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NPR: Why Black Men Tend To Be Fashion Kings - Page 3

post #31 of 65

Those are great points.

 

I think many of us, regardless of color or ethnicity, tend to hang out with those most like us in our personal as well as our professional lives. As a retired military officer, I have much more in common with other current and former military people no matter their cultural background, gender, even nationality. I find I have less in common with whites like me who don't understand that experience and can't share in the shared sacrifice that bonds military people. Military people understand and accept each other in an unspoken way.

 

I believe the same is true of athletes and many other groups. I know football players who prefer hanging out with other football players, regardless of black, white, whatever. Same with musicians, car guys, etc. People like to be accepted for themselves.

post #32 of 65
Originally Posted by chogall View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Godot View Post


Dandyism was initially imposed on black men in eighteenth-century England, as the Atlantic slave trade and an emerging culture of conspicuous consumption generated a vogue in dandified black servants. "Luxury slaves" tweaked and reworked their uniforms, and were soon known for their sartorial novelty and sometimes flamboyant personalities.

 

Learning something new every day!r. 

 

You can see it in a lot of the portrait paintings of the 18th century. Young exotic-looking males in fancy livery (often complete with turban or feathers) were very much the fashion accessory of the day. They were not just African. You also had adolescent Indians or Arabs in these roles. I believe it reflected the growing role of international trade to Britain's economy and the desire to import some of that exoticism. In much the same way as they might have served exotic fruits at dinner, drink tea and coffee and have delicate carpets or silks in their house, they had foreign servants and dressed them exotically to match. Interestingly, they're frequently depicted as being pages for the women or children of the house and sometimes adorned with ornamental collars with silver padlocks and the like, despite technically being servants not slaves.

 

There were totally free blacks too of course, and I seem to recall reading about a black man who became one of London's most famous and fashionable fops. Sadly, I can't recall his name (I'll google it in a second; edit: yup, here we are: it's Julius Soubise). In this light, you could argue that for a black, indian or arab man to deliberately dress in immaculate exotic finery is to take ownership of the trappings of being considered an exotic fashionable accessory. You could draw parallels with how certain slur words for blacks or for other groups (e.g homosexuals) are appropriated by the community they originally targeted, as a way of asserting an independent and proud identity.

 

Bringing this to the present day, there is certainly something of "the other" to dress smartly in a world characterised by sloppy dressing. "The other" can be both exotic or intimidating. Certainly, to dress differently from most is to send out a message about yourself and your identity. So, what kind of "other" you dress as is laden with symbolism. A black man dressed in flamboyant colour is perceived very differently to a black man modelling his dress on traditional outfits, for example. Traditional "good taste" (and I use that term cautiously but not entirely unintentionally, given the SF thread with the same title) generally echoes an establishment perspective, whereas flamboyance is a deliberate identification with some form of "other". It's interesting that today, as both traditional "good taste" and "flamboyant other" are BOTH in short supply in a drab dressing world, the two forms share more with each other than might otherwise be the case.

 

Anyway, I ramble... laugh.gif

post #33 of 65
If anyone needs proof of this go to a black church and then go to a white church and look at how people dress. You may not like "black style" but you will see guys in suits with hats and polished shoes. At the white church you will see a lot of polo shirts and khakis.
post #34 of 65
^definitely. There is a predominantly black church near my apartment. If I go out Sunday afternoons, there will definitely be people dressed up for church.

Also echoing something someone said earlier, most of the comments I get on the street are from black people.
post #35 of 65
Being dressed up can only be defined by the man in the clothes. It doesn't matter if it's SF approved or some pimp daddy stuff. If you feel good about what you are wearing, then you will feel good yourself. That's all that really counts.

Note: There's approx. 3.4 billion men on earth and most like to look good from time. How many will ever see, let alone wear SF approved clothes and footwear? You guys are blessed!
post #36 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr monty View Post

Being dressed up can only be defined by the man in the clothes. It doesn't matter if it's SF approved or some pimp daddy stuff.

rotflmao.gifcrackup[1].gif

 

 

I live in Manhattan, and there are some black guys that dress well and a lot that don't.. I say only some because I tend to think that most people in general (regardless of race) don't know how to look good in a suit—They either overdo it or just don't know (or care) how to properly put themselves together.. A sloppy tie or ill-fitting jacket can kill it. I mean, I myself am not at the level of most SF regulars, but I've learned a lot and am working on it. One common thing I see with black guys though is that they will wear black suits with a black shirt, black pocket square and light brown flat-toe shoes—or even worse—pinstripe black suits with a jarring red shirt and a red pocket square (for some reason I've seen this a handful of times). Overall though, black guys don't seem to be any more or less well dressed than anyone else. I can't really comment on casual wear because I usually don't pay much attention to what someone is wearing when they are in-line at the grocery store.

 

 


Edited by newyorknoir - 1/1/13 at 9:07pm
post #37 of 65
I guess geographical distribution is equally important, or in fact most. It will be more likely to see classic clothing being done well in places like St James Street and Knihgtsbridge, and causal clothing in Brick Lane or Soho. This applies equally to all man and women of all race. No race will have the tendency to be good at dressing or fashion sense.

