Patrick O'Connell is a 25 year-old from Hayward who divides his time between working at an East Bay Regional Park, helping out at Zerofriends, and making art. He's also one of my best friends. Now that I think about it, I've never seen him grumpy or depressed. I've never heard him talk badly about anybody. Patrick is just a super-positive, enthusiastic dude.
Patrick's consistently clean, simple appearance points to his affinity for the craftsmanship and styles of the past. Patrick's clothes aren't necessarily vintage, it's as if HE is vintage. He has an undying fascination with American history. The art, architecture, ideals, and culture. He draws and paints every day and his interests in Americana, cartoons from the 1930s-1940s, and love of old photos always show through in his artwork.
Remember that cartoon, Doug? It was on Nickelodeon, just before Ren & Stimpy. Like most cartoon characters, Doug wore the same outfit every day. The animators made a joke of this cartoon custom by showing Doug's closet. It was full of multiples of the same outfit. This image stuck with Patrick and now he lives it. I'm not saying Patrick wears the exact same thing every day but a peek into his closet would reveal a lot of repeats: a dozen clean white T-shirts, multiples of the same jeans, and some simple flannels are about all you'll see.
Patrick's consistent, simple style does give us the impression he's a living animated character (maybe less of a Doug, more like Tin Tin or a jazz-playing dog in an old Fleischer cartoon).
"The last time I was at Michael's, The girl ringing me up asked if I was in a play." Patrick tells me. Yes, she should probably talk a bit less and just sell him his acrylics, but I can see how young people can be thrown off-guard when meeting Patrick. He keeps his hair perfectly pompadoured, but he's too wholesome looking to be Rockabilly. They see a wiry, charming character in clothes that fit properly and are totally devoid of labels and logos. His jeans are belted up at his waste, completely covering his underwear...?! Through the eyes of most people under 25, Patrick may as well be in a tuxedo.
So what is the motivation for this look? Well, he learned about wearing clothes that fit while working at Zumiez years ago. "Guys would come in wearing jeans that were way to big for them, or too short. I didn't want to look like that." And aside from his love for the aesthetics of the past, Patrick's interest in putting himself together in a certain way is merely proof that he is interested in Something. After all, if a guy doesn't care about his own appearance, how are we supposed to know if he cares about anything at all? It's not always easy to connect with people who give a crap about anything these days. But Patrick's unwavering personal style is a sort of beacon to others who are tired of the sloppy, disposable clothes (music, furniture, art, and so on) that have taken over in our consumer world. Let's all enjoy well-crafted style that will stand the test of time. Leave the pajama bottoms at home, y'all.
Some of Patricks Style Staples:
- Wayfarer sunglasses
- White T-shirts
- Grandpa's flannel shirts
- Slim-fitting jeans
- Red Wing, Iron Ranger boots
Follow Patrick O'Connell on Twitter- @idlehandspaint
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