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'iGent Myths Busted!'

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by VRaivio, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. cosmic

    cosmic Well-Known Member

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    LOL, I deserve to be damned for eternity for missing that :D

    Although you could argue that Churchill was sending up the whole 'gangsters with pin-stripes' fad from the 30s - and showing them how to do it properly!
     
  2. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Think of it as language. Many great writers have written grammatically incorrect sentences. But they do it on purpose, to achieve a particular effect. They don't just do it to prove that they will not get arrested or the world will not end if they split an infinitive (a silly grammatical rule in English).

    Most writers would be well advised not to break any rules, or do so very rarely. They are only confusing themselves and their readers.
     
  3. topos

    topos Senior member

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    These 'rules' of yours are too general to be of any use. I'm not trying to pick on you in particular here, since I imagine you were being a bit facetious anyways with your post. A list of rules ('rule' is a terrible word, so let's just agree to call them 'guidelines') ought to have consequences that exist independent of the person applying them. Its usefulness should be measured by the frequency with which it gives a 'correct' choice. Of course this is subjective, but that isn't the point. 'Correctness' stands to be judged by your version of correctness, so your guideline is useful if it is something you can blindly apply in any given situation and be correct a high percentage of the time.

    For instance, say your 'guideline' is 'own a lot of plain light blue shirts', or maybe 'wear a lot of plain light blue shirts'. The blind application is to just decide to wear a light blue shirt tie/coat/pants be damned. If this turns out to be the 'right' choice most of the time, then this is a useful rule for you. It becomes useful to then share it with others, but in the context of your wardrobe. This wouldn't be a useful rule to, say, someone who runs a funeral home and I imagine to wear a white shirt black suit every day. But there are enough common contexts for these guidelines to be applicable to a wide range of people, hence their usefulness to a wider audience.
     
  4. cosmic

    cosmic Well-Known Member

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    I think the evidence is pretty strong that some elements of aesthetics are universal amongst humans. Almost no one finds a lopsided, wart-ridden face to be beautiful, no matter what culture or era they are from. Symmetry in members of the opposite sex is almost universally preferred.

    My opinion of Masai style in general will be dependent on a combination of my inherent (biologically/genetically created) aesthetic taste, my cultural programming, and how much I can break free of the latter. But my opinion of which looks within the Masai style are better (i.e. best-dressed Masai vs most unstylish Masai) will be driven by more universal aesthetic principles. It is very unlikely that I would think Masai X is a horrible dresser, and the Masai themselves would rate him as the most stylish.

    As for adapting rules - some people do try to claim universality to what are nothing more than traditions or even fads, and demand that others follow them. There are numerous examples of that on this forum and others.

    Also, if one seeks to update a previous look without abandoning it, wouldn't this work better if one had a good appreciation of what universal principles exist? Any update, or an individual take on a given style, is more likely to be successful if the fit is good, the colours are harmonious, the patterns aren't jarring to the eye, quality materials are used, the history and reasons for a given style are understood, some attention is paid to how appropriate it will be, and so on. Knowing the universals of style helps to better implement any given variant.
     
  5. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    I think you hit the nail on the head. I was having a discussion with someone who didn't understand "who wrote the "rules" anyway???" and I said pretty much the same thing. They aren't really "rules" at all. They are a set of social norms and accepted practices. To conform to them is to accept a certain American/British/French-ness, or wherever you happen to be from. I speaks about the society you come from. To give that up is to give up a part of your identity as an American/Brit/Frenchman. Anyway, at least that's how I see it. Then again, sometimes I completely murder my fits, so whatever. lol
     
  6. cosmic

    cosmic Well-Known Member

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    But why did they write those sentences? Because the effect was better than if they slavishly obeyed the rule. They judged things on what is important: the quality of the outcome; not on what was unimportant: the following of a rule for its own sake, or for the sake of conforming.

    Following the rules only makes sense if the rules make sense. If the rules say to wear kipper ties and bell-bottom flares, or to wear short tight suit jackets that crumple around the fastened button, and leave half the bottom exposed, then following the rules will just result in a wardrobe full of ugly clothes that you never wear 5 years later when they go out of fashion. If the rules are sound then following them should never clash with what looks good. A rule that can be frequently broken to superior effect does not deserve to remain a rule, it is more honestly described as a mere suggestion.

    Fashion is not like science or deer hunting. It is not based on objective performance or facts. Science is good if it makes accurate predictions about the world. Deer hunting techniques are successful if they catch lots of deer. Fashion is not necessarily good if it is fashionable, if lots of people adopt it. So, the rules in fashion deserve far less respect than the rules do in fields where they are proven to get results.

    The 'rules' in style are based on universal aesthetic truths; the rules of fashion are based on short-lived popular fads and/or tradition for the sake of tradition. So the former are worth considering but the latter should be mostly ignored.

    I agree about fitting in. People's reactions matter, and dress is mainly a social activity (we dress with more care in public than at home). So, I include 'appropriateness' in the rules of style. This is one way in which clothing is different to thinks like science or athletics, where being right or being best is always superior to fitting in.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  7. cosmic

    cosmic Well-Known Member

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    I don't agree fully - that implies that other people's opinion is the driving factor. What you described there is appropriateness, not style. Appropriateness is knowing the done thing. Style is looking good. So, some ghetto pimp might dress totally inappropriately at an upmarket nightclub, but he may still be stylish if his outfit is particularly beautiful and well co-ordinated.

