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What Top Will You Pop?
Pants discourse is out...for a minute.
Hoodie and vest season is coming to a close. It’s time to pop it off and enjoy the spring and summer. Whether you fall on the 5’’ inseam side or the jorts spectrum, we’re all going to have to put on a top at some point.
Pants discourse gets way too much attention. We need to accept that the perfect pair of pants does not exist. It’s rewarding to find trousers that do their job well, but skaters need to shift their focus. At least for the summer.
What tops are we rocking this summer? Something light? Something fun? Whatever comes in the box? Let’s figure this out through the skater’s eye.
The Swap Meet Tee
When to wear it: Cookouts and family reunions. Around the house with some athletic shorts. Frontside flipping a big set, filmed head-on.
I hope the industry fulfills Patrick Kigongo’s dream of the skate version of the “Black Excellence” flea market tee. Every team should release one, to be honest. Free ideas for the brands out there:
Real: Drake Jones, Ishod, and Zion
Thunder: Stephanie Person, Samarria, and Arin Lester.
Crail: Keenan, Jeron, and Carl
Supreme: Actually, that wouldn’t even be fair.
Palace: Benny Fairfax, Lucien Clarke, and Jamal Smith
Baker: Antwuan, Theotis, and Gangsta Boo
The swap meet tee also includes bootleg band shirts. See Isaac White in till it’s gone for some inspiration. Don’t be a sucker and get into a bidding war with your buddy over an actual vintage ZZ Top top on eBay. Get yourself a knockoff.
It’s hard to believe the “Funky Dank” shirt is now sold online as a vintage item. Gen X or Top to Bottom probably still have them in the five for $20 rack.
*Extra points if you have the confidence to rock the airbrushed version of this fit.
When to wear it: Getting ledge lines.
The way AO could pull off a kit can never be taken away from him. Whoa boy, that run in Paris. The tunic was cool too.
A few months back, Dime posted footage of Max Wasungu in a very seldom seen Denver Bronco’s John Lynch jersey. Skating hasn’t seen a donkey’s jersey since Ako and Atiba in Chomp on This.
Mike York and Biebel no doubt hold the title for being the most jerseyed dudes, but currently, we can take inspiration from Ishod. His Halloween costume as The Worm, simply turned into every day swag. He also rocks a mean NJ Devils sweater. Shout out to BA for the hockey jersey look too.
Honorable mention: Danny Scher’s commitment to the Chargers of San Diego
When to wear it: Tennis matches. Engagement parties. First dates.
In summer 2004, I had zero responsibilities and a lucrative job as an afterschool janitor. I turned this fortune into becoming a local at the Polo store. Some of my first sips of champagne came at their members-only events. For my final back-to-school day as a senior, I copped the 2XL bright pink Polo.
I lost my damn mind when Jereme came out in the exact fit in Skate More. There would undoubtedly have been beef if I had access to this guy in 2005. There cannot be two dudes looking like this in the same place.
From Cardiel to Steve Brandi, the polo serves as a way to class up the skater’s uniform. Oski wore one on top of some Polar Big Boy shorts to represent Sweeden and bring some style to the Olympics.
Getting clips in the collared shirt is tasteful. There’s an extra air of confidence that comes with the collar.
The A-Type Layer
When to wear it: The DIY venue. Enjoying gabagool on a sidewalk patio. BBQs with family.
The open button look with the athletic shirt can go in a couple of directions. There’s the punk/alternative path and the affiliated with organized crime-look. Mixing the tank with a well-pressed vintage aloha button-up achieves the vacation mindset—if only for an afternoon.
Not quite the curriculum, but Rattray killed it with the Wu-Tang kit.
This fit is best for the dog days of summer. Those days when the A/C is broken and sitting on the stoop is a better alternative to staying inside.
The Conversation Starter
When to wear it: The bar. Meeting a significant other’s family. The beach.
I own a few too many skateboard tees that I can’t wear in public. Getting kicked out of a suburban gas station over a Spitfire shirt will teach you things like this. If your passion is avoiding conversation, maybe skip this one.
With the cyclical nature of fashion, the classic Hooters tee is going for $85 at the local vintage store. Those things were a dime a dozen back in the day. These poor kids are going broke for the joke. If you want to play this game, at least get a good deal.
Bar, strip club, and wrestling tees are all good for this category. It’s the summer. Stay cool and have some fun.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to skater fashion. We’re about to enter what might be the first almost normal spring and summer we’ve had in a while. Let’s show up, show out, and get these fits off.
Head to your local skate shop and rock one of their tees for a fail-safe option. See y’all at the courts.