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Casual Clothing - a sign of social class? - Page 2

post #16 of 43
No, I don't. I've known people who look and live, as though they're printing money in the basement. Next thing you know, they're bankrupt. When I was a child, I'd see a flashy car, and think . . . 'oh, those people must have a lot of money.' Now, I think . . . 'oh, those people must have a lot of debt.'
Some of the richest people I know, place little or no importance, on luxury. They've had money all their lives. It doesn't mean much, to them . . . you go iniside their homes, and it's old stuff, from generations back. Not all of it is that great, either. Still, they keep it. When they need money, though . . . they've got it, to spare.
post #17 of 43
I don't think a person's casual clothes have anything to do with either their "class" meaning "money" or their "class" meaning "upbrining or whatever else the term class implies." Different people dress differently for different reasons. I know guys that are pretty broke that dress like preppies because they want people to think they're rich. I know guys that don't have a dime to their name but wear $150 jeans and $300 sneakers and $1000 watches. I know guys that are loaded that shop for their casual clothes at Target. I really can't see a trend in any of it. Heck - even with business clothes. I dress nicely to work and put a lot of effort into it because I like my job and I feel that my dress should reflect that. But, while I make a very good living doing what I do, I do not consider myself as being of any higher of a class as the guy cleaning the carpet.
post #18 of 43
it's hard to judge social status by the way someone dresses. i think Silicon Valley really portrays this. standard dress fair for a Silicon Valley CEO would be an Oxford dress shrit, khakis, and some loafers.

-Jeff
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by gamelan
an Oxford dress shrit, khakis, and some loafers.

And this look signals low social status to you?
post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBZ
And this look signals low social status to you?
Must be the loafers.
post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawyerdad
Must be the loafers.

Then thank goodness I'm wearing oxfords today.
post #22 of 43
The problem with this conversation is that the generalisation we're trying to make is too broad. At the very least, we need to identify four distinct groups:
  • Rich & stylish
  • Rich & crass
  • Poor & stylish
  • Poor & crass
Now we can draw generalisations about each of those. For example, rich&crass was traditionally a sign of the noveau riche, such as Silicon Valley CEOs. Poor&stylish is probably a sign of upwards (or downwards!) mobility. Poor&crass and rich&stylish are symptoms of education, hegemony, and the poverty cycle. It might be more fruitful, however, to identify subcultures. For example, chavs are distinct in much more than dress, and there are common themes in their lineages.
post #23 of 43
I wish I had more time to make a more detailed posting with readings, but here's the gist:

Starting in the 19th century because of more merit and market based ways of attaining wealth an erosion of traditional class distinctions has occured. The emergence of a large middle-class, mass market, and economics of scale has meant products and activities that were once hallmarks of the elite are now easily accessable. Therefore, the wealthy and elite have had to differentiate their status through something like dressing down. This is nothing new, an elite always seeks to differeniate itself anyway it can (either through displays of wealth, culture or education) and be "ahead of curve" everyone more or less follows. A great example of this would be the growth of private air travel. Even 20 years ago flying privately was used by very few people. Now things like fractional ownership allow many to access what was once a hallmark of the super, super rich.

However, because there are no longer hard and fast distinctions between class as say Feudal England the traditional hallmarks of "success" can't carry as much weight. In very simple terms, it is harder now to differeniate wealth than even half a century ago. This has advantages and disadvantages. As humans we make thousands of split-second decisions based on appearence every time we meet someone. Part of this is gentically ingrained, part social conditioning (and the debate could go on forever about how much is what) but the one thing it does do is save us time and help us avoid obvious danger. Now though we have to pause a little bit more, perhaps ask more questions, then try to fit people into our worlds and heirarchies.

Wow that was way too long...
A.
post #24 of 43
As if you can tell anything substantive from a person's manner of dress. The only thing you can discern is whether or not an individual has taste that appeals to the you. Give this diatribe a rest.
post #25 of 43
There are some people out there who look exceedingly bourgeois, and middlebrow with wearing what they think are "rich clothing", and driving very prosperous cars.
post #26 of 43
Interesting discussion here. Here in the US, I've always viewed it a bit differently. The judge of class is not done by the way we dress solely, although I can see how it plays a certain part in identifying what clique you belong to. However, class can easily be defined by what said person drives. We are a country that espouses our wealth through fine vehicles and expensive technology. No longer is dress the primary factor for determining someone's wealth in my view.
post #27 of 43
Quote:
We are a country that espouses our wealth through fine vehicles and expensive technology. No longer is dress the primary factor for determining someone's wealth in my view.

I would agree with this for the most part.
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carey
The only thing you can discern is whether or not an individual has taste that appeals to the you.


seconded.
post #29 of 43
Unfortunately most people dress badly

Some of the reason is that they dont care

Another is their hygiene isnt as good as they think it is, nor their neatness. Although yuo dont have to be a fanatic, it's awfully hard to be well dressed if you sleep with your food.

Another reason is in the USA we've developed this idea of how shabby can you dress and still get treated like youre special. It's a new gauge of how well youre doing. Maybe its from movie stars who slum it to avoid paparazzi. Britney Spears seems to be a very good example.

I cant remember the last time I saw someone casuallly dressed that looked good. I do think the few people Ive seen that were well dressed that ive remembered didnt seem particularly well off. To be honest, one of them looked like he'd bought his thigs from a thrift, but he wore them well.

Style can be distinct from class. I realize that the items we generally consider attractive come from the monied or educated classes but they dont necessarily wear them stylishly, they may wear them properly as class signals but not stylishly.

That's why there are so many variations. You can put nice suits on people and theyre still going to face the double hurdle of style and then class. It's not quite as scary as it sounds. Ive seen people wear custom made things who actually cheapen the garment to the point youd think they were wearing... At the same time Ive seen people with style make rather ordinary things sing.

But, be as it may, even amongst those who dont care there will be a difference between them in terms of style and or class.
post #30 of 43
I know business owners who are worth billions (and some ironically own clothing companies) who prefer to buy cheap $10 clothing. Different people have different priorities, and money doesn't change them sometimes.
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