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post #31 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Despos View Post
First thought was "what a dopey response" but now I think "brilliant".

You so get me.
post #32 of 250
+1 for the long tail assessment as to what's available for purchase through SF merchants, but I think the OP's original observation is slightly different.

I'd say what you're witnessing is the formation of an SF "school." The formation of the SF school coincides with the settling of a group upon a single paradigm. In this case, the paradigm involves advice on certain styles, values of certain brands, etc.

Many people come here not to break the paradigm, but to learn it. There's interest in conformity rather than trend-setting. So I'd argue the observation of narrowing taste is simply a product of increased demand of conformers and increasing interest in the SF "school."

At the same time, I don't think this school development is bad because even trendsetters need a paradigm. It is the only way one can make an educated deviation from the norm (the same way a chef usually starts on the line at a well-established restaurant, or the way Lady Gaga started by studying at NYU's Tisch School).

Mapping this onto my personal experience here. I'd see my SF life in two stages.

Stage 1: Buy only what is deemed most suitable here by the majority (BB 1818 in solids, AE PAs, TM shirts, etc.)

Stage 2: Comfortable that I know what is considered suitable by the majority, branch out with my own style (e.g. embrace the three-piece, wear loafers with suits occasionally, look for unknown artisan labels, etc.)
post #33 of 250
While I cannot account for others, my tastes vary wildly. This, in and of itself, is the driving force for my purchases. Whether it be in a thrift store or an online store, I'll buy it if I like it and can afford it. Regarding style, mine varies from year to year, but mostly out of boredom. It is true that there is a classic look that will never completely go out of style. However, even within that sphere, there are many things that can be tweaked: gorge slightly lower/higher, one button, two button, 3-roll-2, DB, etc. Add to that lapel width, pants rise, leg taper, and endless fabrics, and one has the rest of one's life to indulge in his sartorial whimsy. I don't like everything I see in StyleForum. But then again, I don't like everything I see in Luciano Barbera. Or Ralph Lauren. Or on the Duke of Windsor. StyleForum, like any other repository of clothing (online or otherwise), serves me as a showcase of options. Its impact on style? Negligible. Impact on fit is another matter entirely.
post #34 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doxe View Post
The main attraction to me of the vendors you've described (particularly HY, Sam Hober, KW and Panta) is that they offer classic basics that I cannot find elsewhere.



Good point, and even if I could find it elsewhere, it's cheaper here.

I needed a quality silver tie bar, so went to Howard Yount.
I needed a quality grenadine tie, so went to Kent Wang.
I needed saphir polish, so went to Wooden Hangers.
I needed shoe recrafting, so went to Shoerepairman (not sure if he started as a SF member).
post #35 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by taxgenius69 View Post
Good point, and even if I could find it elsewhere, it's cheaper here.

I needed a quality silver tie bar, so went to Howard Yount.
I needed a quality grenadine tie, so went to Kent Wang.
I needed saphir polish, so went to Wooden Hangers.
I needed shoe recrafting, so went to Shoerepairman (not sure if he started as a SF member).

This is a good point. Sam Hober ties are half the price of what I'd pay at a retail establishment for a Canali, Zegna or Talbott tie. Yet Sam Hober has a better selection and customized service.
post #36 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troilus View Post
...Many people come here not to break the paradigm, but to learn it. There's interest in conformity rather than trend-setting. So I'd argue the observation of narrowing taste is simply a product of increased demand of conformers and increasing interest in the SF "school."

At the same time, I don't think this school development is bad because even trendsetters need a paradigm. It is the only way one can make an educated deviation from the norm (the same way a chef usually starts on the line at a well-established restaurant, or the way Lady Gaga started by studying at NYU's Tisch School). ...

I am a lurker here, reluctant to get involved in discussions about which I know little (this is just my 2nd post I believe). This quote resonates with me, and probably with other lurkers, so I'd like to respond to it.

