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It's not exactly "basic." Basic is a heathered snood. A mock-angora, warm-weather beanie. It's skinny jeans with too many zippers tucked into boots. It's a pre-distressed fast-fashion M65 from F21. Basic is believing nude platforms are working because bodycon is still a thing, or owning ballet flats. Basic is fine. It's regional, like your special word for soda. It just means you live in Portland or Jersey, which can happen to anyone.
The male fuccboi, at least in the sense I mean, is the hypebeast in a post-health-goth world. I'm not discussing the imagined sociological implications of the word, where a Tinder guy acts like a Tinder guy.
It's when you add basic flair to ostensibly non-basic things.
I'm speaking purely in style terms. I'm talking about those heads for whom a $100 knock-off of a $885 Vetements hoodie is a justifiable investment. Someone who actually believes Kanye "made it so we could wear tight jeans." Goons who are contemplating Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh at rack, call Raf Simons "dad," and have a boner for A Bathing Ape in 2016 while remaining oblivious to what in the actual fuck a Nigo is.
So what's it called when women do this? I mean women who care about "personal style" but only to the point where it's confusing. Like, when you add basic flair to ostensibly non-basic things. It's when you wear a choker with an o-ring and a septum piercing and have to pair it with the correct light-blue mom jeans or column skirt.
The shoes of course must be crepe-soled creeper sneakers. Or those all-white Dr. Martens 1461s (if you're a fledgling female fuccboi). Or perhaps Air Max 90s (Nikelab Sacais if you're advanced), or else AF1 lows or dove-grey New Balance 530s. A "grunge" lug-heeled loafer would also be acceptable and, if you're going full-on, fuck-off-Internet, you may even choose to reclaim the Rocket Dog fuzzy flatform flip-flop jawns, because that shit is hilarious. Oooh, but don't forget those mini Princess Leia Bjork buns.
But whatever the shoe, we all know what the jacket should be. It's an MA1 bomber and you actually hashtag MA1 on Instagram cause you're bae AF. And at least one of your selfies is a funny face without any makeup — just eyelash extensions — because not only are you bae AF, you’re a-selfie-who-is-self-aware-bae-AF and that, for real, is very rare.
It's also when you dress like a Kardashian. Or well, like a Kylie Jenner. Especially with your king accessory, Tyga, on whom your name is tattooed (current relationship status notwithstanding). It's skin-tight, sand-colored suede anything with an over-the-knee boot. It's Balmain H&M on the resale market. Or pale, gray leggings pulled all the way up because #squatspo, but also 'cause you're flexing on that Niykee Heaton flow and every other top you own is a high-legged, low-back bodysuit. It's Calvin Klein white cotton bikini briefs with the sports bra from Urban Outfitters as an outfit.
Fuccboiism is dressing to an algorithm, ascribing only to fashion tropes.
The thing is, it's not any single article of clothing that inspires ire. It's the assemblage. It's whatever allows you to think that having a band's name embroidered on a single-ply grey cashmere sweater is the same thing as a concert tee, but it's also whatever compels you to pair it with fluttery silk charmeuse shorts and combat boots. It's that the sleeves of your disgusting jumper must cover most of your hands.
This isn't me beefing about L.A. It's not high street I have a problem with, or runway, or a high-low mix of both. It's not even Coachella or whatever brain-bleed East Coast Coachella will look like. It's that suddenly for some reason there are zero surprises in any ensemble. And this, I find upsetting.
I have a vintage Byblos jacket that goes with nothing. It's black, cashmere, and double-breasted, with outsized shoulders and a tiny waist that ends several inches above my own. When I Marie Kondo'd my closet, I kept the Byblos because it passed the test: It sparked joy. It also represents a sartorial conundrum, a baffler that rarely exists for me anymore. I've learned it looks way too BDSM secretary with a pencil skirt. Tailored trousers edge it into zoot suit territory. It could work with a neon coral palazzo pant with vents up the front that reach mid-thigh, but I genuinely don't know if such a garment exists. I may have to get it made.
Fuccboiism is the opposite of the Byblos jacket. The Byblos jacket is the ASCII shrug of outwear. On the other end of the spectrum is this dressing to an algorithm, ascribing only to fashion tropes. I've long scoffed at the notion that the internet has the capacity to ruin anything: attention spans, music, meaningful relationships, manners. It seemed too hoary and click-bait alarmist for that to be true. But — and maybe this is proof that I've edged into my Eileen Fisher years — I'm starting to think it has ruined style. It might have even preemptively ruined Eileen Fisher for me, because at my age it's slightly premature and I'm already tired of that being a thing.
Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a microtrend as much as anyone: urban woodsman, health-goth, normcore, athleisure, vaporwave, soft-grunge. I love fashion taxonomy. I adore the ontological aspects of Internet style; the ever-expanding Dewey Decimal System of it all is a delight. Mostly because it's utter nonsense and the rules are largely made up by four to eight Twitter accounts that gleefully confuse the caps lock key with authority. It's a shit-show, and it's great.
I miss fashion risks. Faux-pas that, through humor and nerve, stick the landing.
But now there are too many correct outfits, too many starter kits. Trying to find an image of a wide-brim hat without feathered bangs and a shearling-trimmed patchwork duster or a see-through caftan is like searching for fat Karl Lagerfeld photos: impossible. When you Google Image search an article of clothing, a shoe, or a brand, you have the option of seeing its most desirable SEO rankings — say, as part of an outfit, or as worn by a celebrity, or as a manifestation of some particularly sticky "street style."
It's how flat-front gauchos beg for a stacked-heel mule and a crossbody bag with a very thin strap. Or bigger culottes in fluffier materials go with shrunken varsity jackets or else really, really big varsity jackets. All with ball caps. But, please don't bend the brim! Everyone dresses artfully off-kilter, like off-duty models, from trainers with delicate, bias-cut silk dresses to mismatched earrings that indicate you have a sense of humor.
It's the sartorial equivalent of the IKEA scene in "Fight Club," the one that signals just how wrong everything has gone in Ed Norton's life. "If I saw something clever like a little coffee table shaped like a yin-yang I had to have it," he narrates. "I'd flip through catalogues and think what kind of dining set defines me as a person ... I had it all, even the glassware with tiny bubbles and imperfections."
It's the hyper-curation that I find onerous. The practiced élan. So what are we calling this? Fuck it, let's just be gender-fluid and inclusive, as our best selves are, and call all of it fuccboiism. Maybe selfies are to blame. Or maybe it's the overexposure of famous people who take zero fashion risks. Or the sheer number of collections that designers have to show every year.
Whatever it is, I miss fashion risks. Faux-pas that, through humor and nerve, stick the landing. I thought it was that I was getting old. You know, that point at which you stop listening to contemporary music or think every room has a draft. But then again maybe it's not. Old people are dressing their asses off.
Mary H.K. Choi is a writer based out of Brooklyn. She wears pretty much the same thing every day. Also, she's old. If that part isn't obvious.