• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Aesthetics and Semiotics in fashion and culture

GraphicNovelty

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
5,490
Reaction score
2,881
So a lot of us like to talk about the aesthetics and semiotics of fashion and clothing but I personally don't want to shit up the WAYWT/RFT thread, so I'll figure we'll move the discussion here. Some things to think about: -Is workwear/heritage still a legitimate concept despite the proliferation of obnoxious "fashion not style" people? -Is prep a totally worthless aesthetic? -Is wearability within context something we should consider when judging an article of clothing or a fit? -Is it possible to objectively judge and deconstruct our own aesthetic preferences? Is it possible that we ourselves are focusing on the wrong thing? -To what extent is brandwhoring acceptable? -How much can we look at marketing/hype, both positive or negative, when judging a peice of clothing? -How can one deal with charges of elitism as it regards high-cost items?
 

db_ggmm

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2008
Messages
2,535
Reaction score
110
itt: conversation dies instantly when moved to appropriate locale

Originally Posted by PinkPantser
How much more interesting would society look if we outlawed parroting entrenched wealth?

No more interesting as we'd simply shift to parroting new wealth, no?
 

Cacatfish

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
518
Reaction score
123
Originally Posted by GraphicNovelty
So a lot of us like to talk about the aesthetics and semiotics of fashion and clothing but I personally don't want to shit up the WAYWT/RFT thread, so I'll figure we'll move the discussion here. Some things to think about: -Is workwear/heritage still a legitimate concept despite the proliferation of obnoxious "fashion not style" people? yes -Is prep a totally worthless aesthetic? I think people need to accept the degree to which it is associations and not aesthetics that define their prep hate (I think Fuuma already acklowledged that for himself). To say that prep is aesthetically limited is a pretty weak argument. To say it doesnt change much is more legitimate I think, but isnt that the point of old England / New England estate style. Those established in power usually dont want change. How much a role does envy have here? -Is wearability within context something we should consider when judging an article of clothing or a fit? I wonder how much choice we actually have in HOW we go about judging outfits. Lots comes into play. -Is it possible to objectively judge and deconstruct our own aesthetic preferences? Is it possible that we ourselves are focusing on the wrong thing? The Dalai Lama could. Us? Not so much -To what extent is brandwhoring acceptable? Pass -How much can we look at marketing/hype, both positive or negative, when judging a peice of clothing? Lots -How can one deal with charges of elitism as it regards high-cost items? try on the accusation for a day and see how it fits
posted.
 

ManofKent

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2008
Messages
8,635
Reaction score
20,888
Originally Posted by GraphicNovelty
So a lot of us like to talk about the aesthetics and semiotics of fashion and clothing but I personally don't want to shit up the WAYWT/RFT thread, so I'll figure we'll move the discussion here.

Some things to think about:

-Is workwear/heritage still a legitimate concept despite the proliferation of obnoxious "fashion not style" people?
-Is prep a totally worthless aesthetic?
-Is wearability within context something we should consider when judging an article of clothing or a fit?
-Is it possible to objectively judge and deconstruct our own aesthetic preferences? Is it possible that we ourselves are focusing on the wrong thing?
-To what extent is brandwhoring acceptable?
-How much can we look at marketing/hype, both positive or negative, when judging a peice of clothing?
-How can one deal with charges of elitism as it regards high-cost items?

I'll bite. Initial thoughts:

1. Workwear/Heritage is just a convienient label to describe a broad range of styles. All fashion feeds on the past. A black leather bikers jacket is just as much heritage as a Navy inspired coat. Style neither excludes fashion nor does fashion always equal style. Oddly those who shout most loudly about 'style not fashion' frequently wear very contemporary takes on garments from the past.

2. No, but it should be done with humour, wit or irreverance. Dressing exactly like a lookbook from any designer is dull.

3. Yes.

4. No we can't be objective, and yes possibly we are.

5. If you're aware you're doing it why not?

6. We're all victim to it.

7. You can't, anymore than you can with small production runs.
 

Bam!ChairDance

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
6,115
Reaction score
15,328
I'm not going to contribute anything to this thread. Instead I want to point out how much I love the sociological geekery on sw/d. Feels good not being the only one. Hugs!
 

kwoyeu

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2010
Messages
913
Reaction score
9
Originally Posted by GraphicNovelty
So a lot of us like to talk about the aesthetics and semiotics of fashion and clothing but I personally don't want to shit up the WAYWT/RFT thread, so I'll figure we'll move the discussion here.

