Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by alchimiste, Mar 8, 2005.
Manton's posts are even better when he uses the word "inexpugnable".
Rules are most important, after all, there would not be a Style Forum without them.
However, experimenting with outfits which may break the rules is how a personal style is developed. As Mrs. Manners says, it's not in good taste to always be in good taste.
Indeed, at least two philosophers during the past century have argued that aesthetics can only be a rational, objective process. I'm sure that there are those who claim the same for satorial matters, thereby arguing that there is a clear set of rules for dressing. I doubt, however, they would call it a religion since that implies intrinsicism and subjectivity
Do I get a free shirt as a thank you for starting this thread?
Methinks all ye learned gentlemen doth protest too much. Perhaps you fear the implications? Most certainly you are hiding behind semantic and lofty philosophical walls in your various attempts to answer such a simple question. In your discussion of the intrinsic, the subjective, the aesthetics, the rationality or the irrationality, the status hierarchies, God, a god, or the gods ... you have entirely lost your objectivity. Your focus is narrowed upon meaningless points thus losing the true import of the discussion; failing to see the forest not even for the trees, but for merely the veins on one or two leaves. Peruse again the less common accepted definition of religion (above) and read on , Mac ... duff.
Try answering these questions:
Where do you spend more time each week: In your organized religious institution or on the Style Forum?
How many clothing reference materials do you own? Do you also possess Bible, Torah, and Koran?
How many years have you spent in the study of your religion or theology in general? And how many years perfecting your knowledge of clothing?
If you are writing a book about clothing, for how many years have you so toiled? And have you been as strongly driven to spend as much time persuing the organized religion of your choice?
Finally, what makes you more upset: Missing an entire Mass ... or the Style Forum/AAAC servers going down for four minutes?
You'll kindly pardon me if I wrote the questions with advance knowledge of the answers. Can you rationalize your answers with the accepted non-God definitions of religion and again state exactly how the sartorial rules do not codify that which is, for many including, I suspect, all or most of you, a religion?
This is an entirely appropriate question ... if and when we reach page 49.
You make a very accurate and theologically astute point, Alex. Â Every person serves a "god" (or gods) whether of an "organized" religion or not. Â Although you earlier stated "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," I think you're well into it now. Â And the original poster may come to regret his choice of words as this topic gets towed to Current Events, Religion, and other Flame Wars... As an aside, I think there's still room here for those of us whose answers to your questions above were not the ones to which you profess advance knowledge. Regards, dan
Alex: everything you say about the habits and inclinations of the people on the boards may be true, and yet that would not change the metaphysical differences between religion and convention or custom. I am not "protesting," only pointing out an important distinction.
The original post should perhaps have been titled, for the sake of precision, "Rules: rational or conventional?"
OK. I concede. In my utterly simplistic fashion, I was merely trying to avoid selecting any particular belief of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism or any of the other popular organized sects in an effort to avoid inciting ire.
Of course. I consider my shirts in a religious manner. Shoes ... New Balance will do fine.
My point exactly. You, and many others, are having the discussion in the de jure metaphysical arena. In contrast, I insist upon remaining on a de facto level. Possibly, both are equally correct? Perhaps we can all just blame it on the non-specificity of alchimiste and void his free shirt request?
I believe this to be the most concise and precise formulation of the question. Let's go with it.
In my oipinion, the "rules" as codified (I accept that Flusser et al codified the rules rather than actually laid them down) are rational within a narrowly defined set of conditions, namely, the conventions of male costume from just before the turn of the century to just before the WW II, but that these conditions no longer exist, and are therefore conventions only, and archaic ones at that. Moreover, I would go so far as to say that the codified "rules" are in fact much stricter than the "rules" as they existed within the framework in which they would have been rational.
Dear Manton and LAGuy,
I think that I have been answering the question as originally posed, to wit: That to quite a number of sartorial devotees, clothing is a form of religion. Personally, I find great interest in members' answers to the original question for it is something I have been studying for a couple of decades.
