Dress and elitism

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by poorsod, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. Morris

    Morris Senior member

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    Yes j has my point right. I didn't mean to be vague.

    The passage that got me thinking was on pg 177 of the Suit ". . .one way that the English upper class maintained the distinction between servant and served was by forcing the former to wear correct attire in incorrect combinations."

    I was wondering if this in a way holds true in America today because even well educated people are not taught how to dress and whether this labels you as a brahmin or as a pariah. Of course the very rich and very powerful can be exceptions because they can do whatever they like.



    Ignorance is the root cause of poor dress (and most social evils) in the US. Higher education trains you for a particular vocation, and to some extent to be a more well rounded citizen.

    One can pick up the traits of dressing with style from exposure to those who possess those desired traits (spend time with well-turned out gentlemen or read this fora or AAAC) or more formally through study ... case in point, Manton's book, Roetzel, Flusser, et. al.
     
  2. Toiletduck

    Toiletduck Senior member

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    I believe in confidence
     
  3. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Is this like how we still assume anyone at a restaurant in a white shirt and black pants (or skirt) is part of the waitstaff? I haven't read this part of the book yet.
     
  4. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    I may be missing the point here, but some people put a suit on, and some people wear a suit, and there is a big difference.

    I recall reading once that there is an old Italian saying that a man only looks good in a suit after it has been worn for three generations. I guess the first generation is the nouveau riche who orders the suit but somehow looks out of place in it. The second generation starts to feel a bit more comfortable in it and the third looks like he was born to wear it.
     
  5. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    It seems one of the strongest held beliefs on SF is that the majority of all people, economically ascendent or not, do not learn to dress well. Real dress codes for speciifc stations, especially at the upper end, do not exist anymore. My experiences follow closely with zjpj's in this area.

    Part of the attitude of the upper classes before regarding clothes was that they would have the best, but if it looked a bit off and tattered, it didn;t matter. In fact it was desired as an affirmation of one's confidence in one's position. People are still somewhat the same. It's less "I'm a duke" and more "I could buy out everyone's ass in this room."
     
  6. designprofessor

    designprofessor Senior member

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    Intersting, I actually talk about this stuff to my History of Design class. I wear suits every day to lecture classes, so I try to defend the virtues of the suit and dressing well to a room full of baggy blue jeans and t -shirts. I think at some base level its really an environmental question. What do you want to see when you are out in America? Its depressing to see on any given day or location the sheer amount of slob everywhere.(clothing and architecture) I don't think its elitist to have that basic visual assessment, but I do believe aesthetically, most could do better.
    As far as the quote on "suits being for worker bees". That executive has a responsibility aside from making money.
    Perhaps if all his "worker bees" dressed like him his opinion on suiting would change. If all wind up dressing well, then I think that would be a better environment to be in and to share.
     
  7. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    People on the "buy" side don't need to wear suits these days.
     
  8. heavyd

    heavyd Senior member

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    cynical perhaps but i think i have gotten by - perhaps further than a comperably educated, intelligent & reasonalbly hardworking man by dressing well.

    my physical presentation has granted me certain allowances that i would not receive if i did not show up the best dressed on a regular basis.

    to this extent, clothes still make the man, that is - if you have natural sense of style and it is not a forced presentation.

    does this make sense?
     
  9. odoreater

    odoreater Senior member

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    On the other hand, somebody like me, who was raised without the first clue on how to dress (my father is a plumber and only wears suits on special occasions, though when he does wear a suit he does it well, and my brother is an entrepreneur that almost never wears a suit) can come on the internet and figure just about everything out and pull it off pretty well while still buying most things pretty cheap. I think because of things like ebay, SF and AAAC the lines are becoming more and more blurred and dress is no longer a proxy for telling how rich or "classy" someone is.

    I spent a summer in Russia a few years back and I learned something interesting about their culture. In their culture, when you walk into someone's house you don't tell how rich or classy they are based on their furnishings or on their personal dress, you tell how rich or classy they are based on the number of books in their library.
     
