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For whom do we dress?

Grrtt780

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I asked myself this question the other day. I have heard a lot of people here say "I dress for myself" but I don't know if I buy it. Personally I came to this forum to learn how to buy/wear suits for work (24 yrs old, just out of college, wearing suits to work every day) never planning to get into this kinda stuff. Now I wear suits everyday for a very conservative company but I am a salesman and I sell to car dealers so most environments I go into are not at all conservative. Lots of loafers and huge watches, etc. this allows me to get away with a lot but it also means that if I follow sartorial "rules" I stick out, in a bad way. So if I am at the corporate office it's cap toes, white shirts, etc but if I am in the field selling its big watches, maybe loafers (with a suit), etc. but this isn't just for business (though that is a big part of it). I want to look good and I want to look good to those who see me, not just myself. So sure I dress for myself but it is to get a positive reaction from those who see me as much as it is to get a positive reaction from myself. What do you guys think? Certainly I am not the only one who thinks that the reactions and views of others is almost as important if not more so that your own opinions. And does that not beg the question of whether deliberately making some poor choices is actually the way to go?
 

Calder

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Sometimes I dress for the Ladies. Sometimes for the clients. Sometimes for the bosses.

But always for myself as well.
 

FlaneurNYC

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I'm a creative. I work with graphic designers, art directors, copywriters, etc. Up to fairly recently, nobody ever wore a SC and tie, never mind a suit. (There are a few fashionable ladies in Public Relations and Sales.) Lots of creative dress and casual wear. I used to be the same.

I wear my own take on classic clothing that probably walks the line of good taste according to the "rules," but is miles more conservative and "dressed up" than most of the people I encounter on a daily basis. I'm constantly reminded of the fact that I'm better kitted out than my colleagues.

I have been a catalyst for change, though. Lately, some of the guys have been spotted in SCs, good trousers and decent shoes and are now asking me for advice on tailors, shoe care, etc... I think it just took one person bucking the trend to make it feel safe for the other guys who like to dress.

I feel that I definitely dress for myself.
 
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RDiaz

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I dress for myself and working at a place where most men wear suits or sport coats (even though I'm not required to do so) is a blessing; I don't feel out of place.
 

Holdfast

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Unless we're narcissistic to the point of near-psychosis (ie. to the point of being genuinely sick; not just using narcissistic in the colloquial sense), we all dress for others as well for ourselves.

Now, the form/nature/impact of how it affects your dress depends on the culture you're embedded in.

And the balance/degree of the impact depends on the relative status of you vs that culture (and if it's a subculture, the status of the subculture vs the wider culture). And, perhaps even more importantly, your intent regarding that interaction.

So even when you dress for others, it's actually because of you, because you want to create a certain effect.

(being explicitly aware of how all these factors are interacting for you personally, is, I would suggest, a very important part of developing a style.)
 
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FlaneurNYC

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Unless we're narcissistic to the point of near-psychosis (ie. to the point of being genuinely sick; not just using narcissistic in the colloquial sense), we all dress for others as well for ourselves.

Now, the form/nature/impact of how it affects your dress depends on the culture you're embedded in.

And the balance/degree of the impact depends on the relative status of you vs that culture (and if it's a subculture, the status of the subculture vs the wider culture). And, perhaps even more importantly, your intent regarding that interaction.

So even when you dress for others, it's actually because of you, because you want to create a certain effect.

(being explicitly aware of how all these factors are interacting for you personally, is, I would suggest, a very important part of developing a style.)


It's a pleasure to have your insight in to these matters, HF.

I understand this to mean that though I am always dressing for others in the practical sense, what effect my choices have on those whom I interact with is a result of my deliberate choices, made according to how I want those others to perceive me. Which makes perfect sense.

I always say that even the people who appear slovenly and ill-dressed and possess an "I don't give a crap" attitude are also making deliberate choices based on how they wish to be perceived.
 

Cant kill da Rooster

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Sometimes I dress for the Ladies. Sometimes for the clients. Sometimes for the bosses.

But always for myself as well.


Somewhere between dressing for women and being comfortable. I want to be noticed in a good way. Watches are for me though, but it's always nice when someone notices my watch.
 

RDiaz

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Unless we're narcissistic to the point of near-psychosis (ie. to the point of being genuinely sick; not just using narcissistic in the colloquial sense), we all dress for others as well for ourselves.

I'm not sure about this. For example as I've said I'm not forced to wear suits or sport coat and tie to work, but I do because I like clothes as a hobby, as an art one would say, not because I want to look fine for me or for others. In fact I think (and people tells me) I look "better", or at least younger and thinner, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. If I wanted to dress for them I would do that, but instead, I choose to wear what I like.
 
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FillW

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I'm not sure about this. For example as I've said I'm not forced to wear suits or sport coat and tie to work, but I do because I like clothes as a hobby, as an art one would say, not because I want to look fine for me or for others. In fact I think (and people tells me) I look "better", or at least younger and thinner, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. If I wanted to dress for them I would do that, but instead, I choose to wear what I like.
I wear jeans and t-shirt to work in cause the place I work at is cold and if I did try to wear nice clothes to work they'd probably get torn or dirty everyday. I'm not trying to impress andybody during work hours.
 

Holdfast

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But you're taking their opinions into account when processing your choices, and then making an choice to disregard elements of those opinions (and therefore accepting any consequences of stepping way from the herd).

I suppose I was being over-shrinky with my statement, but what I meant, is nobody doesn't think about other people unless there's something seriously wrong with their worldview, even if it's just to decide with not listen to them. So you're not really dressing just for yourself, in a precise (and admittedly pedantic) way.
 

bourbonbasted

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Surprised "I dress for StyleForum" hasn't come up yet...
 

RDiaz

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But you're taking their opinions into account when processing your choices, and then making an choice to disregard elements of those opinions (and therefore accepting any consequences of stepping way from the herd).

I suppose I was being over-shrinky with my statement, but what I meant, is nobody doesn't think about other people unless there's something seriously wrong with their worldview, even if it's just to decide with not listen to them. So you're not really dressing just for yourself, in a precise (and admittedly pedantic) way.

But if we're disregarding other people's thoughts and reactions when making our choices, even if we think of them, aren't we basically just doing things for ourselves?
 

BoldCloset

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How people dress is also a way of expressing ourselves, just like dancing or painting. Others may look at us differently when we dress differently, but ultimately what matters is how we feel about ourselves in these clothes.
 

FillW

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There is one guy who works in another part of our workplace who seems to overdress (wears suit and tie) but he really seems to look out of place around here. Most dress very casually here for the reasons I mentioned.

I may ask him why he dresses the way he does.
 

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