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Can something be too perfect?

odoreater

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I was thinking about this, do you ever see a guy whose clothes fit so perfectly and are arranged so well and everything is so perfectly in place that it just doesn't look good, like maybe it looks sort of too contrived?

When I dress, I try to look good , but I try to do it in a non-chalant sort of way. Like for example, it doesn't really bother me if my shirt gets wrinkled during the day, or if I'm showing a little too much or a little too little cuff under my jacket sleeve, or if my tie is slightly crooked. I mean, there are obvious things that you don't want to go wrong (the worst, IMO, is when someone's tie is showing under their collar), but it seems like if you are wearing your clothes and you are pretty casual about it, shit is going to happen. Your shirt is going to get wrinkled, your tie is going to move, and this doesn't really bother me. Why should it?

Whenever I see someone that is dressed so perfectly that it seems like they went through great effort to get everything just perfect I think to myself "this guy is trying way too hard." Anybody else?
 

Lucky Strike

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Originally Posted by LabelKing
The Italians have a term for this, which I can't recall how to spell.
Sprezzatura
. http://wso.williams.edu/~espence/sprezzmeaning.html
The meaning of sprezzatura in art and life in the High Renaissance is difficult to determine. Part of the trouble stems from the contradictions inherent in the word itself; it is paradoxical, closely related to grace, but with slightly different connotations. Castiglione's Book of the Courtier elaborated on what the word meant for social interaction. A character in the book, Count Ludovico, explains the meaning of grace, and in it he mentions sprezzatura. "It is an art which does not seem to be an art. One must avoid affectation and practice in all things a certain sprezzatura, disdain or carelessness, so as to conceal art, and make whatever is done or said appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it....obvious effort is the antithesis of grace." The most important aspect of sprezzatura is its two-layered nature: it involves a conscious effort which is disguised by a concealing act. Things which require effort are to be performed casually. Count Ludovico seems to be saying that grace arises out of sprezzatura. Anthony Blunt interprets it this way: "It will vanish if a man takes too much pains to attain it, or if he shows any effort to attain it. Nothing but complete ease can produce it. The only effort which should be expended in attaining it is an effort to conceal the skill on which it is based; and it is from sprezzatura, or recklessness, that grace springs." In High Renaissance life, the courtiers wanted to put on a kind of performance, a subtle one, without allowing anyone to know it was self-conscious and deliberate behavior.
 

Get Smart

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Unless it's a photo shoot and the guy is posed/just standing, I don't think there's ever perfection in someone's outfit that had to drive, walk somewhere, sat, etc.

But I do have a problem with terms like "trying to hard", since anyone who cares about their dress is "trying hard", whether it's making sure they show shirt under their jacket, the way shoes are shined, and all the details that make a person "well dressed" is a result of "trying"
 

coachvu

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I completely agree. You never want to look like you are trying too hard. Nothing worse than looking like you spend an hour dressing every morning.
 

j

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Originally Posted by Get Smart
Unless it's a photo shoot and the guy is posed/just standing, I don't think there's ever perfection in someone's outfit that had to drive, walk somewhere, sat, etc.

But I do have a problem with terms like "trying to hard", since anyone who cares about their dress is "trying hard", whether it's making sure they show shirt under their jacket, the way shoes are shined, and all the details that make a person "well dressed" is a result of "trying"

It's a matter of looking like you tried vs. looking as if it came naturally to you. You can try all you want, but what you are trying for is to make it look like you don't have to try..
 

Get Smart

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Originally Posted by j
It's a matter of looking like you tried vs. looking as if it came naturally to you. You can try all you want, but what you are trying for is to make it look like you don't have to try..


right. good clarification


I thought the FNB thread was an interesting read as well. Esp the bit about "clothes just a hobby like sports memorabilia and youre simply collecting them and placing them on your mantle" because I certainly get the sense that is the case quite often with folks.
 

Tomasso

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A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them. - Hardy Amies
 

odoreater

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Originally Posted by Tomasso
A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them. - Hardy Amies

Excellent. This is exactly what I'm talking about.

Also, Lucky's description of "sprezzatura" was very interesting.

Sometimes I'll see a guy who keeps tugging at his shirt's cuffs to make sure that they are showing below the jacket sleeves or keeps tugging at his jacket collar to make sure that it is in the right place and it just makes him look fidgety and uncomfortable in his suit.
 

old dover trad

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I think it's good not to be so perfect. That's really a part of Trad. People aren't perfect so why should they try to dress that way? A frayed collar and wrinkles in the khakis never hurt anyone. Stylish and comfortable is Trad nirvana and it doesn't take more than one lifetime to reach it although hand me downs are a part of the lifestyle.
 

odoreater

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Originally Posted by old dover trad
I think it's good not to be so perfect. That's really a part of Trad. People aren't perfect so why should they try to dress that way? A frayed collar and wrinkles in the khakis never hurt anyone. Stylish and comfortable is Trad nirvana and it doesn't take more than one lifetime to reach it although hand me downs are a part of the lifestyle.

Yeah, I try to apply the trad attitude to non-trad clothing.
 

thinman

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Luciano Barbera on sprezzatura:

"A man must face the world with sprezzatura. It literally means detachment, but a better way to think of it is quiet confidence or low-key style. The most forceful statement is understatement. It is the philosophy behind everything I do." --from the company's website:

http://www.lucianobarbera.it/EN/stile_sprezzatura.asp
 

Full Canvas

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Originally Posted by LabelKing
The Italians have a term for this, which I can't recall how to spell.

Originally Posted by Lucky Strike
Sprezzatura.

http://wso.williams.edu/~espence/sprezzmeaning.html


Sprezzatura always sounds so very much like the concept of Shibumi. The understated elegance and effortless perfection of a subtle kind are expressed in both.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

From most first year Psychology texts discussing the four levels of competence-
"The one who achieves Unconscious Competence is:
The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it becomes 'second nature' and can be performed easily (often without concentrating too deeply)."

__________________________________
 

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