Right before the inception of 2013, TIME Magazine tweeted a poll that asked readers what word they’d like to see evanesce in the new year. Most answered swag and I was like, quoi? What’s so bad about swag and why is humanity trying to shun it? My uneducated guess suggests its more about the word’s usage. You see, chic is not swag, swag is not chic and replacing the former with the latter–which happens often–just seems nonsensical. They anchor different meanings and just the way swag fails where chic does not, where chic fails, swag never will.
When I first cut my hair last month, Into the Gloss‘s Emily Weiss told me I looked “cool” in a way that I hadn’t before. I didn’t want to accede to her assessment (the supposition should be that I have always looked cool–right? Even through braces with rubber-bands, and scoliosis?) but I did, which made me realize that right now, achieving “cool” is wholly about how well a girl can emulate a prepubescent boy. But is pre-puberty chic? I think not. Chignons are chic, Zac Posen skirts are chic, fur collars and pearls–that’s chic. But flat brim caps, messy neck-length hair, an aversion toward smiling and Kanye West emblazoned across the chest? Different. The latter emanates aerial swag and I can argue in favor of that air and its pertinence with a simple two words, one person: Daria Werbowy.
Since my chop (not to be confused with the more superior hers), Instagram commenters have been all, “girl, are you a boy or girl?” Judging from the preliminary moniker, I’ve got to assume they know I harbor a vagina. And though I can imagine they want to offend me, I take true pride in (marginally) defying the boundaries of gender. If not because sexless sex is cool, than certainly because, actually, you know what, sexless sex is cool. Period.
Swags not just about looking like a boy though. It takes a certain kind of boy. One with melodic bounce in his step, a indispensable appreciation for both Margiela and Biggie, and the ability to skateboard through the caveats of Lower Manhattan wearing Givenchy like it ain’t no thang, saying things like, “this ain’t no thang.” To a degree, it’s also about looking like you’ve grown up next door to Kanye West and may or may not have inspired Through The Wire. Which is precisely why I give you this: my best attempt at displaying congenital swag (note the sunglasses on my chest and the Peter Pilotto pants) in hopes you will change your mind about the abolition of the word and bask in its truer meaning.
We need swag, folks. If you’re still unconvinced, just ask Drake–it’s the essence of YOLO-ing.
I’m wearing a sweatshirt from Etsy, Peter Pilotto pants, Golden Goose sneakers, Oliver Peoples sunglasses, Rebecca Minkoff leather jacket, Venessa Arizaga and Mark Henry bracelets, and I wish I knew who made the hat but I don’t. There’s a fly leather one at Owen, though. Get at it. Photos, of course, by spirit clicker, Naomi Shon.
The other thing, by the way, about swag, is that smiling is highly discouraged.