Asian Style Mafia (ASM)

I have taken the brave step towards a more fashionable life style.  Given my near total inability to understand and appreciate fashion, I’ve retained the outside counsel and industry expertise of my most fashionable friends – Bernice, Hiroko, and Jenn – who have subsequently been renamed the ‘Asian Style Mafia’ (ASM).

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Photo Credit: Adrian Fradd (please follow him on Instragram, he’s trying really, really hard to increase his followers)

While they all have vastly different styles and methodologies for shopping, my cadre of fashion consultants have tag teamed my wardrobe to drag me into a new era of black and gray statement pieces, knitted sweaters and browns, and high-confidence, high-fashion wardrobe changes.

The transformation from my tried and true “blue jeans and button-ups” to “fashion forward(?)” was easily as elaborate as caterpillar morphing into a butterfly.  The process launched with a clothing and closet review, where we discovered that 90% of my shirts are blue and 40% of them are “sports apparel”.  Additionally, small nuggets of knowledge were shared, like “Maybe don’t always wear shirts that have funny sayings on them…”

From there, an embarrassingly simplistic list of fashion needs was drafted, shared, and confided across the fashion cadre (think: a process similar to drafting the Constitution of the US with a white board and iPhones).  That list was the list that launched a 1000 Pinterest boards… err, 2 Pinterest boards focused on fashion-friendly options for Nicholas A Kroshus.



After hours of preparation before even stepping foot in a store, I was excited for my first trip!  I had a list of needs, 1000 possible ideas, and a credit card itching to be swiped.  At some point, I rediscovered why I am not fashionable – it’s cause shopping is terrible!  After hours upon hours of wandering through department stores, discount outlets, specialty shops, and hiding in a changing room while pretending to be changing… I heard the phrase that almost broke me, “Don’t worry about finding something, we may shop all day and not buy anything.”  At that point, a single solitary tear rolled down my cheek and Bernice had to walk me out of the store and buy me some Kettle Corn to placate my hysteria.

Eventually, we bought a jacket. Then another.  Then Bernice suggested a black t-shirt – purchased! And then we were pretty much done.  But those small steps for Nick were giant leaps forward for Nick’s closet.  After several more shopping trips, the closet is starting to have some new life breathed into it.
Compared to my previous fashion mantra of “decision fatigue is dangerous” and lived a life of limited clothing choices; the new, more fashionable life is filled with lots of colors and combinations.  That being said, the shopping process was an emotional spectrum ranging from sweaty exhaustion to loopy craziness.


Fashion Emotion Spectrum



With my new wardrobe and ever growing collection of online dating apps, I was ready to dive back into the dating world.  While it has been entertaining to keep swiping my way through the Bay Area, I coming onto some premise challenging facts.

Where my Minnesotans at?
In the last six months, 3 of my friends have found Minnesota girls to start dating.  Which flies in the face of my earlier claims that there are no Minnesotans in the Bay available for dating. It’s unclear where these ladies were hiding, but I forced to start considering make an App (working title: to increase my odds of finding this elusive, black swan  (maybe, loon would be more apropos) of a lady.

When first dates get medical
– Despite my inability to find cute, accomplished, Bay Area-based Minnesotans to date, I have been going on dates. While most of the dates have ended in an awkward high-five and a vague affirmation that “this was really fun.” At least one date stood out from the rest.  A few weeks back, I went on a date with a super cute lady who ticked all the key boxes (i.e., smart & ambitious (enrolled at GSB), loves to dance (wanted to go dancing on the first date), and interested in travel (well-used passport)).

The date was going well. A few drinks, some banter, and lots of laughter.  About an hour into the date, she leaned in and the following conversation ensued.

Date:  “You have a really intense stare, I’m sure you’ve heard that before.”
Nick: “Really? No.. I’ve never heard that before.”
Date: “Wow! Yeah, your eyes get pretty wide when you are listening.  Out of curiosity…do you normally have sweaty palms?”
Nick: *awkward chuckle* “… uh… only on first dates” *big, charming smile*
Date: “Hmph… maybe you have a thyroid condition.  You should think about getting that checked out.”

Full disclosure, she was a trained MD.  That being said, it’s tough to get geared up for a second date, knowing you may be lured into providing a more robust medical history.

Maybe my eyes DO get too wide –
I was chuckling to myself a week later as I was recounting the story while out with some friends.  I was ready to dismiss the entire notion of an A) intense stare and B) a thyroid condition until I received even more feedback.  We asked a kindly looking gentleman (~50-60 years old) to take a photo of our group.  He happily obliged, took two quick pictures, looked down to review his handy-work and then paused.  He glanced up, stared at me and remarked, “Don’t try so hard.  Maybe a little less excitement in your eyes…” Any time you get serious ad hoc feedback from a stranger about your smile/stare, you are forced to confront the fact that maybe you are starting to develop ‘crazy eyes’, an ‘intense stare’, or a ‘thyroid condition’.  Either way, I am working REAL hard to look a lot more normal in my pics.