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How much does culture/ethnicity affect the clothes you wear? - Page 2

post #16 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post





Doc, you won't hear argument from me about what you're saying here (esp. on the English tailoring aspect! wink.gif ). 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.
post #17 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by gladhands View Post

There is a style of lounge suit worn exclusively in the African-American community. It's a bit of a holdover from the jazz-age, and is almost. certainly derived from the zoot-suit. Today these suits are most commonly associated with Steve Harvey. Were someone to post a picture of himself in such a suit in WAYRN, he's be laughed off the form, but within a certain subset of the black community, he would be considered EXTREMELY well-dressed.

As a black man who lives in the larger world, I wouldn't dream of dressing like that. I used to make fun of men who wore those suits...and be somewhat embarrassed of them. As I get older I realize that like it or not, those suits have some sort of cultural significance in a "black community" that is rapidly fading from existence as more educated and successful blacks become further assimilated into the larger American society.

When I lived in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, on the South Side, 20+ years ago, I'd see many variations of this style leaving predominantly African American churches after Sunday services. This style is also reflected in the shoes worn by these gents.
post #18 of 92
I'm a WASP who dresses the part ... so a good percentage.

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. In any event, this has caused me to push the limits a bit. I didn't go so far as to challenge Sebastian Horsley -- there are no red sequin suits w/ special syringe pockets for drugs -- but I'm well beyond the SF norm.
Edited by RSS - 9/29/11 at 3:08pm
post #19 of 92
I dont have much to contribute here, but that means I have everything to learn. Great thread, I look forward to reading more.
post #20 of 92
There are many contributing factors to how people dress...location, ethnicity,age, economics, etc. Most people don't want to stick out very much so they tend to wear what their peers are wearing or something close to it. The exceptions generally being those few that really want to stick out and they often take it too far. But many of them don't take the time to understand what they are wearing, why they are wearing it, and how it should fit. So often they will wear a size up because it is "more comfortable" that way not realizing that it makes them looking like they are wearing a sack. Or they will go with a fad even though they don't have the correct body type of it. Skinny jeans on a heavier guy is a prime example of that.

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. To me, that is what style is all about and not just being an automaton wearing the same type of things as everyone around you even if it fits perfectly.
post #21 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddonicht View Post

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.
post #22 of 92
Thread Starter 

 

Originally Posted by DocHolliday View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post

Doc, you won't hear argument from me about what you're saying here (esp. on the English tailoring aspect! wink.gif ). 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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post

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.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpooPoker View Post

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?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RSS View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddonicht View Post

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! rotflmao.gif)

post #23 of 92
I dress only for myself, but within that framework, I dress to give the least offense

My objectives are fit and harmony, avoiding flashy and ostentatious elements, and ultimately to to avoid dressing myself into a stereotype. e.g. I'm in the South, but I do not wear seersucker or spectators; that would be too much 'playing the part'

I suppose that's also very stereotypical of my ethnicity -- not wanting to stand out.

My industry is oil & gas, which is more down-to-earth (literally!) than other fields. By staying in basics (whites & blues) and earth tones (browns & olives), I can keep within context of the work environment and social environment ($, sub-culture, personality, etc). So long as everything fits and is harmonious, one can still be recognized as smart without necessarily peacocking.

summarize: i dress boring.
post #24 of 92

You might dress boring, but you do boring well.  You're a member of this forum, after all.

post #25 of 92
From a completely different perspective, I can recall the dismay that I felt upon learning that my mother was buying my father's better clothing at thrift stores, specifically, the local Salvation Army. They had the dosh to buy pretty much whatever they wanted, wherever they chose. I was chagrined.

Now, not so much. Well, except for that red polyester blazer but that's for another thread.

For me, it's not so much about the culture of the style of my background as it is about a culture of dressing to a higher standrd on a self imposed, limited budget. I realize now that I've always been one to happily share a story of what a deal I got where others might emphasize the money they spent to impart their sense of achievement and value. I know that I don't have the same drive to save money that they did but I still like to squeeze a penny until Abe lets out a yelp. Maybe that's why I post so often in the thrifting thread here.

So, upon further review, thanks Mom and Dad. Wherever you both have gone. (...and, Mom? You know what I mean.)
post #26 of 92
Yes I would say that local culture definitely affects the clothes I wear. My last few shirt and jacket purchases have been distinctly Mongolian or Chinese in styles. TBH much of the discussion about western business suits is not relevant to life here at all.
post #27 of 92
When causal, dress causal e.g. Lecture, food shopping, gym
When semi to formal, dress to kill e.g. Fine dining, random presentation

I am a UK oversea Chinese student, I don't think my ethnicity deprive me to dress well when needed.
post #28 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by add911_11 View Post

When causal, dress causal e.g. Lecture, food shopping, gym
When semi to formal, dress to kill e.g. Fine dining, random presentation
I am a UK oversea Chinese student,

... and I'm a China overseas English teacher. smile.gif
post #29 of 92
When I dine at an Indian restaurant, I usually wear a dhoti.
post #30 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by add911_11 View Post

When causal, dress causal e.g. Lecture, food shopping, gym
When semi to formal, dress to kill e.g. Fine dining, random presentation

I am a UK oversea Chinese student, I don't think my ethnicity deprive me to dress well when needed.

I remember a thread with MC doing SW&D and SW&D doing MC. Most styles/fit were horrendous to the opposit forum. It is very difficult to dress well in a certain style without doing it daily. Or have a tall slender figure like Spoo. smile.gif
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