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Can a man 'outdress' himself (in terms of social class/status)?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Stockton, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. bellyhungry

    bellyhungry Senior member

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    From what I see daily, the prevalent phenomenon is not over-dressing, but rather under-dressing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  2. DJosef

    DJosef Senior member

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    Yea. It can happen, but not in a way you think.
    In certain circumstances, being overly elegant can give you an air of impertinence, and the results are yours to deal with for good or ill. I personally managed to use my innate impertinence to an advantage. It's like labeling yourself as "high-end goods". Of course then you need to deliver too. :) That said, the things you definitely DO NOT want to look like is a Russian mafia boss or a Gordon Gekko wannabe. (You'll have to trust me on this. ;) )
    If you're talking about social circles outside work, I'd build up slowly, first buttondown shirts and preppy knits, chinos instead of jeans, etc. And as you change your social communication, your social circles will either accept the new, more patrician you, or you'll find new circles.
     
  3. moreorles

    moreorles Member

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    I know a guy who overdresses for every occasion. It strikes me as odd. Part of style is dressing appropriate for every occasion. We had a meeting offsite earlier this week that was business casual. Some people took this to mean jeans and a polo shirt. I dressed nicer as I refuse to wear jeans in that environment. The guy I am referencing shows up in a full suit with a bow tie. I don't see how he doesn't feel the least bit uncomfortable so overdressed.
     
  4. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    This is all very good advice if what you wish to achieve in your dress is to fit in. But this is only one of the traditions in class menswear - it's hardly the philosophy of the dandy or the fop, for example (see the quote from Wilde, above).
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  5. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    I now wonder what percentage of men are dandys or fops? If it is more than 1% I would be very suprised. Over-dressing at work can detract from a bosses perception of you. Perceptions can become reality. There are plenty of bosses who will resent a peacock because the perception might be that the peacock is showing up to work to show off his clothes instead of performing his duties. This was my concern for the workplace.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  6. mcbrown

    mcbrown Senior member

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    I agree with everything else on your list, but this is a bit silly. One needn't spend more on all things to justify spending more on something. If it appears incongruous to others so be it. For example I refuse to buy expensive stereo equipment just because it would make my home A/V setup look "nicer" in a city where the ambient noise definitely trumps any theoretical gain in audio quality. If someone looks askance at my cheap and outdated Sony stereo, I think that says more about them than it does about me.

    Otherwise, good list.
     
  7. diadem

    diadem Senior member

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    As they say, dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

    As someone who works in the financial services industry, there are some other rules to follow, however (this is just from my personal experience at work, so don't take what follows as a blanket statement). Things like French cuffs, contrast collars on dress shirts, and suits with pinstripes are reserved for people in a position of authority. Lowly analysts like myself should stick with more conservative dress so as not to rub certain people who can make my life very difficult the wrong way. That said, I still think I dress well without drawing attention to myself -- fitted dress shirts with spread collars, Luciano Barbera trousers, Ferragamo loafers, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  8. Pawz

    Pawz Senior member

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    *taps your shoulder*
    Oh, there's this: http://www.businessweek.com/busines...alance/archives/2008/08/the_power_suit_1.html

    "Since I am obsessed with all things sartorial, I couldn’t help but be riveted by a recent Wall Street Journal story about fabulously powerful people who self-ban the wearing of suits.

    Is wearing a suit now the sign of a macher manque?

    In the course of my reporting travels during the past year, all of the sources with whom I interviewed who had the most power—wielding the most clout, capital and all-around largest power footprint—were all adorned in anything but a suit.

    By contrast, when I recently did a favor for a friend and picked up her repaired Tag Heuer at Tourneau, the watch salesman was donning a three-piece summer-weight number that was decidedly NOT off the rack. A lucre side gig? Family money? Power user of Woodbury Common?

    I’ve noticed this a lot in the service sector: they are all dressed up, while we in Corporate America are all dressed down. Even the halls of once-starchy P&G and once white-shirt-only IBM are filled with some awesomely casual gear.

    The upshot is that if you want to see someone turned out in (a power suit), you are more likely to see it on the body of a Barney’s salesman than in the lobby of a midtown hedge fund. In these circles, the new uniform is the dry-cleaned, many-hundreds-of-dollars jeans paired with a bespoke shirt and couture jacket. The women are rocking the jeans with the mini blazer.

    The power suit is becoming powerless. Wearing whatever you want now seems to be the new emblem of a new kind of power. As in, I am so incredibly amazing and fabulous that corporate dress codes and social norms do not apply to me.

    Is this one more upside-downism in a world that seems increasingly topsy turvy?"
     
