The Color Theory: Luxury Buying and Sneaker Culture

Photo: Ryan Plomp – Unsplash

People are willing to spend high money on sneakers for the hype –  the exclusivity consisting of vibrant colors and unbelievable comfort. We can all agree, spending on luxury items (such as exclusive, high-end sneakers) can boost confidence and egos among many people in “sneaker culture”.

Nicole Anne Pore of Highlight Story points out four potential factors of luxury spending: rationale, self-esteem, accomplishment, and authenticity. 

  • Rationale: Mirrors the impulsive buying experience. Typically, we “over-emphasise the positives and ignore the disadvantages” – simply, if we see something we like, it’s hard for us to find a reason why we don’t want it.
  • Self-Esteem: Simply, we feel better when we treat ourselves. Think about when you buy a new pair of shoes, you feel like you’re floating and got all the swag in the world!
  • Accomplishment: We buy expensive stuff because we want to reward ourselves. Also goes with rationalization, we find another reason why we “deserve” this luxury item.
  • Authenticity: Quality is the main reason why we buy a higher-priced item compared to it’s cheaper counterpart
Photo: Amit Lahav – Unsplash

We all have our own “crutch” or have a collection of some sort when it comes to streetwear fashion. Some may have more long sleeve shirts than short sleeved, some may have more shoes than hats, some may have more plaid patterns than striped patterns, and the list goes on. Personally, I am a huge advocate for collecting sneakers – as you may have guessed by now.

So for all the sneakerheads and sneaker-connoisseurs abroad, how much have you spent on shoes alone in the past year? Some may say it’s worth the price of investment (especially those who plan to resell), and some may say it’s worth the price for happiness and self-esteem.
This had me wondering: Why do people keep buying these high priced sneakers?

Photo: Artiom Vallat – Unsplash

I get it, sneaker culture is poppin’ off right now. And it doesn’t seem to slow down anytime soon, as the price of sneakers keep rising.

People are willing to spend high money on luxury items for a boost on self esteem, achieving a sense of accomplishment, feeling authentic – all which ties to the absence of rationale behind the decision to do so. Jennifer Ross of The American Reporter says, “shoppers feel better about themselves if they can buy more expensive things. It’s as simple as that. It gives them a sense of belonging where there might be insecurity. It reinforces their sense of self in a way that isn’t possible elsewhere”.

Don’t be fooled, though, you can still wear expensive shoes! You don’t have to break your bank account and still find shoes that will fit your style. After all, I’m here to help you look like a star!

For instance, the Nike Kyrie 7’s come in a variety of colors (such as dark and light aesthetics) that will fit into any streetwear – also noting for my fellow hoopers, these shoes are perfect for playing basketball too.

White Air Force 7’s are the perfect fit for any occasion – ask any sneakerhead out there! The shoe design is super versatile and is a classic-look among millennials.

Finally, it may be a little retro, but a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor’s low tops can also go with anything you could possibly wear for any occasion.

Demetrius Jones is a staff writer for The Sting. He is an English major at the University of Baltimore.

The Color Theory: The 90’s Are Back

Photo: Joshua Rondeau (Unsplash)

Ladies, how many of you are digging through your mom’s closet right now? If not, you definitely should! As some of you may have heard, 90’s fashion has skyrocketed back into the fashion realm in recent memory. Fashion influencers and major celebrities, such as Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber, are becoming “re-inspired” (as you may say) by hopping onto this nostalgic trend.

“The ’90s have had a long, bad reputation when it comes to modern fashion – the pieces associated with it remains among the most fun and offbeat in a woman’s wardrobe” (Lifestyle Asia Magazine)

When it comes to the ’90s, what is one piece of clothing that you think of first? Baggy jeans, blazers, starter jackets, fanny packs? The list goes on.

Photo: Cindy Crawford (CR Fashionbook)

Well, my curious reader, seems like baggy jeans are back in style and are here to stay in 2021. With our new way of living and working, baggy jeans seem to benefit us more in our present time. With its ultra-wide legs, baggy clothes give you comfortability without living behind the fashion. Many have embraced this ongoing trend, referring to this phase as one of their favorite clothing styles to date. 

