I Tried Dressing Like Your Little Brother

He’s more than just a little twerp


The world has celebrated mom jeans, dad hats, boyfriend blazers and grandpa sweaters. But one such stereotype has yet to take its turn around the trend lap: the style of little brothers. Could the casual, unexamined whatever of the grubby little kids we spent our formative years shunning be the missing link in our wardrobes? It was time to investigate.

I tried to borrow an actual kid or three for this case study, but was unable to find one on lend. Stymied but not deterred, I decided to style three looks myself inspired by three disparate younger bro archetypes — the skater, the art class kid and the reptile enthusiast. It started out quite literal and kind of devolved from there; turns out I don’t own a lot of clothes that little boys wear? This was a wake-up call. Here’s what happened.

The Literal Take: Skaterboi


Proenza Schouler shirt under The Elder Statesman x NBA T-shirt, Madewell jeans, Vans shoes

The demeanor and clothes of this sort of little brother can best be described as “loose.” Pull on ill-fitting pants, a “graphic” T-shirt and Vans. Three days a week, when you skate, accessorize with a board and scruffy hair.

The Material Take: Art Class Kid


Opening Ceremony dress, Rag & Bone jeans, ASOS shoes

The art class little brother is an excellent, detail-oriented weirdo. A whiz with gel pens and pots of maroon ink. He has distinguished taste, loves pickled foods, wakes up early without an alarm and someday will be my dream boy. Watch out! This kid likes to experience the world in frayed jeans and messy, smock-like shirts.

I will say: I felt less “little brother,” more “little brother’s art corner.” White jeans serve as the canvas, the dress almost looks like globs of glitter glue.

The Abstract Take: Reptile Enthusiast


Gary Graham dress

Lastly, we have he who insists upon living in the basement where he feeds his snake and watches it creep around a warm terrarium. He sometimes wears strange pieces of jewelry — the origins of which no one is aware — and has a pension for mythical old worlds where animals have magic powers and long gauzy gowns are the norm.

All in all, I’m kind of into the little brother aesthetic. Maybe next time you’re inclined to shoo one away for hanging around too much, ask him to help you sort through your closet?

Photos by Shelby Duncan. Follow her on Instagram @shelbyduncan

Alexandra Malmed once let her dad style her and the result was amazing. Check out how she wears a leather jacket without looking like everyone else, too.