SW&D Theory? (CM's Free For All Help Thread)

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Caustic Man, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    Thanks for posting some inspiration. I appreciate what you said as well. It can be a bit disheartening to see people keep saying that it looks nice, but it's still not SWD. Which is fine, if I look like a well dressed guy on his day off then that isn't bad at all. I still want to get this SWD thing though, and I will certainly keep trying. Some of my favorite posters in SWD don't have what I would call "edge", but still look good. That's kind of what I want to emulate.

    Also, a thought and a question for everyone: Since SWD tastes are so all over the place I wonder if that is the reason that photography, poses, and backdrops are so seemingly important. What I mean by that is, looking like you are comfortable with what you are wearing seems to be such a big part of SWD that it is advisable to take photographs composed to simulate how comfortable you are in your clothes rather than simply showing fit and proportions like in CM. If someone is dressed like a space ninja they will have a much different aesthetic than someone dressed like an India inspired hippy. Yet both can understand when the other looks good not just by the clothes and the fit, but also by how relaxed they look in their photos. Any truth to this? I know it is only true in a limited sense because I have seen great fits posted in SWD utilizing "robo-pose". Just the same, attitude and posture seem much more important in SWD photos than in CM.
     


  2. Master-Classter

    Master-Classter Senior member

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    good photography and a congruent 'lifestyle' setting helps. And looking like you're actually comfortable in your clothes not just posing and then changing out of it after the pic. Doesn't make or break the fit but it helps.
     


  3. cyc wid it

    cyc wid it Senior member

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    Re: photography/lifestyle/backdrop, this has been asked before I can't find the response that I really liked, but it tied into the whole "persona" aspect of SW&D. I'll search more later.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015


  4. Synthese

    Synthese Darth Millennial Dubiously Honored

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    I definitely think there's truth to that, but maybe not quite in the way you're suggesting. Oh, and I thought your last picture looked nice - it's just that we're discussing arbitrary distinctions and, for me, it doesn't fall under the SW&D umbrella. But back to the question: I think you're spot on with what we look for in photos, although I think it's a side effect of a bigger scheme - I really do think it goes back to my first rant about narrative. I think that the best SWD posters (and probably CM, too, although it's much harder for me to parse - don't have the knowledge) really do look like they're conveying something - there's direction in their clothing choices, there's intention. I mean, look at this picture from Claghorn:

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    Part of what makes it good is the photography, background and pose, sure, but all of that's made possible by the clothing - it suggests something more than just "well-dressed guy." It's not SWD at all, of course, but it's got plenty of its own romance. Fuuma doesn't dress like a space pirate or a railroad worker, but he conveys his own mood. Perhaps that's a better word than "edge," which is more of a personal bias. But I think we should avoid turning this into a discussion of how to take a great SW&D outfit photo, if we can.

    Same with this one:

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    And this one:

    [​IMG]

    So, different examples of how backgrounds influence what you see, but all of which are completely dependent on the clothing and styling.

    Again, it's not really a definite distinction that makes an outfit SW&D, and neither Rais nor noob are wearing super-expensive things (dunno about claghorn) - it's that they had something in mind, and the clothes were chosen in order to express that. A big part of what I think makes people "successful" here is knowing which garments can be used to achieve that expression. Anyway, if I ever select one of our weekly challenges, I'll be sure to make it a selfish one involving writing a story.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015


  5. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    I think I can see what you are saying. Rais would like slightly out of place if you put him where Clags is standing and vice versa. One thing I will say however is that Clags is still pretty much straight up and down in his posture. There is very little movement which I would guess is aimed to provide some idea of fit and proportions. I can hardly identify what Rais is wearing but I know that in the context of his picture it looks cool to me. This is kind of what I mean when I drew the distinction between CM and SWD photographs. On the other hand I certainly don't want to turn it into the discussion you warned against. I might just have to put a little more thought into what I'm trying to say with my clothes and my photographs. I've already got some ideas for tomorrow.
     


  6. ChetB

    ChetB Senior member

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    Love the idea of dressing as storytelling. That realization has made clothes a lot more fun and interesting for me. Also helped me realize why a lot of my stuff, while the individual pieces "look fine," add up to little interest: they tell no story.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015


  7. StanleyVanBuren

    StanleyVanBuren Thumb Raider

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    Well, all of those photos need more explosions.
     


  8. g transistor

    g transistor Senior member

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    A big part of good photography and interesting backdrop is that it really contextualizes the user as a person. Like, I will always 100% like a photo of @willy cheesesteak standing in line for a hotdog or @Parker's slants more than a bathroom selfie, regardless of whether or not I really like the clothing/styling in and of itself. Good environments bring a sort of umami to your clothes; it's that little extra mmmm that says "I'm not just posing for the internet" (regardless if that really is what happened or not), and it really begins to bring someone's clothing choices into the full picture of life.

