Fifteen Minutes: Wearing It Out: A Fashion Dialogue

Matthew T. Kishlansky '00 THE OUTFIT VAL: He's dressed really nicely for everyday, but a lot of people dress really

Matthew T. Kishlansky '00


VAL: He's dressed really nicely for everyday, but a lot of people dress really nicely for everyday. He sort of has the face of a white-hat, sporty guy. His clothes make him look older. You can definitely tell he's not a freshman. I think he knows what looks good and what's appropriate for everyday. He has a really good balance, and I just think he knows. He doesn't spend too much time on it, but knows what to buy and buys good clothing. I like it. I'm not used to seeing guys dressed like that, if he was in one of my classes, I'd be like, "he's so dressed up." But it is a nice style.

The pants are really nice. You can tell he wears things like that every know when people dress up and their pants look like they are only worn when they dress up--brand new. These pants aren't brand new, but they look like they are clearly really nice pants. You can tell from the fabric. They could be designer. But if they are, they are not like, Giorgio Armani Coleccionne; they're like Giorgio Armani A/X. He probably got them at a men's store.

The shoes are like dress shoes. They're nice leather. They have a buckle, which I disapprove of. I can see how people would like them. Who knows? He might have gotten them in Italy. The belt actually matches the shoes. He might not have planned that at all. It puts it all together, and when you dress like that, it shows you have taste. Oh, and key: there's no name on the belt. Very nice. The shirt's nice. It's not too formal. The blue is good for his red hair.

MATT: It would be hard for people to track these items down. I must admit, most of my stuff is Italian. I lived in Florence this past summer, so I have sort of a weakness for the boutiques there. The shirt is Italian; the pants are not! The pants are Perry Ellis, I got them at a department store. The shoes are from Milan. No buckle! I don't dig on the buckle. The belt is from the Mercato San Lorenzo in Florence; you can get yourself one for 12 bucks. Of course you don't need to pick up these things abroad and you don't need to go to the fancy shops--you can window-shop to see what looks good. I am roundly criticized for wearing pink shirts, I mean, I like my pink shirts! I like a traditional blue. I try to go for a much more solid, basic pant to go with the shirt. The Italian shirts are hand-stitched; they're good to go with the pants.

Love Life

VAL: Does he have a girlfriend? Maybe. If he has a girlfriend, I would say it's not something serious. He's not a sleaze. I don't think he's a sleaze. If it is something, it's low-key. They've probably known each other since freshman or sophomore on-and-off basis.

MATT: I don't have a girlfriend. Well, I sort of do. I mean, she goes to Bowdoin. We've dated on and off for 8 years.


VAL: Definitely not theater, definitely not a publication. Possibly IOP, but he doesn't look like he's that stuffed. I could see him as someone who works out, not someone who plays a sport. Maybe he doesn't do any activities. Maybe he has a job.

MATT: I do a tutoring program. I don't do much. I'm writing a thesis, which is pretty much my main activity right now. I don't really work out. I don't play a sport. I used to have a very active Harvard life and now I do a lot of sleeping.

Social Life

VAL: Pretty good. I know he's in the Pudding. He's not someone who gets trashed, but someone who goes out for drinks with friends. Goes to Grafton. His social life is the normal Harvard social life. He doesn't look like a big dancer, not the type of person in the middle of the dance floor, going out to clubs all the time. Final clubs, maybe. He's probably one of those members who's in the final clubs, not necessarily to get a gazillion freshman girls, but free drinks. He probably likes the guys, has a lot of guy friends there. He's probably in the Spee. I'm not positive, but I feel like I've seen him there. I'd say the Spee or the Phoenix.

MATT: Do I have a social life? I go out. We go out to bars. We don't go out to Boston that much. Casablanca is probably my favorite bar.


VAL: If I just looked at him, I would have said government, without a doubt. Perhaps economics, but he looks a little more artsy than that. He's wearing a button-down. No other reason. And he looks really neat and his hair is cut neatly.

MATT: History of Art and Architecture.