The “baggy cut” seems like it is only exclusive for jeans. It meshes well with different types of pant material, such as: cargo, perforated, faded, asymmetrical, in leather or imitation leather, ripped, and color coordinated to complement various styles.

Photo: Nicholas Cage on SNL (Getty Images)

Since the reemergence of baggy clothes, other 90’s trends survived the test of time. Some may consider the sophisticated blazer jacket being a timeless gem – landscaping across all different kinds of generations throughout different eras. For all you fashionistas out there, you may have seen different levels of blazers making an appearance on the runway in many fashion boutiques and shows. Before, blazers with vibrant colors and loud prints were very popular – according to Darcy Schild and Erin McDowell from Insider

Nowadays, blazers are increasingly focusing more on simplicity with the use of solid colors (such as: black, beige, brown, and nudes). What makes this piece of clothing so timeless is its versatility. You can combine blazers with jeans, dresses, baggy shirts, graphic tees, or leather pants – for all you 90’s connoisseurs. If you want to be a lot more brave, you can wear a silky dress with a blazer and still look CHIC!

Photo: Victoria Beckham (Who What Wear)

Personally, I cannot live without a blazer in my wardrobe. The most recent combination I have done with a blazer was wearing it under a black turtleneck shirt, leather miniskirt, and a pair of Dr. Martens – otherwise, known as a pair of “chunky boots”. However, if you are not a skirt/dress person, a pair of baggy jeans would go perfectly well with your outfit of the day.

Happy Nostalgia!

Artjona Lireza is a staff writer for The Sting

The Color Theory: Four Looks

Going into this week, I needed some inspiration. I was looking through some old posts made from previous UB students (which you should definitely check out in the archives page), and I found this article made by recent graduate Benjamin Kahn – who I can say is the “predecessor” of The Color Theory.

Ben wrote a weekly column on men’s fashion called Kahnjucntion – hence, his last name (no?). After he left and graduated from UB, I stepped in and rebranded his fashion column into an influential streetwear column. So anyways, shout out to you Ben!

Here are four looks based on the type of persona you can define yourself with:

The Anime Fanatic

Whether you are an anime fan, or just simply like graphic tees, this one is for you! Maybe add a bomber jacket with this fit too?

The Photoshoot Fresh

Don’t be afraid of looking tacky – sometimes GOOD accidents happen. Here, I found a really bright and vibrant button-up from H&M and built my outfit from there.

Seems like button-ups will never go out of style, as it always makes you look more clean and crisp. All in all, just pretend that you are going to model for someone or going out on a date, you want to have a good impression!

The Simple, Yet Laid-Back

Still want to make a good impression, but don’t want to put so much effort into your look? Neutral colors are the way to go! A mix of white, black, and (maybe) grey can be incorporated into your outfit for this very simple look.

The Rockstar

Be influenced by your favorite musicians and take a look at their wardrobe. Another thing to note, bring their album art into life with your own style of streetwear. For example, you might of seen people reflecting their look with Tyler The Creator’s Flower Boy album.

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting and writes The Color Theory, an influential fashion column.

The Color Theory: Color of Attraction

Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Love is in the air – well, more like the coronavirus. But as we all know, Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Whether you’re single or in a committed relationship, if you despise intimacy or longing for it, you just can’t seem to hide away from the love.

Universally, the color red is commonly associated with this holiday or with the idea of being intimate. This had me wonder: Why?

Thulasie Manoharan of Her Culture says, “For so long, the color red was said to represent the blood red of the beating heart, and that heart was the ultimate symbol of love” – all from the beginning popularity of Valentine’s Day in the 16th Century. Like I said in a previous post, there is a story or a certain meaning behind colors and patterns. To extend this, symbolic figures and objects influences the way we think about self-perception.

Gabrielle K. Lehmann, author of Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Red on Perceived Attractiveness, also suggests that cultural association and social learning is responsible for this phenomenon. We are all accustomed to the association of the color red with attractiveness and intimacy due to cultural ideas passed down many generations. We keep this ideology just for the sake of symbolism.

Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Why Red?

Red is considered as the “most attractive color”, for both heterosexual men and women, according to studies concluded by students at the University of Rochester. While some may still argue this claim, recent studies still remain inconclusive.

