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Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by earthdragon, Nov 18, 2008.

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  1. coxaca

    coxaca Senior member

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    Interesting post, fxh. You're right that clothes always send a message, and we need to be aware what message we are sending with our choice of outfit.

    In my previous post I claimed that I only dress to impress myself, no-one else. That's probably not entirely true. I guess what I meant is that I want my message to be subtle, subliminal.

    Not "Wow, that guy is a real dandy".

    But "Wow, that guy really has his shit together" - not even realising that it's partly the clothes signalling this message.

    Especially in work situations, the people one interacts with should not overtly notice one's outfit, except maybe later on, to think to themselves "...and he was nicely dressed too".

    There are exceptions, of course. If you're actually in the clothing/textile industry, your own clothes should be noticed. Our Henry Carter guy (I forget his real name) dresses impeccably but doesn't overdo it. He is actually framing his core product the way a haircut frames a face. He's also demonstrating a possible context for the client's own potential use of that product.

    In other fields (including my own), dressing a certain way can signal a level of success, which in turn builds trust for the client. "This guy looks successful, he must be good at what he does." Again, not quite consciously aware that the clothes are influencing their impression.

    Not "Dress for Success". More like "Dressed through Success".

    Then again, context context context. A younger guy can get away with a look which signals "This is where I am heading...this is the person I want to be in the very near future". We can forgive him this hubris because he's young, and we instinctively like people who are on an upward trajectory. I'm older and there's no excuse for me to be wearing shabby clothes and simply not caring. I should know better by now. Hopefully I do.
     


  2. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Excellent post, for my office, it's all about the message and image you want to portray to your clients, so all the account managers/sales wear formal attire, and all the support staff can wear casual smart (track suit still not acceptable, it's like an unwritten rule).

    We also find that what you wearing affect your work attitudes, you just are more relaxed and don't want to work in casual clothing, so no casual Fridays for us as well.
     


  3. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Agree with you totally, coxaca, especially " "Wow, that guy really has his shit together" - not even realising that it's partly the clothes signalling this message."

    In my line of work, you don't want to be a standout, but want to be viewed as trustworthy, reliable and knowledge, so I dress conservatively. Also, this doesn't mean boring either, there is a lot to formal attire, mainly in various subtle areas, to differentiate a suit guy and a well fitted and dressed suit guy.

    It's all like what you said, "context!"
     


  4. nabilmust

    nabilmust Senior member

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    Shopping:

    Besides Ascot Chang (email them your dates before you go, to check if they can make something happen within your stay)

    Check out the Monocle Store (Star Street, Central)

    WeSC (We are the Superlatice Conspiracy) 2/F Haywood Mansion, 57 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay. Nice welcome change from Zara.

    Gough Street - Central. Also as mentioned, cute stores like Homeless, and I think there's a little leather goods store called Halo, and other random places so just walk around a bit and have a poke into whatever shops catch your fancy. Small area so won't take too much time, can go before/after you grab a bite around the area.

    Coffee:

    Fuel Espresso - 3/F IFC Mall or B1 The Landmark
    --> best coffee in HK IMO, and very consistent service/quality.

    Rabbit Hole - 2/F, 28 Shelley St (on the corner of Wellington St and the mid levels escalator, the entrance is near the Happy Foot foot massage place then you have to walk up)
    --> this is an indie brewery that has good coffee and they sell like all your Hario stuff, kinda like Loysels/Papa Palheta I guess, but service a bit slow. Their Kenya Alice ice drip was very good though. And it's a nice place, a bit different from your usual cafes -- And very near Blckbrd

    Food:

    I'm not sure if any of these fall into your required culinary category, but here goes.

    Wonton: Mak's Noodle House - 77 Wellington St

    Fu Sing Sharkfin Seafood Restaurant 353 Lockhart Rd or 1/F in the Regal Hotel Causeway Bay

    Congee: Law Fu Kee (don't remember the address but it's on Lyndhurst Terrace in Central near the Patagonia store, look for the giant fish sign thing sticking out over the shop front)

    Egg Tarts: Tai Cheong Bakery (Lyndhurst Terrace, opposite Law Fu Kee)

    Beef Brisket Noodles: Kau Kee - 9 Gough Street

    Roast Goose: Yung Kee - 32-40 Wellington St

    Roasted Meats on Rice: Yat Lok 34-38 Stanley St (Central)

    Hotpot: Little Sheep Hotpot: 2/F or 3/F Causeway Bay Plaza Two (corner of Percival St and Lockhart Road)

    Tsui Wah (on Lan Kwai Foong) - for random yet intrinsically Hong Kong food.

    Dim Sum:

    Tim Ho Wan (there's a new branch in Central Station, less of a queue.)

    Fook Lam Moon, 34 Johnston Road, Wanchai (we were kicked out early because there was an impromptu triad sit-down. There was a 30% discount to compensate for the inconvenience).

