Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Fuuma, Aug 3, 2012.
I hope this is all tongue in cheek humor.
I wish your medicine didn't taste so bitter. More would be apt to take it and benefit from it.
Yes, that captures the heart of the problem. Good medicine is often bitter.
I don't think Fuu really needed to use all those phrases, but he was driving at something interesting.
The way I was taught philosophy, good argument and discussion should avoid jargon, references to authority, famous names, quotations, etc. You don't need any of that. All you need are clear premises, consistent terms, and orderly logic.
^ The above is what the stylish men I admire say is the end experience for any sartorial quest - that one is not born with style, and that one cannot teach style.
Sad but true.
However, they are happier people in their "I know what I am doing and I don't give a fuck land" than those who are still searching or "showing."
E.g., Flusser, Luciano Barbera, Ralph Lauren . . . .
Foo: given your laments for the future in this thread, I have an honest question: what do you actually want from Styleforum and its members that you're not already getting?
I ask because the (perhaps erroneous?) impression I get is that you want it to be a discussion forum for learning to dress within the parameters you've chosen for yourself ("recognized to be well-dressed in an MC context", to quote post #5).
Well, isn't it already that? You - and everyone else - have the opportunity to have as much of that discussion as you choose, in the same way that others have the ability to discuss whatever aspect they want to about tailored clothes. The recent upsurge in discussion activity you enjoy is specifically due to the mutual decision of you & others to post more. That's ample evidence of your shared ability to have as much of that discussion as your hearts desire. It could be one thread, or a millon threads. It will continue for just as long as you all - and any who learn to also follow that path - choose to continue it. This is even more true given your ability to moderate posts at variance with whatever thread topic you want start (I think you've got the ability to do that, right?). What is present in other threads has no impact on that. So what more do you want?
The only option I can think of is that you want to convince others that this is indeed the optimal way to dress in tailored clothes. I don't mean to put words in your mouth: have I got that right, or am I missing something else?
If that is the missing element, I think you'll never be satisfied. How can someone possibly convince everyone else of their opinion in an open forum, or indeed, the wider world? It's just not doable. But much more importantly, I don't see why it matters whether others are convinced or not. Why does the general level of dress - or rather, the opinion about what it is to be well-dressed - matter at all? Isn't it enough to enjoy dressing and feel you're dressing to your best? Whether others listen doesn't influence your own satisfaction at putting together an outfit you're proud of.
Having said all of that, if convincing/educating/instructing the wider world IS important to you, then I really don't understand why you go about it the way you have in this thread. You must surely understand that persuading others only rarely happens through logic or force of argument, but through charm, persuasion and psychological manipulation. You acknowledge this yourself in post #7 by correctly predicting what would happen through coercion. What you really should implement is an advertising and marketing approach, not a didactic instructive one. Put idiomatically, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. In a way, that's part of why the recent upsurge in threads has potential to influence minds; it's not WHAT you say in those threads that matters. It's the mere fact those threads exist at all, taking up mindshare of the forum and encouraging through example rather than either through coercion or logic.
Clothing is a form of culture, not mathematics. Disseminating your chosen culture as widely as possible is best achieved if thought about in that memetic way.
This is a good thread, potentially the most important of the "Old Guard" threads of the last few days, and overlaps with a number.
There is a contrast between the "analysers" and the "emoters". I'm afraid that I run on gut feeling, not detailed knowledge, and for all the threads that I've read on tailoring techniques or shoe construction, I tend to focus on the end product, rather than the process. As a mild extrovert, I think I am in touch with my emotions and deeply charming, whereas the others are anal-retentive boring nerds. The latter may well think I'm a superficial prick, We are both right and equally wrong, and should respect each other and focus on what unites us, not what divides. I still have no great idea how a shoe is made, but I know which shoes I buy.
On classism, all British people are born with an MBA in it. I was staggered decades ago by the way that Molloy in "Dress for Success" was so overt with his proposition that if you wanted to get on, you should dress like a member of the upper-middle class. Not that he was wrong, but that he was so honest in print, violating a rule of British hypocrisy (all people are hypocrites, and it is the lubricant of most societies) to not talk about stuff like that and to pretend it is not true.
I'm a mild optimist though on Foo's depressing analysis. Yes, "we" are outnumbered. But every generation has thought that it was now facing Total Decline Into Barbarism (inc. Plato's). What is happening is that formal wear and black tie are supplanted by lounge suit, lounge suit by business casual, and so on. But I would not have thought years ago that Knightsbridge hedgies would be getting their business casual made bespoke. And they are.
