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whnay.'s good taste thread

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

  1. Carpalia

    Carpalia Member

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    http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?120934-Harris-Tweed-at-Walmart

    If J Press always has them..and if J Press is RTW....then you are wrong. End of debate in that case.
     


  2. emptym

    emptym Moderator Moderator

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    +1 Guys, let's tone it down a little bit. Instead of making the worst of what people say, let's try to make the best.
    Me too. Rules have exceptions, and he's good at finding those exceptions. Part of why he looks good is his age imo. I mean not only that his age has given him the experience and wisdom to break rules, but that because he is old and looks old, he looks good in that outfit. Photoshop a young face in it, and I think it'd come across very differently.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013


  3. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    Who's the dimwit? I said "a quick Googling" not to "go their websites." Very poor attention to detail, young Foo.

    In all seriousness, though, I don't call you names, and I actually engage the points you make. I would appreciate, and deserve, a modicum of civility. It's unfortunate that your mode of sharing your knowledge seems to be:

    1) Snark at noobs/philistines
    2) Get challenged
    3) State unequivocal priniciple
    4) Have inconsistencies/logical fallacies/factual errors highlighted
    5) Call interlocutors idiots, etc.

    Some useful information and perspective gets communicated in there, but the wheat/chaff ratio is daunting.
     


  4. RogerC

    RogerC Distinguished Member

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    How about trying to bring the discussion back to the core of this thread, which is to discuss good taste in classic menswear.

    It seems to me that good taste is often considered as one continuum, stretching from the uniform-like AJ Drexel Biddle wardrobe to socks in sandals and clothing with writing on it. That continuum is somewhat nuanced by different circumstances (eg. the age-old town versus country, and formal versus informal contrasts), but in essence, it proceeds on the definition that there is, in essence, on ladder on the basis of which style can be evaluated. The question then remains (says my lawyerly mind) to find out where bad taste ends and good taste begins. In this paradigm, there are strict rules about what should be worn and how. It seems to me that Foo operates his space, nearly to the extreme: he has a collection of many of the same items (OneShoe, OneTrouser, OneShirt), which - if I understand his thinking correctly - are to him an efficient use of resources.

    Personally, I have two issues with this conception. First, while I agree that there is such a thing as a minimum standard and that the teenage whine of "well I like it, so toss off", it seems to me that this view is overly reductive. Good taste, or style, is not something that is scientifically reducible to a set of fundamental principles that apply regardless of where and when. The majority of members on this forum hail from the United States, and are engaged in the professions. In that particular context, the CBD uniform applies, and if I were employed in business, finance or law in the US, that's what I'd wear. It is useful to have uniforms in such environments. But acceptable business dress in the UK is something different entirely: more restrictive where shoes are concerned, but incredibly more open in terms of shirts, ties and accessories. In other words, dressing, like language, varies from place to place. It also varies in environments and contexts. And it is here that we face a problem. In the past, dress codes and contexts were relatively clear: formal/informal, and town/country. Now, this is no longer the case. Hence, the question of what is good taste cannot be answered anymore by the dictates of the past. This is why I find Foo's conceptual approach to the blazer problematic in this regard. In his view, a blazer is something that must conform to the archetypical rules of the blazer, and can then be worn in circumstances for which a blazer is appropriate. In my experience, however, the question is more teleological: what do I wear at my age (early thirties), workplace (university) and location (Home Counties), that is aesthetically pleasing in terms of colour, pattern and texture. The fact that this question is so complex is because of the fact that codes aren't as clear as they used to be, and this has caused most people in my environment to run to the hills of lowest common denominators, jeans,trainers and jumpers. It makes it hard to find out what a good outfit is. This is not to say that a knowledge of the classical code is unimportant. As indicated through Vox's sadly missed threak, consistency in outfits matters, and therefore it is useful to know about the history of certain garments. But it would be too much to propose that the code still applies unaltered today, or that it was consistently followed in the past. And in the end, we admire those the most who know where the rules end.

    Second, and more importantly, Foo's approach doesn't contain something that I tremendously value in my sartorial pursuits, which is the joy of experimentation. Foo seems to believe that he has cracked the code, and to intend to continue to dress in that manner for the rest of his life. That is fine, to each his own. Personally, however, I value the exhilaration of exploration over a false sense of security by a claim to truth. It is because I don't know that I can learn, the moment I'd say I cracked the code I'd stop trying to get better. I can CBD with the best of them, and do so when necessary, but I work in a place where I am free to pursue the truth as it comes to me, without having to pay regard to majority consensus, "best practices", or enforced uniformity. That doesn't mean my work shouldn't be rigorous, and robust criticism is all part of the game, but in the end, I am independent. I like to adopt the same attitude in my manner of dressing. It means that I will often come up with combinations that don't necessarily work, and I'm happy to have them critiqued, but it also means I'm thoroughly enjoying the process.
     


  5. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    If an in-depth search intra-website reveals nothing, neither will Google. I was being charitable to your claim by doing everything I could to find what you said was there. Do you not understand that?


    I called you a dimwit because it was simply a more efficient way of returning your belligerent tone and attitude. If you want civil from me, give me civll. If you want polite from me, give me polite. I don't bite first, though I may bite back harder. Go ahead. Examine the record. I've been here too long to walk through this course again. History speaks for itself. Hell, you can Google it.
     