    Lei Garden (I've been to the one in IFC; there's one in Times Square, Causeway Bay, too).




     


  5. nabilmust

    nabilmust Senior member

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    Thanks mate.
     


  6. acinod

    acinod Senior member

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    Going to the snow tomorrow (Mansfield) and I realise I have NO snow gear. Where can I purchase some snow gear that will keep me warm for 2 days at the snow? I'm thinking of heading out to Aldi and Raysoutdoors to see what they have but any tips on what to wear at the snow would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013


  7. coxaca

    coxaca Senior member

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    You can pick up good snow gear at Costco, but you have to be a member. (You can join on the spot.)

    Expect large queues on a Sunday.

    BTW...is there any snow?
     


  8. coxaca

    coxaca Senior member

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    Going through my dad's old stuff, I just found a pristine 70's safari suit from Stafford Ellison, in genuine 100% polyester.

    Now all I need is hair over my ears, a mo, a purple shirt, a medallion and some platform shoes and I will be rockin' it real hard.
     


  9. sliq

    sliq Senior member

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    :eek: game over!!
     


  10. acinod

    acinod Senior member

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    Can't go to Costco and yes there will be snow (hopefully) at the top of the mountain
     


  11. Orchie

    Orchie Well-Known Member

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    For me, this is bang on. First impressions which are built on how you look, your body language, how engaged you are.... People do it subconsciously, so if you are able to dress yourself in a way which doesn't draw attention but does reassure people at a subconscious level - then you are winning. Clothes can send a powerful, yet subtle message when done well (in a professional setting).

    Grant
     


  12. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    fxh
    In general a "hard" look - shiny worsted suit, bright red shiny tie, white shirt doesn't go down all that well anywhere except those brash environments where it is standard.

    A hard look is by nature more confrontational, less amenable to influence - if this is combined with a natural tendency to be this way yourself then it spells relative disaster in most situations.


    I must admit that when I read the first paragraph I though you had got the whole ‘hard’ ‘soft’ approach wrong. Why?

    The look your describing in your first paragraph is one of a professional who either has a bad dry cleaner or is at heart an aging accountant who really wanted to be a rock star.

    The second paragraph is on the money. My thoughts are of a barrister and or politician, or any professional who needs to project authority

    I guess the ‘hard’ ‘soft’ approach could be likened to De Bono and the concept of rock logic and water logic. You put a rock in a glass and its still a rock, water is mutable the shape changes with the ebb and flow of movement.

    A "softer" more approachable, but still smart and clean, look is rarely the wrong look.

    So think of not bright white shirts, not severe spread collars, not smooth poplin shirts, not shiney bright ties in single colours, not worsted suits and jackets, not mirror polished shoes, not high shiny belts, not cufflinks, not pocket hankies. Think textures - say cords, different weaves, chambray shirts, OCBD, suede shoes and belts, brogues or more "country" shoes on sensibel lasts rather than narrow and sleek, woven leather belts, relaxed jackets, subdued colours.

    Agree with you here. However being devils advocate there is one thing overall that I think you miss and its not about signification its about power. Forget The Suit, I am talking people, position personality and the authority they feel they have invested in them either by experience, society or institutional knowledge.

    Power has no soft edges, it’s the omnipresent elephant in the room, you either obey it, defer to it or if you going to challenge it you have to be 100% correct in what your presenting. In terms of dominant discourse it has that weight of institutional oppression in the bank and like most things it does not take kindly to territorial shifts and new perspectives which undermine its authority.

    In that case how one looks and presents to the world, and the impact that engenders, cannot be a matter of indifference or simple personal preference.

    Mind you in sociological but not psychological I think you have summed up how power works in terms of the straight jacket of conformity. There are rules and if we want to play the game we have to obey and conform. But in obeying and conforming we are invested with power.

    Its often said "its only clothes" and "I don't think about it much - it has no meaning to me" - well - not true. Clothes mean something beyond utilitarian functions such as covering rude bits and keeping warm etc, to both the wearer and to others. Discovering what a certain dress style means to yourself is hard enough - discovering what it means or what its meanings could be (signals/ signifies/ codes/communicates) to others and in which different contexts is harder and shifts.

    As for discovering what clothing communicates I find that the application of EQ is good tool. Working in Recruitment I have had to use it a lot, typically I would walk in cold to a situation read/observe it in side of five minutes and note the dynamics of the power structure at play amongst the Senior APS staff I am working with and then determine where I slot in. Psychological observation and reading the seating, clothing, peoples tone of voice facial expressions and body language can give you an edge, which you keep to yourself as it then enables you to balance your comments which are to essentially assist them reach a decision, but its how you frame your comments and this is where the use of EQ comes into play.

    coxaca
    My aim is to be dressed in the best possible taste. Now, taste is a difficult concept. Despite what anyone may say, taste is relative, it is a communally determined concept, it is situational, and it changes over time. Good taste cannot be defined according to any immutable set of laws. Nevertheless, it's out there. This is where the fun comes in: working out what is in good taste, and what isn't. Are French cuffs in good taste, or are they gaudy and confrontational? What about safari suits? Ascots? Collar ruffs? Elaborate horsehair wigs? All of those things have been in impeccable taste at some point.

