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'iGent Myths Busted!' - Page 13

post #181 of 301
This old thread touches on a few of the topics discussed here (what the rules are, who gets to set them, what purpose they serve, etc.):

http://www.styleforum.net/t/310030/philsophy-of-mc-style

I think Bounder got it exactly right:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bounder View Post

I believe that, as practiced by some posters on SF, dressing is a bona fide art form. I think, though I cannot, of course, prove it, that there is a germ of objective correctness in the rules of classical dress in the sense that many of these rules evolved for good reasons that speak to something fundamental about humans. But that is neither here nor there. All that is necessary is that there be a consensus that something looks good. We can then have an interesting discussion about why it looks good and how to replicate those essential elements, whatever they are, in other contexts.

This is what Manton and Vox are doing. Manton wrote an entire book about why the rules of dressing are the way they are and how to use them effectively. The premise for this book was that classical dressing looks good, for whatever reason. If you do not accept this basic premise, there is no point to the rules. But if you do, the argument Manton makes is, "People think this looks good. The reason it looks good is because of X. Therefore, if you do X it will also look good in this other context." He is not relying on "moral credibility" but on results.

So the "credibility" that Vox and Manton have comes from the results that are delivered from the theoretical structures that they propose. This is the "coherent set of principles" that Fuuma suggests. Note that this is an intellectually difficult exercise and goes very far beyond "Nice fit!" or even, "I think it would look better with a burgundy tie." Creating these rules does not rely on the eye or even the opinion of the "expert." Rather, it relies on the expert's knowledge of a great number of individual cases and his ability to formulate general rules from them.

To put it another way, Manton and Vox engage in a process of inductive reasoning that allows them to formulate a set of rules/principles. Once they have done so, non-experts may use these rules to reason deductively to produce a particular sartorial effect. Whether these rules are accepted does not depend on how many bespoke suits they own or on how many posts they have but on how well their rules work to produce the desired effect, whatever it is.
post #182 of 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmic View Post

Symmetry in members of the opposite sex is almost universally preferred.

Near symmetry yes, absolute symmetry no. In fact you would find it off putting.

Symmetry is not a prerequisite for finding things attractive.
post #183 of 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lovelace View Post

Symmetry is not a prerequisite for finding things attractive.

True. Some German study I read on this matter summed it up something like this: "beautiful faces aren't always symmetric, but ugly faces are always assymetric."
post #184 of 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by mafoofan View Post

He doesn't break all the rules though. At his best, his color and pattern-matching are way beyond the average on this forum.

This touches on a point that quickly gets muddled in all of this.

'Rule' in this discussion refers to two unrelated things.

There are rules that spell out expectations for different situations. They are normative insofar as breaking them will lead to some social consequence - however large or small. These are more clearly defined and most clearly lead to a desired outcome - hence all the n00b threads on interviews and weddings.

The meta-rule I suppose is dress according to the situation.

Then there rules that are attempts to systematize what looks good. You take things that are aesthetically pleasing and try to deduce the reasons they are pleasing. The normativity here is always problematic. Someone interested in this sort of thing will likely take seriously the collective opinion of people whose judgment he trusts. But it's positively impossible to argue with someone who simply doesn't care or who innately or stubbornly disagrees.
post #185 of 301
Um, cosmic is a troll, right? Masai and Mongolian goat herders and medieval dress? What nonsense.
post #186 of 301
Here's the Regensburg study I mentioned earlier (or its website anyway):

http://www.uni-regensburg.de/Fakultaeten/phil_Fak_II/Psychologie/Psy_II/beautycheck/english/symmetrie/symmetrie.htm

Money quote:

Quote:
The results from our experiment regarding 'symmetry' show that facial symmetry affects the perceived attractiveness. However, the effect is rather small and by far not as influential as it has been reported in the media. To sum up our findings: Very asymmetric faces are judged rather unattractive, but very unattractive faces are not necessarily asymmetric. And vice versa : very symmetrical faces need not necessarily be judged attractive and very attractive faces often show deviations from perfect symmetry.