VAL: I'd say he knows a lot of people. He has some close friends, probably his roommates. Or the guys in the club. He doesn't seem anti-social, but he doesn't seem like a social butterfly who's always out there, keeping up friendships with everybody.

MATT: We have a pretty small group. I spend a lot of my after-hours time at the Fox, but when I'm hanging out with my friends, it's usually a smaller group.

Matt on Fashion

I think a lot of people say that fashion is superficial. I disagree; I think it is indicative of self-awareness. What someone looks like, how they present themselves, it shows a self-image. My roommate, Eli, he prances around wearing sweaters that he bought, at like, the Chelsea Arts and Crafts Fair from 1972. It's an embarrassment and everyone makes fun of him. That's not what you want when people talk about how you look. I think it is important to have some sort of self-awareness about how you present yourself, because other people are paying attention. Fashion is one facet of a larger issue of awareness. It's a presentation issue; it's not about being expensive or gaudy. You can do a hell of a lot of damage at Filene's basement for 100 bucks, a lot more than you can do walking around Newbury Street or even in Milan, where I was last week. Clothes are not about material or designers, it's about "look" and personality.

I like women to be dressed...I like simple lines. I think that representing form is important. It's embarrassing when you walk into the Gap or Abercrombie and the men's clothes are just so baggy--three sizes fit society--it's like wearing a sack over your body. I think women's clothes do a much better job of having good cut, I mean that's how the designers distinguish themselves. I don't like girls to wear all black, all the time. I see these girls, it looks like they've been in mourning since freshman year. You go into the dining hall, and you know, it's like get some color in there! It's too Goth to wear all black.


Hometown: I live in Lexington, about 15 minutes from here. I went to Lexington High.

Job: I am hoping to go to Italy next year, but I might get a consulting job.

Valerie K. De Charette '02


MATT: (The Look): That's easy: I think she's got Manhattan written all over her. Fifth some window shopping. I like it; I like the look.

I think her clothes are definitely expensive. There's an element of simplicity about them, but they are still saying good quality. You know that's the point of a designer. When I was down in Milan, looking at the new fashions for the spring, it's all about material and line. And with the exception of the pants, that's what she's doing.

The shoes, covered down by the pants--interesting look. Because you want people to look down there, but you can't...interesting. I like each thing to be separate. I want to see the shoes, I mean, she got the shoes! I want to see that 12-inch stiletto heel.

The pinstripes: there's some business right there. Most of what she's doing is very simple, basic. It's designer stuff. It calls attention to the line. The pinstripes, they're a little bit loud for what she's wearing, but it shows for her genre, that she's got a little bit of personality. I like the pants: too long, but I like the look.

She has three [shirts], actually. A red thing, a black thing, and a pink thing. A black turtle neck...I didn't like the red thing; it was a little frivolous. And I like the pink underneath, because it's subtle, you don't see it. A flash--you don't necessarily see it, but when you do, it's very effective. People who are watching, who look for that kind of thing, will see it. I like it.

Her hair's down. Long. I guess I don't pay a lot of attention to it. I imagine it's up most of the time. I don't see her having it down too much. You don't want it catching on fire when she's smoking all those cigarettes.

