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Why does the MC tailored aesthetic fetishise the idea of insouciant dressing? - Page 6

post #76 of 106
What was yours?
post #77 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuuma View Post

Having read some books on the topic of "cool" I can tell you no one has yet managed to really grasp the subject sucessfully.

It's humorous that the concept of "cool" is something we understand at a very young age yet we have never been able to articulate and define this concept, while continue to chase.

The interesting part about the concept of "cool" is that it rides on the idea of having the perfect amount of imperfection on something that is designed with perfection as the foundation.
post #78 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post
I agree with a lot of your observations in the earlier paragraphs. Regarding different nationalities, if I may be equally permitted a bit of deliberately cheeky oversimplification/stereotyping, I'd suggest that the best-dressed Italians dress like they want to be a well-dressed Englishman (filtering that look through their own culture, obviously), and many of the better-dressed Americans (Ivy-stylers excepted) and Asians dress like they want to be a better-dressed Italian...

 

 

Thank you Holdfast, Hardy Amies stated that it was the Italian campaign that exposed British soldiers to Italian style, (particularly the trousers which were "miracles of fit compared with those of the British"). I assume it similarly rubbed off on the Americans, but do you know when or what caused the Italians to aspire to the English style?

post #79 of 106
Naples was virtually an English colony many years ago, and the tailors learned British tailoring. That was also where the Italians learned the British look.
post #80 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post

As many soldiers will attest, if you have to wear a uniform, the little ways of personalising it - within regulations - can have their attractions, including showing you don't take it that seriously. There is a time (state occasions, big parades) for identical perfection. At other times, there is a natural human impulse to show some individuality.
As a former art historian, I find it useful at times to think of MC clothes in terms of artistic styles. There are classical styles, but also neo-classical - the latter inspired by and emulating the former, but not slavish recreations of what has gone before. There are in-your-face baroque styles, quirky knowing mannerist ones (much sprezz seems mannerist to me), and modernist and post-modernist approaches. Of course it doesn't map across exactly, but it does give you a different frame of reference.
There are specific and distinct cultural reasons why insouciance (which is absolutely the correct word) has a powerful hold on ideas of traditional men's style. Mostly from English, French and Italian cultures, as they were the primary drivers of MC in the early/mid 20th Century (and like most such drivers were then swamped by, reinterpreted by, and absorbed into US culture). A mix of an aristocratic "I am a superior person of independent means and higher sensibillity and do what I like", English "don't look like you are trying too hard, or care too much", individualist posing "I am an artist" and so on. It's sort of Beau Brummell versus Lord Byron, and that duality exists in most of us.

This is useful as it actually brings history of appearances into the mix.

Enough with timeless verities! I only believe in two.

1. We live in a fallen world.

2. Kids these days!

Beyond that, I have to say that some of the distress of longtime members about the direction of the form is due to the way that fashions have changed. Of course this is styleforum and not fashionforum, but we are viewed in relation to others; style is a social phenomenon.

The reigning fashion of the mid-2000s was Thom Browne/Hedi Slimane. Although key SFers found the shrunken fits abhorrent, the monochrome palette and minimal styling was not out of line with conservative business dress of half a century ago; this is one reason why TB was such a good fit for BBBF. It was also a reason for n00bs to more unquestionably accept the sartorial wisdom of their elders.

Now the fashion has grown into something else. Fits are still mostly tragic, though pants and coats are filling out again, but more to the point the black and white has been replaced by exuberant, even violent expression in color and pattern. Plus the accessory market has exploded, festooning men with doodads. Sprezz is the fashionable thought organizer for this fashionably insouciant turn into our current period.
post #81 of 106

Having not read all the posts in this thread, I would like to throw this out there:

 

I have never seen an outfit that I thought was too studied or not insouciant enough, except for the Pitti-style hyper-sprezzatura which obviously is the very antithesis of the true meaning of sprezzatura. If being insouciant is desirable then I would like to see an example of too "souciant"—though not the Pitti-style which is on the other end of the spectrum.

post #82 of 106
A combination of the last few replies touching on the subjects of "cool" and "individuality" led me that there is a much easier explanation of the many sartorial messes: individual style becoming mostly divorced from any meaningful historical context, which makes the whole concept virtually an oxymoron, and that's why (obviously, a pure, though marginally informed, speculation)

First, the whole concept of "style" is virtually meaningless except in relation with specific historical circumstance: to have any notion of a "correct" style (doesn't matter if it is at the individual, class, or society level), there needs to be some sort of backdrop to assess the correctness against. This of course is not, and cannot be, any notion of "timeless" aesthetic principles. It can only be some constellation of norms and symbols reflected or alluded to via clothing. In short, in any period, clothes represent the dominant "mood" of the times - and the common reactions against such mood.

