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Dress and elitism

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by poorsod, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. designprofessor

    designprofessor Well-Known Member

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    Intersting, I actually talk about this stuff to my History of Design class. I wear suits every day to lecture classes, so I try to defend the virtues of the suit and dressing well to a room full of baggy blue jeans and t -shirts. I think at some base level its really an environmental question. What do you want to see when you are out in America? Its depressing to see on any given day or location the sheer amount of slob everywhere.(clothing and architecture) I don't think its elitist to have that basic visual assessment, but I do believe aesthetically, most could do better.
    As far as the quote on "suits being for worker bees". That executive has a responsibility aside from making money.
    Perhaps if all his "worker bees" dressed like him his opinion on suiting would change. If all wind up dressing well, then I think that would be a better environment to be in and to share.
     
  2. whoopee

    whoopee Well-Known Member

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    People on the "buy" side don't need to wear suits these days.
     
  3. heavyd

    heavyd Well-Known Member

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    cynical perhaps but i think i have gotten by - perhaps further than a comperably educated, intelligent & reasonalbly hardworking man by dressing well.

    my physical presentation has granted me certain allowances that i would not receive if i did not show up the best dressed on a regular basis.

    to this extent, clothes still make the man, that is - if you have natural sense of style and it is not a forced presentation.

    does this make sense?
     
  4. odoreater

    odoreater Well-Known Member

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    On the other hand, somebody like me, who was raised without the first clue on how to dress (my father is a plumber and only wears suits on special occasions, though when he does wear a suit he does it well, and my brother is an entrepreneur that almost never wears a suit) can come on the internet and figure just about everything out and pull it off pretty well while still buying most things pretty cheap. I think because of things like ebay, SF and AAAC the lines are becoming more and more blurred and dress is no longer a proxy for telling how rich or "classy" someone is.

    I spent a summer in Russia a few years back and I learned something interesting about their culture. In their culture, when you walk into someone's house you don't tell how rich or classy they are based on their furnishings or on their personal dress, you tell how rich or classy they are based on the number of books in their library.
     
  5. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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    Very true. I had a meeting a few months back with a guy who happened to be on Forbes' list. We started talking about business casual and suits (he was dressed in nice trousers and a navy blazer, no tie), and he made the comment "suits are for worker bees". How times have changed huh?

    Its a very interesting comment.

    Some suits are for worker bees, they always have been. thats why the quiet taste ethic is down the drain. You can no longer graft the old underplayed rule with the new media society. Even if some remember or read about the idea of restraint in clothes, as in the solid suit tells everyone I have taste even if I wanted the heavy chalk stripe, no one else knows and no one believes it anymore.

    When men order custom suits, they want bang for their buck and that includes things that used to be considered too showy. Additionally, i suspect that this is part of the renaissance of choices for men's silhouettes, button stances and details. Anything that tends to suggest a custom look distances one from "worker bee" status. Thus hacking pockets, one button closures, peak lapels on DB suits etc.


    I would be surprised if it didnt continue and you didnt see cuffs back on jackets sleeves amongst a host of other almost forgotten details.

    edit: Thats peak lapels on SB not DB suits. Im sure everyone knew that, but duh on my part.
     
  6. j

    j Well-Known Member

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    Its a very interesting comment.

    Some suits are for worker bees, they always have been. thats why the quiet taste ethic is down the drain. You can no longer graft the old underplayed rule with the new media society. Even if some remember or read about the idea of restraint in clothes, as in the solid suit tells everyone I have taste even if I wanted the heavy chalk stripe, no one else knows and no one believes it anymore.

    When men order custom suits, they want bang for their buck and that includes things that used to be considered too showy. Additionally, i suspect that this is part of the renaissance of choices for men's silhouettes, button stances and details. Anything that tends to suggest a custom look distances one from "worker bee" status. Thus hacking pockets, one button closures, peak lapels on DB suits etc.