Some things to think about:

-Is workwear/heritage still a legitimate concept despite the proliferation of obnoxious "fashion not style" people?
-Is prep a totally worthless aesthetic?
-Is wearability within context something we should consider when judging an article of clothing or a fit?
-Is it possible to objectively judge and deconstruct our own aesthetic preferences? Is it possible that we ourselves are focusing on the wrong thing?
-To what extent is brandwhoring acceptable?
-How much can we look at marketing/hype, both positive or negative, when judging a peice of clothing?
-How can one deal with charges of elitism as it regards high-cost items?



and maybe another issue is whether extrinsic associations of an item of clothing (what kind of people wear it, what kind of lifestyle it expresses, what ideology it represents, etc., things that matter from what Fumma's calls the 'expressionalist angle') should count for *anything at all* when judging a fit, especially in a context such as WAYWT. I suspect a lot of people come to this forum (and to that thread) with the sole aim of learning how to "dress well": how to match this item with that item, what color combinations work, how should a short/fat/tall/skinny guy dress, when does a shirt fit too tight, and so on. They are looking for aethetical evaluations of the relatively pure* kind ("do i look good? if not, how should i improve?"), not lifestyle advice about which subculture they should identify with - and their fit shouldn't be trashed simply because you disapprove of whatever it happens to remind you of. (And such trashing is rarely helpful/interesting since most of the time the trashers themselves belong to lifestyles which the trashees antecedently look down on with equal contempt.) I'm not advocating an exclusive focus on formalism and aesthetics (I'm not completely sure if it's possible to separate intrinsic and extrinsic evaluations entirely - do I dislike drop-crotch pants because of the look or because of the people? i'd like to think it's the former, but how do i know?). I'm only saying that I find cultural warfare a lot less interesting than pure discussions about the intrinsic/aesthetic qualities of an item of clothing. There may even be an interesting science in the vicinity (color analysis may be an example although many people regard it as bullshit, perhaps with good reason, but at least it is a bona fide attempt to formulate interesting and useful generalizations about what works with what and test them against particular observations).

* 'pure' not in the sense of being instinctual and completely uninformed by theory. an theoretically informed aesthetic judgment can be 'pure' so long as it is informed by *aesthetic theory* alone.
 

GraphicNovelty

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2009
Messages
5,490
Reaction score
2,881
^I had been wracking my brain trying to remember the term extrinsic thanks!
 

scott.m

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2008
Messages
2,574
Reaction score
352
Here is my input and personal view on my style and the credo I live by, "I like to wear dope shit"
 

DLester

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2008
Messages
6,589
Reaction score
5,990
Originally Posted by scott.m
Here is my input and personal view on my style and the credo I live by, "I like to wear dope shit"

homie you did not use enough words to express this thought. moar words. (10)
 

A Fellow Linguist

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 25, 2008
Messages
2,359
Reaction score
4,105
Originally Posted by kwoyeu
* 'pure' not in the sense of being instinctual and completely uninformed by theory. an theoretically informed aesthetic judgment can be 'pure' so long as it is informed by *aesthetic theory* alone.

How is this even possible? What do you think aesthetic theory is informed by?
 

uNiCoRnPriNcEsSx

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
830
Reaction score
248
Originally Posted by GraphicNovelty
So a lot of us like to talk about the aesthetics and semiotics of fashion and clothing but I personally don't want to shit up the WAYWT/RFT thread, so I'll figure we'll move the discussion here. Some things to think about: -Is workwear/heritage still a legitimate concept despite the proliferation of obnoxious "fashion not style" people? people will wear what they want. whether or not they get the approval of people that don't appreciate the aesthetic is inconsequential. they are looking for constructive input from those that can relate. this also pertains to people that dress like railroad workers. -Is prep a totally worthless aesthetic? it has its value. some do it because they like looking clean. a few do it to convey a sense of status. others do it because it will get them laid. your mileage may vary. -Is wearability within context something we should consider when judging an article of clothing or a fit? no. wearability has a direct correlation with how much confidence the individual possesses. some have more steez than others. -Is it possible to objectively judge and deconstruct our own aesthetic preferences? Is it possible that we ourselves are focusing on the wrong thing? not sure what this question is trying to ask. is it possible to judge our own style? uhh...i guess we can relative to everyone else. altho that is trying to ask what you think looks cool is right or wrong. maybe a little more elaboration would be helpful? -To what extent is brandwhoring acceptable? its fine. just post fucking pictures and not just list names. if they want to spend the cash, its up to them to let us know if they got it or not. makes em looks like a tool if they start bragging about it though. -How much can we look at marketing/hype, both positive or negative, when judging a peice of clothing? up to you. i disregard marketing and look at how people put the pieces together in general. it's not like i see raf and totally just cream my pants. i was a business major and learned in marketing class that people will buy shit that gets talked about, so marketing departments hype up their shit and do anything to get their products talked about. if you can take it for what it is, you shud be straight. -How can one deal with charges of elitism as it regards high-cost items? haters gonna hate. ignore those quips and trolls and just contribute instead of adding to garbage.
10char
 

