Street Fashionista: Garrett Skindell

Categories:      Fashion
Wednesday, September 4th, 2013 at 7:40 PM
Street Fashionista: Garrett Skindell by Leslie McAllister

What started as a basic men’s undergarment launched into a daily staple. Like a timid wallflower, the T-shirt broke free and flung itself collar first onto the dance floor. During the ‘40s, WWII vets would pair the look with their uniform pants. In the ‘50s, the look went viral after Brando wore it in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Of course we saw Jimmy Dean take it to a whole other level in “Rebel Without a Cause.” How could we forget the white tee and leather motorcycle jacket?

Needless to say, the T-shirt took on its own identity becoming a mainstay in the male wardrobe (and female). Guys are obsessed with them like girls are obsessed with shoes. Concert tees, vintage tees, novelty tees, conversation tees – they can’t get enough. Garrett Skindell told me of his extensive collection.

“My wife took all my beat up T-shirts, the ones with holes, and turned them into sun dresses for our daughters. I got all broken up when I saw my girls in my old concert tees.”

With the timeless basic you can transform it into a mini dress, a tunic, a sun dress, a muscle tank, a deep-v tank top, and a swimsuit cover-up – us girls have so many options. For guys, just continue to look handsome and dashing in the look. You make the ladies swoon a la James and Marlon.

Honestly, any fashion trend that requires you to use one or both hands to hold your outfit together just to enable you to walk down the street is a blunder on so many levels.

Describe your style. I’m not sure I have a style per se. Beyond the 40-something rocker dad, I have an extensive T-shirt collection that spans the past 30 years, so I have that going in my favor. I have pretty simple tastes. I’m a pair of Chuck Taylors, T-shirt, and jeans kind of guy.

If you could be a musical instrument which would you choose? Obviously as a Theremin player, I'd have to pick the Theremin; it’s science, history, art, and music – electricity creating magnetic fields. It’s a rare and unique instrument.

Pink or purple? Purple.

Why? With three daughters, all under the age of 8, anything pink gets used up pretty quick around our home. Plus the girls like to paint my toenails; they picked out the purple for me – which reminds me, I need a fresh coat for back to school; I got to let them know they have work to do on these toes.

My mountain bike is purple. I’m a product of Prince's “Purple Reign” of the ‘80s. This past summer, I got my usual summer mohawk, and the kids begged and begged me to dye it bright purple. To be honest, they didn't really have to beg me that much.

Favorite outfit you nailed this summer? Ooh, that's tough. Probably during Blues and Jazz Fest weekend. Missy found me a wonderful Cleopatra Jones ringer shirt. I love it – the color, the image, and the fit were all perfect, and perfect for jazzfest antics. I paired it with a khaki pair of cargo shorts and sandals.

What do you bring away from teaching? Wow, there’s so much, I don’t know where to start. Generally speaking, as an eighth-grade teacher, I get to see my students transition to being teenagers. They start thinking about their future goals and how they can reach them, how they can overcome obstacles as they prepare for the next phase of their lives and head off to high school. Watching them grow and mature from kids to young adults over the course of a school year and helping them decide the directions their lives will take is an incredibly rewarding thing to be a part of. I love the challenge they bring to the table. I know a lot of people that hate the drudgery of their jobs, in that sense; I guess I’m truly blessed.

Worst reason you've been told in response to not having your assignment completed. HA! I had a kid once tell me he didn't do his homework because he was up all night playing video games. So as a consequence, I made him write a report on why the video game was more important than the homework I assigned. He turned in a pretty lengthy and thorough report. He made a lot of very well thought out points about the problem solving logic and the various puzzles involved in advancing through to the next level. Little did he know, that later that night, I used the details of his report to help me get Lara Croft safely through to the next level that I had been stuck on in “Tomb Raider 2” for a few days. Safe to say, it was a late night of 'grading' his paper for me too.

Favorite thing about living in Millcreek. There’s a roller skating rink a block away, Waldameer is two blocks away, and Presque Isle is four blocks away. I have great neighbors, and the neighborhood is packed full of children that are my kids’ age.

Best place in Erie for pizza. Steve-Os at the PI is currently at the top of my list.

What is America's biggest fashion blunder and how can we fix it? Biggest blunder? Hmmm... Got to go with 'sagging;’ with your pants around your knees, it’s going to be difficult to walk. Honestly, any fashion trend that requires you to use one or both hands to hold your outfit together just to enable you to walk down the street is a blunder on so many levels.

How do we fix it? I wish I knew. Maybe we need high profile artists like Jay Z and Beyonce to go full on Steve Urkel. Maybe bring back suspenders? How about belts with big bling buckles as the hot new accessory for this bold new millennium?

Find me out on the town and challenge yourself to get noticed by the Erie Reader!

Leslie McAllister can be contacted at, and you can follow her on Twitter @ShopJuJus. 

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