1. Hi, I'm the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  2. Styleforum Gives - Holiday Charity Auction 11 : Valstar jacket and a Master-Piece wallet courtesy of NoManWalksAlone

    We are very proud to present this year's edition of the Styleforum Holiday Charity Auctions, this year in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane (www.rmhcspokane.org). Each Auction lasts 24 hours. Please follow and bid on all the auctions.

    The 10th auction of the year is for a Valstar jacket and a Master-Piece wallet courtesy of NoManWalksAlone Please bid often and generously here

    Fok and the Styleforum Team.

On being the best dressed man in the room - some observations

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by simpleman, Sep 29, 2018.

  1. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    1,454
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Think different!
     

  2. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    1,454
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Suits in tropical weather:

    [​IMG]

    aka the "drafty bus".
     

  3. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    3,192
    Likes Received:
    7,804
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    If you want to buy one of those things, go ahead. That's thinking different, for sure.
     

  4. double00

    double00 Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    7,272
    Likes Received:
    8,538
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Location:
    Not Where but When
    when he wrote Electric Kool-Aid Wolfe was i think already wearing those white suits and he actually discusses NYC vs west coast reactions to it for a couple of paragraphs.

    i mean that's gotta be the ultimate FU outfit since there's no possibility of fitting in to any crowd and it's sort of fusty and punk all at once. but again blargh to the personal uniform.
     

  5. JJ Katz

    JJ Katz Senior Member

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    81
    Joined:
    May 31, 2018
    I think there's a pretty good probability you're right (I hope you're right).

    I do think it's quite likely that in my lifetime the US and, slightly later, Europe will reach a point where in many, perhaps most, places / situations a necktie or a full CBD 'uniform' will be regarded in the same way as, say, a homburg or spectators or a boater or plus-fours have been regarded in the past 30-40 years. A sort of quaint costume that elicits surprise (is the fellow an actor? on the way to some special ceremony?) I think aficionados of the tie underestimate how quickly this will happen (a bit like hat-wearing with business clothes in the 1960s).

    Interested in you opinion: what do you think?

    A question on the flip side of that. We know that there are currently very, very few places / times when a fellow wearing a clean t-shirt, cargo trous and crocs would be openly criticised / barred due to their apparel. Without judging whether this is good or bad or neutral, but noting that informality has tended to increase over the past 100-150 years, do people perceive there is some terminal point? I assume male frontal nudity will remain a social taboo, but other than that?

    Speaking of anti-conformism a la Andy57, see this quote from T Wolfe:
    "My own taste is counter-bohemian. My white suits came about by accident. I had a white suit made that was too hot for summer, so I wore it in December. I found that it really irritated people — I had hit upon this harmless form of aggression!"

    ;-)
     

  6. BXpress

    BXpress Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    76
    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2018
    I'm not sure about casual wear but i get the impression that we have already reached the almost all levels of informality. At least in everyday clothes. They only differ in style/trend. Obviously the final step would be if suits would disappear completely from the business/formal/festive occasions. Which brings me to the decline of the suit, which i think came to halt and is now confined to these areas. I don't see it declining any further at the moment. Also as others have pointed out, it is now a hobby and a choice to wear one, and since there will always be a percentage of people interested in suits (people have much weirder hobbies than sartoria), i think it will live on.
     

  7. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    10,949
    Likes Received:
    22,084
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    I don't think formal clothing will ever go away.

    Again, a lot of the stuff being discussed here was considered casual a hundred years ago. Someone earlier wrapped up the suit in terms like "propriety," "honor," "respect," "maturity," and all this other stuff. But the suit was not always viewed this way -- it's only viewed so today because of the context we're living in (and mostly by people who, I think, hate modern society for a variety of reasons).

    Male dress is not headed towards nudity. It's also not headed to uglier and uglier clothes (I assume that's what you mean when you say Crocs or whatever).

    Things get pushed out because they're considered stuffy, formal, and old guard. This is the history of the tassel loafer. In the 1960s or so, they were considered the more casual alternative to lace-ups, and were worn to boardrooms to show the person was more relaxed, carefree, approachable, etc. And then when they became too closely associated with rich, stuffy assholes, they fell out of popular favor (which was sometime in the '90s).

