Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Holdfast, Jan 20, 2012.
This young thread delivers.
I think people who dress elegantly tend to overemphasize that "impression managment" thing. Clothes in the western world are not that important as we would like them to be and as they used to be in the past. Nowadays I prefer to think that I dress for myself rather than for others.
I guess I was tired of my hideous image. I never cared about clothing at all, I'd wear ugly t-shirts and jeans, and I was huge (304 pounds). I just didn't want to look like a careless fat teenager anymore. So the way I dress now is just part of a radical change... and I believe I do it for myself. The ability to look at a mirror without being ashamed feels just great.
Now, people around me say I look like an old man because I'm wearing a pocket square, or pants at my waist... but I couldn't care less what do they know...
To preserve tradition that:
1. Your generation killed (generalizing ages here of course):
2. My generation then put the nail into metaphoric coffin of:
We're not all like that. Some of us actually have...
...hmm, how do I express it...
Otherwise, it comes down to the fact that it makes me feel good. That I can dress in a manner that suits a tradition that is sadly no longer the norm, yet be able to express myself through creativity.
Sets me, and many of us here on MC, apart from others.
Why? To make me feel proud to be the man I am. To differentiate myself from the profanum vulgus (quod odi et arceo).
I read every response here, there are others I hope will respond because I have become aware of their signature style. I am an academic, and just about everyone around me (other academics, students, technicians, people on the street) all dress pretty much the same way. Anything I put a little thought into will be shoulders above everyone else. When required, I can dress appropriately for the situation, in an SF approved way (thanks to your guys help). At other times:
1) To wear something that is both part of the norm (sports coat, button shirt, jeans) and outside the norm (the jeans are pink), in such a comfortable way that it appears to be the most natural thing in the world. The end result should be "I wouldn't of thought of that, but it works", and leave the observer with feeling that they have seen something interesting, as opposed to something freaky. I really don't think anyone has ever laughed at by outfits, rather it has brought something pleasurable to their day. It also expresses a self-confidence that I can wear anything, do anything. My research is probably best described as novel, and certainly my clothing should also carry that same message.
2) I am single and 60, I am currently seeing seven women who range in age from 42 to 62, but am totally at home mingling with the twenty something crowd. To these women, I am something different. Studies in fruit flies have shown a reproductive advantage to flies that are different from the rest of the males. If I can wear pink or purple jeans, dress like Sherlock Holmes at a wine tasting the the city, or wear my Stetson or Bowler without the least bit of self consciousness, then I can also go up to any women, no matter how intimidatingly beautiful with the attitute that there is no one else she should be wasting her time with.
3) It is also my little joke on society. I only wear the most expensive brands, purchased used on Ebay. If they find me drunk, disoriented, or dead someday and they are trying to figure out who I am, it will be like Peter Sellers in Bring There, in which he was only a butler, but because of his clothing, they assumed he was the upper 1%.
Well I wear scrubs to work everyday, but every once in a while we have a meeting and I get the chance to dress up. In retrospect, I keep buying clothes, but rarely every wear them
So the P stands for pimp, huh?
No, just trying to find the right one. Probably trying to compensate for something.
If anything, it's underemphasis.
No, there will not be overt judgements like, "that man is wearing a black tie with his tailcoat, he must be a servant". That's pretty much gone- there are drastically fewer explicit norms built around specific articles of clothing. But dressing nicely still does subconsciously send messages, and that matters.
It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy in a three sizes too large hoodie, sideways ballcap, sagged jeans and sunglasses is approaching you. What are you thinking?
It's 2 AM, deserted city street. A black guy wearing a light gray suit, loosened tie, raincoat, and holding a briefcase, is approaching you. What are you thinking?
Clothes matter. They're the message you send to the outside world. The first contact, and in many cases, only contact the bulk of people in the world have with you is visual. Before you ever get a chance to convince them of who you are by talking, your appearance sends a lot of signals. Being aware of that is step one. Step two is being conscious of what signals you're sending. Step three is learning to manage them.
...... or tune or subvert a message already (sadly) there
Etta James RIP
Many of the sentiments expressed so far (i.e. in the sea of schlubs surrounding me in the office, you get respect and sometimes even admiration when you put effort into your dress -- even in the very casual office environment) I completely agree with.
Since I found SF and totally changed over my wardrobe, I feel more comfortable & confident in my own skin. And this week at our annual meeting I won the Super Bowl of internal awards at my company (650 employees.) It took a lot of hard work/sweat on my part earning it...BUT I can't help but credit you guys at least in part thanks to advice you've given to me actively by answering my dumb & ignorant questions and passively by giving me the archived advice in searchable form....in helping me create my own look. (and, in turn, the attitude to get it done)
Autistic poster: Touching. My son just got diagnosed. I can't pretend to feel your pain, but I can totally see how your dress helps you navigate the world! More power to you.
One other point that hasn't been brought up: Once I realized that most clothes today are ill-fitting, cheap chinese disposable crap and I had been a sucker victimized by really well put together marketing campaigns (Chaps! Dockers! Claiborne!), dressing well -- and acquiring some significant percentage of my new wardrobe for next to nothing from thrift stores, because most of the customers are similarly suckered by the same marketing campaigns and pass over the near-mint Brooks Brothers/Loro Piana wool pants in favor or the threadbare Chaps! -- verges on counterculture coolness. It's like a secret club.
I dress well to let others know that I have good taste, success, and that I am not to be messed with...
I was in Rome 10 years ago and saw an 85 year old man dressed in a beautifully tailored and elegant suit, tie, cane and hat. Both my wife and I watched him for a good 30 minutes as he shopped for a tie. I decided to change my mode of dressed based on that 30 minute visual.
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