I found my way to SF, AAAC and other resources because I suddenly developed an interest in dressing better, starting with a rather out-of-the-blue desire to buy a nice pair of shoes for my wedding. To the extent SF is pushing me towards some kind of conformity, it is because SF has shown me ways to create the appearance I was already trying to achieve; I simply lacked the knowledge to do so on my own. While I'm sure that some of the readership has arrived at a point of life transition which requires a whole new wardrobe, most of us are probably between the ages of 25 and 50, in so-called "white collar" jobs, with several/many years of dressing "professionally" under our belts. We have well-established lives, families, interests and personalities. We do not arrive here seeking to drastically alter our personal appearance. We arrived here via google search on some specific topic, and we quite accidentally find that there are answers to all of the questions we never knew we had. And we end up wearing the SF "uniform" because the entry-level "SF approved" brands provide good, time-tested solutions to our basic style needs at reasonable prices. We upgrade from Aldo to Alden and from Banana to Brooks not because it helps us look like everyone else, but because it helps us look more like ourselves.

In Troilus' "two stages", I am certainly in stage one. I may never leave it. Most lurkers like me will probably never leave it. My style needs/desires may never expand beyond decent leather shoes, trousers made with nice fabrics that fit me well, and dress shirts that I don't swim in. Either way, as Troilus says, one must always begin with the basics - no serious musician has ever managed to skip learning scales, and no serious dresser has ever managed to skip learning not to wear white socks with dress shoes.

So thank you SF for existing and helping men like me learn to dress the way we want to dress.
post #37 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post
...One thing that definitely has changed in the past five years is that several members of Style Forum have gone on to build niche businesses, some unique, that in turn are partially or nearly entirely aimed at Style Forum or other online clothing forum members. This is not an exhaustive list:

Thick as Thieves – (Get Smart) Kent Wang – (Kent Wang) Hanger Project –( kirbya) Howard Yount – (chorse) Steven Aver – (deceased) A Suitable Wardrobe – (Will) Panta – (edmorel) The Armoury – (yfyf and toiletduck)

...It seems to me that most of these ventures grew at least partially out of the online style culture, either in vendor choice if the business is a reseller or in how things actually look. In effect, they promote expanded and easier access to goods or looks introduced, discussed, and established online. By doing so, more men with online presences adopt the looks, which in turn expands a kind of conformity. ...If you are a consumer, what is your opinion of how the easier availability of these goods affects your own tastes and the opinions that you express about clothes online? Is conformity around styles promoted on the Internet an overall improvement since most men dress far worse?...
The OP asks a complex question, wrapped in simple clothing. As a consumer, my initial response would be "these small, online, niche businesses don't influence my taste in clothing, but allow me to express it more easily." They make accessible the items I cannot find at mass market retailers, because of insufficient demand. Upon further reflection, I realize that the forum has helped establish my tastes and, to the extent the forum also influenced the thinking of these entrepreneurs, the forum helped create the market, provided creative input for the entrepreneurs, and provided a simple forum for them to do some market research...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troilus View Post
... I'd say what you're witnessing is the formation of an SF "school." The formation of the SF school coincides with the settling of a group upon a single paradigm. In this case, the paradigm involves advice on certain styles, values of certain brands, etc. Many people come here not to break the paradigm, but to learn it. There's interest in conformity rather than trend-setting. So I'd argue the observation of narrowing taste is simply a product of increased demand of conformers and increasing interest in the SF "school." At the same time, I don't think this school development is bad because even trendsetters need a paradigm. It is the only way one can make an educated deviation from the norm (the same way a chef usually starts on the line at a well-established restaurant, or the way Lady Gaga started by studying at NYU's Tisch School). Mapping this onto my personal experience here. I'd see my SF life in two stages. Stage 1: Buy only what is deemed most suitable here by the majority (BB 1818 in solids, AE PAs, TM shirts, etc.) Stage 2: Comfortable that I know what is considered suitable by the majority, branch out with my own style ...
...So my more nuanced answer to the question is similar to that given above by Troilus. The forum has taught me what is suitable to the majority and the rules for dressing "correctly". I now feel comfortable departing from the norm, and even breaking the rules, without looking like a clown. My style tends toward conservative business casual (the forum norm), but always with a twist. More specifically, I know what constitutes good fit and I get compliments on my clothing from people who don't quite know why they like it. I think they like it because it fits well. I also get compliments because I can coordinate colors and patterns well, I know what colors suit my own coloring, and I know which patterns suit my physique. This all conforms with the forum norm(s). More importantly to me, anyone who looks closely will see that I'm almost always wearing something unique or even quirky. I like to coordinate colors and patterns in unusual ways and I sometimes experiment with coordinating 4-5 patterns, just to see if I can do it tastefully. I especially like playing with textures: mixing them, matching them, contrasting them. It's this expression of my personal taste that is now especially enjoyable to me and, to bring it back to the OP's question, the online retailers are often the only ones who can provide me with unique pieces to put the final polish on my look(s). As an example, I think Kent Wang has an amazing eye for texture and I own many of his pocket squares. He was even kind enough to sell me one from his private reserve (at a premium) when his stock ran out (thanks Kent, love that square). So I value the smaller, niche (online) retailers because they provide the unique items that I can't find anywhere else. Do the items conform to the forum norms? The individual items probably do, but they are unique in my social circle and I combine them in my own very personal, unique ways to create something more than the sum of the parts. These are the lessons I've learned through five years of reading the forum (and very occasionally contributing) and experimenting with clothing.
post #38 of 250
I was about to write a reply, but realized that my lack of eloquence would result in this being a 1 hour exercise, which I don't have time for today. So I will wait until I have the luxury of retirement before I provide my thoughts on the matter. Will re-visit and post in this thread in 30 years. Hope it won't be too necro then.
post #39 of 250
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kent Wang View Post
A complex question, and one I won't be able answer completely. I got into the business because I just wanted to make some clothes that I want to wear that was difficult to find at affordable prices. ... As for your primary point, that the rise of these vendors homogenizes style, I would say that the effect is negligible.
Thank you for your comments, Kent.
post #40 of 250
I want a lapel pin that says, "Dressed by Styleforum."

