Inputs & Outputs in clothes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Holdfast, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Holdfast

    Holdfast Senior member

    Likes Received:
    Mar 10, 2006
    No, I'm not taking about eating messy food while wearing a white shirt or being caught short while looking for the gents. Although I suppose the topic is almost as weird, in its own way...

    This forum is full of threads about what we might call the Input side of getting dressed: the garments, choosing them, ordering them, combining them, co-ordinating them, etc. There's a fair bit on the Product itself: the outfits we see across the range of WAYWRN threads. But I'm not sure we've had a thread on the Output side, or at least not for a while.

    In other words: how do you test whether you're successful in your aim when you got dressed? How do you check your outfit is doing what you want for you? I guess a more geeky way to phrase my question, is how do you audit your success?

    I suppose the answer depends on your purpose, maybe? I mean, for some here I suppose it could be a purist "I want to be well-dressed", in which case I suppose you could select a historical aesthetic which matches your preferred definition of being well-dressed and compare & contrast, refining iteratively over time. But I think most people, even on SF, don't have such a purist approach and instead have a more specific - if unstated/implicit - aim ("I want to appear well-dressed BECAUSE... fill in the blank"). How do you test that, especially since it's rather difficult to test correlations as you can't rerun the same day wearing something else.

    I was thinking about this because I tend to view my image as a tool to create an effect on people I meet in the course of my profession, which has few truly objective diagnostic tests. It's so much about being well-dressed as it is being dressed to a strong style (I happen to like tailored clothes, but I think I could have picked another strong style and still created an equally useful - though different - effect). Archetypes often elicit strong responses in people and (whether positive or negative) strong responses help with the pattern recognition process I use in diagnosing as they amplify reactions, making decision-making afterwards a little easier. It can be a very marginal effect sometimes and obviously it can be heavily modulated by other aspects of how I present myself both verbally & non-verbally, but it's not always a negligible effect so I find it worth thinking about. Admittedly, this wasn't my original motive for dressing how I do, but I've consciously thought about the effect over the years so can notice it better now. I also found that the effect was useful enough to use it outside of work, too. I suppose I test my success upon whether it interfered or aided in highlighting that kind of pattern-recognition process.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

  2. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

    Likes Received:
    Sep 13, 2009
    Oh come on, Forum, this is an intelligent and interesting question. It deserves replies, even if you (like me) are a bit put off by how clever and thoughtful Holdfast's post is.

    HF, my incoherent answer is:

    - I don't really know, it is an emotional thing;

    - I do want to "look good" (whatever that means);

    - The judgment on whether I do is largely taken by me, against my own criteria;

    - But one criterion is it should be appropriate: so within a classical lexicon, sometimes (ultra CBD meetings, funerals, white/black tie) very strictly within it;

    - The tension therefore is between being distinctive through minor dandyism (eg an interesting PS), or being more subtly well-dressed by wearing the "same" clothes as everyone else, just, hopefully, better fitting, higher quality, better coordinated, or simply (e.g. shoes) clean, pressed and so on.

    Measuring effect is hard. Compliments are nice, and are a measure of effect, but do not necessarily match my judgment. Ditto insults.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012

  3. Lovelace

    Lovelace Senior member

    Likes Received:
    Oct 7, 2012
    If the cat doesn't screach and run off.

    Its fine.

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by