Exchange program with women's style forums

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Kent Wang, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    This is because, at least since the Renaissance and perhaps before, women's clothes have been less tradional and "rule bound" than men's.  The three great influences on clothing in the West have been military uniforms, sporting clothes, and court costume -- all of them regularized and even rigid forms of dress.  It is a fact of history (whatever one may think of the justice of that fact) that the first two had almost no impact on women's fashions, at least not until the 20th century, fo the simple reason that women hardly ever wore either.  Also, women's court dress was much less rigid and rule-bound than men's.  It was acceptable for them to "cut loose" in terms of color, pattern, design and details to a much greater extent than men could.

    Thus, for women, there are no rules and there is no "correct."  Not in the same way that these concepts apply to men.
     


  2. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    (LA Guy @ June 06 2005,11:19) In general, I've found that within the industry and without, women tend to be much less fettered by "rules" and the need to be "correct," and are more willing to trust their intuition.
    This is because, at least since the Renaissance and perhaps before, women's clothes have been less tradional and "rule bound" than men's. Â The three great influences on clothing in the West have been military uniforms, sporting clothes, and court costume -- all of them regularized and even rigid forms of dress. Â It is a fact of history (whatever one may think of the justice of that fact) that the first two had almost no impact on women's fashions, at least not until the 20th century, fo the simple reason that women hardly ever wore either. Â Also, women's court dress was much less rigid and rule-bound than men's. Â It was acceptable for them to "cut loose" in terms of color, pattern, design and details to a much greater extent than men could. Thus, for women, there are no rules and there is no "correct." Â Not in the same way that these concepts apply to men.
    I agree with you. I don't see any disagreement between our opinions, unless you are inferring from the history of men's fashion makes the "rules" model of approaching it the normative one.
     


  3. Stu

    Stu Senior member

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    Not close-minded. Married. [​IMG]
     


  4. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Normative in the sense of binding moral obligation, like prohibitions against theft and murder?  Of course not.  Normative in the sense that, within the context of the clothing we wear "right now" (from the 20s until the lounge suit era ends, whenever that may be), we ought to wear certain things and ought not wear others? ... Maybe.

    Certainly the traditional "rules" are what I personally like.  No secret there.  I think that style of dress is aesthetically pleasing, perhaps only because it has been drubbed into us (me) through history, though I think it is more than that.  I would use an architecture analogy.  No one would argue that there is anything "normative" or natural about (say) classical form or Tudor revival.  Yet each style works on its own terms.  Putting a parapet or half-timbering on a neo-classical building would not only be "wrong," it would also look bad.  Adding columns to a Tudor house would be really wrong and look really bad. Etc.  Ditto wearing a long tie with a dinner jacket.  Within the established form, it is "wrong" (certainly) and it looks bad (at least to me).
     


  5. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    (LA Guy @ June 06 2005,11:52) unless you are inferring from the history of men's fashion makes the "rules" model of approaching it the normative one.
    Normative in the sense of binding moral obligation, like prohibitions against theft and murder? Â Of course not. Â Normative in the sense that, within the context of the clothing we wear "right now" (from the 20s until the lounge suit era ends, whenever that may be), we ought to wear certain things and ought not wear others? ... Maybe. Certainly the traditional "rules" are what I personally like. Â No secret there. Â I think that style of dress is aesthetically pleasing, perhaps only because it has been drubbed into us (me) through history, though I think it is more than that. Â I would use an architecture analogy. Â No one would argue that there is anything "normative" or natural about (say) classical form or Tudor revival. Â Yet each style works on its own terms. Â Putting a parapet or half-timbering on a neo-classical building would not only be "wrong," it would also look bad. Â Adding columns to a Tudor house would be really wrong and look really bad. Etc. Â Ditto wearing a long tie with a dinner jacket. Â Within the established form, it is "wrong" (certainly) and it looks bad (at least to me).
    You know which sense of normative I meant [​IMG] To build on your architectural analogy, I think that one of the problems with one of the problems with sartorial "rules" is that they discount or ignore certain forms of architecture altogether, depression era craftsman houses, for example. To express a personal dislike of a particular style of dress is different from discounting its importance and validity.
     


  6. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Well I for one love craftsman architecture, though the best stuff (Greene & Greene) was built long before the Depression.

    Certainly there are architectural styles I hate. I don't discount their historical importance. I claim, simply, that they are ugly and inhuman.

    Perhaps, however, this is where the analogy breaks down. With architecture, any number of styles may be "current" or valid at a given time. With clothing, only one overarching style is really appropriate at any given time. Right now, for business and "dressy" wear, it is suits and ties. Some day that will end. Until it does, I think suits and ties and their related kit look best according to the rules. This should be no surprise since the rules were in part designed to make them look their best.
     


  7. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    The rules evolve.  Styles of dress, like styles of architecture, are meaningly cohesive agglomerations of detail, proportion, etc. that reflect the spirit of some place and time.  Architecture has its revival styles and its 'eclectic' styles, and responds to new challenges. I've read wonderful essays on the late 19th century challenge of styling the 'very tall building' even before the term skyscraper was coined.