  10. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Senior member

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    Very true. I had a meeting a few months back with a guy who happened to be on Forbes' list. We started talking about business casual and suits (he was dressed in nice trousers and a navy blazer, no tie), and he made the comment "suits are for worker bees". How times have changed huh?

    Its a very interesting comment.

    Some suits are for worker bees, they always have been. thats why the quiet taste ethic is down the drain. You can no longer graft the old underplayed rule with the new media society. Even if some remember or read about the idea of restraint in clothes, as in the solid suit tells everyone I have taste even if I wanted the heavy chalk stripe, no one else knows and no one believes it anymore.

    When men order custom suits, they want bang for their buck and that includes things that used to be considered too showy. Additionally, i suspect that this is part of the renaissance of choices for men's silhouettes, button stances and details. Anything that tends to suggest a custom look distances one from "worker bee" status. Thus hacking pockets, one button closures, peak lapels on DB suits etc.


    I would be surprised if it didnt continue and you didnt see cuffs back on jackets sleeves amongst a host of other almost forgotten details.

    edit: Thats peak lapels on SB not DB suits. Im sure everyone knew that, but duh on my part.
     
  11. j

    j (stands for Jerk) Admin

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    Its a very interesting comment.

    Some suits are for worker bees, they always have been. thats why the quiet taste ethic is down the drain. You can no longer graft the old underplayed rule with the new media society. Even if some remember or read about the idea of restraint in clothes, as in the solid suit tells everyone I have taste even if I wanted the heavy chalk stripe, no one else knows and no one believes it anymore.

    When men order custom suits, they want bang for their buck and that includes things that used to be considered too showy. Additionally, i suspect that this is part of the renaissance of choices for men's silhouettes, button stances and details. Anything that tends to suggest a custom look distances one from "worker bee" status. Thus hacking pockets, one button closures, peak lapels on DB suits etc.


    I would be surprised if it didnt continue and you didnt see cuffs back on jackets sleeves amongst a host of other almost forgotten details.

    I saw a guy walking around yesterday in a bright red "suit" with at least 5 buttons on the front and French cuffs. On the jacket.

    He also had the 20° off center baseball cap and Bluetooth earmajig. I didn't see any of his "employees" around.
     
  12. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Senior member

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    I saw a guy walking around yesterday in a bright red "suit" with at least 5 buttons on the front and French cuffs. On the jacket.

    He also had the 20° off center baseball cap and Bluetooth earmajig. I didn't see any of his "employees" around.


    Haha, well they were off makin him money.
     
  13. StevenRocks

    StevenRocks Senior member

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    It seems one of the strongest held beliefs on SF is that the majority of all people, economically ascendent or not, do not learn to dress well.
    It's true. Most people these days could care less, even in formerly formal situations. The quest for so-called "invidiuality" and comfort has left the masses disheveled and remarkably similar.

    That's why I'm here. I don't want that in my life.
     
  14. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    It seems one of the strongest held beliefs on SF is that the majority of all people, economically ascendent or not, do not learn to dress well.

    What do I think about the way most people dress? Most people are not something one thinks about.

    Diana Vreeland
     
  15. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    It's true. Most people these days could care less, even in formerly formal situations. The quest for so-called "invidiuality" and comfort has left the masses dishevelled and remarkably similar.

    That's why I'm here. I don't want that in my life.


    There is a lot of truth to this sentiment. After the French Revolution wearing excessively decorated silk habits became a thing of the past and even wearing a shirt with ruffles was a symbolic gesture that suggested anti-Republican sympathies. This has gone so far now that people wear t-shirts and jeans as though they were some sort of anonymous Mao suit. The advertisements call this 'individuality' and the masses accept this with unquestioning faith. We risk entering into an age where everyone is 'equal' by virtue of being equally dishevelled and unrecognisably the same - all massed produced clones 'Made in China'. It is in truth something degrading - even dehumanising.
     

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