Regional style specifics

It is so surprising to me how much it comes up in casual and classroom conversation how regionally throughout the Midwest there are some distinctions between the various communities alt-styles.

I hadn’t put much thought into the specifics until about a year ago, when I moved to Minneapolis, but other people keep bringing it up to me and I’ve been noticing it more and more on my own. One of the main routes that drives the initial conversation is the ever present dreadlock look throughout the Twin Cities; not seen nearly as much in the Motor or Windy cities. I had thought subcultural looks might be more national, based on musical or social groupings, but it’s just as logical, and somewhat more practical, that I’m finding they are at least somewhat rooted regionally.

Where Minneapolis has it’s dreadlocked look seemingly stemming from a traditional, and even crusty or anarchist punk aesthetic (as well as possible a granola thing as it is super green here), my friend who was in from Chicago this weekend was saying their vibe is much softer, even granola (there’s that word again), eclectic, or a tiny bit collegiate when infused into their alt-cultures. She said that eclecticism therefore leaves no overall look or distinguishing characteristics, but an overriding factor is a softer-gentler punker. I think I have noticed this sort of less stylized NYC thing happening their-like Brooklyn with Midwest friendliness.

Now Detroit is on a different wavelength (which again, I didn’t realize so much until moving away). I see it myself and multiple others have mentioned to me the infusion of retro, soul, and guitar rock all merging together to create the same subcultures as its nearby regional friends, yet slightly more edgy, tougher, and stylized than the other two. And those are frequently words coming out of mouths other than or in addition to my own. Shaggy hair and rock-a-billy hair are quite common for men, and in all my years in the scene I’ve probably had less than a handful of dreadlocked pals. The crustys are a very specific crowd, it’s not very integrated into the general visual vibe, and neither is a soft granola thing all that much. Jean jackets are mandatory once you set foot within city limits. That and 60s swing/shift dresses.

Maybe it’s all cultural, situational, economics, and history all rolled into one, but for some reason I’m finding the minutia of this to be pretty interesting at this moment. Especially because it doesn’t seem to be in only in my head, but instead, many are bringing it up to me as something they have noticed as well and want my comments or want to engage in discussion about it.

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