's just my opinon.

I know, I know: you lived in FL for a while and spent some nights in suburban MD or something. Clearly, those experiences didn't leave much of an impression, since you confine your worldview to "the local".

BTW: Do you approve or disapprove of your city Councilman's (Mr. Thomas) attempt in conjunction with Councilman Barry to keep "your people" in the demographic majority which you've "enjoyed" (as Mr. Thomas said) over the past several decades? He's publicly floated the idea of establishing a race-based political entity designed for the express purpose of keep non-blacks from being a majority in the US Capital City. Thoughts?


At 9/08/2007 2:32 PM, Blogger Mari said...

My thoughts are that I can't give you what you want.
Check Wonkette in aisle 5, or the umpteen-thousand other "DC" blogs that get their jollies off of going on about the Federal side (where I don't have representation, yet strangely, taxed) of this city.
Now, we have gone off topic. You want to discuss this more, buy me a tea at the Big Bear Cafe and we'll talk till Lana kicks us out.

At 9/08/2007 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not off topic at all. Cultural trends include clothing, music, and "thug life" attitudes. All of these things have national and international attributes. (Elvis is still big in Japan!)

You own a piece of the Capital of the United States, and you frequently write about the experience from a very constrained (one city block long) perspective, yet you do it within a global forum called "The Internet" or the "Blogosphere".

The question about Harry Thomas is on topic for this post, too. I won't belabor the point, though.

Suggest that you publish a printed newsletter and distribute it at local liquor stores if you don't want an infusion of differing opinions. Again, you are publishing your thoughts to an international medium (in an international city, no less) Can you check your blog usage stats? Any hits from overseas sources?


At 9/08/2007 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Final rhetorical questions, I promise;

Don't you work for the federal government? Please don't tell us (your global readership) that you exercise your free will by choosing to work for the government while simultaneously loathing it and its relationship to your hometown. (Which is also the government's hometown, and is where you choose freely to reside.) You could either find another job, move out of DC, or both. Otherwise, you're engaged in something like self-schadenfeude; "I despise the federal gov., but I'm part of the system and I live in the system!"

BTW, that bar on "boy bikes" that gets in the way? People who are serious about living a car-free life know that its proper name is "top tube". Skirts are ancillary considerations to truly being car-free.

Blog on!


At 9/08/2007 9:35 PM, Blogger Golden Silence said...

Stanley, stanley, sh, Anonymous or whoever you are, stop being a troll. It's Mari's blog and she's entitled to her opinion.

I always wondered about the "white tee/baggy jean" trend. I never understood it. Is it a code for something or a flat-out lack of fashion innovation?

I wish I saw more young Black males take pride in their appearance and individuality in their style. They could be easily dressing like that to elude cops, but there are better ways of keeping cops off their backs like educating themselves and staying around positive influences.

At 9/09/2007 2:36 PM, Blogger Mercury said...

Amen to the last comment. There are some serious issues that do not have anything do with racism now. Frankly, I hope they are all priced out to be honest. We have let our capital city be ruled by terrorists for too long.

At 9/09/2007 3:03 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Thanks Golden Silence. Gotta say it, it's my dang blog and I shall do with it as I wish. I don't dance or blog to entertain anyone but myself. If you like what I do, cool. Don't, oh well.


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