Cacatfish

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2010
Messages
518
Reaction score
123
I like the post by kwoyeu but I come from a different angle. Not only do I think it's impossible to separate our visceral impressions from our cultural judgements regarding an outfit..... I wouldn't want it to. I think I'd be bored silly if it was all about color coordination and fabric pilling. Fashion is much more interesting to me as an entry point to a more personal inquiry.
 

Lane

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 27, 2010
Messages
5,253
Reaction score
784
Originally Posted by GraphicNovelty
So a lot of us like to talk about the aesthetics and semiotics of fashion and clothing but I personally don't want to shit up the WAYWT/RFT thread, so I'll figure we'll move the discussion here. Some things to think about: 1) Is workwear/heritage still a legitimate concept despite the proliferation of obnoxious "fashion not style" people? 2) Is prep a totally worthless aesthetic? 3)Is wearability within context something we should consider when judging an article of clothing or a fit? 4) Is it possible to objectively judge and deconstruct our own aesthetic preferences? Is it possible that we ourselves are focusing on the wrong thing? 5) To what extent is brandwhoring acceptable? 6) How much can we look at marketing/hype, both positive or negative, when judging a peice of clothing? 7)How can one deal with charges of elitism as it regards high-cost items?
1) I think the problem here is there are people who have hijacked this aesthetic to cater to their machismo bullshit because it gives them a sense of masculinity by living within a construct they consider "style but not fashion." Fashion repulses these types because they fear becoming the skinny jean/tight clothes wearing feminine boyish individual who is into "fashion." I think they try to draw this artificial line between their style and fashion in order to safeguard themselves from their own insecurities that stem from their interest in fashion and design. So, to actually answer the question I'd say so, but I don't see much room for growth in the aesthetic. I see too much carbon copies and nothing truly distinguishable between various "heritage" stuff. In fact it leads me to my next point. 2) Uh, I wouldn't say so, but it depends. I greatly detest Ralph lauren/Jcrew/ wearing douchebags because they have no taste, and are simply striving for adulthood too fast. I think they are trying to distinguish themselves from the masses by wearing clothes they believe will cause others to perceive them as adults or someone who deserves respect. Its almost like they I see them as wannabe ivory tower intellectual elites sometimes. However, I think it could be developed into something interesting. I don't see many taking the Schneider route. All I see is chinos and very plain shirts. Would be nice to see it become more distinct, and culturally influenced; at least have some kind of vision. 3) depends on the individual, and whether or not they are doing it for a sense of individuality or merely to be accepted. The latter usually means the person will question whether or not the item is popular or whether it falls under prominent social norms. Hence why my school is filled with UGGs
4) I dont care 5) irrelevant to me 6) dont care 7) elitism is fine
 

Featured Sponsor

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • 1 - 4

    Votes: 5 3.2%
  • 5 - 10

    Votes: 24 15.2%
  • 11 - 20

    Votes: 44 27.8%
  • 21 - 30

    Votes: 34 21.5%
  • 31 - 40

    Votes: 13 8.2%
  • 41 - 50

    Votes: 11 7.0%
  • 51 - 60

    Votes: 5 3.2%
  • 61 - 70

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • 71 - 80

    Votes: 10 6.3%
  • 81 - 90

    Votes: 2 1.3%
  • 91 - 100

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • 100+

    Votes: 7 4.4%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
427,309
Messages
9,196,715
Members
193,148
Latest member
new_one

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Top