In contrast, recent studies suggest that wearing red may boost confidence and self-love. Back in 2017, Anne Berthold, contributing author of The Effect of Red Color on Perceived Self-Attractiveness, told PsyPost: “People can feel (or perceive themselves) more attractive when putting on red clothes. Statistically, according to our studies, the color red simply attracts attention.” Generally, red is widely considered a color to be eye-popping and attention-grabbing for the majority of the American public.

So to get into the “holiday spirit”, simply wear red. Whether it be those snazzy pants that has been sitting in your closet all throughout 2020, this is a perfect time to wear it. Whether you are going out on a date, or just reciprocating self-love, flaunt your style! Incorporate some red into your wardrobe!

Here are some ideas to inspire you for your upcoming Valentine’s Day date:

Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting
Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting
Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting
Photo: Maria Orlova – Pexels

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting and writes The Color Theory, an influential fashion column.

The Color Theory: Embrace Your Culture for Black History

Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

As we all know, February is Black History Month. With racial injustice being brought to national attention within the past year, this time around feels a lot more important compared to recent years.

Said best by N’dea Yancey-Bragg of USA Today, “Black History Month recognizes the contributions African-Americans have made to this country throughout time. Specifically this year, on a national scale, we reflect on the continued struggle of racial injustice.”

For those interested, how did we get here?

Early Beginnings

The story of Black History Month dates back to 1915, almost fifty years after the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery. The founding fathers of this celebration, Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland, were dedicated to promote accomplishments made by African-Americans. They wanted these newly profound leaders to embrace their culture, while being put on a higher pedestal for the whole world to see. 

Photo: Matheus Viana – Pexels

Before 1976, Black History Month was “Black History Week” – formerly known as National Negro History Week, residing between Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays (who were important advocates of black lives).

Rising philosophers and leaders in the civil rights movement (such as Malcolm X, John Lewis, James Meredith, and Martin Luther King Jr.) brought awareness of the Black identity. Thus, evolving “Negro History Week” into the modern Black History Month.

Photo: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Today’s Impact

As said in my previous post, we started this whole pandemic with lots of uncertainty. But there seems to be a forecast of hope on the horizon. With heartbreaking events, such as the death of George Floyd and many other countless names, became eye-opening for our nation. This year’s celebration, the on-going focus is heavily reflective of last summer’s Black Lives Matter Movement.

Although some may argue, just this year alone, this particular “reflection” is overly emphasized. Somebody once told me recently, “Well, why are people finally recognizing our struggles now? Why are people finally bringing up this issue after so many decades of pain?”

I hear you, my friend. But recognizing this issue now is better than never. We were bound to face the issues of police brutality, racism in the workplace, ignorance, and every injustice the black community has dealt with throughout the history of this country.

Nichelle Smith of USA Today agrees, “The short answer: Forward. Through still-difficult times to the other, better side. There’s no going back to a “normal” that never worked well for Black people anyway.” 

Everyone has been through a lot this past year. What’s keeping us alive is for us to keep progressing and pushing forward as individuals.

Current Sting President and Editor-at-Large, Leonard Robinson, also agrees to my philosophical advice as said in his last post: “The big thing that happened? Humanity got better at simply…being alive”. To put it in perspective, every day (hopefully), we are becoming more tolerant to our neighbors.

Photo: Scott Olson – Getty Images (via NPR)

The Colors: Symbolize Through Wear

With this celebration going on now, and still in a worldwide pandemic, the most common way to express your heritage and “blackness” is to dress up for the culture.

Dressing in a way can be considered as a reflection of one’s cultural values and morals. Think of it symbolically: there’s a story or meaning behind certain colors and patterns.

The colors red, black, and green have always been associated with African-descent and used as the colorway for Black History Month – inspired from the iconic, Pan-American Flag (or known as the Black Liberation Flag). Said by NPR editor, Leah Donnella: “Red stood for blood — both the blood shed by Africans who died in their fight for liberation, and the shared blood of the African people. Black represented, well, black people. And green was a symbol of growth and the natural fertility of Africa.”

I’m not saying you should wear red, black, and/or green to support this national celebration – but only my suggestion. You could go even further into embracing your culture by wearing traditional wear, such as head wraps and fine prints.

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting and writes The Color Theory, an influential fashion column.