    I accept there is a combination of style and appropriateness that, when done together, results in someone who both looks good and stands out, but in a way that is always accepted. That is someone who knows the rules, knows what looks good, and knows how to push the boundaries without crossing them. I'm not sure that is what I'd call style, but maybe I'm misunderstanding the terminology. I'd say that's something like 'panache'. A well-dressed Masai could have style at a black tie dinner if he took his hunting outfit, but he wouldn't have panache. And yes I agree that style + appropriateness is probably the epitome of dressing well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  8. JubeiSpiegel

    JubeiSpiegel Senior member

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  9. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    Goodnight, ladies and gentlemen!
     
  10. Tirailleur1

    Tirailleur1 Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Quick question un and cosmic . Who are the successful rule breakers in this forum? I am also curious to know if Manton accepts or at least recognizes their approach
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  11. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    I would say you, for one. Parker. TTO. Most of the others, like Barims and LabelKing, aren't around much anymore, sadly.

    I would say that those who can do it have a combination of a broader sense of aesthetic judgment beyond just clothes, and a deep knowledge of several traditions, and the palettes, materials and cuts involved, plus a willingness to learn and experiment drawing on those two elements while at the same time constantly improving them. I guess they also need to be relatively unaffected by the ridicule of the ignorant and be able to work out who is worth listening to.
     
  12. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I was going to name these three. Parker and LK I just haven't seen enough photos of, but I'm sure FM is right. But really I think the "rating scale" kind of mentality does more harm than good. And I'm not really interested in getting into a semantic debate about what "style" is vs. "panache" or whatever else.

    My point is, what you wear projects an image of you, just like what you say and what you do. This can be understated and subtle or it can be loud and boisterous. But you should figure out who you want to portray yourself as, it should have something to do with the rest of who you are, and you should learn the language and custom in order to articulate it in what you wear. Combinations should be coherent.

    The loud and boisterous types are always going to get more attention and provoke more varied responses. Some people will think they're "successful" in this, or cool, others will think they're obnoxious and self-centered. But the "best dressed" people to me are the ones that project the image they want to project. They read situations and people well, and are self-aware enough to see how others see them.


    Consider the following true story:

    A young, dashing gent is invited to a dinner party at the house of an imperious but very socially influential older lady. He is given the honor of being seated next to the host. The host repeatedly drops her napkin from her lap and asks the young gent to pick it up and hand it to her. Finally after another such incident, the young gent asks, "wouldn't it be better if I ate my dinner under the table, madame, to be able to hand you your napkin more quickly?"

    Is this stylish? In good taste?
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

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    IMO, the people who were successful at breaking "the rules," as David said, tend to know themselves well and dress for their environment/ lifestyle. Examples include Barims, TTO, and LabelKing. But I would add that each of these people also had something to say. Their styles were very distinct and delivered a message. They were not people who wore a navy suit and white shirt, but then inserted a little "personality" through their socks. That's not having something to say; that's just twisting a classic so that you feel more comfortable about it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
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  14. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Also in the case of Barims and TTO - both are very tall, striking looking dudes. They are going to attract attention no matter what. They can't "hide" in a navy suit and white shirt. Given that they will already attract eyeballs, they can look like they welcome them or look like they are afraid of them.
     
  15. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    LK is lightyears beyond TTO/Barims.
     
  16. cosmic

    cosmic Well-Known Member

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    What if an outfit violates a given rule or rules, but actually looks better or creates a better impression than outfits that conform to the rules? In this case, the rules are not serving their purpose, and are actually inhibiting good dress and style.

    In any field, rules only have validity to the extent that they serve purpose and function - to the extent that they impede it, the rules can and should be violated.
     
  17. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The meaning of "better" here is vague.
     
  18. Makoto Chan

    Makoto Chan Senior member

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    Cosmic, can you give a concrete example of what you're supposing? Because I can only imagine a moron falling for something like this: "It's Monday, and I'm going to work at a bank in the city, so I shall wear black captoe oxfords and a navy suit and a silk tie!" However.... the moron is just a teller in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he doesn't fit in at alllll! Or, "It's against the rules to wear tweed in the city, but it's January and my only coats are a brown tweed overcoat and a brightly colored down ski jacket... I MUST go to my custody hearing in the ski jacket!!"

    Wait, that's not exactly what you said. You're not saying that following the rules will make you look worse, but that NOT going against the rules will inhibit better style. In that case, I think it's a fair enough point, but it's not a criticism of the rules. (I should put "the rules" in quotes every time) If I dress according to sensible rules, I may not become a LK-like superstar, but I can look good, and I definitely won't look bad.
     
  19. Jamesgatz

    Jamesgatz Senior member

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    DOW broke many rules - as did Agnelli - but many people have found their styles inspirational. On any given day you'll find a throng of men on Wall Street wearing a gray suit and light-blue shirt, but most of them are uninspiring.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  20. stupendous

    stupendous Senior member

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    I agree. you take the rules, and see what is appropriate for your circumstances, while still being aware that the rules are there.
    I think that this comment is neither here nor there. What Makoto said was that he didn't feel 'pushed around or belittled' by the rules, not that he dismissed them, or found them ridiculous. He even said 'rules that he learned', implying that he read the information, took it in and went on with his life. I believe he was speaking about his, for lack of a better word, 'reaction' to the rules, as opposed to saying that he didn't care for them.
     

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