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Why do you dress the way you do? - Page 5

post #61 of 108
I basically dress with what I can get locally, sometimes I go for Chinese and Mongolian styles. No suits or ties though, as my position doesn't require them.
post #62 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by JensenH View Post

How could you have read any of my posts when I am on your ignore list?
I just ignore you, thats all.
post #63 of 108

Why do I dress the way I do?  I've realized that it's time I looked like I give a crap.

 

Having opted for causal comfort most of my professional life, however, I lack the knowledge base (and the wardrobe) to coherently craft the image I'd like to present.  So I'm here to learn. Can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate the collective (and collected) wisdom here at SF.

post #64 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

If anything, it's underemphasis.
No, there will not be overt judgements like, "that man is wearing a black tie with his tailcoat, he must be a servant". That's pretty much gone- there are drastically fewer explicit norms built around specific articles of clothing. But dressing nicely still does subconsciously send messages, and that matters.
It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy in a three sizes too large hoodie, sideways ballcap, sagged jeans and sunglasses is approaching you. What are you thinking?
It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy wearing a light gray suit, loosened tie, raincoat, and holding a briefcase, is approaching you. What are you thinking?
Clothes matter. They're the message you send to the outside world. The first contact, and in many cases, only contact the bulk of people in the world have with you is visual. Before you ever get a chance to convince them of who you are by talking, your appearance sends a lot of signals. Being aware of that is step one. Step two is being conscious of what signals you're sending. Step three is learning to manage them.

Right said fing02[1].gif
post #65 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred49 View Post

I was in Rome 10 years ago and saw an 85 year old man dressed in an beautifully tailored and elegant suit, tie, cane and hat. Both my wife and I watched him for a good 30 minutes as he shopped for a tie in a store. I decided to change my mode of dressed based on that 30 minute visual.

Nice story, bro!
post #66 of 108
Agree. Pretty inspiring nod[1].gif.
post #67 of 108
Thread Starter 

Thank you to everyone who has posted so far. I was far from certain this thread would get any responses, let alone the volume it has. I've read every reply and the different stories/motivations are all very interesting, in their own ways. While I'm only actively responding to a few of you below, this is only because they draw out certain themes that resonate with my personal attitude, not because the other replies are any less intriguing.

 

Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

No, there will not be overt judgements like, "that man is wearing a black tie with his tailcoat, he must be a servant". That's pretty much gone- there are drastically fewer explicit norms built around specific articles of clothing. But dressing nicely still does subconsciously send messages, and that matters.

It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy in a three sizes too large hoodie, sideways ballcap, sagged jeans and sunglasses is approaching you. What are you thinking?

It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy wearing a light gray suit, loosened tie, raincoat, and holding a briefcase, is approaching you. What are you thinking?

Clothes matter. They're the message you send to the outside world. The first contact, and in many cases, only contact the bulk of people in the world have with you is visual. Before you ever get a chance to convince them of who you are by talking, your appearance sends a lot of signals. Being aware of that is step one. Step two is being conscious of what signals you're sending. Step three is learning to manage them.

 

Originally Posted by inlandisland View Post

I think a lot of people are overtly or subtly referring to a sociological construct known as impression management. This is definitely a conscious factor for me...

The objective of impression management has definitley been evolving into aesthetics as well... For a long time I used to be of the mind that the physical plane was of very little consequence and that the internal world was all-meaningful, while now I am coming to see the two as inseperable. I did/do struggle with the fact that aesthetic beuaty and craftsmanship are so enmeshed with capital ideologies, but I am getting past the point of being hung-up on constructs.

I also used to wrestle with the idea that I was becoming quite vain, but I am starting to see this as one of societies constructs and not necessarily my own... There is quote that says something to the effect of "All is vanity, until we learn to see it as such, and only then we realize that it is not"...