The findings quite obviously translate to clothes.
post #187 of 301
If it did really look better, then it would become so generally accepted that it would be the new rule. It's called evolution. But like biological evolution, the vast majority of mutations are not improvements; they are lethal and die horrible deaths.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmic View Post

What if an outfit violates a given rule or rules, but actually looks better or creates a better impression than outfits that conform to the rules? In this case, the rules are not serving their purpose, and are actually inhibiting good dress and style.
post #188 of 301
That's not the best way of summarising it. ALL faces are somewhat asymmetric. True, perfect facial symmetry is only achieved with computers.

I love that article as I find symmetry such a fascinating topic. Thanks for posting it. smile.gif Radiolab had a wonderful episode on it as well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivar View Post

True. Some German study I read on this matter summed it up something like this: "beautiful faces aren't always symmetric, but ugly faces are always assymetric."
post #189 of 301
I wouldn't necessarily be so quick to say that. It might be more of a leap than we would at first anticipate. The human mind has a whole, separate way of registering human faces. That's one reason robot faces are notoriously difficult to get right when trying to approximate human faces.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivar View Post

The findings quite obviously translate to clothes.
post #190 of 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal View Post

That's not the best way of summarising it.

Yeah, I somewhat misremembered the findings, but having now revisited the original text, I still think they refute Cosmic's claim that "symmetry in members of the opposite sex is almost universally preferred."
Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal View Post

I wouldn't necessarily be so quick to say that. It might be more of a leap than we would at first anticipate. The human mind has a whole, separate way of registering human faces. That's one reason robot faces are notoriously difficult to get right when trying to approximate human faces.

I meant to say that the findings obviously translate to clothes in that many design fixtures are deemed beautiful despite bringing asymmetry to the garment (breast pockets, ticket pockets and asymmetric zippers, to name but a few).
post #191 of 301
I totally agree Ivar. smile.gif
post #192 of 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal View Post

If it did really look better, then it would become so generally accepted that it would be the new rule. It's called evolution. But like biological evolution, the vast majority of mutations are not improvements; they are lethal and die horrible deaths.

Gentlemen, I present to you the next step in social Darwinism: CLOTHING DARWINISM!!! We have now reached (evolved to?) a point of total insanity.
post #193 of 301
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cantabrigian View Post

This touches on a point that quickly gets muddled in all of this.

'Rule' in this discussion refers to two unrelated things.

There are rules that spell out expectations for different situations. They are normative insofar as breaking them will lead to some social consequence - however large or small. These are more clearly defined and most clearly lead to a desired outcome - hence all the n00b threads on interviews and weddings.

The meta-rule I suppose is dress according to the situation.

Then there rules that are attempts to systematize what looks good. You take things that are aesthetically pleasing and try to deduce the reasons they are pleasing. The normativity here is always problematic. Someone interested in this sort of thing will likely take seriously the collective opinion of people whose judgment he trusts. But it's positively impossible to argue with someone who simply doesn't care or who innately or stubbornly disagrees.

I don't see why you think those two things are unrelated. Normativity in either case is problematic. In both cases, popular consensus often challenges what the "rule" pronounces. In both cases, rules must be derived from bigger principles.
post #194 of 301
I am completely lost now.
post #195 of 301

What I find funny is that there are certainly more than a few lurkers reading this debate asking themselves, "So do I follow the rules or don't I?"  I'm going to suggest that instead of fixating on the rules, maybe take more time to ask which rules suit you and then making adjustments as necessary to feel stylish.

 

Personally, while I think both fashion and style have rules, I see fashion as driven by a few personalities who make their own rules while true style comes from knowing basic rules but not being afraid to bend them to suit personal tastes.

 

In other words, while fashion demands that everyone buy the latest jacket worn by Leonardo DiCaprio, style scoffs at the concept of everyone dressing like James Bond.  But Bond is stylish, not because he dresses in the right clothes but because he wears them with style.  I'm not a fan of Reagan's politics but as others in this thread have mentioned, he could pull off a brown suit in a sea of navy and gray.  On the other hand, G.W. Bush never looks stylish in expensive suits; he always looks like he want's to pull at his collar.  Yet, he rocks more leisurely outfits.  I'd say that's because when he's in a suit he's following someone else's rules but when he's on the golf course, he's following his own.

 

Maybe the first rule of style should be to make sure to feel comfortable in your own skin.

 

Of course, I'm still learning style, myself.  Take any advice I give with a block of salt.

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