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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Style File: Sean Barry Lawrence’s love affair with sweaters


Sean Barry Lawrence ’17 loves to cook, makes excellent cocktails and has a dry sense of humor. Interviewing him in his house, I discovered how his tastes and personality emanate through all facets of his life, including his relationship with his housemates and the $3 ironically mundane paintings that they hang on their walls. Lawrence and his housemates just purchased matching monogrammed Land’s End bathrobes. Grady Johnson ’17, one of his housemates, has been into bathrobes this semester. When Lawrence found a great deal, the four housemates couldn’t pass it up. The bathrobes have a rich red font, and they are green and blue plaid. They finally arrived during Fall Break, to the excitement of Lawrence.

This simultaneously absurd and hopelessly casual occurrence is emblematic of Lawrence’s comments during the interview. He peppered his sincere comments about wool sweaters and his accidental style with amusing anecdotes and hilarious deadpan quips. At one point, he sardonically declared “Oh I light up everyone’s day.”

It’s important to begin with the subject of sweaters, especially since Lawrence announced, “Let me talk about my sweaters” early on in the interview. He spoke about his favorite piece a, “yellow flannel that is actually my grandfather’s.” He went on to explain, “So it was made by Oshkosh B’gosh, which actually stopped making adult clothing in like the ’70s or ’80s. It’s something that he gave to my dad and my dad gave to me. My dad has fond childhood memories of his dad in that shirt, and it looks nice. [It’s a] really sturdy, American-made work shirt.” In fact, Lawrence’s father appeared in other parts of our conversation. He discussed how, during high school, he “started breaking out [his] dad’s old flannels. I started pairing those with sweaters, which is my go-to now.” His love affair with sweaters prevents Lawrence from enjoying summer as much as colder seasons. His mother comes from an Irish family, and he said “we went to Ireland once as a family, and everyone in the family has an Irish wool sweater. I’ve had mine for like 15 years.” Needless to say, Lawrence is a big fan of wool, and he claims to “still wear wool pretty much everyday when it’s cold,” in the form of socks, sweaters or a jacket. His style is self-described as “rugged comfort core.”

This brings us to another important point. Lawrence refuses to sacrifice comfort for fashion. He also doesn’t seek to spend much money on clothing. The majority of his clothing consists of secondhand buys and hand-me-downs from siblings. However, he splurges on Levi’s jeans, because they’re well-made and they fit him well. Also, Kohl’s is the only locale that he frequents consistently, since he’s not a “committed consumer to any product.” His fashion philosophy is that he always tries to dress comfortably, and that he seeks to buy clothes that last a long time. He recognizes that “with a little coordination, I can always be comfortable and stylish at the same time.” However, it still came as a surprise that in high school when he was (bizarrely) voted by his AP Bio teacher as the most stylish person in the class. He jokes about how “It wasn’t really a vote. It was kind of weird because we weren’t doing superlatives at all. She said, ‘You know, Sean, you’re always the most fashionably dressed.’”

While Sean is often accidentally fashionable, he does draw stylistic inspiration from gray weather. Lawrence spoke about how “I really like cloudy weather, so I like when I’m matching the weather when I like the weather, if that makes sense. I really like lavender and lavender pairs well as an accent to gray. Like a ‘groutfit’ with a lavender scarf is like my ultimate outfit.” A groutfit is an entirely gray outfit, in case you’re lost. I recently saw Lawrence wearing a groutfit, and I asked him during the interview about the inception of that outfit. According to Lawrence, it was a pretty simple decision. He claims, “Well that day only my gray pants were clean,” and the rest of the outfit started from that inspiring point. However, Lawrence isn’t averse to color. While he doesn’t really like orange as a color, he often wears “this one orange jacket that is comfy and people seem to like it. That’s my most complimented outfit.” When I asked about following high fashion, he spoke about how he keeps “an eye on high fashion, and I think it’s interesting what they do, especially through the NYT style magazine. I like all of those glossy prints. The really cool ones, I actually put up on my wall.” However, his interest stops there, since “that stuff’s crazy,” and far too expensive.

Overall, Lawrence adopts a casual and unassuming approach to personal style that comes off as “rugged comfort core.” Lawrence, has consistently been stylistically on point. He may claim to put minimal effort into his style, stressing comfort over all else, but his product is a well-crafted and recognizable personal aesthetic on campus.

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    Virginia RussellSep 8, 2019 at 3:46 am

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