 

There's an Oscar Wilde quote about superficial things being the last refuge of complex people that seems appropriate to mention here. There's also the whole concept of using "creative play" and aesthetics to draw out a wider meaning and understanding. Friedrich Schiller wrote a fair bit about this; you might be interested in a couple of blog posts I wrote about this a while back: one, two.  More broadly, yes, image/impression management is a key part of this, though it carries with it a connotation of deception in the eyes of many people who learn about the concept, which I don't think is inherent to it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PTWilliams View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I read every response here, there are others I hope will respond because I have become aware of their signature style. I am an academic, and just about everyone around me (other academics, students, technicians, people on the street) all dress pretty much the same way. Anything I put a little thought into will be shoulders above everyone else. When required, I can dress appropriately for the situation, in an SF approved way (thanks to your guys help). At other times:

1) To wear something that is both part of the norm (sports coat, button shirt, jeans) and outside the norm (the jeans are pink), in such a comfortable way that it appears to be the most natural thing in the world. The end result should be "I wouldn't of thought of that, but it works", and leave the observer with feeling that they have seen something interesting, as opposed to something freaky. I really don't think anyone has ever laughed at by outfits, rather it has brought something pleasurable to their day. It also expresses a self-confidence that I can wear anything, do anything. My research is probably best described as novel, and certainly my clothing should also carry that same message.

2) I am single and 60, I am currently seeing seven women who range in age from 42 to 62, but am totally at home mingling with the twenty something crowd. To these women, I am something different. Studies in fruit flies have shown a reproductive advantage to flies that are different from the rest of the males. If I can wear pink or purple jeans, dress like Sherlock Holmes at a wine tasting the the city, or wear my Stetson or Bowler without the least bit of self consciousness, then I can also go up to any women, no matter how intimidatingly beautiful with the attitute that there is no one else she should be wasting her time with.

3) It is also my little joke on society. I only wear the most expensive brands, purchased used on Ebay. If they find me drunk, disoriented, or dead someday and they are trying to figure out who I am, it will be like Peter Sellers in Bring There, in which he was only a butler, but because of his clothing, they assumed he was the upper 1%.

 


This gem of a post needs spoiler code to protect it from the eyes of the unworthy. It's almost a short story or extended epigraph on a life.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred49 View Post

I was in Rome 10 years ago and saw an 85 year old man dressed in an beautifully tailored and elegant suit, tie, cane and hat. Both my wife and I watched him for a good 30 minutes as he shopped for a tie in a store. I decided to change my mode of dressed based on that 30 minute visual.

 

I love the blend of thoughtfulness and inspiration behind this.

post #68 of 108
Thank you Holdfast for creating this thread. I am hoping everyone who is a regular poster here will respond. I want to know what Tibor and NewYorkRanger have to say, and the rest. as well.
Edited by PTWilliams - 1/21/12 at 9:50am
post #69 of 108
This is more abstract and presumptuous, so please understand that I understand that the degree to which my clothing has any actual effect is very small, but I do view making an attempt to dress elegantly as part of an effort to elevate the overall refinement and maturity of the environment around me. That is, my clothes aren't only attempting to say, "I am a confident, competent and conscientious person" but also, "I could have worn a sweatshirt and jeans today, but I didn't because I have respect for myself, respect for you, and don't want to miss an opportunity to create something beautiful where I can, and want to encourage everyone else to do the same". It's like giving a good friend a gift for no reason but that you saw it and thought of the friend and knew it would make them happy.
post #70 of 108
Personally, i feel like a proper chap, so it was time to dress like one.
post #71 of 108
My reason for dressing the way I do can be traced back to something of an epiphany. As a former professional athlete, it seems as though I spent the vast majority of of my teens and twenties in sweats and sneakers. I then moved to work in a "creative" industry, where the most common forms of dress were old-school tracksuit tops, sneakers from the same era and rather tatty jeans. I, too, conformed to this look, well in to my early thirties.

Then I got married. Then I became a father. Then I realised that I no longer wanted to dress like an eternal teenager.