The Color Theory: Symbol of Justice

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Like I said before in a previous post, we are closing in on a pretty shitty year. Although 2020 has been a wild ride for many of us, I know I am not the only one that is super happy that Trump is finally being kicked out of the office.

With our new president coming into the horizon, there are still social issues we face in a very divided country. In this week’s post, for me to talk about politics after this year’s election is only “fitting” (pun intended).

We started this year with uncertainty, but many people can say that we are ending it with a shining glimmer of hope. But with Biden becoming President, we have to realize that this is just the beginning, this country still has a lot of work to do.

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez

One of the biggest obstacles that President Biden will face in his first day in office is racial inequality. Over numerous decades, we have seen tragedies and murders of innocent black lives. 2020 has shined light upon from the events of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and other countless names from this year alone. 

More names memorialized here (via CBS News)

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

I digress, but let’s not forget that The Color Theory is a fashion column. Like I said in the past, hoodie season is now in full effect. Hoodies have transcended fashion in so many ways, but also social-political movements as well.

Consider this: in the mid 70s, for some, hoodies were seen as a sign of rebellion and crime. Denis Wilson of Rolling Stone says “from its association with punk and hip-hop to skater culture, the hoodie has a history of being adopted by youth-driven communities once relegated to the fringes, imbuing it with an iconoclastic, sometimes criminal, subtext. Mainstream fashion may embrace it as a practical article of clothing, but it never lost that edge”.

Things like this creates racial biases. For people like George Zimmerman, creates a divide and fuels more to the fire. This negative connotation of hoodies meant that people like Zimmerman think innocent kids like Trayvon were “up to no good” just because they had their hood up – and to call it self-defense is absolutely shameful.

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

Nowadays, some can argue that the hoodie can represent a symbol of defiance and progression after the tragedy of Trayvon Martin back in 2012. If you remember the protests at the time, a great number of Americans donned the hoodie. Marching and chanting “We are all Trayvon Martin”. Hundreds of supporters walked in a Million Hoodie March in New York – and then other gatherings in other cities (Linton Weeks via NPR).

So hoodies do not necessarily have to be a symbol of anything – as this particular piece of clothing should be representing your aesthetic and nature. Let’s be realistic, everyone in America owns at least one hoodie. Troy Patterson from The New York Times Magazine puts it best: “A black guy in a hoodie is just another of the many millions of men and boys dressed in the practical gear of an easygoing era. Or he should be”.

All I am really saying is, racism has been passed down from hundreds of generations. It’s up to all of us today to start a different mindset for many generations to come. Everyone owns a hoodie, everyone poops, everyone dies, so let’s learn how to love and forgive each other.

Photo Credit: Jeff Dominguez – The Sting

What Dave Chappelle said in his most recent appearance on Saturday Night Live, predicates to everything I am telling you now. Watch it, I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from his monologue:

“All the white people who feel that anguish, that pain, that man, they think nobody cares – Maybe they don’t. But let me tell you something, I know how that feels. I promise you, I know how that feels”

“You’re a police officer. Every time you put on a uniform, you feel like you’ve got a target on your back. You’re appalled by the ingratitude that people have when you would risk your life to save them – Oh man, believe me. Believe me, I know how that feels. Everyone knows how that feels.”

“I don’t hate anybody, but I hate that feeling. That’s what I fight through, I suggest that’s what you fight through”

Although we may have another old white man back in office again, let’s not be mistaken for this: we have to hold him accountable just like any other President before him. We are in an era of progression – an era where we want to love each other and live off the simplicities of life.

In his transition plans, via Build Back Better, it states: “President-elect Joe Biden is working to strengthen America’s commitment to justice, and reform our criminal justice system. As the former District Attorney of San Francisco and Attorney General of California, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has spent her entire career fighting for justice for the people, and equal justice under law”

The Biden-Harris administration will work with Congress to pass police reform legislation including:

  • A nationwide ban on chokeholds.
  • Stopping the transfer of weapons of war to police forces.
  • Improving oversight and accountability, to create a model use of force standard.
  • Creating a national police oversight commission.

Jeff Dominguez is the Communications Director for The Sting and writes The Color Theory, a bi-weekly fashion column.