The Style in ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Was Ahead of Its Time

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A moment of respect for Napoleon Dynamite the Prophet, who foresaw normcore in the stars and predicted the Western period of Raf Simons over a decade before the designer would join Calvin Klein. In a pre-Instagram hometown of Preston, Idaho, where Lizzie McGuire’s sister reigned as queen, there lived a man blessed before his time with the kind of presence that would, in today’s world, no doubt launch a successful franchise of underground fashion meme accounts with 100% non-bot followers on pure virtue of his great moniker, authenticity, ability to detect trends before they trend and strong command of personal aesthetic.

Napoleon Dynamite was a thrift store pirate. He possessed the monk-like mental strength required to dig through one-dollar barrels of Salvation Army tees. Only patience, superhuman patience, allows for a man to find such wardrobe-defining trophies. In addition to a zen-like state of flow, thrift pilfering requires an answer to the question even the most enlightened of us will never be able to answer: What are you looking for?

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Of course, his answer was never as clear as a concrete sentence or mission statement. Like a designer whose mood board tells far more than the collection’s summation in the show notes, Dynamite knew inspiration when he saw it and let the banal drone of daily life fuel his creative energy. The result: a graphic tee collection that is equal parts mockery of his district’s school system and its related color palette, an homage to his grandmother — Dynamite saw beauty in the gruffness of her being and the tension of their relationship (also reflected in his choice of retro optical-wear, seen on the face of nearly every influencer at least once this past year), a rebellion against his uncle’s inflated male ego and a proud tribute to Dynamite’s own respect for equine majesty.

We can talk about the jeans in this film whenever you are ready. The brands, which my eyes deduce are a combination of Red Tab Levi’s, Wranglers and Lee, are far less important than the cut and fabric: no stretch, thick cotton denim, high waist with a variety in the leg. Where Napoleon Dynamite preferred a tapered tube to tuck into his Moon Boots (shoes that immediately reignited the Moon Boot craze among ever luxury ski-resort visitor from Courchevel to Appi Kogen to Aspen), Pedro, Dynamite’s friend with no last name (the mark of a truly great artist-cum-celebrity) preferred a slight taper to cover his cowboy kicks.

Speaking of Pedro, master of belts, let’s consider, for a moment, a few others in Dynamite’s immediate circle who should be noted for their influence on Napoleon Dynamite’s own style and today’s fashion.

First there’s Rex, founder of Rex Kwon Do, patriot and self-defense instructor who taught a classroom of citizens that fitness was a lifestyle, that athleisure should be respected as fashion and that the whole package could be branded as a multi-million dollar business if only you market yourself right on Instagram.

Then, of course, there was Deb, a young Roxanne Assoulin.

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