    Not looking to pick a fight here but Taste, is for me the cultivation of a particular ‘essence’ or ‘expression’ of personality through personal style. And that expression of style is demonstrated by the individual in how they live and approach life. Taste is about cultivation of a particular set of sensibilities acquired over time through exposure to the arts, music and culture, and forget that bullshit of high low culture. Taste is not about social class although some think it’s the provenance of particular postcodes its not. Taste is not loud or brash its elegant, intelligent and subtle, having good taste and expressing it in your life is not about wielding a sledge hammer its more about subtle gestures and how you apply that approach to life.

    As for Rugby all I can say is God is Dead Marx is Dead And I am not feeling well Myself. And please somebody ship Deans back to NZ.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013


  13. fxh

    fxh Senior member

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    You express yourself better on the page than my jottings.
    In my defence I meant not literally shiny as in bad black suit dry cleaned each month but a general description of worsteds in suits as being on the shinier side of neutral and flat.
    .

    When I first rushed to keyboard here I thought you were referring to Bono – that be-shaded stumpy sanctimonious prick from the Dublin pop combo and what I had to say wasn’t all that kind. I then noticed you said De Bono – a different type of sanctimonious prick, so lest I be seen as more of an idiot than usual I’ve deleted my original Bono references.

    I’d make a distinction between Authority and Power but more of that later perhaps.


    I think they are all important – that why this is such a fascinating area.


    The trouble is here though is that power isn’t static and clear – it does have fuzzy edges. It shifts and shape shifts. Power without authority is limited and authority without power is limited. Combine them and you have great potential but without strategy, vision, clear thinking and some experience and wisdom they are not much use.

    I’m not sure that “The Suit” holds a power/authority meaning as it perhaps once used to. You can wear a suit without being “a suit”. Look at the Steve Jobs, Bill Gates squillionares etc of this world. And mentioning wealthy people how about our aforementioned Bono of the pop band. Or the multi millionaire Bruce Springsteen who has made a fortune singing about being unemployed and dressing for his public performances in faded black jeans, flannel shirt and vest and boots, like a parody of an imagined 60s working bloke in a USA factory.

    Now where was I.

    I’m reminded of when I was President of the local high school board. The bloke in the suit – often seen as “the” suit by staff. But there was no power there, power was with the teacher union and authority was with the state education bureaucracy – talk about dysfunctional - the local power and authority was limited to issues like having a school uniform or not. Walk into a room and it was teachers in scruffy jeans and sneakers who had power and public servants in pilling cardigans and open necked polyester shirts who had authority and all despised “the suit”


    My view is the “rules” change and shift and are contextual and situational. You can’t read a book and get them right. I do use the straight jacket of conformity – for a long time that has been jeans and an open necked shirt in many situations.


    Sometimes – but it is also possible to walk into a meeting and ignore the rules and power structures as expressed and still take the day – not often but sometimes. It is also possible to understand the game and only play to achieve a result and not accept the game as real outside that room. Just as its possible to walk into a room and know that nothing decided here will make a difference.

    WIWRN: today in the garden trimming grapevines and wisteria, and hanging doors inside listening to Ska – Bill Cunningham Blue jacket – trans euro hip even in the backyard, work boots, old Rivers moleskins, t shirt, old OCBD blue shirt.

    Edit:: I don't even know what I am wearing. Carpenters Overalls. But hey - check braces and high rise on pants, 4" cuffs and natural unstructured shoulder on jacket.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Last night to fillum –old tan DBs, OTC white walking socks, OCBD in blue with pinkish awning stripes over white T, jeans!!, khaki field jacket, suede work gloves to protect my delicate hands..
    Message to Papa – if you work anywhere near a lab you MUST see World War Z!

    Later in afternoon off to a meeting: dress down time, probably even wear clothes I wore last night. Shhh - I think they smell alright.

    I must say I still don't feel physically comfortable in jeans these days after wearing only medium and high rise trousers for a few years and no jeans. And these are called "medium rise" - but I do feel psychically/psychologically/ comfortable in that I'm conforming and using the straight jacket of conformity and not frightening the horses.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2013


  14. fxh

    fxh Senior member

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    My old, slightly sexist, joke about power and authority:

    In our household I make the decisions on the important issues and my wife decides on the unimportant issues.

    But.

    She decides first which issues are important and which are unimportant.
     


  15. Geoffrey Firmin

    Geoffrey Firmin Senior member

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    Amen to that Brother!
     


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