Originally Posted by whodini
It's funny that you refer to clothing as "an instrument." I'm a musician and I can promise you that when I play it's for myself regardless if I'm on stage or not. I don't really care if people like how I play or what I play but if they like it then it's a cherry on top.
I think the problem here is that clothes aren't a hobby for you but rather an end to a means. Let's change "clothes" to "playing basketball," "painting," "writing," "cooking," or anything else people like to do. Do you think a cook is crazy for preparing food for himself and not a restaurant? Are all artists only working for commissions? This could go ad nauseum.
This is a great analogy, but I would argue that perhaps the majority of the endeavors you mentioned are
in fact practiced with significant intent towards the appreciation of others rather than strictly for the personal enjoyment of the artist, musician, athlete, etc. Not to debate which is better, because certainly my musical idols are of the latter variety, but there's a significant portion of each and every one of these professions or amateur pursuits that cater to others.
Likewise, there are other reasons rather than a strict interest in the aesthetics and construction of clothes or the goal of achieving a personal look to be considered in the sartorial enthusiasm on display on this forum. For instance, I would imagine distinguishing oneself as different than the masses would be a major motivator for a lot of people, as well as signaling certain characteristics of oneself. Or finding a fit that flatters one's natural physique, which is discussed pretty readily both in here and over in MC, though often in different terms and with different goals. I suppose that one could be for the benefit of the wearer's own vanity, as well as to look better to others. But I think to condemn someone entirely for dressing for others in general perhaps disregards the forms in which plenty of members of this forum do on a regular basis. Obviously the trendy "AmJack" look meant to attract the typical mainstream, often vapid girl in her 20s is mostly reviled here but I'm sure there are more than a few guys who are wearing dark denim, a western shirt, and Chucks in a self-aware attempt to attract the kind of girl who recognizes that attire as indicative of someone with certain interests or qualities.
In essence, I agree with your comparisons of wearing clothes to say, a writer or a chef. But within those pursuits, there's the writer-as-artist, writer-as-entertainer, hobbyist writer, technical writers, and everything in between. The same could be said for the chef or musician as well. I think there's likely as much a variety of reasons for why people are interested in clothes, and a great deal of them are represented on this forum.
And "Idioteque", well the whole album really, was perhaps the turning point in my taste in music as a freshman in college. I am certain that shit changed my life.