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Rules: common sense or religion?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by alchimiste, Mar 8, 2005.

  1. alchimiste

    alchimiste Senior member

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    Some of the "rules" are common sense: whoever thinks about it for two seconds will agree with the rule. Others do not seem to have logical grounds and seem to be just historical things that stayed. Such rules sometimes evolve and new rules emerge which can be the opposite of the former rules (and enforced quite as strictly.)

    Overall, do you think that rules are mostly rational or that thye are form of religion?
    Another way of putting it: there are things we may call tacky, terrible, etc. but in how many cases are we actually able to explain precisely and logically why it is wrong?

    Mathieu
     


  2. Alias

    Alias Senior member

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    It's a bit of both, I think. Some of the rules of proper dress can be drawn to concepts as simple as the rules of proportion, while some of the more esoteric have evolved over time and have been popularized by leading style icons, and even craftsmen.

    And as with all things, these rules are not immune to change.
     


  3. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Senior member

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    Aesthetics are not rational but rather are based on the habits and tastes of a particular guiding group (or social order). The "rules" are therefore similar to etiquette and are far short of religion (the rules are independent of any moral or spiritual hierarchy). If the guiding social group utterly vanishes, then, after a while for nostalgia, their dress is remembered only by archaelogists or historians.
     


  4. WJTW

    WJTW Well-Known Member

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    So, the thing about black being not suitable for business, which of the two is it? To be frank, I like black suits the most and even if the rest of the business world were to wear grey, I'll stick to black. [​IMG] How about the pants with socks, shoes with belt rules? Which ones are they? WJTW
     


  5. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Senior member

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    IMO, they're practical because these "rules" are still being observed and they look better anyway. No brown belt with black shoes or brown socks with navy trousers and black shoes. It just looks like you dressed in too much of a hurry.
     


  6. WJTW

    WJTW Well-Known Member

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    I agree that the belt with shoe rule is quite logical, because the eye immediately find it uncomfortable to see any other combination.

    Actually, before I have even known about this rule, I have suspected that shoes and belts should match. I have no idea why I even thought of it, but after reading through the forum, the suspicion was turned into knowledge.

    WJTW
     


  7. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    It's exactly as you say -- some are based on obvious aesthetic principles and others are based on arbitrary convention.

    That said, the conventions exist whether one likes them or not.  If you work in a client-facing role and you can't dress the part, I'm going to question your ability or willingness to relate to clients in other ways, too.  A meeting with a client is not an opportunity to demonstrate one's "individuality" by flaunting commonly-accepted business codes.

    dan
     


  8. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    I disagree with half of this. Â Aesthetics can be rational. Â Think, for instance, of the Golden Rectangle. But leaving aside what may be termed, loosely, "intrinsic aesthetics," there is also "relative aesthetics". Â By which I mean simply this: a given style or genre may be entirely invented, and considered pleasing to the eye only because of convention, tradition, history, acclimation, etc. Â But once its parameters are established, rational principles apply to what looks good within a given genre. Â At least I think so. Â This is why, for instance, red sweatpants look bad with a tailored jacket. Â I don't think that's simply a matter of habit and taste. As to the rules: some are rational, some are not. Â Some believe that any clothing style that goes beyond simple insulation or protection from the elements or the attraction of a mate is inherently irrational. Â I'm not sure I would go that far. Â I think there is something rational about the use of clothing to convey status (in the broadest sense of that term) because I believe with Tom Wolfe that the creation and maintenance of status hierarchies are inexpugnable activities of human nature. That said, taken as a whole, we may say that the rules are largely irrational, both because the irrational rules probably outnumber the rational ones, and because the presence of any significant irrational parts of a thing inevitably detracts from the rationality of the whole.
     


  9. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Always nice to be on Page 1 of that which will become a 50 pager ... I attended an interesting mass this weekend at the Church of the Sartorial Excellence. The mass was so compelling, I remained for almost 20 hours. I listened with intensity to the parishioners, many of whom, as I, were so enthralled that they spent many hours at the altar. There can be no question, no doubt, not even a whisper, but that the rules you cite are a religion. Those who followed the rules of the church were elevated to the highest of stature. Those who sinned were summarily excommunicated by their fellow parishioners. And in a strong diversion from those who know me well that soliloquy, humorous as some might consider it, is said with the greatest seriousness I can muster.
    I am not sure, after a 20 hour mass, whether I am sufficiently rational to determine whether the statement is, or is not, rational. However, this I do know: Religion - that of the organized type - is comprised of the teachings which have become beliefs which have become teachings - some of which came from folk lore and others of which derived from rational deduction or personal witness. Various facets of a religion may be rational; many certainly are not. And so go "the rules". Some perhaps rational; others not. None of which alters in any way the fact that, to they who adamantly believe, those rules constitute a religion. I have carefully avoided citing rational and non-rational religious tenets in an effort to keep the thread from becoming embroiled in controversy over the basis of the various beliefs of the many organized religions. Perhaps that spirit might be contagious lest we be relegated to the dustbin of The General Conversation Forum?
     


  10. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Manton is correct in his analysis. "Religious" and "irrational" are not synonymous, however, nor are "common sense" and "religion" antithetical. I think the question might have better been posed. For example:

    "Are sartorial rules as laid down by Flusser, Roetzel, Boyer, et al... rational or irrational?" Even that is a rather poorly formed question.

    Maybe the discussion should be relegated to the arena of whether there are "relatively intrinsic aesthetics" or merely "relative aesthetics" (I realize that the first is a made up term, but it works) in (modern) sartorial matters. On this particular debate, Manton and myself are squarely in opposite camps.
     


  11. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    This is incorrect. Â Religion comes from God or a god or the gods. Â Its tenets are revealed by a deity to a person or persons who then transmit(s) them to others. Â Specific religious tenets may be in accord with reason or not, but to the extent that human beings rely on reason as the test of a religious tenet's truth or falsehood, that is not religion but rational critical inquiry. Â Some gods get mad when their followers try to do this ...
    Again, strictly speaking, religious tenets have a supra-rational origin. Â They may agree or coincide with what can be reasonably known and rationally demonstrated, but reason is never the source of their ultimate authority. Â On the other hand, the origin of some -- even many -- of the clothing rules is precisely reason, and therefore these rules are properly subject to rational critical inquiry. And I would more accurately characterize the irrational clothing rules not as religion but as custom or convention. Â These are perhaps equally irrational, but their source is nonetheless 100% human without any spark of the divine or supernatural.
     


  12. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Not "laid down"; "reported" or "recorded" would be more precise in my view.

    Indeed.  Philistine.
     


  13. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Your statement is false due to its absolute stance. Were you to opine in a more relative manner, that religion is most often assumed to come from God, a god, or gods, I should concur. However, religion is also acceptably defined as: a cause, principle, or belief held to with faith and ardor.* -or- An object of conscientious devotion or scrupulous care.** In the case of these lesser definitions, I am indeed correct. Not to be presumptuous or unfair, but you are one of the examples I should most likely cite were I to try to further defend my position. [​IMG] * "The Merriam-Webster Dictionary" ** "Britannica World Language Dictionary"
     


  14. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Well, of course, and the person represented in my avatar would say every last one came from a liar perpetrating an outright, knowing, and self-interested fraud. However, wasn't it you who said you didn't want to wade heedlessly into theological controversies?

    In any event, from the perspective of the believer, religion comes from God or a god or the gods.
     


  15. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

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    Bait. Pure and simple. Bait. Old fish too smart.
     


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