How much does culture/ethnicity affect the clothes you wear? - Page 7
I think it's interesting that several people have cited family members as influences, as well as ethnicity. It's not something I can relate to (which is probably why I think it's interesting). It seems like the environment of one's upbringing would play a bigger role than either family or ethnicity (and if that environment is determined by ethnicity, we would see that influence). The way in which an individual reacts to their environment would be determined by personality (which would in turn be determined by family, culture, any genetic predispositions towards, well, whatever, etc)
I can trace the development of my style fairly clearly
I am from a mixed race household; my mom is half Mexican half Argentine, and my dad is from Oklahoma and whiter than Larry Bird. Their cultural heritage has played no part in how I dress. The only thing I can think of that I've pulled from them is my mom's practice of using clothing to express a part of her identity. I was also raised Quaker, and perhaps their emphasis on simplicity has influenced me (you'll never see me in a pocket square or in anything to garish).
I grew up in a very upper class neighborhood in Texas with some very rigid conventions. In middle school, I thought that anybody with any sort of social awareness wore Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren polos, khaki shorts, and Doc Martins (this is the late mid 90s). So naturally I adopted that look. In high school, I began wearing Banana Republic. I still wear a lot of their clothes (polos, trousers, and sweaters mostly). At this point, most of my friends had switched to A&F (which I despise) or became stoners and dressed accordingly.
Out of my circle of friends in college (split evenly between homosexuals, hippies, and frats), I was the only one who dressed as I did (again, mostly BR); so at this point, I think my fashion identity had coalesced enough to be at least directly independent of my peers (I can't rule out some contrarianism).
My junior year, my sort of girlfriend bought me my first tie. Light blue Thomas Pink. I still own it, though it's frayed beyond wear. I still have an obsession with the brand (which is why so many ties of mine still come from them). I then started working part time at Kay Jewelers, so I had to get suits. Men's Wearhouse. Ties, shirts, and suits, all from them (I don't think anything remains of that set of clothes).
I moved to Korea after graduation. I worked in a logistics company here and had to dress very conservatively. I also couldn't "out dress" my 팀장님, the guy directly above me, as that would be considered very improper (not the case for all Korean companies). I'd upgraded from Men's Wearhouse suits by then and had expanded my collection of ties, which grew in spurts depending on my mood and the pickings on eBay.
Wearing a dull suit everyday, riding on a 7am train with hundreds of Koreans with identical hair and eye color and fairly identical suits for a year, really took its toll on me. This, along with an underlying collectivism taken to a bit of an extreme.
I quit and so I don't have to wear a suit everyday anymore. I'm not sure I could bring myself to work in such a conservative environment again. This is probably why I love cardigans so much; I can wear my beloved ties without wearing a jacket (I've shipped most of my suits back to the US, but kept a few and some odd jackets).
In addition, the expatriate community here is by an large sloppily dressed (and live sloppy lifestyles). As ashamed as I am to say it, part of the reason that I always bother to dress well (a tailored dress shirt (untucked), nice jeans, and decent shoes at a minimum) is so that I am not lumped in with them. I think I'd be concerned with what I wear anyway...I always have been...but perhaps I am more so because of my fellow expats.
Koreans by an large are either very unfashionable, very A&F, or very fashion forward. There are very few Koreans who build around more the more traditional Western look HF expounded in his first post. I'm happily friends with a few that do. They know what looks good (again, by a certain set of standards) and are comfortable enough to deviate from that to incorporate their own personalities into their wardrobe.
I'm pretty new here, so my opinion could either be very worthwhile (not indoctrinated) or worthless (not familiar enough with SF). I've also never been an active member of a forum before (again, could be a good thing or a bad thing).
As far as I can tell, there are very few members that are regular, long time posters and who have also lost their ability to dress independently from the SF approved look. Some come in with a certain idea of what they want to look like and SF helps them achieve it. Others join (as I did) in hopes of finding new inspiration. Some join with a fairly ossified sense of their own style. But looking through the WAYWRN regulars over the last couple months, I don't get the sense that any (off the top of my head: spoo, Laplan and Lappelan, Diaz, upr, NYR, holdfast, Hal, sugarbutch, and Flying Monkey) have become SF dogmatists in what they choose to wear (though maybe so in the advice they give). It's the more transient posters that seem to mold so complicitly to SF standards.
That being said, there are some threads that I'm less familiar with, such as Manton's what's in good taste thread.
It just occurred to me that there is probably a bit of a sampling bias...posters, even regular ones (though perhaps not HF), are more likely to post pictures on days they are sporting an SF approved look, giving SF a greater sense of conformity than what would accurately reflect its posters' wardrobes.
Edited by Claghorn - 10/7/12 at 7:45am