PLAYING DRESS-UP IN MY BROTHER'S CLOSET
Feature photo courtesey of @lunchtablecomics & @dallas.kid
Andy Hsiao. 27. Always somewhere between his Jersey City apartment or his stomping grounds in SoHo.
IMAGE CREDIT: BOBBLEHAUS / WEN HSIAO
I’m 20, and my brother is 27. Since he had a seven-year head start on me, I’ve spent the last two decades trying to catch up.
Growing up, I always wanted to be like my brother, but with a 7 year age gap between us, there was never a chance for common ground or even common interests to develop. While I was barely making it through nap time in Kindergarten, he was nodding his head to Eminem’s Encore in middle school.
It took a few more years to lose myself in Slim Shady’s music, but his music taste was not the only thing that affected me growing up. Slowly but surely, I was modeling many aspects of my own life after his even applying to the same colleges for the same majors as he did. Even though I have ultimately found myself down a different academic path than the one I had originally planned, his influence is always a presence in my life, now in the form of fashion.
Since I was little, I have had so many cherished pieces from my brother’s closet that I was able to incorporate into my own style. Even though I may have looked ridiculous as his clothes were not made to fit me (He towers me by over 20cm. I didn’t get the good bargain on our shared genes).
IMAGE CREDIT: BOBBLEHAUS / WEN HSIAO
Through years of observation under the same roof and later on social media, I’ve gotten a grasp of his style. My brother models his style after Shia LaBeouf with a flair of his own quirks. Crediting LaBeouf as his style hero, he emulates La Beouf’s effortless look — an elevated just-rolled-out-of-bed-late-for-class look, making outfits feel genuine, and not hiding behind any facade or hefty price tag.
A stand-out staple in my brother’s closet is weird t-shirts. These range from selected designs from streetwear brands to obscure eBay finds (He may not have been to a talent show in Minnesota, but he has the shirt stating otherwise). This can also be accredited to LaBeouf’s vintage tee collection, and the way he took the tees that would usually be glossed over at thrift stores and turned them into his own. He has executed this with such grace that Kanye West himself praised him in his own songs (“I wish I dressed as fresh as Shia LaBeouf”) and raided his closet.
Fitted pieces from my brother’s early 20s now work as structured over-sized pieces in my closet. Notably, this dark-washed Levi’s denim jacket that I snatched from him during my summer visit. Since I was in middle school, salvaging through his closet has been my own scavenger hunt, taking hoodies and t-shirts he wasn’t wearing anymore, cropped and tucked to suit my liking.
Since I was in middle school, salvaging through his closet has been my own scavenger hunt, taking hoodies and t-shirts he wasn’t wearing anymore, cropped and tucked to suit my liking.
Through my brother, I've also grown an appreciation for shoes — sneakers to be specific, and its many silhouettes. Growing up, at the beginning of each school year, my mom would buy a pair of sneakers for us, and we would wear it till there were holes in the soles. I didn’t care much for the style of those sneakers; their only purpose was to get me out of the house. It was the same for my brother until he moved to New York.
He began having an appreciation for the design, style, and story behind these sneakers, cultivating his own rotation of sneakers.
(His most prized possession, Supreme X Dunk High Pro SB ‘Red’)
“I wouldn’t call myself a collector, I buy what I like.”
“I had more but my wife made me get rid of some.” He insists me adding.
His passion inspired me to step out of my comfort zone, leaving my low-top converse days behind, adding styles like the FILA Uproot Chunky Sneaker and the Jadon platforms (I’m really trying to overcompensate for my height).
While living in a Western environment often leads to losing touch with your own roots, there are many ways to incorporate your heritage into your day-to-day fashion. While obvious choices may be to juxtapose a cheongsam with streetwear, there are still other bold and subtle touches you can add to your outfit. One of my brother’s most prized possessions is a blood chit flight jacket (also sported by Angelina Jolie in Girl, Interrupted). Items like this are tangible pieces of history and are - honestly - great conversation starters.
After years of going through my brother’s closet, I am able to cultivate my own style. Even though in the beginning, I was just blindly following his footsteps, from there, I have been inspired to explore different styles (no, I do not want to talk about my emo phase) and create something that is personal to me. Even though I often mock my own style, I find myself loving the outfits I put together for myself and feeling most comfortable in them.