Conspicious consumption

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by LabelKing, Sep 7, 2002.

  1. pstoller

    pstoller Senior member

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    I can certainly understand the desire to wear "peacock plumage" to attract a mate, be it in a club or on the street. However, to make a corollary to LA Guy's point, is someone who doesn't share your values"”aesthetic or otherwise"”a person whose regard is worth having? That doesn't mean they have to know Zegna or Canali by name, but they should be able to recognize and appreciate the quality of those garments (and, more importantly, how good you look in them). If a woman needs to see a familiar logo to know you're well-dressed, what does she really know about clothes? Likewise with the loafers. You should wear them because you like them. If somebody else "gets" your shoes, even if they don't know what they are, then you've found a kindred spirit (to the extent that spiritual kinship can be assessed via footwear).
    I think Beau Brummel went a step too far. Your own words are more to the point: in certain contexts, it's best not to call attention directly to one's clothes. If you can call attention to yourself visually in a positive way without your clothing standing out as the eye-magnet, then you're probably quite well-dressed.
     


  2. bsmith

    bsmith Member

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    I can personally say I have learned on thing from being on here ... why use clothes to show wealth, intellegence, etc?

    I am personally from Southwest Kansas. Being from there, it was hard enough to convince parents and such that $60 was an okay price for jeans, let alone over $100 for shoes. As for suits, I am sure that most got what they needed at the closest JC Penny's and such. Even the ones with money dressed well. But wore only what they needed and not to show what they had. They would rather spend money on something else, ie cars, vacations, second homes, more land.

    I have since learned much more when I came to Lawrence for school. Brand names here don't mean anything. Polo, Abercrombie, and Hilfiger, don't work here. It is the person who can take something simple and look good that gets the props. Logos can work, but they aren't needed. I agree that if I advertise, I want a check, too.

    Essentially, I feel that if you use a logo or brand to show something, you aren't dressing yourself. Rather, Ralph Lauren, Hilfiger, and such are dressing you. I'm into doing what I like as opposed to what they like. I don't feel I am wrong, just personal taste. I just don't want clothes to be the only thing that shows who I am.
     


  3. gdawg

    gdawg Member

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    I personally think that wearing logos is both cheap and pretentious.  If someone thinks that you look good because you have a huge logo on your shirt then that person is shallow and has really bad taste.  Subdued logos are much more classier.   To me it's like driving a Ferrari vs. a McLaren.  Most plebes know what a Ferrari is, and think it's really pretty.  To those that know, the McLaren is a much nicer, better and prettier car.
     


  4. jetLab

    jetLab Well-Known Member

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    Discreet logos are okay. It depends on your age and which type of environment you're in. I wouldn't wear any logos to the office but I think they're fine for school or clubbing.

    Most Prada Sport and Gucci items don't have logos. Prada plans to phase out the red stripe.

    Would you consider logos on zippers too flashy?
     


  5. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    I agree with all the people that think displaying a big logo is a no-no. If it's discreet it's not too bad though.

    As for spending lots of money on clothes, it's totally fine by me. And unless someone is doing it for the wrong reasons, I don't have a problem with anyone else doing the same. I spend a lot, even compared to most adults (I don't really have any expenses, so why not), but the reason I buy these things isn't to try and impress everyone with flashy labels. I like the quality of my clothes.

    Up until i was 18-19, I had no interest them at all and had a sort of skater thing going due to my cousin's influence. When i started in university, I started shopping where most of the other kids shopped: gap, eddie bauer, br, etc.

    In my second year of school, I took a trip to nyc and that's when my habits started to change. I went to macy's and bloomingdales and saw lots of clothes which were a lot better than I was wearing. I didn't leave with any super high-end stuff, but I bought: hugo boss, kenneth cole shoes, some clairborne pants and a cashmere sweater which wasn't of the highest quality but it was something like 50% off at bloomingdale's and it only cost 150. Oh also some DKNY. As I'm sure you know, none of those brands are really in the upper-eschelon of the clothes spectrum. Regardless, I was starting to get hooked on better quality clothes.

    I went to harry rosen and holt renfrew for the first time when I was visiting my grandmother in ottawa and I've since returned to nyc 3 times. I do most of my retail shopping at harry though. Over the past year I've amassed quite the wardrobe, but my reasons for buying these types of clothes is I've become hooked on quality.

    Aside from ferragamo, which i discovered when i bought my first good pair of oxfords, I don't swear allegiance to any one label. I have tons of different labels in my closet, none of which display the label. It's obvious to anyone that I dress well, but it's not like with a pair of prada sport shoes, where they see the orange stripe on the sole and say "oh look he must have spent 450 on those stupid shoes."

