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Male Vanity & Style.

LabelKing

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Whenever one sees portraits of upper-class men in the old days, they were usually looking quite arrogant and very ornamental.

I fear in this day and time, the idea of male vanity has been channeled into a Concealed Carry license and large pick-up trucks.

Certainly, historically men have worn more jewelry than women, and were "guilty" of far more peacockery and flamboyance than women; indeed, nobody would have questioned the masculinity or heterosexuality of a male if they had to decided to wear violent colors or ornate patterns. Contemporary texts describe someone such as the Duke of Wellington, Arthur Wellesly, as favoring loud clothing on the battlefields. Indeed, the British military had its fair share of dandy officers and the like.

Ellen Moers writes in her seminal text on dandyism that Wellington had to tell his splendidly attired Grenadier Guards to not put up their umbrellas when riding into battle on a rainy day. Whither our vanity these days?

The art of decoration has not only withered in male costume, but also in other aesthetic domains--architecture, interior design, automobiles, etc. Emphasis is on the supposed "intellectual" element despite the shoddiness of much of the theory and its realizations expounded today.

I blame this on the hippies, feminists and other proletariat elements that have come to permeate society as a global whole--certainly faux equality is not worth sacrificing male peacockery; we're better at concealing our prejudices, but not better at concealing our guts.
 

Zenny

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I peacock all I want.
 

Cary Grant

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Originally Posted by LabelKing
Certainly, historically men have worn more jewelry than women, and were "guilty" of far more peacockery and flamboyance than women;

For example? I'm not sure I agree. In the Sun Court, the ladies were heavily adorned. In the Victorian era, it was not the men wearing tiaras and 20 carats around their necks to the grand balls.
 

Eccentric

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Personally, I blame the comercialization of sports. In becoming such big business, sporting events have become more and more negative in their influence. Why should the players try to dress well if they get payed big money to dress like slobs, scarcely being seen out of loud, logo-ridden clothing. The masses look to these people, as they have for millenia, and follow their wretched example.
 

Johnathan

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Originally Posted by Eccentric
Personally, I blame the comercialization of sports. In becoming such big business, sporting events have become more and more negative in their influence. Why should the players try to dress well if they get payed big money to dress like slobs, scarcely being seen out of loud, logo-ridden clothing. The masses look to these people, as they have for millenia, and follow their wretched example.
Then why do athletes in Europe not dress like slobs (for the most part)?
 

Eccentric

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Originally Posted by Johnathan
Then why do athletes in Europe not dress like slobs (for the most part)?

I would speculate that there is not as much of an industry surrounding European sporting events, or at least not one as shameless in its marketing. Not living in Europe, however, I really don't know. It could also have to do with the degradation of mainstream American athletics to low brow spectacles devoid of either culture or sportsmanship.
 

RJmanbearpig

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LK, have you read Pearl Binder's The Peacock's Tail yet? You would enjoy it.
 

EasyGoing

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Originally Posted by LabelKing
I blame this on the hippies, feminists and other proletariat elements that have come to permeate society as a global whole--certainly faux equality is not worth sacrificing male peacockery; we're better at concealing our prejudices, but not better at concealing our guts.

Shouldn't your scorn start with Brummell?
 

JLibourel

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Originally Posted by EasyGoing
Shouldn't your scorn start with Brummell?

...or the "sober" colors that came to dominate business attire in the Victorian era.

Likewise, we had the drearily conformist era of the "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" well before the hippies and feminists started spewing their poisons.

I think we need to differentiate here between "peacockery" (and I don't mean this in a pejorative sense)--the natural desire of the male to display himself in his full glory, which probably has been in a pretty steady decline in the past two centuries, the brief "Peacock Revolution" of the 1960s notwithstanding--and any sort of decency and elegance in male attire, the decline of which has been marked only in recent times.

We have often had threads on this. I think one overlooked culprit was the fitness boom in the late '70s and early '80s. Appearing in public in workout clothing--sweats, singlets, shorts, sneakers, etc.--became a mark of virtue..and a bane to sartorial decency.
 

Doc4

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... stupid hippies.

(I need an "Eric Cartman" smilie!!)
 

LabelKing

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Originally Posted by EasyGoing
Shouldn't your scorn start with Brummell?

I don't mind Brummell and his insistence on sober form, but there have been exceptions in the male sartorial progression as JLibourel stated.
 

LabelKing

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Originally Posted by JLibourel
...or the "sober" colors that came to dominate business attire in the Victorian era. Likewise, we had the drearily conformist era of the "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" well before the hippies and feminists started spewing their poisons. I think we need to differentiate here between "peacockery" (and I don't mean this in a pejorative sense)--the natural desire of the male to display himself in his full glory, which probably has been in a pretty steady decline in the past two centuries, the brief "Peacock Revolution" of the 1960s notwithstanding--and any sort of decency and elegance in male attire, the decline of which has been marked only in recent times. We have often had threads on this. I think one overlooked culprit was the fitness boom in the late '70s and early '80s. Appearing in public in workout clothing--sweats, singlets, shorts, sneakers, etc.--became a mark of virtue..and a bane to sartorial decency.
The Victorian era may have had a distinct sobering effect, but there was still an element of peacockery as it were, in the rather ornate boutonnieres and watch-chains and fobs that men of status tended to wear.
 

designprofessor

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I think laziness and conformity finished off something that started early on.
Seems like America from day one was headed down the path of simplification in terms of aesthetics.
Rural beginnings and the Puritan's exclusion of ostentation did us no favors.
 

unicornwarrior

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Originally Posted by Eccentric
I would speculate that there is not as much of an industry surrounding European sporting events, or at least not one as shameless in its marketing. Not living in Europe, however, I really don't know. It could also have to do with the degradation of mainstream American athletics to low brow spectacles devoid of either culture or sportsmanship.
Well I'm not sure about that. I've seen those Europeans get nuts about soccer and other sports. They can be just as much of a rowdy bunch of lads. Many Europeans also are logo ridden. I think far too many people assume that the majority of Europeans are well dressed and wonderful people. I'm not saying they can't be, but holding everyone in high regard is quite peculiar. not saying that this is what you mean, just throwing in my two cents.
 

JLibourel

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Originally Posted by LabelKing
The Victorian era may have had a distinct sobering effect, but there was still an element of peacockery as it were, in the rather ornate boutonnieres and watch-chains and fobs that men of status tended to wear.

Oh certainly, but it was still a major comedown from the 17th and 18th centuries.
 

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