Which brings us to the concept of "cool". While yes, it is virtually impossible to define it at a sufficiently abstract level, many researchers would agree that it can be traced to disguised defiance of authority in the black community: since it was (and in many aspects still is) virtually impossible to oppose whitey without extreme consequences, the "cool" factor is a way to give off a vague defiance without openly confronting authority.

Of course, that's exactly why cool became so important for juveniles of all ages in the 20th century. For those not having to suffer true repercussions, it was easy, it was fun, and it allowed many opportunities to experiment. But not haphazardly - the cool fashions of every decade are fairly identifiable and quite rigid - perhaps because the things to rebel against changed. A big problem for "cool" was/is also the fact that it is extremely easily and quickly coopted by the establishment - and the "proper" cool jawnz are promptly sold back to the would be radicals at crazy prices. You know "cool" is dead when AdBusters market their very own fucking sneaker. WTF.

However, as time went by, these things to rebel against were becoming far less personified and far less obvious at a level of individual fashion symbols. For example, the suit may have symbolized some real power back in the day, today it can be the symbol of a Verizon salesmen, or, if sufficiently crazy expensive and extravagant - of an international playboy. Big confusion here. Either way, pursuing the way of the suit provides no apparent identity if it is done seriously, and there is no way to do it "correctly" if it is not pursued seriously.

There is simply no fashion summary of the spirit of the times these days, so there is nothing apparent to aspire to or rebel against fashion-wise. All that is left is irony. But irony without purpose, cause, and object is simply self-indulgent and inconsequential vomit, as apparent on many sprezzy pics. Hello fashion post modernity.

So, if it's not real irony, then what? I have 2 contradictory guesses: 1) that no overall "rennaisance" in men's clothing has taken any place at all. Just because marketing machines and the fashion industry overhype #menswear in a fight for the dollars of the small proportion of the population that.... has them, doesn't mean AT ALL that on average there is more #menswear in the wild. 2) the middle class is terrified of being "proletarized", reduced to #workwear by necessity, and thus spends a disproportionate amount of effort to keep up the charade. This can go either way: a) "I am real serious dude who knows the rules" or b) i have teh moneyz and can sprezz it up without worrying any time. Both sad and pathetic.

Now, where is individual style to come from? I don't know. But if an authentic individual is to come up with one, I am increasingly convinced that it must be basically a personal uniform: the same or very similar stuff /format every day. Not the faux-nobility with jawnz for "every occasion".

I used to mildly make fun of foo.gif , but if the above ramble contains the smallest insights of relevance, foo.gif is teh man, icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

Abandon your quest for sprez, and the rules (snake oil) salesmen. Find the specific persona you are or want to be, and then stock up on OneEverything. No, scratch that: make that just one pair of OneEverything, and rock it until it is ratty and awesome. Then just keep rocking it. icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
Edited by SamSpade - 8/13/12 at 7:29am
post #83 of 106
also, no chick wants to shag a guy who's too perfectly dressed.
post #84 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by sugarbutch View Post

What was yours?

When you wear your pink miniskirt it's sexist that people think it's weird. The fact it's sexist doesn't mean it's not true people think it's weird for you to wear your pink miniskirt.
post #85 of 106
That is an excellent non sequitur.
post #86 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamSpade View Post

