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Most entertaining/Favourite Thread starting post?


Distinguished Member
Jul 2, 2006
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I remember being highly entertained by this a while back. By MrSmith2u...


I look around myself today, on the boulevard, in the food emporia, in the dining establishments, and I am disappointed if not ashamed and offended by what my eye takes in.

It seems the young, and increasingly the not-so young, of today have thrown in the proverbial towel, given up the ghost when it comes to attiring correctly in public, let alone behind ones own parlour screens. My eldest born is twenty six and sees fit to wear denim trousers in public; I was under the mistaken impression that my good lady wife and I had raised him in a manner becoming of a young gentleman, not a hobbledehoy, fit for little more than loitering around the drinking establishments after nine o'clock in the evening.

Certain gentlemen of fine aspect and no doubt impeccable upbringing who participate in this arena sometimes, I fear, ambitiously called Styleforum, are to be celebrated and looked up to (despite some of the colourful language to which they sometimes resort). These arbilters of excellence know who they are. The others contributors? Well...

The opposite of which the above gentlemen exist in tension is those of the leisure wear culture which has overtaken much of the English-speaking world: sports clothes on immensely fat sluggards, T-shirts with cartoon characters worn by people old enough to be dead; athletic shoes worn, reeking, everywhere; ball caps; jeans; shorts ( and shorts which look like slimy uinderwear out of which one would be alarmed but not astonished to see a rugose testicle slithering) in public, vests in public, matted dank armpit hair and an (imaginary?) reek of onions from the sodden oxter.

Baby clothes. Clothes for people who are called upon to do nothing, not even to present themselves in such a way as to enact the civilities of public life. A friend in her middle years was taken aside by a much older, and very soignÃ
e, woman who said: 'After a certain age, my dear, a little lipstick is a kindness to others.' The leisurewear culture accords no such kindness, and if it wears lipstick it is as a defiant statement of presence rather than a gesture of a sort of public commensality. Minority groups, far from wanting to demonstrate their commitment to social cohesion, insist on their right to distinguish themselves with their 'religious' dress (which is a damn peculiar concept since the God in whom they must believe sent us all into the world naked), but while they may indeed be showing respect to their gods, they are also saying 'bugger off' to everyone else. Grown women wear bright pink; civil servants cast away their neckties; priests abjure the Roman collar ('Call me Terry') and everywhere there is unseemly access to flesh (midriff, arse-cleft, armpit), there are prosthetics, there are beanie hats, stubble, the slump, the sweats, the tattoos, the piercings.

None of this carries any inbuilt freight; though we may believe that civility lies in a certain modesty and elegance, civilisation itself will not crumble if men wear shorts in London. It is, however, babyish. Infants (untended-to) are slovenly and egomaniacal; they are dressed to conceal their privates and to protect their flesh; nor do they care (or even recognise) what other people may see or think. It seems to me that the ostensible democratisation of clothing is, in reality, a regression into infantility: people coming into public as though they have dressed in the dark deliver clear messages that, firstly, they do not regard their fellow citizens as worthy of respect. Beneath the infantile exterior, all sorts of body dysmorphism may be going on across the gamut from anorexia, via bulmia, to down-and-out gluttony. (Fat people demand our respect too, now; but how can we respect someone for being fat? Despite it, yes; but because of it? How, exactly, is that done?) Never before in socail history has there been so little sense of social dressing; never such sense of the disconnected body, adrift in its mental perambulator , soothed with Botox and blepharoplasty, gym-bellies and labial rings. Men , too, are suffering from the same delusional infantility, spending hours at the gym to acquire a six-pack (how are over-developed abdominal muscles useful to a Web 2.0 marketeer or a commercial solicitor?) which only, really, appeals to adolescent girls, exfoliating, moisturising, grooming, preening.

It is like a disease; by which I mean there are a number of components to the infection. Pressure is applied, in the from of advertising and editorial (editorial being only done to get advertising) in men's magazines, set up by Baby Boomers to fund their Neverland lifestyles by trading off the insecurities of others. And those others must collude.

Gentlemen, there is no hope, and I fear I have overstayed my welcome. A sleep-inducing finger or two of some as yet untapped malt awaits my blessing.

As ever, yours,


Also there was one a month or so back in MS about the ability to dress well effortlessly, I believe.
Any link welcome.

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