    I buy clothes for myself and I get the impression that most of the people on this forum do the same. While my progression from skater to clothes to what I wear now, with kenneth cole and other "lesser" labels serving as a transition was rather quick, I think it's important to realize WHY I "moved up". The answer is obvious, each step up, in most cases, results in better quality. When you start getting in to custom clothes and the high-end designer stuff, it's hard to think about ever having to go back. Personally, I really appreciate what makes a better suit or better pair of shoes. I like luxurious fabrics and I think they're worth every penny you can afford to spend on them. It's your intentions that matter.

    If you're just trying to look rich and shop accordingly, well, god help you. It's like what I brought up in regards to fake watches. Even if you have a really good fake rolex for example, if it's on a guy that otherwise doesn't fit the part, then you can probably guess it's a fake. When it comes to clothes the same kind of thing applies, except you can notice from a mile away people that are shopping JUST to impress people with labels which are known to be expensive.
     


  6. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

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  7. Timothy

    Timothy Senior member

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    Pstoller honestly I feel that most of the people that live in my area aren't worth my regard. Still I do need some entertainment with the opposite sex. I know that may make me sound like a monster (I'm not really that much of a bastard, not really [​IMG] ), but I'm not cut out for this "small" city life. Most of my girlfriends that I really connected with were from larger metropolitan areas. It seems to me the bigger the city, the more cultured they were/are. Like I said when I myself move to either NY, or B-more, I know my fashion will change accordingly. Now to the broader issue, I feel just because someone is wearing a more subtle designer garment doesn't mean that their intentions isn't the same as someone who bought one of those No Logo D&G t's. Though I have never been in the company of a bespoke suit, I have heard that they usually make the cuff buttons fictional and that people usually leave one or so buttons undone to show it to be bespoke. Can't the same argument be extended here? Though understand that this is a two way street, as I said all based on the environment one lives in (to be more exact the fashion awareness of the local people). Someone (and/or a whole populace) who is ignorant to bespoke suits wouldn't even register it though, same as with any fashion house logo or signifier. Just two days ago I picked up a pair of Prada Sport shoes, with that tell tale red stripe, at the Rack. First off I did this because I really liked them, and the price was good (same intentions as with the Tod's). In this circumstance there was no need to be conspicuous about this purchase for I am sure no one in my area will recognize them as being "Prada" (If someone does I'll be shocked). So I see this circumstance of "conspicuous consumption" to not only be based on the person's individual intentions, but how those intentions are influenced by the collective knowledge of their peers and the impact of their personal actions upon that group of people. Just as the classification of "smut" can't be applied to every picture of a naked person(s) even if they're involved in some sort of sex act, I feel that wearing Logoed shirts, and other such clothes, can't be always considered an act "conspicuous consumption". Sometimes it too can be art, or at least someone trying to be "ironic" in their style. Anyway this is just food for thought. Now I want a shirt that says, "Honestly, the only reason I'm wearing this D&G shirt is because I want to get laid." Sadly though I'll probably see a shirt like that soon from them. . . On a side note you could always co-opt the D&G cache by making for yourself a "This is not a fake "˜fake D&G shirt.'" Coincidently all this post-modern, self-aware fashion is just retracing the ground already explored by artists of the early 20th Century, like Magritte in his work 'Ceçi n'est pas une pipe.' Maybe it would be more tastefull to have it say "Ceçi n'est pas une D&G" instead, blah [​IMG].
     


  8. pstoller

    pstoller Senior member

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    Sure it could. Of course, those buttons aren't strictly the province of bespoke suits; I have some RTW jackets that came with working cuff buttons, and anyone can have buttonholes cut by their tailor. I'm having them cut in my Dior tux, but I have no intention of leaving them open just to say, "Look what I can do." I think it's a tad gauche. It's something else again if the design of the jacket calls for the buttons to be opened"”perhaps the sleeves were made extra long so they could be folded back. That, however, would be a very unusual jacket.

    Even someone who simply dresses in understated, elegant clothes may be doing it solely to impress other people. My only thoughts on that are, 1) how sad that they aren't also enjoying it on a personal, aesthetic level, and 2) at least it's going to work on a better class of woman than the big, dumb G belt.

    Whether they do or not, I'd say you bought them for the right reason. Heck, I have Prada shoes with red stripes on the soles, and for the same reason: I liked them. I was buying shoes, not stripes.

    (Here, I must interject that, as logos go, I think the Prada red stripe is a darned good one. It's very small, incredibly simple, utterly distinctive, and recognizable at a distance. The problem I have is when the only thing distinctive about the product is the red stripe...well, that, and the fact that this purportedly "exclusive" symbol was becoming as ubiquitous in the American landscape as the golden arches. Prada's decision to retire the stripe just as it's become universally recognizable is as sharp as the design was in the first place. Let's see how long it is before they bring it back in a "retro" move.)

