People are always complimenting me on my fashion sense. Regardless of where I go and what I do, folks seem to gravitate toward me and my killer duds. They’ll look me up and down, head to toe, toe to head, and back again, while throwing out words like “daring,” “audacious,” “bold,” and occasionally even, “brave.” I accept their compliments because to rebuff them would be impolite. As a true fashionista, one must always accept attention with the utmost grace and humility. When it comes to my intrepid fashion sense and my ability to stand out above the crowd, I rely on one element above all others: surprise.

When I start a new job, which I seem to do every couple of months, I’ll typically zag while others are busy zigging in their Polo shirts and pleated pants. When I arrive for my first day at work, whether it be at the DMV, the local kindergarten, or the newest Whataburger franchise, I’ll do so in whatever piece(s) of clothing I feel best exemplifies my personality on that given day.

I’ve always been of the belief that dress codes are for dress-schmoes. As such, my first day working for the local Department of Motor Vehicles had me wearing a T-shirt of Mickey Mouse flipping off Goofy and a pair of bike shorts so short that it seemed as though I might actually be pantsless. Drawing looks that said “Wow, he pulls that off” and “I can’t believe he went there,” I brought my inherent sense of anti-establishment and my freshest rags to the inner-sanctum of bureaucracy.

And the results were, ahh, how do you say? Unforgettable. While my shift at the Department of Motor Vehicles lasted for only a few minutes, I knew I’d made a lasting impression with my killer outfit. And when it comes to high fashion, leaving an impression is the highest, most admirable achievement there is.

What do you do when it comes to weddings, you ask? Well, if you didn’t then you should because the sheer temerity of my formal attire is enough to make grown men weep and small children consider their own mortality. For weddings, both those I’ve attended and those I’ve been actively involved in as the groom, I refuse to play it safe with the traditional tuxedo or Brooks Brothers suit. I instead opt for one of my many t-shirts that feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs smoking marijuana. On my bottom half, I’ll don a pair of Adam Sandler-style basketball shorts that are so long that at first glance, one might think them pants. For some, linen shorts or Chuck Taylor’s at a wedding might be considered flipping the script. But when I flip the script, I throw it out the stinking window and watch the loose-leaf pages blow out to the damn pasture. My wedding outfits have brought on shock, awe, and occasional ire, the last of which came from two of my fiancees who refused to marry me upon seeing my outfit at the altar.

No one ever said trailblazing was easy, did they?

To say fashion is only about wearing the previously thought unwearable and relying solely on the element of surprise would be irresponsible. No, there’s much more to it than that. One must also work to ensure that they remain aware of the current trends and cultural mainstays of the era they are in.

For example, when I realized that Crocs, an article of clothing that I never gave up on, had made a comeback within the pampered social circles of Gen-Z, I decided my days of wearing traditional crocs were over. Traditional crocs, you say? What would one define as non-traditional crocs? Well, the answer is simple. The crocs that I now wear have the bottom sole entirely cut out of them. Cheap cushioned clog on top and Fred Flinstone driving home from work on the bottom, a true fashion icon refuses to become some corporate shill who is subservient to trends. A real icon makes their own trends and when they become popular disavows them, acting as if they would never dare wear such an item.

So the next time you see me wearing half-crocs with a mesh jersey on which Tigger is peeing on a Ford truck, know that you'll be wearing the same damn thing in about six months. My gift is also my greatest curse because I know that no matter how good I like now, I’ll be forced to abandon the look when some faux counter-culture celebrity like Billie Eilish or Jared Leto co-opt my style.

I never said I was a role model, though when it comes to high fashion, I probably should be.