  6. Tirailleur1

    Tirailleur1 Distinguished Member Dubiously Honored

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    This shit right here...
     


  7. Lovelace

    Lovelace Senior Member

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    This is an interesting observation, and I agree with it somewhat.

    Most of the clothing 'rules' hail from our isle, but we are much more flexible in some areas.

    Cloths are interrelated, and boundaries can be blurred and it is in these blurred areas where interest lies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013


  8. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    This beginning part of your discussion stems from a problematic premise: that good taste runs along a single, linear spectrum. But that does not reflect reality. As you suggest further on, contexts vary. Hence it is not so simple as to say a navy blazer is more tasteful than a pair of sandals. What if you are at the beach?

    Yes, to a significant extent, the idea behind the OneShoe, multiple grey trousers, and multiple blue shirts is about "efficient use of resources." However, a lot of important nuance is being missed. Consider what I point out above about varying contexts. Speaking as an ordinary American living in a big city, I find myself in many different contexts day to day. Sometimes those contexts are more restrictive and sometimes they are more open. But the point remains that I must float between them. The benefit of a "OneTrouser" (did I ever call them that?) is that, properly conceived, it allows me to go from context to context painlessly and still look very good. I can wear light grey flannel pants with a simple OCBD and a ribbon belt, say if I just want to go run some errands, go for a walk, or meet someone for a casual lunch. I can wear the same trousers with a sweater when it gets colder, and throw on a jacket and tie if I need to be more dressed up. Basically they can do everything short of business formal.

    In contrast, a person who has invested in the same number of trousers, but of many different designs, will often find he has much less flexibility. Unless he happens to have the exact right trouser for each given context, he will wind up wearing something markedly subpar and worse off than my light grey flannels much of the time. Seeing what happens in WAYWRN, that means that 10-20% of the time (usually when going to work), people are wearing the clothes they are proud of. The rest of the time, they wear whatever.

    Appreciating the limitations of one's wardrobe, and perhaps more importantly, the practicality of modern life, you may need to smartly limit yourself to maximize your outcomes. That's not a principle exclusive to classic menswear.

    As for the OneShoe--well that's a mixed bag of motivations. But, partially, the idea was to inflict a limit on myself such that I might be forced to develop my style in a deeper, stronger way. Anyone who's taken art courses and been forced to create something within certain constraints will realize how important such constraints are to spurring creativity.


    Again, I don't think it's so linear. I don't approach dressing as meeting any "minimum standard." And I don't recommend that to anyone else. Rather, I simply accept that there are standards that exist, for better or worse, that we can use to our advantage. Analogous to the idea I suggested above, we often flourish amidst boundaries and rules. Hence, I don't view "classic menswear" simply as a set of rules one must follow, but rather as a set of rules to work with and exploit. You mention you come from a legal background. So, you can understand what I'm saying. Your job is not to simply pronounce what the law is (which is often impossible at the junction of conflict), but to apply your reasoning to your interpretation of the law and make your case. That's more or less how I approach dress.

    We have always debated on this forum to what extent a prescribed "rule" is specifically pre-established in "classic menswear" versus derived therefrom. But the truth is, I don't see what's wrong with the latter at all. Maybe before Styleforum, there was no strongly asserted rule on wearing blue shirts with tweed. So what? That we may have constructed that norm based on our understanding of classic menswear principles is simply part of the game. My problem with the Taub back yoke is not that it is unorthodox. It's that it appears to come from nowhere. I cannot think about what I understand of classic overcoats or classic menswear as a whole and make sense of it. If someone else wants to instruct me, I'd be glad to hear it. But all that's been said is that it's a fun aesthetic detail.

    I keep harping on the language metaphor, but I think it is highly pertinent. The limits and constraints of language allow us to say so many things and develop so many profound, powerful ideas. It's when we destroy language by destabilizing meanings and inserting incomprehensible noise that we find ourselves lost. So it is true with our clothing. Classic menswear, even if only the internet conception of it, is thus a valuable thing worth preserving.

    If we mutilate the language, we cannot play with the words.


    I don't believe I've cracked a code. I believe a man can only do so much when he is inundated with tools and cannot focus on mastering the most important ones. So yes, I think experimentation is important. But quality counts more than quantity.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013


  9. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    It is you who seems not to understand how the web or Google works, but that is neither here nor there.

    I have not been belligerent. Bemused, exasperated, sure. However, if you have felt that some of my replies lacked civility, I apologize unreservedly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013


  10. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    This is the sort of thing I hope to read when I see that Foo has posted.
     


  11. bboysdontcryy

    bboysdontcryy Distinguished Member

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    This language thing reminds me of Wittgenstein.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013


  12. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Stylish Dinosaur Dubiously Honored

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    You're wearing ribbon belts with flannels?
     


  13. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Sure, why not.
     


  14. ColdEyedPugilist

    ColdEyedPugilist Distinguished Member

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    And on and on we go...

    At least it's not about socks this time.
     


  15. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    holy balls. 168 new posts in about a day, and not a single SFer has posted a new fit.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2013


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