  9. DJosef

    DJosef Senior member

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    The cure for that is a suit being the thing you want to wear. There is a huge difference between wearing a suit and being worn by a suit. :)
     
  10. Owen Meany

    Owen Meany Senior member

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    Whatever you do, never wear loafers.
     
  11. Stockton

    Stockton Member

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    I think "rich persons" is relative, but from my experience I think it would be more likely a pretentious, middle-class, nouveau-riche type who purposely wears certain clothes to appear higher status and separate themselves (God forbid somebody not recognize their status!) that was upset somebody "lesser" than them were wearing something they wear.

    It's interesting that you say you're autistic. I was wondering if some of the folks on here so focused on clothing might be mildly so. The "shirt porn" type threads are particularly what made me wonder. But then again, I understand attention to detail. Further, it's interesting to think that somebody being autistic might lead them to overdressing or dressing inappropriately for a particular occasion. In regard to that, I agree with the at least one poster in this thread who said "part of style is dressing appropriately for the occasion."

    Anyway, my last post hasn't showed up yet (must have not gotten through moderation yet), but personally, it's mainly wearing loafers with jeans that I'm concerned about. I don't want to do something that may somehow be inappropriate for me or deterrent to me socially. Generally, I am confident in my choices and believe that's apparent, so I'm afraid nobody would ever speak out if what I'm wearing is 'too much'.

    I'm looking at a couple of pair of Allen Edmonds loafers that I like but can't decide between, but also a pair of Bass Weejuns from Macys. All 3 pair are penny loafers. The Bass Weejuns have souls that are black on the side, while the AE have wood grain. While I like the latter, the BW obviously would seem easier to step into when expanding my shoe horizons.

    Here are the Bass:
    http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/...oryID=59523#fn=sp=1&spc=21&ruleId=5&slotId=11

    And the two pair of Allen Edmonds:
    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF44000_1_40000000001_-1
    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF0994_1_40000000001_-1 (preferred color)
    http://www.allenedmonds.com/aeonline/producti_SF0944_1_40000000001_-1 (potential other color)

    Basically, I'm financially secure, doing fine, but have never worked in a corporate environment that at least requires an excuse to dress up. I dine out a fairly nice to nice places regularly, am travelling to Mexico again soon, enjoy wine, nice things in general, and am a pretty smart and educated guy. I did not graduate college. And I come from a hardcore working-class family who somehow or another I've ended up very different from. THEY scoff at a lot of my life choices and I know that it's just ignorance and lack of perspectice/education/exposure on their part, but still I think that might be at the root of why I question myself even though I *know what I like*. Surely somebody can understand how somebody cold be skiddish about transitioning into wearing nice shoes (and clothes).
     
  12. DJosef

    DJosef Senior member

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    Hm thinking the thread further, I wonder what could be said about full morning dress outside Britain and at an occasion that is not a wedding.
    I'm afraid it might not cut it, running the risk of looking like a megalomaniac. :)
     
  13. scatterbrain

    scatterbrain Senior member

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    If you are dressing for a social environment that is not work-related, you shouldn't let other people's opinions on style interfere with how you like to dress. Be yourself. Have confidence that nobody you would want to be friends with is going to dislike you because of the way you dress.

    I have friends who don't really care about clothes at all. I would never stop talking to them just because their suit is boxy and their sleeves are too short.

    I dislike loafers, but I think I am in the minority. I liked the second AE pair the best.
     
    1 person likes this.
  14. red81

    red81 Senior member

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    i think the "problem" is that people might think he's peacocking or trying too hard, rather than the "well dressed man" looking down on those around him who aren't wearing bespoke suits to a family bbq.
     
  15. Nathan5653

    Nathan5653 Active Member

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    That problem is always going to exist. I think it really depends on how other people see you. For example, most of my friends, and acquaintances I've occasionally met, don't care about clothes at all. Most of them think it's cool that I try to dress better, though I have been asked why I'm dressed so nicely etc (by dressed nicely, it's just a shirt and chinos as well as desert boots). The only solution to this problem is to dress the same as everybody else. By putting yourself out there through your clothes, you're open to both positive and negative feedback.
     
  16. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    Personally I wear whatever I want, whenever I want. What makes me chuckle is to see the younger guys posing on the street, darting their eyes to see who is watching them. Usually no one is, which is what makes it amusing. They try too hard. Those guys typically, are the ones who spends their entire paychecks on their clothes at retail and don't know what they are doing. The Stacy Adams and ALDO shoes are a dead giveaway, not mentioning the over-sized cheap watches
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2013
  17. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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    Outside the workplace, I get compliments on "my suit" when I'm wearing an unstructured coat, chinos and a BD shirt. Sometimes it's not compliments, but comments like "why are you showing up in a suit"?. Shows how easy it is to be "over-dressed" nowadays. If you don't want to dress like a slob you'll have to live with it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013

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