VAL: I put this [hooded shirt] on because my roommate said I needed color and I always wear hoodies. Hoodies are like the thing that I live in cause I always wear tanktops in the winter just for no reason. This sweater my mom got at the end of Christmas--she works at Bloomingdales--I think it's some random department store brand. It's really soft, it's cashmere and I wear it everyday because I'm so lazy and it's black and it goes with everything. That's another thing--all my clothes basically are solid colors because then they'll go with everything. I hate patterns on me. I like them on other people, I think they're really pretty. But collared shirts: I think they're huge, I love them. This tanktop is the tanktop that I always wear in the winter. These pants my mom made. She makes most of my pants because I'm very stringent, very stringent on pants. Pants have to be exactly what I want. These actually, I don't know, I'm hoping I lost a little weight but I don't think so--they really don't fit as well as they used to. The ideal pant for me is tight at the top and they should always cover your shoes. If you're wearing flat shoes, like for sneakers, I have different pants, they have to have huge bells. And if they're high shoes, they should be smaller bells. I found four pairs of pants that I can wear the rest my mom makes. My mom makes me all my prom dresses and recital dresses. The shoes are from 8th Street, just random shoes I got at 8th St. I got them because I'm 5'2" and that is unacceptable. So now I'm almost 5'8". It took a little while to get used to them. My feet hurt for a while but it's fine, it took maybe a week and a half, it's really not a problem and with the snow, my natural state of walking is like slip-slip. But, you get used to it. I have a high tolerance for that kind of thing, itis not like it gets in the way of my life like I have a busy day, I'll wear my sneakers but then I'll wear different pants. If I'm shopping with my mom, my mom is all about quality and not quantity. I mean I don't go to Chanel and my mom doesn't buy me a dress that I'm going to wear once but everything is like cashmere sweaters from designers like DKNY, but I don't spend that much money. When I buy clothes. I've been through so many phases. When I was in New York there was the Salvation Army phase when I bought so many polo shirts from the 70s. I have like a zillion and a half, none of which you've ever seen me wear. I have shitloads of 70s clothes, not to mention all my bellbottoms that I wear with all my sneakers. When I'm with my mom we get mid-range in price but when I'm by myself...since I'm here I shop at Urban [Outfitters], I shop at GUESS?, that's about it, those are the only stores that I like around here. I got my hoodie of which I have five of at Urban.


MATT: She's hanging out. She's definitely hanging out a lot of the time. She definitely looks like someone who's a go-getter--from what she's wearing. She does something...definitely something that involves a lot of time. She looks like she enjoys being stressed out. Not theater. Purely from the way she's dressed, she's not trying to call attention to herself, in the sense that she's not trying to be gaudy. She doesn't want to be gawked at, but she also wants to be admired. To be on stage is not something she'd take on unless it was on the runway. I can't see her doing theater. Athletics? Sure. A sport with not that much running--with those heels. Probably squash.

VAL: I tried to do The Crimson last semester, but it just didn't happen. I wanted to be a journalist most of my life, but it ended up taking too much time. I started concentrating in plays last year, and that took up ALL of my time. I do the costuming for plays. And that's all I ever do. You thought I played squash?! I don't even run!


MATT: Cold-blooded, very Manhattan. It's a coldness that's affected, you know what I mean? It's consciously unconscious. Very looking away; it's a coldness, but it's not a meanness. It's a city thing. There's a toughness for being from the city. If you said she was from a farm in Iowa, I'd just have to walk right out.

VAL: New York. Manhattan.

Love Life

MATT: A boyfriend? A boyfriend is so confining, right?. With those pinstripes, strutting around. I don't know.

VAL: No. Well, sort of. He's going back to Brown in a week.

Social Life

MATT: She's definitely got a few key friends. She gets a table in a bar--a strategic position in Grafton. I see her smoking, definitely. She's out late. It's embarrassing if she's out before midnight, and it's embarrassing if she's back before 5 or 6 a.m. I definitely know the type. She's someone that complains that Boston closes too early. She's definitely hanging out, late at night.

VAL: My social life? I don't know. I go out a lot. I am so lazy. Seriously, Thandi, my roommate and I, are so lazy. The most fun we ever have is sitting in our room, piss drunk with three bottles of wine. People just come to our room for some reason, during the course of the night. So, the best times we ever have is just sitting there and doing nothing. I don't know, it's fun. I go to final clubs, I guess. I don't have an I.D., but every now and then I'll go to Grafton. But I can count the times. I smoke...a lot. My mom has no shame, she will go anywhere to find out what's going on in my life and there's nothing wrong in her mind with going through my shit.


MATT: She's got kind of a cold-blooded look to her, so I might say economics.

VAL: History. But that's over. It's probably going to be one of those concentrations that everyone's credits transfer into...sociology, or something.