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interesting WSJ article about dressing up(or not)

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
I apologize if this has already been posted, but I didn't see it.

As dining rooms fill with T-shirt- and Converse-clad social networkers, is dressing up the new way to stand out?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...629008064.html
post #2 of 142
Inevitable.
Regrettable.

For over 200 years clothing has made an inexorable march to towards the more casual and sportswear (and to a lesser extent military wear). By the early 20th Century, this produced some of the most elegant clothing ever worn. Sadly, that side of it didn't last.

People who enjoy clothes will continue to dress up. As the overt rules and social conventions that require being properly dressed are relaxed and fade, dressing up will evolve into costume, and then fade away.
post #3 of 142
Sad and unfortunate.

I am young (pushing 30) and I thought my friends would stop dressing like they were in high school and college soon after graduation.

How wrong I was.

I went to a close friends wedding shower on Saturday, and I cant tell you how many pairs of cargo shorts, tshirts, and flip flops I saw.

I would much rather dress well than look like I'm hungover.
post #4 of 142
I read this article over the weekend. To me, the problem is not the diminishing of dress codes (directly speaking, I couldn't care less), but the apparent diminishing of the values that led people to dress well in the first place. I say 'apparent' because the cynical part of me (the biggest part) believes fundamentally it's always been the same: 99% of people don't have the taste, character, or motivation to be stylish. We just think it was different way back when because of black and white photography and the conflation of enforced formality with genuine style.
post #5 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
I read this article over the weekend. To me, the problem is not the diminishing of dress codes (directly speaking, I couldn't care less), but the apparent diminishing of the values that led people to dress well in the first place. I say 'apparent' because the cynical part of me (the biggest part) believes fundamentally it's always been the same: 99% of people don't have the taste, character, or motivation to be stylish. We just think it was different way back when because of black and white photography and the conflation of enforced formality with genuine style.

I love this post. Seriously.
post #6 of 142
Yesterday I saw an older gent in line at the supermarket.
He was wearing a nice fedora with a feather in it, a nice top coat and as soon as I thought to myself, that's nice to see...I looked down and noticed he had timberland boots on with adidas wind pants.
post #7 of 142
Will read later...
post #8 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
I read this article over the weekend. To me, the problem is not the diminishing of dress codes (directly speaking, I couldn't care less), but the apparent diminishing of the values that led people to dress well in the first place. I say 'apparent' because the cynical part of me (the biggest part) believes fundamentally it's always been the same: 99% of people don't have the taste, character, or motivation to be stylish. We just think it was different way back when because of black and white photography and the conflation of enforced formality with genuine style.

post #9 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post
I read this article over the weekend. To me, the problem is not the diminishing of dress codes (directly speaking, I couldn't care less), but the apparent diminishing of the values that led people to dress well in the first place. I say 'apparent' because the cynical part of me (the biggest part) believes fundamentally it's always been the same: 99% of people don't have the taste, character, or motivation to be stylish. We just think it was different way back when because of black and white photography and the conflation of enforced formality with genuine style.

There's truth in this. But it has also become infintely more difficult for the average Joe to dress well. The entire shopping process used to be much more curated, with numerous speciality stores populated with sales people who helped dumb men make the right decisions. Even department stores were centers with helpful people and racks of nice clothing to choose from.

Today- I just walked through one of the Macy's and they've all but eliminated the suits and sportscoats "departments" and the sales people don't know rule one about fitting any article of clothing properly, let alone a tailored jacket.

There is a short city street a few blocks from my office. in 1940 it had about 12 men's clothing stores, all with tailors. Now there is one and, of course, with no bespoke. I live in a metro with more than 3,000,000 people and searching out ANY decent item of off-the rack clothing is, at best, a laborious chore well beyond the interest or ability of the average guy. Pushing the variety and quality of clothing people at SF seek off mostly onto the web (especially outside of New York City) means that even more that dressing well, in the coat and tie sense, is mostly for the hobbyist and hyper interested. They do not number enough to stem the tides.
post #10 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post
There's truth in this. But it has also become infintely more difficult for the average Joe to dress well. The entire shopping process used to be much more curated, with numerous speciality stores populated with sales people who helped dumb men make the right decisions. Even department stores were centers with helpful people and racks of nice clothing to choose from.

