The Dawn of the Sleaze


By Daniel Kam

There’s something about looking like a piece of shit that I just can’t get enough of. It’s more fun to look like the bad guy, but as the trend has grown, it's lost the edge that made it appealing. Where black, leather, and ragged clothes once made the elderly faint, it has now become the uniform of the coolest kids at your local mall.

Edgy styles are played out. To get the shock factor back in your outfits, one must replicate the styles of those society still looks down upon—and today, that is the sleazeball.

Think Tony Montana. Think Hunter S. Thompson. Drug dealers, addicts, party animals, creeps, the general scum of society. While the words one can use to express disgust in them vary, a consistent style shines through them all.

Half-buttoned-up silky shirts reveal either a bare chest or skintight wife-beater tucked into high-waisted slacks held up by an obnoxiously large belt buckle. Hair is slicked backed or feathered to the side in a way that could have been either purposeful or beautifully accidental after a night of bingeing.

But the most important part of being sleazy to the core is the accessories. The open shirts are nothing without the gold chain, hands are naked without at least two rings (one on the pinky), and you aren’t truly sleazy without a pair of sunglasses hiding your sunken eyes.

Illustration by Katrina Chaput

Illustration by Katrina Chaput

"Unbutton your shirt a little, throw on a chain, and be the badass villain you've always wanted to be."

The first person I think of is Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused, a creep prowling a parking lot that just looks greasy. But luckily, one won’t have to live the sleazy lifestyle to get the look.

Trashy is the new classy, and as the runways declawed punks they will neuter the sleaze lifestyle to the point where the look will no longer be associated with society’s bottom feeders. Vetements and Juicy Couture collaborations, Versace tracksuits, and Gucci button-downs with creeper sunglasses show the influence sleazecore already has on the runway.

Looking sleazy will be latest way people get the shock factor they desire out of their clothes. It’ll be cool to look like a Miami drug lord until everyone looks that way, and the sleaze will be discarded for whatever the newest edge is. It’s the never-ending cycle of fashion, but for now, sleaze is still scummy—so unbutton your shirt a little, throw on a chain, and be the badass villain you’ve always wanted to be.