    I would be surprised if it didnt continue and you didnt see cuffs back on jackets sleeves amongst a host of other almost forgotten details.

    I saw a guy walking around yesterday in a bright red "suit" with at least 5 buttons on the front and French cuffs. On the jacket.

    He also had the 20° off center baseball cap and Bluetooth earmajig. I didn't see any of his "employees" around.
     
  7. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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    I saw a guy walking around yesterday in a bright red "suit" with at least 5 buttons on the front and French cuffs. On the jacket.

    He also had the 20° off center baseball cap and Bluetooth earmajig. I didn't see any of his "employees" around.


    Haha, well they were off makin him money.
     
  8. StevenRocks

    StevenRocks Well-Known Member

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    It seems one of the strongest held beliefs on SF is that the majority of all people, economically ascendent or not, do not learn to dress well.
    It's true. Most people these days could care less, even in formerly formal situations. The quest for so-called "invidiuality" and comfort has left the masses disheveled and remarkably similar.

    That's why I'm here. I don't want that in my life.
     
  9. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    It seems one of the strongest held beliefs on SF is that the majority of all people, economically ascendent or not, do not learn to dress well.

    What do I think about the way most people dress? Most people are not something one thinks about.

    Diana Vreeland
     
  10. Sator

    Sator Well-Known Member

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    It's true. Most people these days could care less, even in formerly formal situations. The quest for so-called "invidiuality" and comfort has left the masses dishevelled and remarkably similar.

    That's why I'm here. I don't want that in my life.


    There is a lot of truth to this sentiment. After the French Revolution wearing excessively decorated silk habits became a thing of the past and even wearing a shirt with ruffles was a symbolic gesture that suggested anti-Republican sympathies. This has gone so far now that people wear t-shirts and jeans as though they were some sort of anonymous Mao suit. The advertisements call this 'individuality' and the masses accept this with unquestioning faith. We risk entering into an age where everyone is 'equal' by virtue of being equally dishevelled and unrecognisably the same - all massed produced clones 'Made in China'. It is in truth something degrading - even dehumanising.
     
  11. LabelKing

    LabelKing Well-Known Member

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    There is a lot of truth to this sentiment. After the French Revolution wearing excessively decorated silk habits became a thing of the past and even wearing a shirt with ruffles was a symbolic gesture that suggested anti-Republican sympathies. This has gone so far now that people wear t-shirts and jeans as though they were some sort of anonymous Mao suit. The advertisements call this 'individuality' and the masses accept this with unquestioning faith. We risk entering into an age where everyone is 'equal' by virtue of being equally dishevelled and unrecognisably the same - all massed produced clones 'Made in China'. It is in truth something degrading - even dehumanising.
    The advertising industry calls enthusiasts and drivers of vintage/classic cars, "progressive nonconformists". Marketing majors, beware. It's similar to those Urban Outfitters "bohemians" and their department store vintage.
     
  12. Aureus

    Aureus Well-Known Member

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    There is a lot of truth to this sentiment. After the French Revolution wearing excessively decorated silk habits became a thing of the past and even wearing a shirt with ruffles was a symbolic gesture that suggested anti-Republican sympathies. This has gone so far now that people wear t-shirts and jeans as though they were some sort of anonymous Mao suit. The advertisements call this 'individuality' and the masses accept this with unquestioning faith. We risk entering into an age where everyone is 'equal' by virtue of being equally dishevelled and unrecognisably the same - all massed produced clones 'Made in China'. It is in truth something degrading - even dehumanising.

    This has been going on in the world for a very long time. The modern lounge/business suit itself is a less formal derivative of the Frock Coat. The Tuxedo is a less formal version of White Tie. Why is it surprising to see that continue? One day it will likely change, or our fashion may change entirely. For all we know the business leaders of 200 years from now will be wearing togas.
     
