It’s the question you were too afraid to Google: How do you describe the dirty yet inexplicably cool style that’s been co-opted by beloved Hollywood sleazebags like Pete Davidson, Justin Bieber, Diplo and Shia LaBeouf?
For better or worse, if you follow pop culture, you probably know the aesthetic we’re talking about. There’s a heavy dose of Hawaiian print shirts, a touch of man jewelry strewn over tattoos he got “just because,” and a sprinkling of hypebeast merch and streetwear logos. The color palette consists of neons as well as “unwashed gym tee” heather grays.
And now, thanks to Kenzie Bryant over at Vanity Fair, we have an exact name for the men whose style fits this description. We introduce to you, the scumbro. (Please accept our humble apologies.)
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Okay, I need a better explanation.
The term scumbro, a cousin of other slang we accidentally-on-purpose adopted—like “lit” and “Big Dick Energy”—is a term that only found reason to be born into existence in the year 2018.
Writes Bryant, “It’s a catchall for the R.E.I.-clad trustafarian co-ed meets Supreme … scumbro is the version of streetwear that wears irony like it’s a dewy hint of highlighter on the cheekbone—like normcore did, but much less precious. The scumbro wears Patagonia and Crocs but also the latest Adidas limited drop.”
Essentially, a scumbro is a lowkey hypebeast, one who wears streetwear brands with an ironic almost-detachment. From afar, he looks like that kid from college who showered once a week. Up close? He’s dripping in brand names. So yes, he’s also dropping a lot of dough on his wardrobe.
Tell me more about Pete Davidson’s role in all of this.
Hitching the look to the rise of Davidson might seem questionable if your knowledge of Davidson has been limited to his role as Ariana Grande’s jumbo-sized arm candy. After all, you might be thinking, didn’t Queer Eye‘s Tan France just give him an SNL style makeover not long ago? The answer is, yes, but when Davidson described his style as “guido trash,” he was being a bit modest.
As Bryant writes, before he became half of one of the world’s most curious couples, he was regularly wearing Supreme, Yeezy and even Gucci while delivering his self-deprecating monologues as SNL’s “Resident Young Person” on the show’s Weekend Update segments.
Wait, was Ariana Grande involved?
Nah. Davidson’s been on this grind for months.
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So, is this like, “a thing.”
Who are other scumbros?
Besides the aforementioned scumbros like Bieber (whose scumbro-yness is elevated when he’s rocking that tiny stache) and LaBeouf, whose style has been chronicled by the likes of GQ, Complex and this Instagram account for years, we also have Jonah Hill.
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Can anyone be a scumbro?
The short answer? No. Part of what gives scumbros the ability to pull of their dirty teenager look is their Big Dick Energy, sure—but it’s also tied up in their celebrity.
Writes Bryant, “Even though Shia shops vintage, or dumpster dives for his clothes for all we know, he’s Shia. You’re just Kevin. Kevin from Milwaukee.”
The more you know.
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