Today- I just walked through one of the Macy's and they've all but eliminated the suits and sportscoats "departments" and the sales people don't know rule one about fitting any article of clothing properly, let alone a tailored jacket.

There is a short city street a few blocks from my office. in 1940 it had about 12 men's clothing stores, all with tailors. Now there is one and, of course, with no bespoke. I live in a metro with more than 3,000,000 people and searching out ANY decent item of off-the rack clothing is, at best, a laborious chore well beyond the interest or ability of the average guy. Pushing the variety and quality of clothing people at SF seek off mostly onto the web (especially outside of New York City) means that even more that dressing well, in the coat and tie sense, is mostly for the hobbyist and hyper interested. They do not number enough to stem the tides.

I'm sad to be too young to experience the way things were as you describe. It certainly does sound more gentile. These days, the internet is the only place one can learn about these things. I can link everything I know about men's clothing to Styleforum, AskAndy, or the London Lounge. The trouble is that hobbyism is no better a driver of style than dress codes. Too much of what happens here is pastiche and cartoon. Oh well.
post #11 of 142
I read that article this weekend as well. I found it equally sad that no mention was made of StyleForum...
post #12 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cary Grant View Post
There's truth in this. But it has also become infintely more difficult for the average Joe to dress well. The entire shopping process used to be much more curated, with numerous speciality stores populated with sales people who helped dumb men make the right decisions. Even department stores were centers with helpful people and racks of nice clothing to choose from. Today- I just walked through one of the Macy's and they've all but eliminated the suits and sportscoats "departments" and the sales people don't know rule one about fitting any article of clothing properly, let alone a tailored jacket. There is a short city street a few blocks from my office. in 1940 it had about 12 men's clothing stores, all with tailors. Now there is one and, of course, with no bespoke. I live in a metro with more than 3,000,000 people and searching out ANY decent item of off-the rack clothing is, at best, a laborious chore well beyond the interest or ability of the average guy. Pushing the variety and quality of clothing people at SF seek off mostly onto the web (especially outside of New York City) means that even more that dressing well, in the coat and tie sense, is mostly for the hobbyist and hyper interested. They do not number enough to stem the tides.
I don't think you can draw the conclusion that if the streets and avenues were replete with haberdasheries, men would dress better. Department stores and their ilk don't set trends. They respond to them. Fifty years ago, retailers didn't pursue the market segmentation strategies they do today. Suits, no matter where they were purchased, were generally of a quality that today we [SF] would consider high. Today, a man has far more things competing for his money. Cars, electronic gadgets, travel, college education funds, etc, all compete for the discretionary dollar. Rare is the man who has it all. Most of us have to compromise. You can't blame retailers and clothiers for trying to capitalize on that.
post #13 of 142
The strange thing is, that a grownup in flip flops, cargo shorts, and a t shirt looks like crap. That's an objective factual truth, not a matter of opinion. If you're hanging out at home on the weekend, or wandering around Walmart or something, then fine, whatever. But for any kind of social occasion, why would people want to look like crap? It's not that hard to look at least okay - just a few things ordered from LE, J Crew, etc etc can set a person up to look as if he has some respect for himself and the people around him.
post #14 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by howbah View Post
The strange thing is, that a grownup in flip flops, cargo shorts, and a t shirt looks like crap. That's an objective factual truth, not a matter of opinion. If you're hanging out at home on the weekend, or wandering around Walmart or something, then fine, whatever. But for any kind of social occasion, why would people want to look like crap? It's not that hard to look at least okay - just a few things ordered from LE, J Crew, etc etc can set a person up to look as if he has some respect for himself and the people around him.

100% agree. The funny part is, even in slacks and a sport coat, no tie, I received ample comments about how nice I looked!

I am wondering if there is some stigma about shopping that gets men to stick to comfort rather than style.
post #15 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by smthorpe View Post
I am wondering if there is some stigma about shopping that gets men to stick to comfort rather than style.
This is a binary that really pisses me off. The two do not have to be mutually exclusive, shitloads of layers on 100 degree days notwithstanding.
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