Transcending the Sum of the Parts: The Quantum Mechanics of Dickies and a Cotton Tee
A pair of Dickies 874 work pants and a cotton T-shirt (preferably purchased from a skate shop) are the two most basic building blocks to consider when creating a "skateboarder outfit." Running around $50 in total, it’s a democratic look that's as timeless as it is versatile; the cheapest and easiest way to look cool. The combo might skew more hesh, but it can just as easily go fresh with the right logo choice and footwear. There’s plenty of options to make this one your own -- size up or down, logo or no-go, cut, cuffed, or stacked-up hemline, and on and on. Above all else, the infinite number of color-blocking combinations allows the wearer to express their own little inner world, whether that consists of something fun and flowery or a strict adherence to nihilistic grey tones.
The cubular nature of the color-blocked kit is elevated by the shapes of the clothes themselves. Tee wise, most blanks used by skate companies are on the boxier side and the starched, rectangular shape of 874s can make the wearer look like they’re sporting pants designed for a Lego man. Thousands of skateboarders have chosen this outfit as their go-to, but a certain special few have curated combinations that are worth more than the sum of their proletarian parts.
Julien Stranger is the originator of some of the best NorCal color combos. His first masterpiece was the blue over grey, but when he mixed the brown with the kelly green it changed barney fashion forever. The green pops off the brown in a playful way and the fully saturated tones of both pants and shirt bring to mind the straight-forward innocence of like, an illustration of a farm in a children’s book. Julien tills the soil at Benicia park (RIP) like a John Deere tractor preparing an imaginary farmscape for the season’s seeds. Decidedly working class without being severe, these compositions opened up the doors for all types of hesh experimentation.
A number of skateboarders work the greyscale on some “let the skating do the talking” type shit. Black Dickies and a grey shirt (or vise versa) is a minimalist statement often used by sensitive, artsy skaters. It’s worth noting that this look can easily go south into “sexy waiter” territory with too much accessorization or hair product. Jake Johnson is one skateboarder who uses this combination, along with his monolith stature, to create a statement similar to a brutalist architect’s. The simplicity forces the viewer to confront the sheer weight and power of what’s in front of them. He’s also known for his wallride prowess, and if the Skatelier team’s photoshop skills were more advanced we would’ve produced an image of him going switch backside 50 feet up on Paul Rudolph Hall or whatever. There’s uh, a lot of fun little layers in this analogy.
Few are willing to go full-tonal when it comes to ~The Combo~, but Tom Karangelov has carved out a niche while expressing pure moods with pure color. If Hiroshi Yoshimura’s 1986 masterpiece “Green” is an ode to the color which represents fresh new life, Tom’s all-green ‘fits represent bringing a fresh new approach to So-Cali spot selection through extensive blockwork. Along with various rust-related choices, the Kirchart-approved full white and full navy kits are staples in his wardrobe. While Picasso’s Blue Period lasted 4 years, Tom is able to work through the blues in one single clip. One thing that’s apparent in all of his choices is a level of intention. Tom is putting thought into producing outfits that are visually enticing in a way that compliments the other aesthetic choices he makes in video parts.
Bobby Worrest is one skateboarder who is likely not as meticulous about his ‘fit selection, yet has continued to stun and amaze fans with his color combos over the years. He evokes Stranger with the blue over grey and kelly green on brown, works the greyscale, and gets a bit tonal with royal and navy. He also goes outside the box with unique color combos all his own. Specks of heather grey are sprinkled over an olive base, hazard orange combines with navy, and he gives the viewer a double dose of yellow (shoes and tee) against the backdrop of some black 874s. How can one man use but two simple garments to achieve such a range of expression?
The simple answer would be that he wears whatever T-shirts his sponsors send him and buys random pairs of Dickies from a surplus store whenever the need arises, but our team of artisans believe there’s something deeper going on. Bobby may in fact think he’s taking a laissez-faire approach to dressing himself, but it seems as if a divine presence may be using quantum channels to manifest these ‘fits.
Perhaps the hand of the Deluxe employee packing his boxes is guided by something intangible. This same unknown force shuffles the navy Dickies to the top of the pile of clothes in the corner of his room in order for them to be properly combined with the red Nike tee he wakes up in to create a magnificently Mondrianesque statement, the gravity of which never even breaches Bobby’s consciousness. This transcendent source of mysterious wisdom knows that filming 11 parts in 10 years, staying hydrated during DC summers, and perfecting switch backside noseblunt slides while riding parallel to the ledge are more important endeavors than fussing about with clothing. Bobby’s skateboarding itself is so important to the akashic records that the inherent wisdom of the universe takes care of making sure the outfits are right so he can continue to produce at peak levels.