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Does it ever end? - Page 5

post #61 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

For reference, Webster's definition of a hobby:

Given the level of OCD on here, it would be difficult for me to believe that members find clothes to be relaxing.
post #62 of 91
Like I said, once learned, it is second nature. Doesn't take any noticeable effort to exercise taste--just to explain it.
post #63 of 91
I understand what you're saying, but I think you are missing two things:
  1. Not everyone has the same form or degree of interest in clothing.
  2. Devolution into costume is a consequence of bad choices, not motivation.

On point 1, one could make the same claim about other interests, and it would be just as wrong. Take music. I am a very serious amateur musician. It was very nearly my vocation, not just a hobby. For me, music is most certainly not something you just do for fun - to do it right, your lifestyle must revolve around the demands of practice required to excel. But that's for me. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with the 40 year old guy who buys a guitar and strums a few chords once in a while. If part of his enjoyment is trying a new guitar every now and then, who am I to say that he is doing it wrong?

On point 2, costume is not a necessary result of acquiring more stuff than you need. Imagine that I own a perfectly adequate navy blazer (which I do). If I decide to get another one in a slightly different material or cut, just to see how I like it in practice and not because I need it in any way shape or form, will the second blazer be any more costume-y than the first one? Costume comes from bad usage, not duplicate acquisition.
post #64 of 91
There is nothing wrong with a 40-year-old guy who buys a guitar and just strums a few chords on it. But that is not how you make good music. Likewise, I will not begrudge people for collecting clothes as a hobby--but, that is not how you develop good style. People on this forum forget that too often. They claim they are trying to dress well, but cannot see that accomplishing that goal is essentially impossible so long as they are just doing the equivalent of collecting guitars and strumming a few chords on them.

I could not disagree with you more about your second point. Motivation is essential to good style. When something looks "costume," it may be a direct result of specific clothing choices, but the root cause of those choices is, ninety-nine percent of the time, attitude. Really, dressing well is actually not very difficult. Often the boring and more obvious choices are the better ones. Yet, people stray into bizarrely grotesque and tortured territory all too frequently, often under some false guise of creative independence, when in reality they are simply fixated on consuming and getting the next "good" deal. Thus, it is truly clarity of purpose at the bottom of it all--and which is so sorely lacking.
post #65 of 91
I sort of agree with you, but I think you're really latching too hard onto the word "collecting". To the point about venturing into the grotesque, that may be a consequence of owning too many things, but owning more things is not necessarily synonymous with owning more grotesque or less simple things.

The irony of this discussion is that in practice I find myself more aligned with your own approach, even though I am disagreeing with you now - after a few years of participation here I find that I like the idea of owning fewer things that are more versatile and fit me well. But for the purposes of this discussion I think you are missing the degree to which investment in style, with few exceptions, necessarily has aspects of a hobby. In the 21st century the vast majority of men will not see a material impact on their life or livelihood from "dressing better" above some (very low) culturally acceptable minimum level. You must get something out of this besides professional advancement to justify spending the time on it, and if that is the case then it is necessarily in part a hobby. And hobbies don't have set rules about what is "too much".
post #66 of 91

Well, I don't know if I fall into the "costume" category - I am an IT technician. My income is rather low, my friends dress in t-shirts and jeans, and my lifestyle is really, really humble. But where I work at, there's many people in suits. There are diplomats, ambassadors, and a Minister. So, while I have no dress code to abide by, I think it would be very disrespectiful to dress like a slob here, even though I'm sort of a "pleb".

 

Other than that, I do enjoy clothing as a hobby. Not just in the style sense, but I also have a fascination for the art that is behind tailored clothing. I would have loved to learn the craft, but I'm too old for that now.

post #67 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

I think if you find yourself in the mode of collecting clothes, and constantly selling/buying/selling, you are doing something profoundly wrong.

disagree. some people simply get bored with stuff, and have the know how, and coinage, to keep things from stagnating for them. they may buy and sell 10 navy SCs and 15 blue shirts and 7 mid gray flannel suits, in a few years. instead of keeping the same one until it is worn out. something new, slight deviations in shade/tone/texture are what some people enjoy and have the opportunity to do so.

their wardrobe will always have the basics, just different garments, and fun pieces that come and go as their level of intrigue waxes and wanes. i see nothing wrong with that. people can enjoy clothing, dress well, and be happy, in different ways.
post #68 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcbrown View Post

I sort of agree with you, but I think you're really latching too hard onto the word "collecting". To the point about venturing into the grotesque, that may be a consequence of owning too many things, but owning more things is not necessarily synonymous with owning more grotesque or less simple things.

The irony of this discussion is that in practice I find myself more aligned with your own approach, even though I am disagreeing with you now - after a few years of participation here I find that I like the idea of owning fewer things that are more versatile and fit me well. But for the purposes of this discussion I think you are missing the degree to which investment in style, with few exceptions, necessarily has aspects of a hobby. In the 21st century the vast majority of men will not see a material impact on their life or livelihood from "dressing better" above some (very low) culturally acceptable minimum level. You must get something out of this besides professional advancement to justify spending the time on it, and if that is the case then it is necessarily in part a hobby. And hobbies don't have set rules about what is "too much".

