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Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Crackhead Couture
Living in an urban environment, you're likely to encounter a crackhead every once in a while. Normally, they're quite harmless and are usually too far gone to be too angry that you didn't give them any money. When I speak of crackhead, I am not referring to the desolate meth, heroin, or other non-crack drug addicts, they're a different beast altogether.

Back in the day, you could usually get something of pretty decent value from them for only a small amount of money. Just the phrase "crackhead" conjures of memories of two particular crackheads, Cookie and Slim from my grandmother's neighborhood in the Bronx. These two were quintessential stereotypes. "I'll give you this new TV and a 7-day MetroCard for $20", and out of the shopping cart came a gleaming new TV and an unused MetroCard as promised. Or Slim would always be willing to do manual labor for a very small fee, and would do the work before getting the money--not the other way around like these substandard crackheads try to do now.

Lately I've been having far too many close encounters of the crackhead kind, with them asking me for money, cigarettes, breath mints, and anything else that they think I might have. For this reason, I've gotten the chance to study crackhead fashion.

Crackhead prêt à porter: This pretty much refers to the crackhead uniform of skully hat, wool coat, double knit pants, and usually a beat up pair of Nike hightops. Most crackheads flock to this look en masse since it's very easy to distinguish who and what they are. Dave Chappelle familiarized this look with his character, Tyrone. This is usually a crackhead who has hit rock bottom and may be past the point no return. They will come up to you anywhere--gas station, Metro station, sidewalk--and ask you if "you got a dollar or even just a quarter?". For those of you who've never come across a crackhead, some of them really do look like this:

Crackhead demi couture: This refers to the massive amounts of denim and gold made by a designer that's no longer au courant. Now these crackheads prefer to try and dress more according to what's in style at the moment, just a bit tackier. There is usually a lot of pawn shop gold jewelry involved, and occasionally a gold or silver tooth. The Designer dressing crackhead usually hasn't hit rock bottom as hard as those who've settled for the prêt à porter. This crackhead will typically be the one trying to sell you insense or bootleg DVDs while you're at the hair salon. Occasionally one may try to hit on you, seeing as they haven't lost all good sense yet.

Crackhead haute couture: Usually these crackheads are former entertainers or people who were living the "good life" at one point. They can afford to wear expensive designer labels, but somehow it doesn't look right on them. Basically, think Whitney before the split from Bobby. All you can say is "hot mess". Dusty mink coats, faded cashmere sweaters, splotchy velvet boots, *sigh*. This is usually the brand of crackhead who says "I don't do crack, I do cocaine" and lives with delusions of grandeur.

See, we underestimate this pocket of our population. They want to look good too. Maybe they deserve their time on the Fashion Channel with all the other crazy looking supermodels. I'm sure "Crackhead Fashion Weekly" would be a ratings juggernaut.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sooo sooo true

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