There is without doubt on this forum a tension between baroque/mannerist (Spoo? NORE?), neo-claccisicism (Foo, Manton), and something that might be modernism or post-modernism (whatever happens in SWD). But that, or some variant thereof, is a good thing.
H., I think you are conflating my philosophical discussion about the difficulty of overturning values related to dress and whether I am willing to give it a go. I see nothing contradictory in recognizing that a task is difficult while attempting to accomplish it.
Not at all, most of these terms are explained in the post and the very few that aren't are peripheral to the main argument and can easily be found by using your favourite internet search engine. The post was rather straightforward and the "name dropping" merely placed it in the context of various philosophical arguments, as making a parallel between the later and what is going on in MC was the main point. If it went over your head you should either read more carefully or ignore me but please don't say the language used was too complicated, we're not engaging in a the politics of the english language debate yet again.
It is also rich that Foo, who just made a reference to the master-slave dialectic, would say I am using metalanguage too heavily.
Okay, but I am trained in philosophy, too. Often, using terms of art only risks obscuring what could have been said more precisely--even when between those educated in the subject.
If it's any consolation, I understand Fuuma's prose far better than Foo's. In fact, I often have to read Foo multiple times to understand what he's saying. Some are rather dense and I feel stupid asking.
is antithetical to this
Master? Slave? Coerce? Goodness. I prefer to think of SF as a community of free persons, thank you very much.
Fuuma has it right and Foo has it wrong. The idea of sartorial rules laid down by dictat would indeed be classist. But that is simply no longer possible as the upper classes, as they once were, no longer exist. There is no sartorial master and, certainly, no sartorial slave. Influence is based on results ala Fuuma's consensus, not "moral credibility." I find the idea of "submitting to Manton's moral authority" and dressing CBD simply because he does absurd. If, however, you like the effect that Manton creates regardless of whether it is Manton dressed that way or Joe Bloggs, that's another story.
And this is the difference that I have been arguing for for a while. I believe that, as practiced by some posters on SF, dressing is a bona fide art form. I think, though I cannot, of course, prove it, that there is a germ of objective correctness in the rules of classical dress in the sense that many of these rules evolved for good reasons that speak to something fundamental about humans. But that is neither here nor there. All that is necessary is that there be a consensus that something looks good. We can then have an interesting discussion about why it looks good and how to replicate those essential elements, whatever they are, in other contexts.
This is what Manton and Vox are doing. Manton wrote an entire book about why the rules of dressing are the way they are and how to use them effectively. The premise for this book was that classical dressing looks good, for whatever reason. If you do not accept this basic premise, there is no point to the rules. But if you do, the argument Manton makes is, "People think this looks good. The reason it looks good is because of X. Therefore, if you do X it will also look good in this other context." He is not relying on "moral credibility" but on results.
So the "credibility" that Vox and Manton have comes from the results that are delivered from the theoretical structures that they propose. This is the "coherent set of principles" that Fuuma suggests. Note that this is an intellectually difficult exercise and goes very far beyond "Nice fit!" or even, "I think it would look better with a burgundy tie." Creating these rules does not rely on the eye or even the opinion of the "expert." Rather, it relies on the expert's knowledge of a great number of individual cases and his ability to formulate general rules from them.
To put it another way, Manton and Vox engage in a process of inductive reasoning that allows them to formulate a set of rules/principles. Once they have done so, non-experts may use these rules to reason deductively to produce a particular sartorial effect. Whether these rules are accepted does not depend on how many bespoke suits they own or on how many posts they have but on how well their rules work to produce the desired effect, whatever it is.
Now here on SF we can debate, endlessly, exactly what effect we ought to be trying to produce, and how well a proposed rule works to produce it. That, for me, is the entertaining bit. But ultimately, that is based on a shared consensus, no matter how transitory, not on the dictates of history or the "moral credibility" of a "sartorial master."
The other side of this coin is that if you do not agree that classical dress looks good, you should not be posting here. As entertaining as Mt. Spiffy (or whatever his name is) was there was no point in trying to engage him in a serious sartorial discussion as there was no common frame of reference.
Bounder, I don't think you understood anything that I said. If you don't understand the use of "master" and "slave" here, I refuse to believe you understood Fuuma.
Separate names with a comma.