And most importantly, even SF have constant debate of good taste in dressing, I guess it is best to dress for yourself, and not based on unjustified doctrine.
post #38 of 65
Ditto last two posts
post #39 of 65
From an objective standpoint (completely separate of cultural or racial implications), skin tone plays a very large role here. I often think black men look excellent in vivid colors and more daring combinations because their skin tone offers a stark contrast to what they're wearing. Whites look crisper, colors look bolder, patterns appear more deliberate. A pasty dude like me in the middle of winter won't be able to wear certain things with equal panache. Just simple color rules.
post #40 of 65
My first thought when I read the OP was of Albert "Chalky" White in "Boardwalk Empire". Grew up dirt poor but as he became more and more successful (albeit as part of organized crime) realized the importance of his appearance and is one of the best dressed characters on the show.
post #41 of 65
I've been in the entertainment business for my whole life. Until a decade ago mostly in front of the camera. At a fitting for a feature film I was about to work on many moons ago, I had an interesting conversation with the young white wardrobe designers. Btw, I am 6-2 and black and I've always been a fan of fashion and clothing. We started to discuss clothes, style and fashion and the women informed me that they always perused and shopped in the stores in the hood because if you wanted to know what was going to be "the next thing" you'd find it in those stores 2 years before the general public picked up on it. Having grown up in Newark NJ and Manhattan, this was always the norm to me but it was fascinating to hear it from someone who came specifically for the style. And from someone who wasn't black.
post #42 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast View Post


Bringing this to the present day, there is certainly something of "the other" to dress smartly in a world characterised by sloppy dressing. "The other" can be both exotic or intimidating. Certainly, to dress differently from most is to send out a message about yourself and your identity. So, what kind of "other" you dress as is laden with symbolism. A black man dressed in flamboyant colour is perceived very differently to a black man modelling his dress on traditional outfits, for example. Traditional "good taste" (and I use that term cautiously but not entirely unintentionally, given the SF thread with the same title) generally echoes an establishment perspective, whereas flamboyance is a deliberate identification with some form of "other". It's interesting that today, as both traditional "good taste" and "flamboyant other" are BOTH in short supply in a drab dressing world, the two forms share more with each other than might otherwise be the case.

Anyway, I ramble... laugh.gif

That "message about yourself" can often mean being comfortable in you own skin/persona. It strikes me that a lot of adverse comments about people who dress sharp/well is rooted in envy. At the same time for a lot of people dressing well is a sign of personal confidence. They might not enjoy it themselves but like you to channel it for them and often that is the source of positive comments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimelesStyle View Post

My first thought when I read the OP was of Albert "Chalky" White in "Boardwalk Empire". Grew up dirt poor but as he became more and more successful (albeit as part of organized crime) realized the importance of his appearance and is one of the best dressed characters on the show.

QED my avatar.
post #43 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by BernieStevens View Post

I've been in the entertainment business for my whole life. Until a decade ago mostly in front of the camera. At a fitting for a feature film I was about to work on many moons ago, I had an interesting conversation with the young white wardrobe designers. Btw, I am 6-2 and black and I've always been a fan of fashion and clothing. We started to discuss clothes, style and fashion and the women informed me that they always perused and shopped in the stores in the hood because if you wanted to know what was going to be "the next thing" you'd find it in those stores 2 years before the general public picked up on it. Having grown up in Newark NJ and Manhattan, this was always the norm to me but it was fascinating to hear it from someone who came specifically for the style. And from someone who wasn't black.

There's actually an interesting paradox Here: with respect to style of dress, it's very true that many trends originate in the "hood" and then go mainstream. Unfortunately one of the most prominent, sagging, wasn't one of the better ones... Now, the paradoxical part: with respect to labels it's the complete opposite, in my opinion. Guess, Coach and Gucci are three that come to mind. All three were very much white (and/or Asian), upper-class labels but at some point they fell out of favor with white buyers and became more popular with black buyers. For instance, I can't remember the last time I saw a white guy with Gucci labeled shoes, or a girl with a Gucci monogrammed bag. No idea whether a causal relationship exists or if it's just a coincidence, but just my observation.
post #44 of 65
No one ethnicity, country or people holds title to the ownership of style. Style is as diverse and fabulous as are we all, and there are seemingly, no limits to it, where people are free to express themselves without fear of ridicule or persecution.
post #45 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by TimelesStyle View Post

There's actually an interesting paradox Here: with respect to style of dress, it's very true that many trends originate in the "hood" and then go mainstream. Unfortunately one of the most prominent, sagging, wasn't one of the better ones... Now, the paradoxical part: with respect to labels it's the complete opposite, in my opinion. Guess, Coach and Gucci are three that come to mind. All three were very much white (and/or Asian), upper-class labels but at some point they fell out of favor with white buyers and became more popular with black buyers. For instance, I can't remember the last time I saw a white guy with Gucci labeled shoes, or a girl with a Gucci monogrammed bag. No idea whether a causal relationship exists or if it's just a coincidence, but just my observation.

Don't think it has as much to do with race as it has to do with social class. e.g. Burberry novacheck and the Chavs in Britain.

Your observations are skewed because wealthy folk tend to be white, and the poorer folk, black.
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