    I caught the Magritte reference in the D&G shirt myself. Those guys have been funnier before, but if I really want a chuckle, I go for Moschino.

    The thing about any of these "message" shirts is that you could think of something at least as clever yourself, and either make it at home or have it made for you for far less than, say, a "J'adore Dior." shirt. Likewise, you can deconstruct old clothes with some scissors and a sewing kit, distress some Levi's 501s with sandpaper and spray paint, and, hey, presto. you have a state-of-the-art trendy wardrobe. (I'm still buying Comme des Garçons, Martin Margiela and Helmut Lang, though, so I guess I'm just too lazy to be my own designer.)
     


  9. Timothy

    Timothy Senior member

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    Pstoller I think we are very much on the same wave length, or at least a very similar one. Though I have taken more of an initiative to alter clothes to make them more "upscale" looking.

    Also I would like to say that I don't agree with the quote of "you shouldn't stand out." My personal fashion philosophy is that it is good be a little bit risky, or risquè. I find it fun to take chances. Playing around with the image of masculinity with what might be commonly thought of as femine colours, or patterns; wearing clothes that have athrow back to outdated styles with a slight modern twist; or anything else that tickles my fancy at the moment. This is why I totally dig seeing what Paul Smith puts out for he seems to also have a similar philosophy. By the way does anyone know if one of the 'discount' stores, like Last Call or Off 5th, carry his clothes?
     


  10. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I like to alter my clothes too, but I have the opposite inclination of Timothy in that I like to punk them up a little. My favorite is to do this to mainline stuff from big designers like Gucci and Prada, because you can avoid looking like everyone else at the club, or traditional "bespoke" makers like Kiton or Borrelli, mainly because the reverence with which they are regarded by Alan Flusser and his sycophants sort of p*sses me off. Punking up a Schonberger or Raf Simons shirts seems like retreading old ground.
     


  11. davei

    davei Senior member

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    To me, logo-wear just screams insecurity. By logo-wear, I'm referring to any piece of clothing that has a logo as its main focal point, be it from Prada, Versace, Gap, or the dozens of copy-cat hip hop labels. It's just garish and classless. The very essence of a logo is to create a certain kind of instant sensibility/attitude/image of a product. By covering yourself in logos, you immediately tie yourself into the product, at the expense of your own personality - it's far easier to buy into a ready-made lifestyle than it is to create your own style.
     


  12. Timothy

    Timothy Senior member

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    LA just out of curiousity sakes how do you "punk" up your shirts? Mostly what I did to my stuff is to "destroy" it; put gromets, rivets, or safety pins in shirts, add leather, snakeskin, or just some color material to a garmet; or just splatter paint on it.
     


  13. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    These days, my main thing is to transform my button ups into snaps. It's pretty easy, but takes some time doing, and you'll probably mess up a few shirts, so experiment with some throwaway stuff first. I cut off all the buttons, sew them onto the back of the female part of the the snap, fit them back to the buttonhole, and sew the male part of the snap where the button originally was. I have also had a few "bespoke" shirts recut into western shirts. Once, I had a tailor (he thought I was crazy), cut two white shirts, one by Borrelli, the other, Charvet, into two halves (along the centerline), and sew them to the complementary half of the other shirt. People generally liked the Charvet half more. Comme des Garcons did this a season or so afterward. I liked to believe (with a 99.99% chance of being in error) that I was the inspiration. Or I take a cue from San Francisco's Future Labor Union label, and sew shirt fronts onto tees.
     


  14. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I myself am a rather large fan of Rene Magritte, and the allusion of "This is not a pipe." by Magritte I thought quite clever. The usage of this by D&G I think is soemwhat unoriginal. Also to the statement of cutting up a Borreli, and a Charvet I find unthinkable. To think a Charvet, and a Borelli [​IMG] . Perhaps I'm more of a purist be it a more flamboyant one or not. [​IMG]
     


  15. Timothy

    Timothy Senior member

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    Something I want to expand into is altering dress pants and/or slacks. My ideas are to add either the cuffs or the turtlenecks of sweaters to the bottom of a pair of trousers that have been cut short (about a 28 or so inseam). Also it would be interesting to put maybe button like cuffs on a pair of pants, or possibly even french cuffs. Though the french cuff idea would have to be done just right, or I feel it would look absolutely horrible. That is probably a project way out of my league, even the normal cuff idea would have to be left with a tailor to accomplish.
     


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