Byron: So we’re here with Kaleb Anderson for Bust A Fit. I see your outfit. The gray and black. I like it. Tell me about the overall outfit. Kind of how you put it together.
Kaleb: I usually dress up, so I’m usually wearing like a button down and dress shoes and dress pants, but I always like to throw either a pop of color or just do black and gray. I choose to do something that doesn’t usually go with a preppy look. So I’m wearing a black turtleneck and I decided to wear gray overalls. This fall I think I’ve really decided to do more monochromatic colors, which is something I don’t usually do. What’s influencing that is because I’ve been dyeing my hair too. So my hair is like an icy-blue kind of thing right now.
B: How did you start wearing overalls?
K: Well, I’m pretty tall. And since I’m tall, I really like to either show my legs or cover my legs in an “I don’t look super tall” way. I found that overalls usually come in a size that fully covers my leg. I actually started wearing boots more often too which is something that is different to me because I usually just wear gym shoes all the time. Overalls are just easy to get out of. You know. Throw ‘em on. Throw ‘em off. Sometimes I’m wearing like one buckle. Sometimes I’m wearing two. It’s a lot that you can do with overalls.
B: So your hair. You just kind of dye it whatever?
K: It’s actually been black up until Halloween time. I didn’t have a costume to wear but I just wanted to dye my hair because it’s like either I do it now, or, with the career I want to go into, I won’t be able to dye my hair. Or I’ll just go bald before 30. So I decided to bleach it to like a blonde blonde. I didn’t want to just have it blonde cause everybody else is going blonde. It’s really like a pastel blue, and it turned out to be this icy blue.
B: Do your outfits ever reflect your mood?
K: If it’s going by my mood, then it’ll just be me getting up in the morning, and I’ll still wear a button down and a sweater, but then instead of wearing dress pants, I’ll wear my Adidas joggers to look more casual. So it’s not really mood, it’s more like comfort. Especially with the days that I have and how busy I am.
B: You were talking about these monochromatic colors. Have you ever incorporated brighter colors?
K: So I usually incorporate brighter colors in my sweaters. My favorite color is blue. So I’ll have a lot of blue sweaters; a lot of blue jackets.
B: Is there any celebrity that you base your style off of? When I see the overalls I automatically think of Chance.
K: No, I think I get a lot of my inspiration from the ‘50s and ‘60s in terms of black Civil Rights leaders, so a lot of it comes from Bayard Rustin. Baldwin. Baldwin did a lot of cropped pants looks. He’s also tiny as hell; he’s like 5’5. So of course I won’t pull off cropped pants, but a lot of it was just like incorporating forms of femininity into clothing too. So a lot of times, especially if I don’t have to dress up for that day, I may wear pink that day. But everything else can still be monochromatic. Especially when I go out to parties I choose to play with androgyny a lot. So me wearing a mesh top or me wearing some joggers or like something different, that isn’t what you normally expect from a black man.
B: Where do you get a lot of your stuff?
K: Most of my sweaters come from Zara. Back home in Atlanta, a lot of us, meaning black gay men, prefer to go into Nordstrom and Zara and pretty high end stuff. But I found that thrifting doesn’t take up a lot of my time. For the price of one Zara sweater, I could find five bomb-ass sweaters. Since I’ve gotten to Greencastle, in the middle of nowhere where I don’t have a Zara to go to, I’ve found some pretty decent stuff while thrifting.
B: You talked about being on Greencastle’s campus. How has being in this environment, being in a predominantly white space, and with your identity. How has that affected your fashion and sense of style or how you evaluate and carry out your identity?
K: Back home, I didn’t have to be conscious of what I wore or how I present myself. But when I got to campus, I actually turned that up to like a thousand. I remember when I did go home, and I started dressing the same, I found that I got more looks back home than I was getting when I was here. I think that since getting to Greencastle, I’ve been bolder in some of the stuff that I’ve been wearing. Like showing a lot more skin. Wearing things differently. And it’s not to get attention; it’s a form of resistance to me. If I don’t have a choice in terms of how people perceive me, being that I’m a tall black gay man, then a form of resistance to me is showing that I still look good.