How much does culture/ethnicity affect the clothes you wear?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Holdfast, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm with you. I guess I'm feeling that there's too little emphasis on coherence. I'd love to see more looks informed by setting, background and culture. But what I see more often is people appropriating stuff they're unfamiliar with and wearing it in ways that make no sense. Stuff that would be over the top at a Southern country club soiree being worn to work. Or guys dressing like they're going to Ascot for dinner at a diner. If people were expressing their background, or tweaking social norms, or making some sort of statement, that I would find interesting. But usually the subtext is missing, and I'm left baffled at the intent. I think what you're talking about is an advanced approach to dress that is too often co-opted to excuse the very absence of cultural and social meaning you're suggesting is so important.
     


  2. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    When I lived in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, on the South Side, 20+ years ago, I'd see many variations of this style leaving predominantly African American churches after Sunday services. This style is also reflected in the shoes worn by these gents.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011


  3. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    I'm a WASP who dresses the part ... so a good percentage.

    That said, I've been most influenced by my tailors who have been so gracious as to show me what they are making for other clients. I suppose we could add some of the tailor's clients to the list as well. In any event, this has caused me to push the limits a bit. I didn't go so far as to challenge Sebastian Horsley -- there are no red sequin suits w/ special syringe pockets for drugs -- but I'm well beyond the SF norm.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011


  4. SpooPoker

    SpooPoker Internet Bigtimer and Most Popular Man on Campus Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I dont have much to contribute here, but that means I have everything to learn. Great thread, I look forward to reading more.
     


  5. ddonicht

    ddonicht Senior member

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    There are many contributing factors to how people dress...location, ethnicity,age, economics, etc. Most people don't want to stick out very much so they tend to wear what their peers are wearing or something close to it. The exceptions generally being those few that really want to stick out and they often take it too far. But many of them don't take the time to understand what they are wearing, why they are wearing it, and how it should fit. So often they will wear a size up because it is "more comfortable" that way not realizing that it makes them looking like they are wearing a sack. Or they will go with a fad even though they don't have the correct body type of it. Skinny jeans on a heavier guy is a prime example of that.

    That doesn't mean you can't go out of the norm for your demographics and look good doing it. It just takes a bit of knowledge and desire to do so. As others have shown, they know what is standard for their lot in society and choose to go outside that. They want something different, yet are trying to do that with style. I understand and applaud that. The key is to wear it with confidence so that it looks appropriate regardless of setting instead of coming across as a costume. Last Saturday I wore a seer sucker suit even though I live in the Pacifict NW instead of in the South where they are more stereotypically know. It is fitted to me and I wore it correctly with a white dress shirt, gray tie and white bucks. Since I am comfortable in it, I received nothing but compliments. To me, that is what style is all about and not just being an automaton wearing the same type of things as everyone around you even if it fits perfectly.
     


  6. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    But, but ... OMG ... it's after Labor Day. Of course last Saturday offered beautiful weather in the NW. It was like a summer day in the San Juans.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011


  7. Holdfast

    Holdfast Senior member

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011


  8. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    I dress only for myself, but within that framework, I dress to give the least offense

    My objectives are fit and harmony, avoiding flashy and ostentatious elements, and ultimately to to avoid dressing myself into a stereotype. e.g. I'm in the South, but I do not wear seersucker or spectators; that would be too much 'playing the part'

    I suppose that's also very stereotypical of my ethnicity -- not wanting to stand out.

    My industry is oil & gas, which is more down-to-earth (literally!) than other fields. By staying in basics (whites & blues) and earth tones (browns & olives), I can keep within context of the work environment and social environment ($, sub-culture, personality, etc). So long as everything fits and is harmonious, one can still be recognized as smart without necessarily peacocking.

    summarize: i dress boring.
     


  9. raggedsweater

    raggedsweater Well-Known Member

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    You might dress boring, but you do boring well. You're a member of this forum, after all.
     


  10. Digmenow

    Digmenow Senior member

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    From a completely different perspective, I can recall the dismay that I felt upon learning that my mother was buying my father's better clothing at thrift stores, specifically, the local Salvation Army. They had the dosh to buy pretty much whatever they wanted, wherever they chose. I was chagrined.

    Now, not so much. Well, except for that red polyester blazer but that's for another thread.

    For me, it's not so much about the culture of the style of my background as it is about a culture of dressing to a higher standrd on a self imposed, limited budget. I realize now that I've always been one to happily share a story of what a deal I got where others might emphasize the money they spent to impart their sense of achievement and value. I know that I don't have the same drive to save money that they did but I still like to squeeze a penny until Abe lets out a yelp. Maybe that's why I post so often in the thrifting thread here.

    So, upon further review, thanks Mom and Dad. Wherever you both have gone. (...and, Mom? You know what I mean.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011


  11. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    Yes I would say that local culture definitely affects the clothes I wear. My last few shirt and jacket purchases have been distinctly Mongolian or Chinese in styles. TBH much of the discussion about western business suits is not relevant to life here at all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2011


  12. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    When causal, dress causal e.g. Lecture, food shopping, gym
    When semi to formal, dress to kill e.g. Fine dining, random presentation

    I am a UK oversea Chinese student, I don't think my ethnicity deprive me to dress well when needed.
     


  13. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    ... and I'm a China overseas English teacher. :)
     


  14. comrade

    comrade Senior member

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    When I dine at an Indian restaurant, I usually wear a dhoti.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011


  15. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    I remember a thread with MC doing SW&D and SW&D doing MC. Most styles/fit were horrendous to the opposit forum. It is very difficult to dress well in a certain style without doing it daily. Or have a tall slender figure like Spoo. :)
     


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