Class vs. Swag

By James Canares

Whether it’s Gucci vs. Obey, Chanel vs. Stussy, or Giorgio Armani vs. Crooks & Castles, today’s generation is divided by a debate that could ruin friendships: Swag or Class? 

The most important thing to realize is that both are okay. Choosing one in favor of another is fine. But to put down another and anyone else that prefers that style is bordering into meaningless whining. Some people prefer streetwear because they like to hang out and chill with their friends. Others prefer classy because they seek a cleaner, more formal appearance that gives them that mature, business-oriented look. 

That being said, the debate still manages to divide today’s generation of young adults. As we enter college and prepare to leave it, we all change styles somewhere along the line. Those who enter college tend to stick more to the streetwear and casual clothing, and then transition to a more classy, professional look that screams, “look at me now!” 

First let’s examine the pros and cons of both:

Track and field athlete Van Alexander wears a gold rope chain along with his navy blue bandana print polo, jeans, and Aldo loafers. His accessories include a Diesel watch and Beats by Dre headphones. Photo: Lauren Holmes

Track and field athlete Van Alexander wears a gold rope chain along with his navy blue bandana print polo, jeans, and Aldo loafers. His accessories include a Diesel watch and Beats by Dre headphones. Photo: Lauren Holmes

Swag

Pros: 

  • Casual wear, better suited for hang outs and food outings
  • Simple, easy to dress up
  • Easier to move around in, dance in

Cons:

  • Informal, not good for every event
  • Often seen as “immature” 
  • Often the butt of the joke
Jose Lopez is sporting a pair of Obey cuffed black dress pants, blue Asos shoes from House of Hounds and a black short sleeve two pocket shirt from American Apparel. Photo: Lauren Holmes

Jose Lopez is sporting a pair of Obey cuffed black dress pants, blue Asos shoes from House of Hounds and a black short sleeve two pocket shirt from American Apparel. Photo: Lauren Holmes

Class

Pros: 

  • Gives a cleaner, more mature look
  • Good for business-oriented events
  • Associated with the gentleman mentality

Cons: 

  • More complex to wear, less comfortable
  • Sometimes weather gets in the way
  • Less flexible, not recommended for dancing

 

One style will excel where the other fails, and that is the real reason why the debate will never have a clear victor. Sagging your pants “because swag” can bring down your streetwear look, but wearing dress shirts, ties and dress shoes every day can make you look like a class try-hard. Both styles carry out confidence in their own way, but they aren’t without their fair share of pretenders. 

Now that we’ve established that there is no blatant shame in either one, let’s face the truth: Our generation is only this young for so long. As we grow older, we also aspire to look older. This is where classy has the edge. 

An article from Elite Daily speaks heavily in favor of class over swag, pointing out reasons such as style, behavior and business. According to the article, classy men are “generally highly educated, and know how to conduct themselves in business.”

The article also puts down swag in terms of dating and relationships. It states that women tend to gravitate towards men dressed in classy suits rather than one in a snapback. To sum it up, the article preaches that “the latter commands attention, while the former commands respect.”

The older we get, the busier we get. Therefore we have less time for hangouts, outings and casual parties. More of our schedule is filled up with business and work-oriented events, many of which we’ll have to dress up less casually and more formally. 

This is why the debate is flawed. It’s literally a matter of time, meaning that the older we get, the more we transition into classy. Time as in if we have time to dress up in a more casual manner, we’ll break out a graphic tee every now and then. 

If you’re young, it’s perfectly fine to rock your snapbacks and skinny jeans. You also have the freedom to wear a dress shirt and nice jacket. The truth is, as your life becomes more career-oriented, you’ll have less time to dress casually