    Now certain guys like them because they're semi-fashionable in some circles. Or they like them because they're Ivy Style types. Or they like them because they're anti-modern and secretly like to be stuffy assholes (basically young fogeys).

    But the Croc doesn't replace the sneaker because neither of them have any of these dynamics. The minute society decides that something is considered stuffy, uptight, and undemocratic (ie aristocratic), that's when that thing starts to get pushed out. Sneakers aren't in danger of that because they're so democratic. They have a democratic history and contemporary democratic associations. Everyday people wear them; cool people wear them; young people wear them; people from all sorts of backgrounds wear them. It's not just rich people who wear them and I don't see that changing.

    When a formal garment gets pushed out, however, it's preserved as traditional clothing. And society always needs traditional dress. This is true of other countries. Women in Vietnam wear the áo dài and men wear the áo gấm for formal events, including things like formal weddings and funerals. Because, you know, they're special events, so people go back to traditional clothing. Those are considered formal garments. Same in Japan, Nigeria, Bolivia, etc -- all these places have preserved traditional dress, even in the face of massive globalization and casualization.

    The suit will live on through formal events, and a tailored jacket will continue to be that "nice thing you're supposed to wear." That's also the reason why it won't come back in a popular way. And to the degree that it makes brief fashion comebacks, like it did with the Mad Men era, it'll be because it becomes "cool" and not associated with stuff shirt types. All this handwringing and looking-down on everyday, casual people -- that's the kind of thing that makes people not want to wear suits.

    It's like when I see people ask when will Ivy Style come back. The answer is when it stops being associated with people who ask when Ivy Style will come back.

    It's true that the space for traditional clothes is shrinking. More work places are dressed down, which then forces even people who love suits to abandon suits in work places. But people will continue to wear these things to wedding and funerals -- all the alarmism about a few exceptions are just that, alarmism. If the áo gấm can survive French imperialism and Western influence via globalization, pretty sure the suit will also be worn to Western weddings and funerals. And so long as it lives there, you can wear a tailored jacket to nice restaurants and bars. Or other nice events. Which is how people interact with suits now.

    Notably, there are some professions that have resisted casualization, like politics (even if candidates sometimes campaign without a jacket), finance, and most law offices. Dress in society is never going to be completely flat -- there are more formal and causal places, more formal and casual occasions, etc. This is like Tom Friedman arguing the world is flat. The world has gotten flatter, but it's not flat. Dress has gotten flatter, but it's not flat.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018

  8. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    10,949
    Likes Received:
    22,084
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Since Crocs were brought up again, I would like to once again shoutout Michael Anton, who owns a pair of dashing mid-gray Crocs. A very formal color.
     

  9. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    10,949
    Likes Received:
    22,084
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    One more point: there's a popular narrative in clothing-enthusiast circles that the casualization of the workplace was part of a conspiracy by the Levi's company to sell more clothes, extending the social space for their clothes from a two-day weekend to the weekend plus casual Friday (and, eventually, the entire week).

    I think it's true that Levi's pushed casual clothes into work places, but the casualization of the work place is more about the end of Taylorism and scientific management. It's about making the work place more comfortable for employees and not treating them like cogs in a machine. The changing of work place dress codes is part of a very long history of how work has been organized -- from how offices were better lit to how manufacturing has been slowly replaced with service jobs (often knowledge-intensive services and creative jobs).

    I remember a time when everyone ooh'd and ahh'd over the idea of Google having funhouse, bouncy ball, workplaces. It was the idea that, if you treat people in the best way possible, you will increase efficiency (which is basically the opposite of Taylorism, which treated people like actual cogs in a machine, applying engineering concepts to human management). Granted, the Google example is extreme, and Google has its own issues with how it gentrifies neighborhoods, but you get my point.