A combination of the last few replies touching on the subjects of "cool" and "individuality" led me that there is a much easier explanation of the many sartorial messes: individual style becoming mostly divorced from any meaningful historical context, which makes the whole concept virtually an oxymoron, and that's why (obviously, a pure, though marginally informed, speculation)
First, the whole concept of "style" is virtually meaningless except in relation with specific historical circumstance: to have any notion of a "correct" style (doesn't matter if it is at the individual, class, or society level), there needs to be some sort of backdrop to assess the correctness against. This of course is not, and cannot be, any notion of "timeless" aesthetic principles. It can only be some constellation of norms and symbols reflected or alluded to via clothing. In short, in any period, clothes represent the dominant "mood" of the times - and the common reactions against such mood.
Which brings us to the concept of "cool". While yes, it is virtually impossible to define it at a sufficiently abstract level, many researchers would agree that it can be traced to disguised defiance of authority in the black community: since it was (and in many aspects still is) virtually impossible to oppose whitey without extreme consequences, the "cool" factor is a way to give off a vague defiance without openly confronting authority.
Of course, that's exactly why cool became so important for juveniles of all ages in the 20th century. For those not having to suffer true repercussions, it was easy, it was fun, and it allowed many opportunities to experiment. But not haphazardly - the cool fashions of every decade are fairly identifiable and quite rigid - perhaps because the things to rebel against changed. A big problem for "cool" was/is also the fact that it is extremely easily and quickly coopted by the establishment - and the "proper" cool jawnz are promptly sold back to the would be radicals at crazy prices. You know "cool" is dead when AdBusters market their very own fucking sneaker. WTF.
However, as time went by, these things to rebel against were becoming far less personified and far less obvious at a level of individual fashion symbols. For example, the suit may have symbolized some real power back in the day, today it can be the symbol of a Verizon salesmen, or, if sufficiently crazy expensive and extravagant - of an international playboy. Big confusion here. Either way, pursuing the way of the suit provides no apparent identity if it is done seriously, and there is no way to do it "correctly" if it is not pursued seriously.
There is simply no fashion summary of the spirit of the times these days, so there is nothing apparent to aspire to or rebel against fashion-wise. All that is left is irony. But irony without purpose, cause, and object is simply self-indulgent and inconsequential vomit, as apparent on many sprezzy pics. Hello fashion post modernity.
So, if it's not real irony, then what? I have 2 contradictory guesses: 1) that no overall "rennaisance" in men's clothing has taken any place at all. Just because marketing machines and the fashion industry overhype #menswear in a fight for the dollars of the small proportion of the population that.... has them, doesn't mean AT ALL that on average there is more #menswear in the wild. 2) the middle class is terrified of being "proletarized", reduced to #workwear by necessity, and thus spends a disproportionate amount of effort to keep up the charade. This can go either way: a) "I am real serious dude who knows the rules" or b) i have teh moneyz and can sprezz it up without worrying any time. Both sad and pathetic.
Now, where is individual style to come from? I don't know. But if an authentic individual is to come up with one, I am increasingly convinced that it must be basically a personal uniform: the same or very similar stuff /format every day. Not the faux-nobility with jawnz for "every occasion".
I used to mildly make fun of foo.gif , but if the above ramble contains the smallest insights of relevance, foo.gif is teh man, icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
Abandon your quest for sprez, and the rules (snake oil) salesmen. Find the specific persona you are or want to be, and then stock up on OneEverything. No, scratch that: make that just one pair of OneEverything, and rock it until it is ratty and awesome. Then just keep rocking it. icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

But if Frye is correct, this phase does not last forever -- winter does eventually give way once more to spring ... smile.gif

If he is wrong, then it's just ffffuuuu.gif all the way down until entropy's darkness swallows all.
post #87 of 106
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eg1 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamSpade View Post

