The perils of overdoing it.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by John Ellis, May 10, 2008.

  1. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I simply don't think I should dress for others' expectations.

    For example, weddings. Personally, I think I should overshadow the (usually) tacky brides. It is my sartorial prerogative.
     


  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    He's saying that you are deceiving yourself if you think you look like Steve McQueen just because you wear a turtleneck and leather jacket.

    Just back from dinner. Sorta yum.

    No, grims, he is not saying that. This is what he says.

    I am saying what you are saying, I think.

    Using your Steve McQueen reference, my synopsis is:

    John would seem to say that Steve McQueen movies have influenced people, and that Steve McQueen influenced mass style (substitute other movie actors, say, James Fox, and the if you like, add the modifier "should" in the phrase "influences mass style.") The influenced public then judges what one wears, and then penalizes those who go afray as "parodies of themselves," or other unfortunate effects. This could very well be true. He further would infer, as I understand him, that one should beware the reaction of the movie-influenced majority.

    I would say, in contrast, that many people want to emulate Steve McQueen. Few succeed, and many fail, and that in the process of emulation, they miss establishing a secure personal style.

    I would also say, in addition, that the odds that John would accept Steve McQueen as a style icon to be emulated would contradict his position as someone who is sixty and an expat Brit who has understandable nostalgia for the rules and expectations of his youth and historical homeland, trilby and (by Boston standards in 2008) flamboyant mustache included. Steve broke the rules enthusistically: that is what makes him appealing to those who dress independently. So, Steve is actually antithetical to what John argues, at least as I see it, but somewhat in keeping with what little we can glean from prose about John's personal style...which, I think I am being fair, does not seem to be democratic.

    - B
     


  3. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Are we supposed to be impressed dear Vox that the peasantry can't understand French.

    Uhm, no...but it could be that despite posting on the interwebs, you are unaware of the rapid and free translation services that have reduced the opaqueness of other languages.

    That's okay: I'm 46 and I still struggle with text messaging.

    Even the use of the word "peasantry," dates and places you, which is okay by my book since I would guess that is a nostalgic identity that it seems you are pleased to maintain.


    - B
     


  4. newinny

    newinny Senior member

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    In Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Arc the german says, "Americans always over dressing for the wrong occasion". He was referring to levels of formality and I was to lazy to read whether this is what the op meant.

    I prefer to skip the perils of overdoing it by dressing badly all the time and setting everyone's expectations quite low.
     


  5. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Just back from dinner. Sorta yum. No, grims, he is not saying that. - B
    I should not have muddied already cloudy waters. Manton pulled a reference at random out of his book and asked me whether that was the point I was alluding to. I pulled another reference, at random (sort of; I was flipping through pages I'd dog-eared), out of his book, and corrected him. Tongue-in-cheek. I didn't really mean to mean anything by it, and I apologize for forcing you to expend time and energy correcting it. The second half of my post was meant in earnest, to the extent that it meant anything.
     


  6. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Manton pulled a reference at random out of his book and asked me whether that was the point I was alluding to.

    It was not at random. You referred to "the end" and I referenced the end. I was joking, but only to make the point that what you originally meant was not at the end.
     


  7. Joseph K. Bank

    Joseph K. Bank Senior member

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    DAmn jenis sais quois I thouyght Krass brothers closed
     


  8. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    It was not at random. You referred to "the end" and I referenced the end. I was joking, but only to make the point that what you originally meant was not at the end.

    The John Elkann exhortation is at the beginning, not the end. [​IMG]
     


  9. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I also think he has a point that is worth making, but I would prefer that he did the above to make it, so that his point would at least be more comprehensible.

    M., how would you summarize J's position, other than the points that are truistic, such as (I rephrase for clarity):

    1. If you are concerned with the reaction of others, do not dress to annoy them or make them laugh at you.

    2. Understatement is more elegant than overstatement.

    Unless I am mistaken, you and I both respect the modernist attitudes that, in fact, call for annoying others and making overstatements in dress, although neither of us wish to really practice either as objectives in our personal dress. The whole S&D forum revolves around this non-comformist fashion, and the few who crosspost in the MC forum make it more interesting.

    I have tried to understand where John is coming from by reading through some of his past posts, and honestly, the more I read, the more I am convinced that is is a British clothing nostalgist (nothing wrong with that, but it definitely does not represent the aesthetic of the common American man) who is also somewhat thin skinned and prickly. Nothing wrong with that either.

    But, that can still be interesting at first, but becomes boring in repetition.

    - B
     


  10. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    The John Elkann exhortation is at the beginning, not the end. [​IMG]

    No, the dedication/begging is at the beginning. The exhortation is at the end. Are you really a Straussian? Did you read any of the book?
     


  11. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    No, the dedication/begging is at the beginning. The exhortation is at the end. Are you really a Straussian? Did you read any of the book?

    That smarts, you know.

    And honestly, I was pretty disappointed to open the middle page and find a discourse on clocks-and-socks.
     


  12. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I didn't really mean to mean anything by it, and I apologize for forcing you to expend time and energy correcting it.

    Hah! You never write anything that isn't interesting...just wanted to be sure that I understood you.

    - B
     


  13. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    DAmn jenis sais quois I thouyght Krass brothers closed

    Ifway ouyay idn'tday opshay atway Asskray, ouyay asway obbedray.

    - B
     


  14. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    That smarts, you know.
    Well, the first word of the last chapter's title is "Exhortation," so can you blame me?

    And honestly, I was pretty disappointed to open the middle page and find a discourse on clocks-and-socks.

    That paragraph directly parallels D III 6. Think about it.
     


  15. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I'm not sure how I'm being unrealistic about life's complexities. I'm not saying that professional interests don't matter to me, but that the degree to which they should matter to anyone is an issue external to a discussion of style. To talk about someone else's professional interests, you'd have to talk about their moral and social aims, their natural abilities, the expectations of their field, their financial expectations, etc. These things are wholly subjective and an internet forum is ill-equipped to deal with them.

    You might not feel that the midwest is your natural home, but the whole UChicago-ness of that paragraph makes me pleased that there is a whole, wide continent between the oceans.

    - B
     


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