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whnay.'s good taste thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Manton, Jul 30, 2012.

  1. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    This thread is pretty good if you skip to the first post and read from there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  2. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    I think we will have to wait on a StyFoa historian to answer this, but I blame Vox for making it popular. A quick search reveals that it was first uttered back in 2006 in SWD, but really picked up steam in 2011.
     
  3. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Back in the 80s I remember Michael Graves saying he liked to a add brown to the otherwise all black ensemble ... just to piss-off the artsy fartsy all-black crowd. I liked his adding brown ... but for reasons other than pissing-off the all-black crowd.
     
  4. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Of course it originated there.
     
  5. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Leiter is a fool whose foolishness is made worse by the fact that he is a pompous ass.

    It is absurd to compare a navy shirt+navy suit to navy trousers+navy socks. Once you made that comparison, I knew you were in dog-with-a-bone mode and would just endlessly double down. I will tell you up front that I am not going to respond to, and probably won’t even read, your flip dismissal of what I will say below.

    But in case others are interested … it is hard, in matters of aesthetics, to disentangle things that look good according to some inherent principle and things that look good owing to tradition, because our brains and eyes have been accustomed to certain patterns. There are some who deny the former principle even exists, but I think there is evidence that it does. For instance the “golden rectangle” and the imperfect but general consensus regarding ranking the great artists. Mill famously said “poetry is as good a pushpin” (a game like Tiddlywinks) and for anyone who believes that, the discussion is over. It’s all relative, you have nothing left to learn, wear absolutely whatever you want. (Allan Bloom expressed the same thought with the comparison of Raphael—the artist not the tailor—and a pre-school finger-painter.)

    With clothing it is even harder because clothes are so wrapped in convention. I would not go so far as to say that no inherent aesthetic principles apply—I would in fact be the first to dispute that—but I would say that it’s very hard to find the line where convention ends and intrinsic-ness begins in determining what looks good.

    So, sticking with convention for the moment, in the canon of western dress shirts have always been light and jackets mostly dark, and nearly always darker than shirts. A dark shirt (we’re talking about coats and ties here, not shirts for clubbing) has always been considered both in bad taste and the mark of the lower, and even criminal, classes. The minds of people interested in dress are conditioned to that, which is one reason why all of us who care and know anything immediately look askance when we see it.

    Convention on the other hand has long upheld the combination of same tone socks and trousers. No one gags when he sees it (well, no one but one). It’s been part of our expectation set for decades. It may be boring, but boring is not the same as incorrect or ugly and it is the opposite of jarring.

    As to inherent reasons, here are a few. A reason that shirts are light is because skin tends to be light. I apologize in advance to dark folk to whom this does not apply, but because of convention, you would still look bad in a dark shirt. The focal point of any outfit is the shirt collar, jacket collar and tie knot, which are just below the face. The shirt collar is the only one that is visually adjacent to skin. It effects as it were a transition from clothing to skin, brightening and drawing positive attention to the face. It also breaks up the expanse of dark cloth in the chest below the face, providing visual interest where it is most useful to the person’s appearance.

    None of the above is true in the case of socks. Moreover, a light sock with a dark pant and shoe is jarring and unwelcome to the eye. It just pops in a bad way and draws the eye downward. Some other color, but also dark, does not share this problem. But the crux of the issue is that a sock the same color as the pant leg introduces nothing negative beyond, potentially, a missed opportunity. However, to declare it categorically wrong is by extension to declare all missed opportunities categorically wrong, which is absurd. Following that principle to its conclusion then every garment must be tonally different if not from every other, at least to the one adjacent to it. And then we would have to ask, if all missed opportunities are a sign of the ill dressed, then why are solids even allowed at all? So all must be in perpetual riot for a man to be well dressed.

    Finally, I quite often see simple combinations that look better than more complex ones—including incredibly simple ones, such as a navy suit, a white shirt, black shoes, dark socks of whatever color (including blue), a dark solid tie (blue or black) and a white hank. One either finds this stylish or one does not. That is a matter of personal preference. Whether or not it is correct is not. Whether or not it is jarring to most people based on their cultural expectations also is not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
    18 people like this.
  6. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    Is that still called 'the Regis look'?
     
  7. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    wow this thread has gotten esoteric.

    and that has to be the logest post about sock and trouser color in the history of internets.

    here is an esoteric question, if foo is wrong, and he knows he is wrong, will he ever know it?
     
    2 people like this.
  8. tactical1

    tactical1 Senior member

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    [​IMG]


    The suit is Brooks Brothers (not that it matters) and the suit is navy blue, not gray (not that it matters).

    I know the "rules" around here, I've lurked for a long time and not posted many pictures.