No, quantity alone is not a problem. But when quantity takes precedence over quality, it surely is. Why does that happen? For the same reason so many hobbies perpetuate themselves. Take watch-collecting for example, which I am intimately familiar with. People will collect dozens of watches, constantly trading back and forth, over years and decades--all because they cannot "afford" the one or two grail watches they truly desire. Ironically, it often turns out they've spent much more on all the lesser watches they didn't really want. It's a cycle that goes on tragically too long for too many. Yet, every now and then, someone figures it out, sells his entire collection, and buys the minute repeater he's always wanted. He writes a long, triumphant post on Timezone, then is never to be heard from again. Good for him. He can now live his life and enjoy the one watch that could ever quench his hunger.

Most people are terrible long-term planners and thinkers. Hence, a "good deal" is what is cheap and affordable right this very moment. The stuff in my wardrobe is wildly expensive compared to most of the things posted here, but ultimately I've probably spent not much more than the average forum member.

So, yes, there is always a degree of collecting and hobbyism in endeavoring to do something well. We all need to put together a good toolkit. But sometimes we get carried away with building a bigger toolkit and forget that the real work is in learning to use our tools.
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

disagree. some people simply get bored with stuff, and have the know how, and coinage, to keep things from stagnating for them. they may buy and sell 10 navy SCs and 15 blue shirts and 7 mid gray flannel suits, in a few years. instead of keeping the same one until it is worn out. something new, slight deviations in shade/tone/texture are what some people enjoy and have the opportunity to do so.

their wardrobe will always have the basics, just different garments, and fun pieces that come and go as their level of intrigue waxes and wanes. i see nothing wrong with that. people can enjoy clothing, dress well, and be happy, in different ways.

I haven't a seen a single example of a person who treats clothes as you describe that I'd say has a convincing style.
post #69 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

I haven't a seen a single example of a person who treats clothes as you describe that I'd say has a convincing style.

i was not saying there is or isnt one. i was merely saying it could be done without being profoundly wrong. smile.gif
post #70 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

So, yes, there is always a degree of collecting and hobbyism in endeavoring to do something well. We all need to put together a good toolkit. But sometimes we get carried away with building a bigger toolkit and forget that the real work is in learning to use our tools.

Well here is our common ground then. I love this, especially the bolded part... New toys are always fun, but the only way to get better is practice, practice, practice.
post #71 of 91
A guy with a solid-fitting navy blazer and grey flannel suit, plus time spent developing good taste, is eons ahead of the WAYWRN norm.
post #72 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

I haven't a seen a single example of a person who treats clothes as you describe that I'd say has a convincing style.

This is more the norm actually, if you look at the history of well-dressed men. Minus the selling part - because he didn't need to - the Duke of Windsor is the most obvious example that comes to mind.
post #73 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

A guy with a solid-fitting navy blazer and grey flannel suit, plus time spent developing good taste, is eons ahead of the WAYWRN norm.

Couldn't agree more.

Upon further reflection, I think my disagreement arose from the fact that there are two primary drivers of acquisition of "things" related to style/music/photography/etc.

One driver is curiosity. A curious acquirer might think "I know that I already have perfectly adequate tools; this new addition will not allow me to do anything I can't do with the tools I have on hand; however neither will it detract from my other tools, and I want to know what it feels like to use this new object, because trying new things is part of what I enjoy about this interest of mine." I think you'd agree that if someone approaches "collecting" with this attitude, it's less likely they are going to run off the rails. This is what I was trying to get at above.

The other driver is the desire to "upgrade". There is a degree to which upgrading is helpful - e.g. a serious amateur musician can benefit a lot from moving from a cheap student instrument to a professional-grade one. But because upgrading equipment is so easy, and upgrading the human (through practice) is so hard, people can fall into a trap of believing that therein lies the key to success. On music fora it's common to see advice to invest in more lessons rather than more gear, and it's correct 99.9% of the time. Some form of that advice undoubtedly applies to style as well. I think this is what you were trying to get at, no?

The situation with WAYWN is illustrative of your point, I suppose. Even though I'm far from a "finished product" style-wise and should theoretically benefit from perusing photos of what other SF members are wearing, I just can't draw any useful lessons from those threads anymore. I find that whenever I am in search of a visual I'm better served consulting either the old "best of" thread, the coherent sportscoat combo thread, the tailors' feedback thread, or even the now-dead coherent combinations thread (via waybackmachine). They inspire me to do more with less*, which is another point you are consistently making.

(* Does not apply to shoes, where I admit I have a problem.)
post #74 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

This is more the norm actually, if you look at the history of well-dressed men. Minus the selling part - because he didn't need to - the Duke of Windsor is the most obvious example that comes to mind.

Amidst the many gems, the Duke put together a lot atrocious outfits. Maybe his hit rate would have been better if his resources were more limited and/or his appetite less devouring. The truth is he had a lot of natural talent, which can overcome a lot--even an addiction to clothes.

Us mere mortals must play a different game.
post #75 of 91
dressing well and having style are two separate things. I think a guy with 4 suits (navy, navy pinstripe, gray, gray pinstripe or gray flannel), a few shirts, and maybe 10 ties could be considered to dress well if the stuff fits. But thats boring as shit, and while it might require less thought, i think that thought is exactly what people who strive for style enjoy. Thinking about outfits, thinking about pairings, thinking about new ways to wear certain things, etc are the part thats enjoyable.

While I agree that WAYWRN posts are a disaster more often than not (my god some of the sport coats in that thread are so hideous its scary), I don't think foo's look is anything terribly desirable either.
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