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

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

  1. JJ Katz

    JJ Katz Well-Known Member

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    If I may summarise the DWW theory: any garment that is associated with conservative / traditional social attitudes ('stuffy assholes') tends to gradually disappear from daily use, with the exception of some ceremonial use.

    If that is correct, I think that outside of the groom-or-grieving-spouse category, the tie is toast, probably 'classic' lace-ups and 'full suits. At some point, though, they could return as 'costume'; like trilbies which, in my youth, were ultra-crusty, virtually disappeared and now are hipsterish.

    Andy: looking forward to the pink suit (you'll have to start referring to people as "old sport" though...).
     

  2. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi

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    Trilbies are a great example. Look at what everyone cites when people ask why they've had a hard time coming back, even as a niche fashion item.
     

  3. Andy57

    Andy57 Distinguished Member

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    I'm working on it. Practicing in front of the mirror...
     

  4. Vuchko

    Vuchko Well-Known Member

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    Curioisly, pocket squares have seen something of a revival in recent years, at the same time as ties have been in noticeable decline even in what had been their last firm bastions until very recently. Nowadays I’ll add a pocket square to my everyday jackets without hesitation, while a tie just doesn’t seem like a realistic option.

    Which I think suggests that these trends are to a significant degree driven by comfort and practicality, not just social attitudes. (These are of course intertwined, since zero-effort elements like pocket squares are easier to pull off without coming off as overdone and try-hard compared to those that have, or at least appear to have, a significant cost in comfort and practicality.)

    Which in turn could mean that we’re headed for an optimistic outcome where nice tailored clothing doesn’t disappear completely from everyday life, but persists in a modernized form that keeps much of its aesthetic benefits while being practical, comfortable, and low-effort. I think modern outfits with sports coats and odd pants are a good example of the latter.

    In this sense, I really don’t mind the disappearance of any particular element of classic menswear, as long as the new standard leaves some good options for men in all stages of life. (In fact, in principle, one could imagine new standards of dress that would be a clear improvement on classic menswear, keeping all its benefits while addressing some of its obvious flaws.) But what I fear is the pessimistic outcome where really no good options are left for men past their youthful prime.
     

  5. double00

    double00 Distinguished Member

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    ^ the implication of 'ideal' that is gotten to - obliquely - through the different treatments of body stage is most interesting and i think it is this unspoken ideal that is at the heart of these seemingly (but not really) mutually exclusive forms.

    Maybe folks would feel better if there was a stronger tradition of bespoke swd but obv so rooted in rtw from sports n workwear idioms
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018

  6. double00

    double00 Distinguished Member

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    and to piggy back off of my previous:

    i mean this is a really important distinction, cm is about self-curation within an idiom (choosing fabric, collar, lapel, etc) as a means of distinguishing within a like crowd; meanwhile, swd is often about some novel vision of ground-level communication (or to put that another way is typically about the primacy of some 2nd party viewpoint if we are talking about current fashion).

    so the cm aficionado may see themselves as the primary designer, since the suit is already a known form all there is to do is order/style it capably. and again different than street fits where the form is often what is being evaluated. it may leave seemingly little room for nuance within what amounts to a non-idiomatic idiom (which is really how i think of swd).

    2 bits.
     

  7. comrade

    comrade Distinguished Member

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    Anyone know the model year of that wonderful Citroen bus?
     

  8. SGTROCK

    SGTROCK Well-Known Member

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    The reality is people do judge by appearances; whether it's right or wrong is another philosophical debate.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018

  9. IChen

    IChen Senior Member

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    Really? I mean just my opinion....I'd do a pocket square as one of the last things I'll add to an outfit that involves at least a sport coat or suit. Maybe it's just me, but I consider pocket squares easier to mess up in terms of how it works with what else you have on. and imo adding a pocket square seems much more like you're trying hard, slightly over compared to a tie. but that's just me.
     

  10. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Mahatma Jawndi

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    me trying to get dressed in 2018

    lazer-maze_650x366_mini (1).jpg
     

  11. comrade

    comrade Distinguished Member

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    "In a scenario like you've described, sure. But not if i go to a concert in a Baroque palace, where i don't know the other people and where there is no dress code. in that case you go with what you deem appropriate and it's not my problem that guys choose to attend in jeans and a white shirt untucked . If we were strict about tradition and etiquette, it's an event that would actually warrant Black Tie attire. In that case there is no slack to be given and if anyone feels slighted because i wear a business suit (underdressed actually), then i couldn't care less. In my head i laugh maniacally at their angry stares. In the words of Tony Soprano:" They don't sell hotdogs in here."

    I have actually attended concerts in Baroque Palaces ( and Churches) in Rome,
    Prague, Venice, and Salzburg as well as a Wren Church in London. In all cases,
    as a tourist I was dressed casually, and with the possible exception of London,
    most of the locals were casual too. However, when I attend the symphony and or
    the Opera in San Francisco, I always wear a suit or for matinees a sport coat and tie.
    The opera in San Francisco is one of the few places where men wear suits and sometimes tuxes. It's also one of the few places where one can see many
    who are dressed well by SF standards. And for the Opera it is not as old a
    crowd as one might expect.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2018

  12. Vuchko

    Vuchko Well-Known Member

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    In my experience, practically any jacket + odd pants combination that works on its own terms can be improved with a pocket square, even the most casual soft jacket worn with blue jeans, and it's not very hard to find one that works well. Whereas a lot fewer combinations work with a tie -- as long as the pants look casual, it's hard to pull off without ending up with an incongruous "newscaster" look.

    A pocket square also stands out a lot less, and unless you make it very large or loud, it more or less blends in with the rest of what you wear. Whereas the tie is, by its very design, the single most striking and conspicuous element of your outfit.
     

  13. Aquafortis

    Aquafortis Senior Member

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    I completely agree. In my San Francisco work setting, sport jackets are fairly rare, and ties are exceptional. And many who wear the odd jacket and trousers, rarely do so with pocket squares, so I can see how some may regard the pocket square as an exotic accessory. Makes me think of a comment I received recently from a male coworker when I was wearing a jacket with a square: "Are you wearing a pocket handkerchief?!". I chuckled. I think men who are unfamiliar with CBD think of the tie as requisite for business dress, but are not aware and can't interpret/understand the many tasteful variations moving in the spectrum towards the more casual.
     

  14. IChen

    IChen Senior Member

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    Tasteful agreed, some people just don't bother to continue adding to the closet with that part of the spectrum. I mean I'm someone without accessories, pocket squares, scarves...I just go with shirt top button unbottoned + sportcoat.

    But it was really more of a comparison between tie and pocket square. A tie doesn't feel like effort since you're going to wear it in a professional setting and it's generally seen with suits. A pocket square is something you're going to make some effort to add for an outfit, at least in my opinion.
     

  15. Aquafortis

    Aquafortis Senior Member

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    I can see that perspective. IMHO it's a matter of becoming comfortable with including a square as a companion to wearing a jacket, and also the skill/sensibility of being able to and having the comfort/confidence to choose an appropriate square that pairs well with what you're wearing. In my case, a few years ago I was rarely even wearing a sport coat - ever - and decided after turning 50, that it was high time to let go of the ultra-casual attire for work. I now wear sport coats and odd dress trousers at least three times a week, and it takes me maybe 15-20 seconds to choose a pocket square and stick it in my jacket...I'm sure choosing a tie would actually take me more time to select and to tie. I think it probably comes down more to personal comfort and the specific context and norms of where one wears these pairings.
     

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