I freely admit that what I have seen posted here, the comments I have received for my own fits posted here, and what I have learned about from posts here have largely influenced my path.

Sure, I came here with my own sense of style, and I retain that to some degree, but my path has been altered dramatically by this place.

Also, I buy 95% of my clothes online. From the B&S, from vendors here, from other internet sources. I cannot find SF approved clothes, for the most part, at retail in my area, and I would likely not pay full retail for much of what I buy. Simple truth.

If these niche vendors cater specifically to us, I am all for it. The vast majority of people in the real world do not possess the level of knowledge or interest in clothes that can be found here. In a sense, SF has created the market and the audience for these niche vendors and their products.

Frankly, if you told me 3 years ago that I would be spending this much time, effort and expense to work on my wardrobe...to the point of taking pictures of myself on an almost daily basis for internet consumption, I would have laughed in your face.

Mike
post #41 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post
This is a great group of guys, each with real style and panache, and each displaying drive that speaks for itself.

This, alone, is highly debatable.
post #42 of 250
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by clotheshorse69 View Post
This, alone, is highly debatable.

The lack of substance in your comment is not, however.

Why don't you expand on it?
post #43 of 250
Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Corbera View Post
Few will be surprised if even more members follow this path since a business based in what you truly find interesting is deeply satisfying if you can pull it off.
Not to be a downer but once you start getting paid to do it, it's a job; no matter how much you like the subject. There are many people who ruined a perfectly good hobby by trying to get it to pay for itself.
post #44 of 250
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbucky View Post
There are many people who ruined a perfectly good hobby by trying to get it to pay for itself.

So true, so often.
post #45 of 250
I don't know about the entrepreneurs, but I have observed that Styleforum is replacing GQ/Esquire/etc as the main source of sartorial knowledge and advice for educated, computer-savvy professionals. There are a couple guys at work who I know get info from SF, and several others who I suspect read SF. I have had way more casual conversations about clothes with people than I ever used to, and everyone seems to be getting into bespoke tailoring.

I know it's conventional wisdom on SF that "99.99% of men don't care about clothes and just go to a department store and pick whatever RTW they see first" but it's just not the case anymore. FWIW, I work in finance, not some type of creative field.
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