    Re:  exchange idea: I'm not much for it.  Any woman who want to talk about men's clothes is welcome here; for women as for men the forum is quite self-selecting that way.  Re: any automatic demand for a woman's point of view, this seems to stem from the idea that SF posters want to appear sexually attractive to women; I do not share this goal.

    Re: long ties with dinner suits: some years ago it would have looked quite odd to me; but last night at the Tony awards, many men wore SB peaked-lapel jackets with long ties, and looked good.

    There are certain things I would never do, though I imagine a few people could stylishly get away with them, such as wearing a button down shirt with a DB jacket.  There are things that I have a hard time believing would look good on anyone, like a DB suit with notch lapels.  And there are things I would not have considered a few years ago, but now wear happily, like a pinstriped jacket and jeans.  Fortunately for our budgets, men's clothing changes rather slowly, but it does change.
     


  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    At last, Manton and I agree completely about one thing.
     


  9. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    They don't, really.  Or at most, only a few do, and even then only at the margins.  The clothing rules change less from evolution than from periodic upheavals or earthquakes, when they change almost completely in span of a few years.  The last time that happened was the 1920s.  Many people thought it was happening again in the late 1990s.  It didn't.  But that may have been a foreshock to the "big one" right around the corner.  Who knows?
     


  10. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    (mack11211 @ June 06 2005,12:51) The rules evolve.
    They don't, really. Â Or at most, only a few do, and even then only at the margins. Â The clothing rules change less from evolution than from periodic upheavals or earthquakes, when they change almost completely in span of a few years. Â The last time that happened was the 1920s. Â Many people thought it was happening again in the late 1990s. Â It didn't. Â But that may have been a foreshock to the "big one" right around the corner. Â Who knows?
    I agree with Manton's contention that the "rules" change by periodic upheavals rather than by margins (although there is actually a fair bit of latitude even if you operate within the "rules"). However, I would say that the last great upheaval actually happened in the 1950's and 60's. How else do you explain khakis in the boardroom and jeans in the office?
     


  11. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    We are not quite there yet. It almost happened en masse in the late 1990s. But then the bubble burst and there was a reaction. Possibly the next great wave of prosperity will kill off suits forever. More likely, it will kill the tailcoat, bump black tie to "super formal" wear, make the suit akin to what the frock coat was the second half of the 19th century (all-purpose day and evening business and semi-formal wear), and introduce a free-for-all for other occasions and environments. The 50s and 60s did not even kill the suit in California; they simply eroded its authority. But the suit is on a razor's edge out there. One more boom, and it will be gone.
     


  12. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    I don't think the suit will go, at least not the suit coat.

    The pants are another matter.

    Most men -- most American men, anyway -- would be perfectly happy wearing jeans all the time. If not allowed jeans, they will take khakis. The step up from khakis to some more formal pant is of little benefit to their appearance that they can see.

    The suit coat is another matter. The standard padding and proportion flattens the stomach, narrows the waist, broadens the shoulder in ways an unstructured garment cannot. For this reason, so long as the flat-stomached, narrow-hipped and broadshouldered body type is in fashion, the suit coat will be popular so as to give the appearance of it on any body.

    The big change I've seen in the last five or ten years is the casualization of the suit coat. Once the vintage examples proved the popularity of the coat-with-jeans, designers went into overdrive fashioning coats that would look awkward any other way. So the suit coat will survive. I call it a suit coat because it is often made in colors or patterns, such as pin stripes, not used for sport coats.

    In this way we go partly back before the lounge suit to the 19th century, when frock coats were worn with vests and also creaseless pants of nonmatching colors and patterns.
     


  13. gorgekko

    gorgekko Senior member

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    What terrifies me is that I will likely be alive to witness this. I already feel like a man out of times some days. The death of the suit would nail that coffin shut.
     


  14. Roy

    Roy Senior member

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    I don't share your pessimistic view about the demise of the suit Manton.

    What I currently notice is that a whole generation (MY generation) of people are rediscovering the suit. Especially made to measure and canvassed suits.

    I think it is because of 2 factors, the first is that a good suit will make you look better than any other type of clothing and the second is that people get fed up with mass marketed brands and want the ability to customize their clothing.

    The Dutch stijlforum.nl is growing faster than I thought with most of the members currently in university. Even when I look in my own social circle I see that a lot of younger people are starting to wear suits. So my guess is that it's here to stay.
     


  15. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    The suit is here to stay for a while, but I fear it won't last much longer as the uniform of business. I would venture to say that the men who enjoy wearing a suit to work every day are vastly outnumbered by those who do not. The latter category tried hard to kill the suit as the business uniform in the late 90s. They almost succeeded. One more boom, and they may well. The suit does not have enough support to withstand that.

    After that upheaval, it will still be around, just worn much, much less. After all, the tailcoat has been around in one form or another for 200 years. It used to be worn every night in certain circles. Yet it is almost never worn any more. The suit will share its fate eventually, possibly very soon.
     


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