    I dressed the way I dressed today, and on many other days, because I get paid well to do what I do, which I do well. I dressed today to operate effectively in the environment in which I actually operated, not to get Spoo or Foo style lovin' from you gentlemen, no disrespect intended because I have learned much here.

    Many times, it is necessary that I "blend," and in those situations, I try to blend while doing it "better" than the others, if that makes sense. Effectiveness at my job often requires the ability to be held by people - who do not know me at all and who only see me briefly - as trustworthy, solid, and conservative. Standing out, especially for reasons of fashion, would undermine my effectiveness. Fair or not, this reality sometimes dictates how I dress. All that said, in the real world in which I operated today, this outfit works. I posted this outfit in this thread to test whether it was "in good taste," whatever that is. Some of you don't like it at all, some of you find fault with parts. That's fine.

    Often I have free reign to wear whatever I want. In the future, I'll take a shot at complying with the forum "rules" and I'll see what you guys think.

    Back to your sock discussion now, fellows.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
    3 people like this.
  9. clapeyron

    clapeyron Senior member

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    since when did we loose the 'add a comment' option when giving thumbs up?

    how will I be able to dish out snark without appearing like a major cunt?
     
    5 people like this.
  10. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    In honor of :foo: I will match my socks to my suit for the rest of the week. I shudder, however, when I consider the depth of his disappointment when I disclose that my mother was not overbearing, I do not find Big Bang Theory or Two and a Half Men funny, do not keep a calculator on hand for tipping, nor write checks. It's entirely possible, though, that I am an asshole and a bore (or boor). The latter may suffice to console him.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
    1 person likes this.
  11. Manton

    Manton Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Tacttical, this is the taste thread not the correctness or appropriateness thread.

    There was nothing wrong with what you posted beyond that it is not really in good taste. The tie is simply ugly, IMO, I have a thing against red ties. but the worst aspect by far is the totally cliched combination of navy suit, white shirt and red tie, like you are going to a candidate's debate as one of the candidates.

    Judging from the law books in the background, I would guess you are a lawyer. Well, it would be completely possible for you to dress within the confines of what we here consider good taste and not in any way jeopardize your professional standing. If you are interested in that, cool, if not, just know that you are not going to get any love in this thread with outfits like that. It's outside the scope. So the only reason to post it would be if you wanted to hear honest feedback, which was bound to be negative.
     
    2 people like this.
  12. Butler

    Butler Senior member

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    Bravo! :bigstar:
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    since yesterday.

    you just have to say em outright now.
    --
    full disclosure - though i am not a nerd, i do find the big bang theory, to be funny. suck it.
     
  14. in stitches

    in stitches Senior member Moderator

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    manton, did you find my fit this morning to be in good taste?
     
  15. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    [no homo]
    When people talk about the good ole' days, they're talking about posts like Manton's there.

    It doesn't matter if you agree, disagree or honestly don't care, you'll never read someone who has thought about this stuff more or more deeply.

    Anyone who missed the FNB - Manton debates, with the sheer volume of knowledge dropped and clothing philosophy refined, know only a hollow shell of what a clothing forum can be.
    [/no homo]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
    10 people like this.
  16. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    Manton, that was... Epic.

    I have to agree with Cantabrigian. I might not always agree with what you have to say, but I have to say... It's usually been very well thought out. Very well done, sir.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  17. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    First of all, I never suggested wearing light colored socks. In fact, I was explicit that different colored socks are often called for because it is typically difficult to select ones dark enough in contrast to one's trousers. I also stated very clearly that, if you can establish enough contrast in brightness, the same color can be paired with itself quite well (light blue plus navy, khaki plus brown, etc.).

    Second, I have not seen convincing evidence of the convention that socks should match trousers. Most photographic evidence we have of previous eras conceals what we need to see. Moreover, it's not merely important what most people do. Convention is often wrong or inferior. Nothing about how anyone dresses here is conventional compared to the broader population. "CBD" is also unconventional. Conventional office wear is an open collar shirt and khakis. Anyway, if you want to get into the genealogy of things, keep in mind that when we could see men's socks (they were called stockings), they did not match the pants (breeches) worn. Also, today, women show their hosiery all the time. Yet, they do not select colors that match their skirts or dresses.

    Third, my distastes for both white squares paired with white shirts and socks matched to trousers have been separately established a long time ago. I'm not simply applying maxims. It just happens to be that my taste can be explained by consistent principle, without convoluted reference to interpreted conventions of other eras that we clearly only draw from arbitrarily to begin with.

    If we are going to think deep thoughts about this, let's be more critical about it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  18. Christopher Essex

    Christopher Essex Senior member

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    I was going to say the exact same thing about RL.
     
  19. GusW

    GusW Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    +1 Wow. Very impressive.
     
  20. CaymanS

    CaymanS Senior member

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    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012

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