A combination of the last few replies touching on the subjects of "cool" and "individuality" led me that there is a much easier explanation of the many sartorial messes: individual style becoming mostly divorced from any meaningful historical context, which makes the whole concept virtually an oxymoron, and that's why (obviously, a pure, though marginally informed, speculation)
First, the whole concept of "style" is virtually meaningless except in relation with specific historical circumstance: to have any notion of a "correct" style (doesn't matter if it is at the individual, class, or society level), there needs to be some sort of backdrop to assess the correctness against. This of course is not, and cannot be, any notion of "timeless" aesthetic principles. It can only be some constellation of norms and symbols reflected or alluded to via clothing. In short, in any period, clothes represent the dominant "mood" of the times - and the common reactions against such mood.
Which brings us to the concept of "cool". While yes, it is virtually impossible to define it at a sufficiently abstract level, many researchers would agree that it can be traced to disguised defiance of authority in the black community: since it was (and in many aspects still is) virtually impossible to oppose whitey without extreme consequences, the "cool" factor is a way to give off a vague defiance without openly confronting authority.
Of course, that's exactly why cool became so important for juveniles of all ages in the 20th century. For those not having to suffer true repercussions, it was easy, it was fun, and it allowed many opportunities to experiment. But not haphazardly - the cool fashions of every decade are fairly identifiable and quite rigid - perhaps because the things to rebel against changed. A big problem for "cool" was/is also the fact that it is extremely easily and quickly coopted by the establishment - and the "proper" cool jawnz are promptly sold back to the would be radicals at crazy prices. You know "cool" is dead when AdBusters market their very own fucking sneaker. WTF.
However, as time went by, these things to rebel against were becoming far less personified and far less obvious at a level of individual fashion symbols. For example, the suit may have symbolized some real power back in the day, today it can be the symbol of a Verizon salesmen, or, if sufficiently crazy expensive and extravagant - of an international playboy. Big confusion here. Either way, pursuing the way of the suit provides no apparent identity if it is done seriously, and there is no way to do it "correctly" if it is not pursued seriously.
There is simply no fashion summary of the spirit of the times these days, so there is nothing apparent to aspire to or rebel against fashion-wise. All that is left is irony. But irony without purpose, cause, and object is simply self-indulgent and inconsequential vomit, as apparent on many sprezzy pics. Hello fashion post modernity.
So, if it's not real irony, then what? I have 2 contradictory guesses: 1) that no overall "rennaisance" in men's clothing has taken any place at all. Just because marketing machines and the fashion industry overhype #menswear in a fight for the dollars of the small proportion of the population that.... has them, doesn't mean AT ALL that on average there is more #menswear in the wild. 2) the middle class is terrified of being "proletarized", reduced to #workwear by necessity, and thus spends a disproportionate amount of effort to keep up the charade. This can go either way: a) "I am real serious dude who knows the rules" or b) i have teh moneyz and can sprezz it up without worrying any time. Both sad and pathetic.
Now, where is individual style to come from? I don't know. But if an authentic individual is to come up with one, I am increasingly convinced that it must be basically a personal uniform: the same or very similar stuff /format every day. Not the faux-nobility with jawnz for "every occasion".
I used to mildly make fun of foo.gif , but if the above ramble contains the smallest insights of relevance, foo.gif is teh man, icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif
Abandon your quest for sprez, and the rules (snake oil) salesmen. Find the specific persona you are or want to be, and then stock up on OneEverything. No, scratch that: make that just one pair of OneEverything, and rock it until it is ratty and awesome. Then just keep rocking it. icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif

But if Frye is correct, this phase does not last forever -- winter does eventually give way once more to spring ... smile.gif

If he is wrong, then it's just ffffuuuu.gif all the way down until entropy's darkness swallows all.

 

Quite off-topic and I can't remember whether I already recently discussed this here or elsewhere (probably elsewhere), but this discussion reminds me again of the Asimov short story, The Last Question. It's quite an amusing little read if you have a spare 10 minutes.

post #88 of 106
Returning to one of my favourite threads, two quick supplementary thoughts:

Is there a streetwear equivalent of this? I really dont get that SWD stuff, but that is because I am (select as appropriate) either old and boring or timeless and classical. But I do see a strong streetwear culture as well of artfully trying to look artlesssly put together.

Second, there is a powerful sense of long-standing in Western culture, and still present, that in order to break the rules successfully you have to know what they are first - in literature, music, art, architecture, for example. Insouciance in clothing is the same thing: you are saying "yes, I know I shouldn't have that button undone, or that sloppy PS, or the back end of my tie poking out, but I can precisely because I know that I shouldn't, and you can tell that I know that because I am wearing a beautifully fitted suit and exquisite shoes".
post #89 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geezer View Post

Second, there is a powerful sense of long-standing in Western culture, and still present, that in order to break the rules successfully you have to know what they are first - in literature, music, art, architecture, for example. Insouciance in clothing is the same thing: you are saying "yes, I know I shouldn't have that button undone, or that sloppy PS, or the back end of my tie poking out, but I can precisely because I know that I shouldn't, and you can tell that I know that because I am wearing a beautifully fitted suit and exquisite shoes".

To know the rules signify's that at one point you cared or studied the rules, basically you "soucy" or worried/thought about the rules. That's not cool. Cool doesn't worry ever, it just does it.
post #90 of 106
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenon View Post

To know the rules signify's that at one point you cared or studied the rules, basically you "soucy" or worried/thought about the rules. That's not cool. Cool doesn't worry ever, it just does it.

No, it means you grew up in an environment where you absorbed them but are too cool to care...
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