Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Originally Posted by Holdfast
Doc, you won't hear argument from me about what you're saying here (esp. on the English tailoring aspect! ). I don't think it conflicts in any way.
What I'm talking about is encouraging an understanding of the roots of different kinds of looks; the "coherent expression" part of your post. Think of it this way: cultural legacy manifests itself as a directional push in one's clothing towards a particular aesthetic. Social pressure moulds it either in the same direction, or in different one, depending on the setting one functions within (or aspires to function within). When someone thinks about what they're wearing (and why), they integrate the two different sets of pressures into a look that is both self-expressive and coherent, while simultaneously meeting their personal needs in terms of facilitating the interpersonal communication they're trying to achieve through their clothes. This, to me, is what being well-dressed means. Not whether it conforms to a particular archetype entirely or not.
I started this thread because SF has a tendency, as you point out, to ignore developing personal insight ("coherent expression"). It's only by adding in the crucial components of cultural and social meaning (which inevitably also requires considering ethnicity IMO), that a fuller meaning can emerge I think. At any rate, I wanted us to tackle ideas of culture/ethnicity and social meaning in clothes head-on instead of ignoring it or using allusions/euphemisms as often occurs.
I'm with you. I guess I'm feeling that there's too little emphasis on coherence. I'd love to see more looks informed by setting, background and culture. But what I see more often is people appropriating stuff they're unfamiliar with and wearing it in ways that make no sense. Stuff that would be over the top at a Southern country club soiree being worn to work. Or guys dressing like they're going to Ascot for dinner at a diner. If people were expressing their background, or tweaking social norms, or making some sort of statement, that I would find interesting. But usually the subtext is missing, and I'm left baffled at the intent.
I think what you're talking about is an advanced approach to dress that is too often co-opted to excuse the very absence of cultural and social meaning you're suggesting is so important.
I love that last sentence. Yes, that's true.
Originally Posted by RSS
That said, I've been most influenced by my tailors who have been so gracious as to show me what they are making for other clients. I suppose we could add some of the tailor's clients to the list as well.
That's an interesting thought. This strikes me as a (positive in your case, from what we've seen of your wardrobe!) form of cultural assimilation through beneficial role models. It seems analogous to the "professionalisation" process that gradually occurs to fresh entrants into any field. I don't mean you were a fresh entrant to tailored clothing, of course, it's just the similarity of the process struck me.
Come to think of it, looked at another way, we see the same effect on new members of SF - especially those without a firm sartorial culture of their own - when they first arrive on the board and are swept up in an attempt to fit into the board's culture. As the board has no real historic culture, if they're not careful these new entrants end up dressing in rather odd and stereotyped ways and thinking that's normal.
Originally Posted by SpooPoker
I dont have much to contribute here, but that means I have everything to learn. Great thread, I look forward to reading more.
Spoo, no false modesty in this thread! You have a certain image that has come from somewhere - such things do not spring forth de novo. We all know that part of your sartorial language is Versace. And you clearly think about clothes a lot already; so you're also processing your cultural background, filtering it through your experiences such as the love of the Versace aesthetic, and creating something fresh and personal. I don't know what your cultural heritage is, but I bet it has informed your choices and ideal archetypes to some degree. What impact do you think it has had?
Originally Posted by RSS
Originally Posted by ddonicht
That doesn't mean you can't go out of the norm for your demographics and look good doing it. It just takes a bit of knowledge and desire to do so. As others have shown, they know what is standard for their lot in society and choose to go outside that. They want something different, yet are trying to do that with style. I understand and applaud that. The key is to wear it with confidence so that it looks appropriate regardless of setting instead of coming across as a costume. Last Saturday I wore a seer sucker suit even though I live in the Pacifict NW instead of in the South where they are more stereotypically know. It is fitted to me and I wore it correctly with a white dress shirt, gray tie and white bucks. Since I am comfortable in it, I received nothing but compliments.
But, but ... OMG ... it's after Labor Day. Of course last Saturday offered beautiful weather in the NW. It was like a summer day in the San Juans.
I think RSS' point is in some ways the more important one than the confidence issue. Of course confidence is vital, but I think it's more about the right kind of confidence. It's not confidence in making any look work regardless of setting that stops the look being costume. It's confidence in being able to select appropriately from the options available to pick something that is both self-expression and appropriate to the setting. This is what Doc Holliday was saying upthread about being able to create a coherent self-image.
This is slighty off-topic to this thread, which is more about the impact of, and integrating, one's cultural legacy into clothes, but it's not totally unrelated either. After all, the smallest cultural atom is the culture of the individual.
(God, that sounded snottily pretentious! )