    Fok always talks a lot about your clothing having stories and history, and I tend to agree with that. Your surroundings in your photos tell stories. And this doesn't even have to be anything crazy— @RegisDB9's outdoor photos really convey the luxuriousness of all the Marge he wears, Fuuma really looks like some French dude who is like, way too cool for you, and you can pretty much tell that Parker works/is very interested in arts/creative realm, Synth looks like some weird astro-Japan-farmer with all the outdoor photos I see, Rais looks like an urban ninja guy who probably rides bikes everywhere, like really fast, etc.

    At least that's for me, personally. I much rather enjoy people wearing clothes within the context of their lives and sharing that than standing stiff and showing proportions and fit. Cause I don't care about that shit. To me SWD is a lot more about your lifestyle than about the clothes, because there are definite circumstances where suits really do belong in SWD. Though I don't care much for Stanley's style, I think his photography really portrays how godamn awesome his style is for him personally.

    The #1 thing about SWD is portraying how comfortable you are in your own clothing, and good photography and backdrop can really bring that idea to the forefront. You've gotta have a special type of comfort in yourself to take photos of yourself in public for internet strangers to give you fake internet points
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015


  9. Fuuma

    Fuuma Franchouillard Modasse

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    Most SW&D looks are pretty much what the average city dweller wears casually but, as you've noted, with higher pricepoints and possibly better cuts (slim jeans, nice sweatshirt and some designer trainers). In various mainstream circles (so not subculture, a pre-2.0 identity concept when applied to dressing anyway, nowadays someone can look goth one month and sporty casual the next), say app-hipsters or bearded rolled chinos topknotters, it actually goes over better than casual CM, as far as integration goes. This isn't a diss of the CM casual look, which would be more in-line with other mainstream groups looks but, once again, higher pricepoints and better cuts. In most situations I'd look weird wearing a pair of chinos and a nice polo, even though that might not be your case. Some SW&D looks are one standard deviation from the norms of certain groups so "weirder" but not that weird and yeah, there are some full-on fashion looks that are normal only in certain groups (say people working in and around fashion in your city).

    Honestly, wear what you like and don't worry about the weirdness, an interest in garments like the one CM AND SW&D posters from here have, has to go beyond the obvious fitting-in social-positioning strategy. Not that anyone would do that, you want to fit-in AND exclude (in/out group) if you're doing the social dressing well.
     


  10. metranger8694

    metranger8694 Senior member

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    This describes me to a T. Last year before I joined SF, I gave away nearly my whole wardrobe. SF opened the door and my eyes to fashion. But I still lacked confidence in any direction either casual OR formal. I didn't know what I wanted or what was correct for me. So I was behind every noob here. I spent fast and furious initially but fortunately I didn't buy too much that wasn't useful.

    And I started reading so many posts on so many threads, absorbing like a sponge (to this day I still have about 8 threads open on my desktop).... And I dipped my toe in to affiliate vendors here. Allthewhile looking at fit pics. You will learn about every designer on the different boards (you may find a designer you really like like A.P.C. or Stephen Schneider or Valstar or ts(s) or whoever and can go on that board)...Finally I found the Viberg board and have bought several pairs of casual boots from Viberg...Sprinkled in, I read various style newsletters, on SF-the official sales thread, recent purchases thread and finally the WAYWT SW&D thread for inspiration and mind expansion and I found my comfort zone. I've got everything I need now for any situation and I know immediately when I see something whether it suits my vision or not. I've learned so much about style and specifically about many different designers. It took almost a year but I now am comfortable with myself in my clothes. I may miss the mark now and then but it's an educated try.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I agree with the more experienced and knowledgeable posters here...Take it slow. Look at as many fit pics as you can and discussions regarding the fits. Believe me, certain pics will hit you like a bolt of lightning and you'll know what is right for you....Sign up for SF vendors and linked vendors newsletters. Then buy a few things and wear them. See how it makes you feel. Then buy more of the same. You will eventually learn a lot and will expand your wardrobe with the things you like. You will find out exactly what works for you(and maybe what doesn't) and when to wear it. And your confidence will get to the point where you just know and your fine tuning will get spot on...Keep reading and lurking here..The majority of posters here are style pros...

    The posters on this thread have been the kindest and most instructive of any board I've read. Great stuff. Thank you.

    I apologize if my post was too personal or mostly irrelevant.
     