    Which is what I mean when I say people should take longer views on the timeline of dress (don't think about it in postwar terms, go back further -- Taylorism started in the US around the 1880s and defined much of the industrial era, from there you can see the shifts to services and what it meant for work organization). I think it's also good to contextualize dress norms with bigger issues, so you're not just looking at clothes.

    Does anyone seriously want a return of Taylorism? Even in that Man in a Gray Flannel suit way, where you had these huge rooms full of people typing away, all looking the same? And you could be sent home if your shirt wasn't white? That seems so dystopian, even if you compare it to today's softer dress norm standards (meaning, we still conform, but the old way of conforming was so alienating). The world has gotten further away from that Marxist critique of industrial capitalism -- the alienation of labor. I don't think it was good to treat people like cogs -- doing so was alienating and dehumanizing. And even if I would prefer everyone to come to work voluntarily wearing a suit, because I think the workplace would look better because of it, it's hard to separate out the end of Taylorism with the death of the suit at work. If you treat people like human beings, some of them are going to show up in jeans. The world, in the end, is better for that bigger and more important shift in how we treat labor.
     

  10. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    3,192
    Likes Received:
    7,804
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2014
    Location:
    San Jose, California
    That may very well apply to me. Certainly, in my primary context, I am non-conformist.

    And I really, really want to get a pink suit made up.
     

  11. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Messages:
    41,240
    Likes Received:
    15,482
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    I have never figured out why people find crocs comfortable. I mean, it's a bit piece of molded plastic. Something with leather and a cork bottom, like Birks, sure, even though I think that they look terrible. But crocs seem to me to be a compromise for the beach, so that you don't cut up your feet, but are resigned to the fact that your feet are going to be full of sand no matter what you wear.
     

  12. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Messages:
    41,240
    Likes Received:
    15,482
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    I often agree with you, but sorry, any picture of Drake, for any reason, is a bridge too far.
     

  13. am55

    am55 Distinguished Member

    Messages:
    2,404
    Likes Received:
    1,454
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2014
    Google is a bad example, their culture - including and especially the beach balls and hammocks - is designed to create a weird Stockholm Syndrome culture that has become pervasive in the Valley and which is used to extract value from engineers without paying too much. The atmosphere is political and increasingly divorced from output (as we can see in the products; most recently instead of fixing the security holes they had failed to disclose for months in Google Plus, they just shut Google Plus down). The talent safari keeps thousands of incredibly smart people doing what is intellectual rote work since many of the products are empires of duct tape that need constant adjusting, and the corporate culture values (i.e. PMs get promoted for) new features over stability, security or user retention.

    Andy's employer is better about it, with few scandals and rapid, professional response to them (e.g. the blank root password issue on macs patched within hours) and rock-solid products; and Facebook the most cult-like, down to planning its own employee city and people proudly coding whilst in the toilets to show their dedication. It is described well in Chaos Monkeys by Antonio Garcia Martinez, and I do think Mike Judge is surprisingly accurate with the series Silicon Valley. HN had a recent discussion where some of this stuff came up peripherally: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18192534 - yes, these guys aren't sweating like factory workers, but the atmosphere comes close to the office folks in Orwell's 1984. And there is the cultural origin of the printed T-shirts that aren't officially mandatory as a dress code.

    Amusingly, if you want a psychologically easier job in software engineering which values and respects you as a human being, finance is the best option... and usually requires wearing a suit or at least suit trousers and a shirt. Work 9-5, get paid 2-4x as much, have health insurance, decent deadlines, long term projects...
     

  14. Vuchko

    Vuchko Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    16
    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2017
    Do you mean that they'll continue to be worn by grooms at weddings and the close family of the deceased at funerals? Or everyone attending these events?

    In recent years, I've certainly observed a decline in wearing suits at both weddings and funerals. In particular, I've attended a great many weddings in the last decade or so, and on average these definitely haven't been unusually casual or low-class -- quite the contrary. And yet, nowadays I observe a lot of men who don't bother wearing suits, sometimes not even a jacket.
     

  15. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    10,949
    Likes Received:
    22,084
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    Yes.

    And yes, but those are a minority.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.