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If your wardrobe is too large, you end up looking worse. - Page 7

post #91 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
About ten suits and jackets per season for a basic working wardrobe in which a man wears tailored clothes throughout the week. That is not a giant wardrobe: that is a basic one. If you are favored living in a climate that has but one or two seasons, then you might have chance at a wardrobe of ten to twenty items...one or two of which you will replace every year. If you live where there are real summers, falls, winters, and springs...well, Mother Nature has condemned you to a bigger closet. Thirty or bust.



- B
This.
post #92 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
If you have so many shoes that they never develop a nice patina, that is a shame.

Well said, and very true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Bottom-line: clothing hobbyism and style are not the same thing.

In my estimation, WAWRN suffers from too much hobbyism: members are collecting clothes at a rate that far outpaces their ability to tastefully choose and wear them. That's not to say that you can't dress well and have a large, diversified wardrobe, just that it's very easy to pursue that goal at the expense of developing better style and taste.

You hit the nail on the head.
post #93 of 491
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
I'm not going to go in order...



Since your point begins with assuming that "the same range of versatility " is achieved with a "smaller number of garments," I cannot but accept that this means the person has exercised "superior control of the language of dressing."

How would you feel if I rephrased it, though?

"Finally, let me rephrase your point. Achieving an even greater range of versatility with a larger number of garments is only possible with a superior control of the language of dressing."

Also, what would you think if someone said that there isn't a language of dressing, but languages?


I'm not sure I get your point. Keep the range of versatility and the level of appropriateness of each outfit constant, and change the number of garments.

As for there being many languages, I guess we are talking about the language of classic male clothing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
No, I guess it does not. The best way to fit in in Boston these days is not to wear tie, or even a jacket. Suits are right out unless you are in a niche industry. The best way to fit in most of those niche industries where one wears a jacket and tie is to arrive in both, and then take off one's jacket for most of the day. We're all hard at work, ya know.

In other words, tailored clothing in daily life is largely dead.

Will you join me, then, in a polo shirt and chino look, even in the dead of winter? Kenneth Cole shoes?

I am quite serious about this...and this is in what once was thought to be the most sartorially conservative city in America. I suppose New York is now.

I'm not prepared to give it up quite yet.


Fair enough. I made a similar point a while back on an influential Italian style site (noveporte.it). There is a paradox in classic clothing: you're supposed to blend in with your surroundings, and you're also supposed to keep to a certain dress code, but in the present world the two things are largely incompatible. I think the strategy that comes closest to a solution of that paradox is to dress classically in a relatively inconspicuous way -- avoid pocket squares most of the time, etc. The point is not to maximise one's ability to fit in (e.g. by not wearing a coat etc.), but rather to not stand out too much. Vague, I know, but probably true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post

This is true, although commerical laundries sort of fufill this purpose. And, not only the rich were neat their appearance before the 1960s.


My grandparents certainly weren't rich, but they had two live-in servants well into the 1950's (that was in Italy, though). The point is that back in the day it was normal to try to look like those who had plenty of valets, so if actually had all that domestic help you wouldn't look out of place. Having everything commercially pressed very often is quite bizarre, and inconvenient. That's why always looking like one's clothes just came out of the laundry is not ideal.
post #94 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
Here's the thing: "Lived in" doesn't have to equal "tatty" any more than "traditional American style" needs to equal "shlubby." Personally, I don't want to look like I had to buy my clothes for a day's outing.

If it were anyone else, I would sum that up as contentless. Do you mean "lived in" as I described it earlier...as something left a bit unkempt, in the country and academic way. Or are you actually among those who assert that there is something functionally different in appearence in a jacket that is five years old than one that is one?

I am addressing this directly because it is a pillar of SF orthodoxy, but when you look at photogrpahic examples, the numbers are almost always old dapper guys in the close made to fit them when they were younger, or, men in a mild state of dishevelment.

For example, you are never in that state...you're always quite crisp. (Don't take that too hard.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
If you have so many shoes that they never develop a nice patina, that is a shame.

Patina is a new-fangled concept, and its usage for city clothes is a recent association with the brown shoe.

- B
post #95 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
"Finally, let me rephrase your point. Achieving an even greater range of versatility with a larger number of garments is only possible with a superior control of the language of dressing."

Possible, yes--but desirable? I'm less sure. I think it's worth considering the notion that, ultimately, we each have a very little to say stylistically, and we each might be better off learning how to communicate a single message with increasing clarity and persuasiveness than trying to spread other messages. It's interesting that many of the men widely acknowledged to be amongst the world's best dressed appear to possess very narrow aesthetic preferences, as expressed in very eccentric, focused personal styles. Sure, we can look through any man's past to find dalliances and divergences, but, at the end, we still tend to know them for a particular look.