  11. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    Thank you @metranger8694 . It's always nice to hear someone else's experience. And I agree that the long time posters in this thread have been great! (and patient I might add)

    I suppose that if I have any advantage it is that I have gone through all this before in CM. I am not spending a ton of money but I am buying a few things if they catch my eye. I can't say that everything will be a success (see my latest chukkas), but I know I'm not ready to spend top dollar yet. On the other hand I can't spend zero and expect to grow. I have to make some mistake and experiment a little. When I understand more I will spend more, but for now I'm happy to probe the brains of people around here. One difference from my first CM posts is that this time around I'm having more fun learning! When I started out in CM I wanted to impress. Now I have an idea of what I like and can at least go from there. It's not much, but it's a start.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015


  12. Rais

    Rais Senior member

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    Quote:
    I know many of my outfits here are received as costume-y or outlandish, but where I live, that brown suit outfit or really any of your previous casual menswear outfits would stick out like a sore thumb and come off stuffy and "tryhard" (edit: I personally really enjoy both wearing suits and appreciating the menswear looks that people post on here, they just don't fit in where I'm from unfortunately). When I take off my jacket, ear phones and sunglasses, I am pretty much just a guy in gym clothes and Nikes. That's the extent of workout culture in this town where surfwear and sneaker culture are the norm for men up until their late 40s. "Normal" people can be quite judgmental of the clothing choices of others' despite not having any interest in "fashion".

    Regarding your attempts at understanding how to look "good" casually: You'll get there eventually but I believe it will require a closer look at yourself and what you want out of your garments. I started out without ever having purchased an item of clothing for myself, then getting into denim and eventually casual menswear. By the time I got the hang of how clothes were meant to fit and was able to coordinate a decent outfit, I came to the realisation that almost all of these items and styles were being forced through various media and discussion boards and were not reflective of my practical clothing requirements, lifestyle or even my own preferences. They were steeped in American menswear traditions and all the geographic, political and economic realities that formed them. My "casual" outfits were pure costume and I was incredibly uncomfortable (identity wise as well as in terms of comfort with the climate here).

    I made the decision to start over from scratch and came up with an organised concept of first what I needed to own from a practical perspective (clothes I could work out in, I could run in, bike in, go to car meets, hiking, travelling, an outfit for dates, a toned down version for meeting clients, etc, etc). I wanted them all to be aesthetically aligned but coordinated for different purposes. I didn't want to be those guys who wears business casual every day to work and then has a collection of Rick Owens or Nike Jordans in his closet. Getting rid of the sneakers and activewear would have been a lot harder than getting rid of the more formal items. From there I have been slowly replacing or complementing various core pieces that I initially began with; experimenting but always making sure each piece fit within those practical needs.

    I am still developing and refining but I am much happier now than when I was trying to learn from what other people were wearing. I typically only post my more dramatic or humorous experiments, because I am confident in my simpler, watered down looks and they are most likely not interesting to look at. I appreciate the WAYWT thread for seeing how other people express their lifestyles and tastes via their clothing choices. It's also fun to engage with other open minded posters with an interest in clothing; it helps ground you and exposes you to different perspectives. What you may have already found is that other styles that you would never wear CAN look good, and that's ok; it is so easy when we start out to want to label anything we wouldn't wear as shit or "gay", I hear that a lot online and from friends but people with these attitudes won't ever be critical of themselves enough to progress. I think you should continue experimenting. You've got a good attitude too, a lot better than I had when I first started out.

    Hope this helped.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015


  13. jaywhyy

    jaywhyy Senior member

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    @Rais

    What city/country are you located in, out of curiousity?
     


  14. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    @Rais thank you for that perspective. For what it's worth I never thought your fits were costumey. Even the thumb-hole shirts I understand. I used to be stationed in Alaska and I was issued them to keep warm. What I find particularly interesting is your comments on wanting a wardrobe that is consistent and aesthetically aligned. I can appreciate that approach even though I don't follow it myself. It helps me to recognize my own approach and preferences by seeing contrasting viewpoints. I have always wanted to be a chameleon. Sometimes I WANT to be a hippy, sometimes a punk, sometimes a cowboy. I think people would be hard pressed to define a Caustic Man "style" in CM, I hope I can be the same way here. In that sense I think it's even more important that I try to tell a story with my photographs because, I'll be honest, I don't ever think I'll have a single character in mind that drives how I dress. I can see some similarities in what motivates my aesthetic though. In CM some try to make the tie, or the shirt, or the jacket the focal point of the fit in terms of color, pattern, or texture (some brave souls even try to make the trousers the focus). For me I always wanted the jacket to be the focus. Since I don't wear jackets casually in the summer the focus has gone to the shirt. I don't know of that will continue to be right for me, but it feels right at this time.

    Concerning negative people in life, I too have seen that. I believe it mostly comes from insecurity and isn't helpful. I enjoy clothes and that is good enough for me. I get the feeling that you enjoy what you wear too, and that really is what matters.
     


  15. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    Today's attempt. Another try at being a chameleon. The last few days have been cool tropical weight fabrics but since the temp dropped a little I decided to go a little street punk. This was fun for me because when I was younger I actually used to be a punk. Whether it is a successful look or not at least I don't think anyone can say it is CM casual! Any thoughts on this one?

    [​IMG]


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