I now alter my choice of materials according to season, pay attention to the principles of cut & fit of garments, and take a fair amount of pleasure in building (and so wearing) a wardrobe comprised of items that are timeless classics rather than fashionable fads.

I endured a fair amount of razzing from friends and colleagues during the early stages of my sartorial "transformation", which did create a slight degree of internal conflict. However, I am now in the 3rd year of wearing timeless classic clothing. There is no longer any self-doubt or conflict. In fact, I receive a fair amount of compliments from both colleagues and strangers on my choices of attire. It's not the reason I dress the way I choose to, but it is nice!

P.S

This forum has been hugely educational and influential during the course of my sartorial evolution. The generosity of spirit that's on display from posters is genuinely heartening. Thanks to all.
post #72 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post


There's an Oscar Wilde quote about superficial things being the last refuge of complex people that seems appropriate to mention here. There's also the whole concept of using "creative play" and aesthetics to draw out a wider meaning and understanding. Friedrich Schiller wrote a fair bit about this; you might be interested in a couple of blog posts I wrote about this a while back: one, two.  More broadly, yes, image/impression management is a key part of this, though it carries with it a connotation of deception in the eyes of many people who learn about the concept, which I don't think is inherent to it.

Thank you for starting this thread and for the links to your blog. I enjoyed reading your posts. The notion of creative/wise play is interesting and one that I can appreciate as a teacher. While reading about the classifications of introvert and extrovert in your posts it made me think about how the matter of one's personal style can really be enlightening in that it forces you to questoin the rigid internal/external dichotomy that is so strongly reinforced in our world... I think that what you're saying about impression management being seen as somehow untrustworthy is part of this as well. The internal and external worlds are so separated in our schema that it seems as though anyone who would try to mold or manipulate the external based on their own referential analogues must have some kind of shady agenda, or at least be somehow inauthentic. I think it may just as easily be the opposite that is true.

I think you are most likely a very good shrink, Holdfast.
post #73 of 108
In addition to what others have posted:

1. So I don't go around naked
2. Like many others have said vanity related, also wearing something that only a few others will really notice
3. People treat you better. Next time you are at the airport, watch everybody in suits (even terribly fitted, super bright pinstripes). They never have to go through the body scanner
4. Better clothes such as nice knits just feel so good. Compare it with a cheap itchy knit and you really can't go back
5. Economics. I used to go through shoes every six months or so, especially in high school. Know with a basic rotation of better quality shoes, shoes look better, last longer and smell better
post #74 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

...I do view making an attempt to dress elegantly as part of an effort to elevate the overall refinement and maturity of the environment around me. That is, my clothes aren't only attempting to say, "I am a confident, competent and conscientious person" but also, "I could have worn a sweatshirt and jeans today, but I didn't because I have respect for myself, respect for you, and don't want to miss an opportunity to create something beautiful where I can, and want to encourage everyone else to do the same"...


How did you manage to write exactly what I meant but couldn't put into words at 4 in the morning?   Very well said, sir.  worship.gif

post #75 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy in a three sizes too large hoodie, sideways ballcap, sagged jeans and sunglasses is approaching you. What are you thinking?
It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy wearing a light gray suit, loosened tie, raincoat, and holding a briefcase, is approaching you. What are you thinking?
Clothes matter. 


I'm not sure race comes into it really. Lots of people from different ethnic backgrounds and wealth profiles are aping the mien of the underclass. On the bus (I live in San Francisco where everyone rides the bus) I encountered a group of teenage boys sitting in the back, "signifying" amongst each other, calling each other the n-word, and in general making all the other passengers nervous. Apart from said n-word they were speaking Urdu.

 

One morning I walk into the neighborhood cafe and this dork who is as white as I am was wearing a "stop snitching" t-shirt. I ended up ordering a breakfast sandwich, in order to avoid any temptation to use a fork on the little shit's eyes.

 

Furthermore if you're out on the street alone at two in the morning, and you see someone with a briefcase, you should still be concerned. If someone is carrying a briefcase at that time of night it has more than paperwork in it.

 

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