But by wearing coat and tie traditional items of clothing, we're already giving up some independence. If you want complete creative freedom in clothing, CM is a dead end -- it's mannerism, where relatively small changes are communicating most of the meaning.
Style comes from choices people make, yes, but in any given form, an awareness of the form is important, so when you do something "different," it's with an awareness of why it's different. I also think it's possible to "reverse-engineer" the rules -- taking "this works" and figuring out substitutions for certain things.
That said, the world of tasteful CM is wider than "dressed by the Internet" might suggest. Look at all but the most outrageous stuff Vox posts on his blog -- it's relatively tasteful, but it's not all Marinella/spread collar/soft shoulder/brown half-brogue, either. I think a lot of "Styleforum gospel" is based on progressively safer versions of clothes that certain very well-dressed men with very well-developed personal style would wear.
Also, plenty of people are happy to play covers of songs, and there's no reason to frown on that.
EDIT: The clothes also have baggage -- semiotic meaning beyond just pure aesthetics, and a knowledge of the rules helps to manipulate that.