  13. Sator

    Sator Well-Known Member

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    This has been going on in the world for a very long time. The modern lounge/business suit itself is a less formal derivative of the Frock Coat. The Tuxedo is a less formal version of White Tie. Why is it surprising to see that continue? One day it will likely change, or our fashion may change entirely. For all we know the business leaders of 200 years from now will be wearing togas.


    The question is whether as a result of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution there has been a process of increased clone like massed produced uniformity - a distinct degradation of eloquent humanity. In Ancient Rome, the toga was a status symbol that only Roman citizens were entitled to wear. I do feel for one that the Industrial and French Revolutions have resulted in a swing toward mass uniformity of a kind unprecedented in the history of the world. If you go on the streets of Rome, New York, London, Sydney or Beijing you see people wearing the same t-shirt and jeans as though it were a proscribed industrial uniform. You are welcome to disagree but I happen to think that this may be a historically unique event, rather than the 'same old process of change' that has been continuing for millennia.
     
  14. Bradford

    Bradford Well-Known Member

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    Of course, I also read an article a few years ago (in Forbes I believe) that pointed out that the only people who are still wearing suits are those of us who have to work for a living. They made the claim that you could spot middle-class people by the fact that they were still wearing suits and ties while the truly rich (upper-class) have moved away from that and wear mostly casual clothes (albeit expensive clothing) on a day-to-day basis.

    It clearly wasn't talking about what people wear to special events, but specifically for going about their day-to-day business.

    Definitely made me wonder...
     
  15. Get Smart

    Get Smart Well-Known Member

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    Of course, I also read an article a few years ago (in Forbes I believe) that pointed out that the only people who are still wearing suits are those of us who have to work for a living. They made the claim that you could spot middle-class people by the fact that they were still wearing suits and ties while the truly rich (upper-class) have moved away from that and wear mostly casual clothes (albeit expensive clothing) on a day-to-day basis.

    It clearly wasn't talking about what people wear to special events, but specifically for going about their day-to-day business.

    Definitely made me wonder...


    I had heard something like that as well. Probably from the same article. It's likely that anyone who doesnt have to wear a suit for work reasons will wear casual clothing or, if they do suit up, more fashion forward as if to say "I dont have to wear a suit but when I do it's not gonna be my dad's suit" (assuming they're on the younger side of the age spectrum, can't see a 60 yr old man in Dolce Gabanna)
     
  16. cpac

    cpac Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering if this in a way holds true in America today because even well educated people are not taught how to dress and whether this labels you as a brahmin or as a pariah. Of course the very rich and very powerful can be exceptions because they can do whatever they like.

    I'd say absolutely not. There are plenty of well educated, and very well off people who have no idea how to dress themselves well.
     
  17. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Well-Known Member

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    Most Americans don't know how to dress well. But most Americans know how to dress much better than they do. For various reasons - such as fear of making the wrong impression, lack of money or time, and lack of concern for others - they cannot or will not do so.
     
  18. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they need an image consultant...
     
  19. javyn

    javyn Well-Known Member

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    this thread reminds me of when my grandfather, after working out in the yard all day, decided to go buy a car, wearing overalls and no shoes. he visited several dealerships with a paper grocery bag full of cash, and bought a new mercedes benz (paying full sticker price) from the first person who acknolwedged his existence. I think it was the 3rd or 4th dealership he went to.
     
  20. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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    Most Americans don't know how to dress well. But most Americans know how to dress much better than they do. For various reasons - such as fear of making the wrong impression, lack of money or time, and lack of concern for others - they cannot or will not do so.


    Most people dont know how to dress well. I have to say Americans are the best study because they arent saddled with a lot of restrictive social associations. And Americans want to dress well, they just need the proper advice. Thats collective good advice where there isnt a need to sell what's stocked or that isnt solely the personal taste and purview of the advice giver.

    But first you have to decide what you want. Do you want to use clothes to get ahead in bidnez (or the effect clothes have on opthers) or for the pure sake of enjoying clothes and expressing yourself? Tension arises from the onset of the answer "Both".
     

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