Originally Posted by thealbatross
Part if not all of my original point was about compensating for low self-esteem or a prevailing feeling of unattractiveness, which in my case was formulated in my mind early in life, with the pursuit of style. This isn't to say that unattractive people are inherently more stylish, just that they are trying harder. Many of the things discussed on the forums don't even necessarily have to do with style but rather the acquisition of things that perhaps makes us feel better about ourselves, such as a bespoke garment that may not only flatter our body types, but also deliver a confidence boost by virtue of being a luxury item.
Most of us would prefer to change something about out physical appearance. Some may compensate entirely through the fleeting gratification provided by the acqisition of luxury items, but I've yet to meet such a person. The men I've met who compensate for some less than ideal feature of their appearance tend to do so through plainness of dress so as not to attract attention.
Where luxury is concerned, I find the payoff to be in comfort
rather than in the mere possession of some luxury item; you can pay a lot for a suit because the brand name is high profile, but feel like you're spending the whole day shut up in a box, or you can take the trouble to be informed and spend your money on a suit that will make you feel like you're spending your whole day lounging around in pajamas and will look fantastic to anyone who also has an eye for fine tailoring. And if nobody has such an eye, you still end up looking well-dressed but not so different from everybody else.
Personally, I find dressing well and having nice things is a fun hobby. I derive joy from wearing parts of my collection. Compensation of the type you imply doesn't really enter into the picture.
If I am compensating for anything, it's the rigor of a work day that lasts 12 hours minimum and involves hours on end of drudgery and requires that I look fresh and sharp the entire time. In meeting this challenge, looks come behind smelling nice all day long and maintaining a pleasant attitude that makes the daily grind just that much more bearable for your coworkers, whose lives may suck far worse than yours, no matter what you look like.
In other words, there may be something to your question, but you've asked in such a way as to deliver the fatal blow to a straw man.
I still maintain that style entails a greater diversity of elements than just looks. This fact may be difficult to bear in mind on an internet forum that is overhwelmingly visual.