Mismatching Is the New Matching A Youth Radio commentator is appalled by the blinding, Fruity Pebbles-hued, punk-rock fashions taking over Oakland, Calif. — and is determined to wear coordinating clothes, regardless of the mismatching trend.
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Mismatching Is the New Matching

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Mismatching Is the New Matching

Mismatching Is the New Matching

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Back now with Day to Day. Last week we launched Youth Radio's weekly series What's the New What. It explores trends in young America.

ALANA GERMANY (Contributor, Youth Radio): What's The New What? I say disrespect is the new chivalry.


That's last week's contributor, Alana Germany. She said chivalry is dead.

GERMANY: Take a listen to this classic love song from 1972, by the Four Tops.

(Soundbite of song "Ain't No Woman")

The FOUR TOPS: (Singing) Ain't no woman like the one I've got. No, no they don't come better. Ain't no woman like the one I've got...

GERMANY: Now take a listen from a re-mix from my generation by Bay Area rap legend Too Short.

(Soundbite of song)

TOO SHORT: (Singing): Ain't no bitches like the ones I've got...


Is disrespect the new chivalry? We asked you, and a lot of you responded.

Mr. DAN FOREG (Caller): My name is Dane Foreg(ph), I live in Boise, Idaho. Men do things that we know will work. At some point walking behind a woman going yee-yee-yee worked for somebody. Whose fault is that? Men would wear fur pants, face paint, swinging a dead cat by the tail and singing folk songs from the '60s if it got them a phone number. If women lead, the men will follow.

BRAND: Alex, would you wear fur pants to get a woman's attention?

CHADWICK: Well, I'm happily married so I don't need to anymore. Twenty six-year-old Adam Ladie(ph) from Ohio, thought that he would hate this series, but actually he liked it well enough to call.

Mr. ADAM LADIE (Caller): I was afraid this segment would be too cute, too trite or to be blunt, too young for me to understand. I think chivalry is dead even among men who don't refer to women as bitch, sexy or chocolate. I, for one, open doors for my dates unless they instruct me to do otherwise. Yet amazingly, I remain single.

BRAND: And women wrote in too. Here's Kelly Gwynn(ph), from Anchorage, Alaska.

Ms. KELLY GWYNN (Caller): Hi. I just wanted to write and say thank you for the excellent report on the tragic death of chivalry. It's something I've noticed for a while now. OK. I just read that and it sounds like I'm about 80, but I'm not. I'm only 27. But really disrespect for women, particularly young attractive women, has become so prevalent that it's just accepted. Hopefully your report will make people realize disrespect for women will get them nowhere.

CHADWICK: And some quotes from listener emails. "Chivalry is dead, and it's about time."

BRAND: That's from Andrew Pilney(ph). He says the feminist movement ended chivalry. Women can open their own doors, and that's good. He even suggests men should hold doors for each other.

CHADWICK: Jeff from Newark, Delaware, says, "This was one of the rudest pieces of information I've ever heard on NPR."

BRAND: Jeff didn't give his last name, but he gave his opinion. He said he expected to hear about what's trendy, stylish and hot in young America, and he was very disappointed.

CHADWICK: Hey, don't turn off that radio, Jeff. This week's What's The New What is about fashion.

BRAND: OK. Let's take John Witherspoon's line from the movie starring Ice Cube called "Friday," as our starting point.

(Soundbite of movie)

Mr. JOHN WITHERSPOON (Actor): You've got to know how to coordinate, coordinate. You got to coordinate.

CHADWICK: But according to Youth Radio's King Anyi Howell, coordination is over.

BRAND: He's not talking about mixing plaids and stripes.

CHADWICK: Here's this week's installment of Youth Radio's What's The New What.

KING ANYI HOWELL (Contributor, Youth Radio): What's The New What? Here in Oakland, California, mismatching is the new matching. When I was 11 years old and not really concerned with my appearance, a girl roasted me hard for not matching.

Unidentified Woman #1: Every time I see you on the playground, you always got something funky on. Uh-uh. You can't never match.

HOWELL: That was all it took for me to start color-coordinating my 'fits. To this day I don't leave the house without matching my shirt with my shoes. I even buy sports apparel featuring teams I don't like just because I have a hat or some shoes to match it with. But today, it seems like more and more youngsters, especially girls are leaving their houses for the day and taking their whole closets with them, matching or not. I was on the train the other day, and I saw this young girl wearing...

Unidentified Woman #2: Lime green pumps, pink spandex leggings, an electric blue top and pink hair.

HOWELL: Which was woven into the rest of her black weave. I saw her meet up with another loud-dressing young lass who was sporting some...

Unidentified Woman #3: Fluorescent orange Reebok shoes, knee-high rainbow socks, a yellow top, and orange hair extensions.

HOWELL: When all seven of these females eventually got together that sunny day, I could hardly look directly at them, because all the fluorescent colors made them look like a bad Pokemon episode. Not since the '90s and the Cross Colours brand has random colorage been acceptable. The difference is, with Cross Colours, the color schemes were pro-black, African and Jamaican theme with red, black, and green, or green, black, and yellow palettes.

Unidentified Man #1: People were definitely influenced so that they were proud of who they were, where they're from.

HOWELL: Now, there is no political rhyme or reason to the color selection of these outfits that shout out, help, a box of highlighters just threw up all over me. Girls even have a name for their bright-colored rocker fashion.

Unidentified Woman #2: Yeah. It's called Fruity Pebble punk rock.

HOWELL: Some say it's the fashion of today, but I say coordination will always be key to kicking it. I told all of this to a youngster who then tried to defend his mismatched style.

Unidentified Man #2: Mismatching is way better than matching, because when you match it's so boring, and when you mismatch you get to walk out looking like...

HOWELL: But before he could finish the sentence I told him, what, I can't hear you, your outfit is too loud. For NPR News, I'm King Anyi Howell.

BRAND: What's your new what? Email us What at npr.org.

CHADWICK: And next Thursday, from Youth Radio.

Unidentified Man #3: What's The New What. I say (unintelligible) is the new (unintelligible).

BRAND: What?

CHADWICK: You'll find out next week.

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