Originally Posted by mafoofan
It seems we fundamentally disagree on what it means to dress well.
Indeed we do. I have argued in the past that dressing, as practiced by some people on SF, is a legitimate art form. People like Manton and Vox have even gone some way toward developing a theoretical basis for it.
The inability to commit is an inability to take real risk (and reap real reward), and demonstrates a lack of fundamental taste for what is good over what is bad. I am not always right, but I endeavor to be.
This is, of course, pretentious nonsense.
Foo, you are like an opera singer who has perfected a single aria and can sing it better than anyone else in the world. But you refuse to even try and learn anything else and simply belt out La donna e mobile
even if you are suppose to be appearing in Sweeney Todd. I suppose there is a real risk in this, in that you risk eventually being perceived as an eccentric, one-trick pony. But there is no real reward. What there is is a maddening waste of potential and talent.
Like me, Manton has very strong preferences and recurrent practices. He will be the first to tell you that he dresses very similarly day to day, year to year. I don't know how you can have missed that after seeing so many of his outfits.
Manton's genius is that, while adhering to the principles of CBD, he is consistently able to surprise and startle. He has an ability to make seemingly small changes that transform the boring into the elegant. He also dresses "adaptably" for want of a better word. While he is almost always true to the tenets of CBD -- there was that extremely unfortunate incident with that orange-striped shirt -- he is able to adapt those tenets to the situation at hand. Manton is not going to go to a garden party looking like he'd rather be at the office. But he's certainly not going to look like he'd rather be at the used car lot, either.
Also, it is ironic, because I find the notion of CBD over-restricting and too formalistic. It's a way of getting many less astute dressers to fall into an acceptable range, but it will never be more than that.
Given the restrictions of FooBD, I am having trouble parsing this statement.
Originally Posted by Manton
If you have a bunch of stuff that only goes with this or that and always has to be worn together, then you are spending your money unwisely and dressing poorly. You should be able to reach into your closet and with only a few seconds' thought be able to put together an ensemble that works, grabbing almost anything. Any one piece should be easily swappable for something else, and the whole will still work. If you can't do that, your wardrobe needs considerable work.
This is true as far as it goes but no further. First, the fact that something "works" does not mean that it is appropriate. For example, A navy blue suit goes great with a wedding tie, but you wouldn't wear that combination to a funeral. Less obviously, but more importantly, you should be able to adapt your wardrobe to the season, the weather, what business/social activities you have that day and even your mood. This is not consonant with owning a single pair of shoes, not matter how great that pair may be.
This is exactly what you do yourself. A few other posters have this knack but very few manage to achieve such notable results with the same degree of elegant understatement.
Originally Posted by dopey
This may be true of those people, but there are also those people who say buttondown collars AND flat front trousers are great. It is, of course, classic American style.
You are too kind.