My guess is that diversity and quantity can be excellent methods of experimentation, which may lead to a better end result, but the end result may be neither diverse nor great in quantity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
Also, what would you think if someone said that there isn't a language of dressing, but languages?

I'd agree, but I'd point out that it is a very rare individual who can speak more than one language beautifully. I don't know about you, but I have a hard enough time communicating in the one I was born with.
post #96 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dewey View Post
First, the "style without effort" way.

You study clothes and lurk on internet fora but this is a big secret that you keep from your friends and co-workers. If this is the case, when you enlarge your clothing rotation beyond the usual (for your friends and co-workers), that betrays your effort.

If your goal is "Look at me, I know how to enjoy life a great deal," then having great clothes is just another way you show this.

Rhetoric. On the one hand, the the pathetic internet watchers. On the other, those of us who are living gods. Which shall I pick?

Thus, I shall ignore your real point.
post #97 of 491
I disagree with the OP but I do think that it's weird to want to be the guy who is known to have a ton of clothes. There are some fellow students at my school who are obviously overly clothes-conscious to the point of looking fussy. I don't want to be like them.

On the other hand, if a man is 40 or 50 years old and buys high-quality items of clothing somewhat regularly, he should have accumulated quite a bit over time.

What I don't understand is people with tons of $300 Japanese repro denim, all bought in the last 2 years. I am a total hoarder of stuff, but I have no need for more than 2 pairs of jeans in rotation, and 2 or 3 older pair which are well-worn. 10x pairs of brand new crispy selvage chaninstitched $350 straightleg jeans from Self Edge - I don't get it.
post #98 of 491
Great thread. Keep it coming.
post #99 of 491
The "lived in" thing bullshit. You wanna look less put-together? Don't wear an ascot or anything costumey. And don't match your pocket square to your tie. etc.

I think the real issue is the thing Mafoofan often alludes to. People choosing to wear clothes that they like, rather than what actually looks good on them. They also are more inclined to dress inappropriately.

For example, straight leg jeans and a white t-shirt looks frikken awesome in a casual setting, but you only have to look through the WAYWRN thread to see that very few of the S&D guys do this, and even if they do, they'll try to spice it up with some crazy boots or something.
post #100 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmac View Post
What I don't understand is people with tons of $300 Japanese repro denim, all bought in the last 2 years. I am a total hoarder of stuff, but I have no need for more than 2 pairs of jeans in rotation, and 2 or 3 older pair which are well-worn. 10x pairs of brand new crispy selvage chaninstitched $350 straightleg jeans from Self Edge - I don't get it.

Most people outside SF think the same about 10 pairs for $300+ shoes.
post #101 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
If it were anyone else, I would sum that up as contentless. Do you mean "lived in" as I described it earlier...as something left a bit unkempt, in the country and academic way. Or are you actually among those who assert that there is something functionally different in appearence in a jacket that is five years old than one that is one?
Yes, I would assert that, assuming the clothes are not babied too much. It's not that hard to spot a crisp, new suit. But it's not so much about the state of an individual item as the state of the overall wardrobe. Sure, you might not be able to tell if I've worn a sportcoat five times or ten, but it will look much "newer" if paired with perfectly creased trou and barely creased shoes. There's such a thing as being too put together, and it's unseemly. Clothes needn't look worn out to look well loved -- they just need to have lost the sheen of newness and be worn indifferently.
Quote:
For example, you are never in that state...you're always quite crisp. (Don't take that too hard.)
I don't, really. I like things to look nice and fit reasonably well. But I also mix tatty sportcoats from the '60s (one has a ripped-out pocket that's been crudely stitched) with trou I bought off B&S two weeks ago. I don't think anyone who saw me in that getup would accuse me of looking too crisp or too put together. Perhaps it's like what you've said about bespoke -- pictures don't capture all the full effect. Next time I post my suede chelseas, check out the state of 'em.
Quote:
Patina is a new-fangled concept, and its usage for city clothes is a recent association with the brown shoe.
Patina, perhaps, but the notion that clothes shouldn't look too new goes way, way back.
post #102 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by srivats View Post
Most people outside SF think the same about 10 pairs for $300+ shoes.

Sure, but shoes are a bit different, I have tons of shoes.

Jeans can be worn everyday, and for years straight if necessary. And they only get better. Not the same for shoes.

