Musician Jacob Allen AKA Puma Blue takes part in Fantastic Man’s Questionnaire series and tells us why jewellery is the must-have menswear accessory.
Fantastic Man: What garment is key to your personal style?
Puma Blue: I tend to dress fairly dynamically and I like to switch things up, but I never take off my earring or chain. No matter what I’m wearing. They just go with everything – kind of like a haircut.
What do they look like?
They are pretty simple – the chain has chunky silver links… You know that oval shape? The earring is a silver hoop but it’s really small. It only just goes around my earlobe. I used to wear my chain outside my clothes a lot, but these days I dress a bit like an old man from the 1950s so I tend to cover it up. Not retro but kind of a daddy look. It’s weird, you are never really naked with a chain or an earring on. You can be in the shower and still feel a little bit dressed.
Can you remember the last time you took them off? For an MRI scan or something like that?
I don’t think I’ve ever taken my earring off. I got it when I was 15 or 16 years old.
Is it literally the one they pierced your ear with?
The piercing shop was so tacky that they used a gun instead of a needle, so they put a stud in. There was no way I was going to school the next day with this horrible stud in my ear, so I found a place around the corner and bought a replacement. My ear was bleeding and the hole was sealing up but I managed to get it in. I was going to get a nicer one, but I guess I never got round to it – this one’s just sat in my ear this whole time! I think I last took my chain off in June.
My girlfriend wanted to wear it for a few hours. I told her to take it back to Atlanta with her – that’s where she lives – but she wanted me to keep it. It’s really freeing to give things away like that; I like the idea of not being too precious about stuff, especially the things you really love the most. It feels good to pass them on for a while.
“You are never really naked with a chain or an earring on. You can be in the shower and still feel a little bit dressed.”
Was your earring an act of rebellion against your parents? I feel like a lot of people’s are.
I never really felt the need to rebel against them because they weren’t very strict. They always let me dress how I wanted. It did feel like I was stepping out and being independent though. That it was my body, and I was going to govern it – it was probably the first time I really felt like an adult.
Do you think your attachment to your jewellery is something you picked up from your youth? Is there anyone in particular that inspired you?
It might have been an INDIANA JONES action hero type. I remember running around as a nine-year-old with an army dog-tag around my neck – you either had the shark tooth necklace or the ACTION MAN dog-tag, and I wasn’t nearly surfy enough for the shark tooth.
It’s weird how the only “acceptable” forms of jewellery for boys are these super masculine objects.
Oh yeah, I definitely felt as a kid that I had to play up to those macho, masculine archetypes. My role models were superheroes, JAMES BOND and LUKE SKYWALKER.
Have you ever gone through a radical change in your look?
I was a real rock kid when I was younger. I used to wear a lot of black, had long curly hair and lived in ripped jeans and CONVERSE – I really wanted to emulate that RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE look. A little bit punky, a bit freewheeling! But then I got into hip-hop. The way I dressed didn’t really match the music anymore.
Has that always been a bit of a theme for you? Dressing to match your musical tastes?
It’s always had a bearing on my clothes. I’ve got a pretty wide range of musical tastes so I guess I just try to dress as true to me as possible, whilst trying to throw in all those different reference points.
Kind of like putting your wardrobe on shuffle?
Definitely. You know that phrase, “dress for the job you want rather than the one you have”? Sometimes it’s nice to do that, you feel older and more together – it’s cool to feel like your life is in a good place just because you are dressing well. Other times I like to dress how I would have wanted to as a kid, just wearing a pair of combat trousers and a nice hoody. You can be like; “Oh man, 12-year-old me would be so proud right now!” It’s the same with music: if I’m writing something I know I would have liked ten or twelve years ago, I know I'm doing something genuine. It’s a nice feeling to know that the younger you would have been proud – you would have been your own biggest fan.
Interview by Eliot Haworth, Assistant Editor, Fantastic Man