However, throughout this thread, you have been struggling mightily to alter the original question to one which better fits the answers as you would like to offer them. Might you not reserve that privilege for alchimiste? Alternatively, there is a button up at the top of the page titled "New Topic". Convention (see 'Hijaaking') would dictate that you push it.
Objecting ... but with great admiration and affection,
i'm interested to hear what these conditions were, and why they are no more, and why they should be no more.
some random thoughts:
- to me, style (whether in clothing, architecture, typography, etc.) has more to do with language than with religion.
- you can make up a style, although it's hard to avoid being derivative. if you are guided by so-called 'common sense', you will unavoidably make a style that resembles another one.
- there are mainstreams, and there are alternatives. is one better than the other?
- it seems the extent to which dressing is a social act, is the extent to which the 'rules' of dressing constitute a religion. the extent to which a person wishes to be a social individual is one way the 'rules' can be both a religion and 'common sense'; i.e. whether one dresses to meet or to thwart expectations.
Okay, really busy, but some changes:
- The end of the American Great Depression.
- The emergence of the assembly line as the predominant form of production.
- The increasing ubiquity of catalogue/mail order shopping.
- The continued popularization of military styled and work clothing. Many clothing conventions to that time had military roots, but WWII was the most conscripted war in modern times (unless you count the Napoleanic wars) and the uniform traditions that were adapted were not those of dress or officer uniforms, but the drab, durable and function uniform of infantry conscripts.
- The emergence of Method Acting (I kid you not) and the emergence of the anti-hero, from Brando in Streetcar to James Dean in Rebel without a cause. The hero was no longer elegant and dandified - he was a man who sweated, rolled up his sleeves, and slouched in his clothing.
- The baby boom and the reaction against the status quo by the boomers in the 60s - those who grew up in the 60s have never put the yoke of the suit on as comfortably as they did in the past. And putting on a suit came to symbolize conformity and drudgery (See "Man in the Grey Flannel Suit".)
- Related to the above: the youth movements of the 50's and 60's, from the mods to the hippies, who defied or redefined the conventions previously held.
- the continued democratization of fashion to the present.
Many more changes. Will post more later. Point is, we are not in the 20's anymore.
still not sure how any of those points lead to the conclusion that the 'rules' we're talking about are now obsolete.
within the subculture begun by the elements represented by the anti-hero, youth movements, etc., perhaps they are. that subculture has set up its own set of rules which necessarily are counter to the establishment's.
but to those in the mainstream, the 'rules' we're talking about play an important role in getting along well with others. same as etiquette, manners, and customs. it doesn't matter much whether these things are 100% pure logic and common sense, what matters is that they are understood and expected.
democratization notwithstanding, there will always be centers of power and hierarchies emanating from them. as long as that happens, aspirants to power will dress to impress, and the rules will still be relevant.
it just so happens that in our current time, there are multiple centers of power and influence that issue a wider range of 'rules', such that the jeans-and-tshirt crowd can still obtain at least a modicum of social success without the constricting ties and braces.
however, until eminem becomes president (and dr. dre is minister of agriculture), i will not believe that the codified rules are too narrowly defined, because they still apply to the mainstream of power and culture.
We are confusing 2 issues here.
First, even with regard to distinguishing oneself as a member or aspirant to a particular place in the class structure, or "centers of power" or "hierarchies" as you put it; the codified "rules" are not as strict and unchanging as Manton and Flusser and other codifiers would have you believe. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in Washington on New York could tell you that some of the people at the very top of the food chain (who still dress themselves, so let's forget the president for the time being) dress in what some people on this forum would deem to be rags - ill-fitting BB or Jos. A. Banks suits, chunky black shoes, etc...
Secondly, and I think more on topic, I think that these changes have allowed redefinition of what constitutes a "stylish" man that lied far outside of traditional "rules". I would seriously question the grasp on reality of anyone who would tell me that Steve McQueen or Yul Brenner or the David Bowie are not style icons in their own right.
Separate names with a comma.