It's like a baseball player who has 10 uniforms and 10 gloves. The need for 10 uniforms is obvious. but 10 gloves??
post #103 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Perhaps I'll speed up and allow my appetite to run more free in the future, but I'm hoping that's never necessary.
Does this mean you might venture beyond the OneShoe™?
post #104 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
Bottom-line: clothing hobbyism and style are not the same thing.
For sure. You can practice an instrument every day and still play it terribly. You can play baseball every day and never be good at it. But there has to be a way to distinguish people who spend a lot of money on clothes, or people who have a lot of clothes, from people who are devoted to clothing. This last person is the dandy. Not all dandies have good style. Most dandies are men of pleasure--they also appreciate fine food, fine furniture, fine art, etc., fine material objects of all kinds. But not all men of pleasure are dandies. And not all dandies have style.
Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
The best way to fit in in Boston these days is not to wear tie, or even a jacket. Suits are right out unless you are in a niche industry. The best way to fit in most of those niche industries where one wears a jacket and tie is to arrive in both, and then take off one's jacket for most of the day. We're all hard at work, ya know. In other words, tailored clothing in daily life is largely dead.
This is old news. If you want all the poors to think seriously about their clothing, make their clothing much, much more expensive. Prosperity in the US brought cheap clothing, and cheap clothing freed people from thinking about such material trivia. Boston of all places should display this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by james_timothy View Post
Rhetoric. On the one hand, the the pathetic internet watchers. On the other, those of us who are living gods. Which shall I pick? Thus, I shall ignore your real point.
I tried to understand this but I failed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmac View Post
I disagree with the OP but I do think that it's weird to want to be the guy who is known to have a ton of clothes. There are some fellow students at my school who are obviously overly clothes-conscious to the point of looking fussy. I don't want to be like them. On the other hand, if a man is 40 or 50 years old and buys high-quality items of clothing somewhat regularly, he should have accumulated quite a bit over time.
I think it's fine to be the guy who has a ton of clothes provided that you own that and wear those clothes with confidence. The guys that look fussy or damaged for their huge collection all have a kind of shame about it, and they don't take care of their clothes, and they waste your time hating themselves in your presence. That's what I've seen at least. And the guy that's 40 or 50 years old doesn't have to keep everything he's ever bought. There is something to be said for moderating the size of your wardrobe to fit the size of your storage space. I enjoy my shirts a whole lot more when they can be spaced out on the closet rail. And I will give away perfectly good shirts that get worn once or twice a year so I can enjoy a not-overcrowded closet every day of the year. Seriously the hoarding behavior has nothing to do with hobbyism. You don't need to be a pack-rat to have good collections.
post #105 of 491
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post
Yes, I would assert that, assuming the clothes are not babied too much. It's not that hard to spot a crisp, new suit. But it's not so much about the state of an individual item as the state of the overall wardrobe. Sure, you might not be able to tell if I've worn a sportcoat five times or ten, but it will look much "newer" if paired with perfectly creased trou and barely creased shoes. There's such a thing as being too put together, and it's unseemly. Clothes needn't look worn out to look well loved -- they just need to have lost the sheen of newness and be worn indifferently.

I don't, really. I like things to look nice and fit reasonably well. But I also mix tatty sportcoats from the '60s (one has a ripped-out pocket that's been crudely stitched) with trou I bought off B&S two weeks ago. I don't think anyone who saw me in that getup would accuse me of looking too crisp or too put together.

Perhaps it's like what you've said about bespoke -- pictures don't capture all the full effect. Next time I post my suede chelseas, check out the state of 'em.

Patina, perhaps, but the notion that clothes shouldn't look too new goes way, way back.

"Sheen of newness?" I think that is a fiction, made up on the Internet and gotten from books. One of the reasons why one pursues high quality cloth for the making of bespoke suits is to ensure the maximal preservation of its original form and appearence. There is less concern for this in RTW since very little of it is made with longevity as a premise.

Let me show you pic with which my grandfather would have been comfortable:



Notice the slight fraying at the shirt cuff.

Unlike nearly everyone on this forum, I wear old stuff. That shirt above is probably twelve years old or older...as are nearly all my dress shirts. The suit is fifteen. The links? Maybe eighty years old. Also, unlike most on this forum who wear old stuff, the old stuff is (mostly) mine and not thrifted, stuff that I bought back in the day. Here's the suit again:



I've used the version with George's head this time. Now, is that suit lived in or not? If my suit were fraying, rather than just my shirt cuff, or if it was not pressed, guess what? My grandfather would have hated it (and he would have hated it anyway because it is a European suit.) And my father? The shoes are not nearly shiny enough.

I invite contrary opinions, but one of the reasons why you look great in nearly every photograph you post of yourself is precisely that everything is studied and chosen with thought. This is why on the rare occasions that someone doesn't like what you wear (e.g., Manton and your double patterning), you are able to explain why you decided to do something a certain way. That is thought devoted to clothing, not a dégagé approach at all (please forgive me!)

I am adament on this point for the following reason: this thread addresses something quite directly that I see (and I might be a minority of one) as the biggest problem common in WAYWRN. It is not garishness. It is not false economies and variety. It is the opposite.

Not enough spent. Not enough depth. Not enough variety. A vocabularly of pronouns and adjectives with seldom a full sentence written.

Modern male dress does not require further loosening. It requires tightening, winching, corsetting. A bit of pain.


- B
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