Originally Posted by Roger
To say, as Manton did, that "Most men contrive their knots so that there is a small dimple...." (Italics mine), is hardly the same thing as characterizing the dimple as a contrivance in the negative sense you seem to be suggesting here--artificial, odd, or scheming, or whatever it is you are suggesting. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to contrive means: "to form or create in an artistic or ingenious manner."
I dont think i was suggesting anything. You introduced manton's quote into a conversation about tie dimples. I wasn't sure if you were introducing it as authority or because it was confusing you. I simply am not sure why you placed it here. However, I took it on its face value. I understand that it is a chronic theme with the book that the author's meaning needs to be explained and maybe you are correct that he meant it as "ingenious". To me, taken in the phrase's totality with what follows, I would find it hard to imagine that "ingenious" could replace "contrived".
But Im not suggesting anything, I was working off of what you placed here for me to consider. I suppose only the author can clear this up. Perhaps he would be so good?
I see that Steve B. above also thought the phrase used "contrived" in the common alternative sense. I think many people would see it that way. I also stand by my first and most important assertion that most men cannot dimple a tie, and to suggest that their lack of savoir faire has in fact been the height of style all along is an injustice to someone trying to learn how to dress well. What the Duke of Windsor did after 60+ years of experimenting with and obsessing over clothes and style is hardly authority for someone who doesnt know what a dimple is.
If the author wants to explain to me what he meant, that's his business. I certainly do not owe him a scientific analysis of what he meant. When I write, I write clearly, or at least I do my best. If people dont understand what I write, let me know and Ill clear it up. I hope I am not writing for people who can only follow an "expert".
I dont need to prove anything to anyone. That might sound awful at first read but in fact I think Im most in everyone's corner. If people dont like what I write, dont believe what I write, or dont like me personally, youre going to find as some did on another forum, you are wasting your time. I have no ego invested in this, and my track record in the community proves that. I say what I say, and I have no profit or end goal out of any of this beyond sharing my thoughts/experiences and observations. Certainly, I will never need anyone to say that I am the only voice of elegance.
In the occasional instance where what I wrote is misunderstood, I appreciate being able to clarify what I wrote. Which of course, Roger, you are permitting me to do.
Im also not trying to "make" anyone do anything. Maybe thats what separates me from "others" here most of all. I will wear what I will wear, Im giving a few observations and suggestions. Wear a dimple, wear none, or wear the tie around your head like a pirate.
People want to copy what I wear in real life. It doesnt flatter me. I havent much interest in dressing the world and it is often a time consumption for me to give advice and pick clothes for people, or talk about my clothes source. Which is why writing about it has been such a therapeutic outlet for me.
You also are overlooking the style in which The Suit
was written--that of Macchiavelli in The Prince
. Adherence to this style (the reasons for which have been amply provided elsewhere) accounts for vocabulary and sentences like the one quoted. The sentence, taken literally, simply says that most men try to create artistically-pleasing knots with a dimple, and how that can be seen as self-serving escapes me completely.
I dunno what to tell you here. Im not overlooking the style, I just haven't the time to commit to unravel it in every circumstance. It comes down again to the target audience. If he was writing the book for someone like me, I suppose it's a light titter or maybe he is doing a variation of Old-Boy cigar smoking, table thumping. However, the average man is going to be very confused with the subtleties of meaning that haunt the book. I am constantly trying to write things which are useful for an intelligent but perhaps unitiated audience interested in style (as I once was), there isnt anyone Im trying to impress, including myself.
A paragraph like that says to me that a very small clubby audience was intended for that particular message. Maybe going forward, people should write books about style without the contrivance of copying the wit of long dead writers?
Couldn't it just as easily be said that the dimple in a tie might draw others' attention to it in a way that could cause them to miss the more important aspects of the tie?
As to the dimple, No. But I see what youre saying. The way the tie is knotted by the DOW is quite pleasing, the way it is by the headless figure is not pleasing. It is not the dimple or absence of one which is distracting, it is the singularly clumsy example in the photo, which I find an improper focal point. Maybe the wearer does not want someone to concentrate on his face. If that is the case, he has achieved this effect with aplomb.
The occasional photo of the Duke in his later life wearing a more relaxed, dimpleless knot proves my point exactly, and i am thankful someone else took the time to post it.