Is dressing well turning into a form of cosplay?

Jan Libourel

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I think I am about to give up! I realize that I live in a very casual region, but still...! Here are a couple of recent happenings:

Saturday before last, my wife and I visited Fashion Island, a very upscale shopping mall in Newport Beach, in other words in one of the most affluent communities in the whole country. As it turned out, I was almost the only man around wearing so much as a sport coat. Overwhelmingly, the males were clad in the usual "grunge" uniform of T-shirts (polos for the more elegant) all worn outside jeans or cargo shorts, while their feet were shod with sneakers or sandals. If it had been a blisteringly hot day, there might have been some excuse on the grounds of comfort, but it was a cool, blustery spring evening. I felt I was much more comfortably clad than most of them.

Yesterday, I visited the re-opening ceremony for the Colorado Lagoon (a body of salt water near my house) after it had undergone a makeover, the second in a few years. At the previous such ceremony a few years ago a number of the local dignitaries were clad in suits, so off the ceremony I went in my medium-blue, casually styled suit with a jaunty dark orange tie with blue crabs on it (appropriate for the occasion, thought I). Hardly had I arrived, when I encountered the alcalde of our great city. He was wearing shorts and an open-necked shirt. I greeted the alcalde in his native Spanish, and he complimented me on my command of Spanish. (Actually, I probably couldn't have said much more. My Spanish is very limited.) Actually, the alcalde was one of the best dressed men present. Almost all the other men were wearing T-shirts, shorts or jeans. I was the only man in a suit. No sport coats were visible either. A couple of people complimented me as the best dressed man present. I said I wasn't because I was completely out of sync with everybody else present. I did see a lot of friends and neighbors. I also had to fend off a fighting pitbulldog from springing on my nice suit. Lest this sound alarming, she was an old friend, a girlfriend of my dog Cyrus.

I know plaints of this sort have turned up with some frequency in menswear fora. However, in a world of cargoes and sandals, I increasingly wonder about the relevancy of discussions about button-down collar rolls, bluchers with a suit, etc. I also have to wonder about the point of acquiring an expensive wardrobe, when it serves only to make one an oddity in most circumstances.

Actually, I'll continue to dress considerably better than reigning standards, but then I already have my clothes.
 

InstaHate

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I think I am about to give up! I realize that I live in a very casual region, but still...! Here are a couple of recent happenings:

Saturday before last, my wife and I visited Fashion Island, a very upscale shopping mall in Newport Beach, in other words in one of the most affluent communities in the whole country. As it turned out, I was almost the only man around wearing so much as a sport coat. Overwhelmingly, the males were clad in the usual "grunge" uniform of T-shirts (polos for the more elegant) all worn outside jeans or cargo shorts, while their feet were shod with sneakers or sandals. If it had been a blisteringly hot day, there might have been some excuse on the grounds of comfort, but it was a cool, blustery spring evening. I felt I was much more comfortably clad than most of them.

Yesterday, I visited the re-opening ceremony for the Colorado Lagoon (a body of salt water near my house) after it had undergone a makeover, the second in a few years. At the previous such ceremony a few years ago a number of the local dignitaries were clad in suits, so off the ceremony I went in my medium-blue, casually styled suit with a jaunty dark orange tie with blue crabs on it (appropriate for the occasion, thought I). Hardly had I arrived, when I encountered the alcalde of our great city. He was wearing shorts and an open-necked shirt. I greeted the alcalde in his native Spanish, and he complimented me on my command of Spanish. (Actually, I probably couldn't have said much more. My Spanish is very limited.) Actually, the alcalde was one of the best dressed men present. Almost all the other men were wearing T-shirts, shorts or jeans. I was the only man in a suit. No sport coats were visible either. A couple of people complimented me as the best dressed man present. I said I wasn't because I was completely out of sync with everybody else present. I did see a lot of friends and neighbors. I also had to fend off a fighting pitbulldog from springing on my nice suit. Lest this sound alarming, she was an old friend, a girlfriend of my dog Cyrus.

I know plaints of this sort have turned up with some frequency in menswear fora. However, in a world of cargoes and sandals, I increasingly wonder about the relevancy of discussions about button-down collar rolls, bluchers with a suit, etc. I also have to wonder about the point of acquiring an expensive wardrobe, when it serves only to make one an oddity in most circumstances.

Actually, I'll continue to dress considerably better than reigning standards, but then I already have my clothes.
It's all about the cause. If they are dressing up to pretend to be something, then it is cosplay. If they are dressing up because they enjoy it, then it's a hobby. If they are dressing up because they are required to, then it's a uniform. If they are dressing up because that is how they were raised, then it's a manifestation of their socialization.

Dressing well is turning into a waste of money.
What hobby isn't? But in the sense that the social returns of dressing well, beyond simply "neat and clean", have diminished, yes, increasingly a waste of money.
 

WildBlue

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I would still say women like more someone who is put together and carries himself confidently than Mr.Cargo shorts.

Plus if you dress because you like the clothes and they help express yourself, who gives a damn. I feel your pain, I come from a rural region where suits are seen only at weddings and they are of the terrible polyester variety. Add my age to the mix and it's hell on earth.
 

The Shooman

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Dressing well is turning into a waste of money.
No, putting out an image of being a solid citizen of the community is an important first step. The second step is to back that up with the right mindset and actions. Also, if one enjoys dressing up and is comfortable about it and presents a good image of a well bred man then it is well worth it.

Many folk don't understand why dressing well is important, so educate them IF the opportunity arrives or at least lead by example and inspire them. You would be surprised at how many poorly dressed men actually appreciate someone being well dressed, especially if he comes across as a nice and approachable person.

One of my mates used to have a pony tail and dressed poorly, and he always wondered why l dressed with a sportscoat and great shoos 7 days per week most times of the year. He got used to my image, but it made an impression on him as someone who knows how to dress. Over time l explained the importance of putting out the right image and being a solid citizen of the community. These days the pony tail has gone and he wears business attire like l do. I taught him the importance of having a tailor on speed dial and decent shoes and shirt and sportscoat. Other friends have taken notice also.

Strangers are also drawn to people who dress well and carry themselves well. Why? Because that is an important part of being a `real' human. In the past we were all like that. These days people look ratty and act ratty...that is not real human behaviour,it is the behaviour of fallen humans ie, beasts that look like humans.
 

OfficePants

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No, putting out an image of being a solid citizen of the community is an important first step. The second step is to back that up with the right mindset and actions. Also, if one enjoys dressing up and is comfortable about it and presents a good image of a well bred man then it is well worth it.

Many folk don't understand why dressing well is important, so educate them IF the opportunity arrives or at least lead by example and inspire them. You would be surprised at how many poorly dressed men actually appreciate someone being well dressed, especially if he comes across as a nice and approachable person.

One of my mates used to have a pony tail and dressed poorly, and he always wondered why l dressed with a sportscoat and great shoos 7 days per week most times of the year. He got used to my image, but it made an impression on him as someone who knows how to dress. Over time l explained the importance of putting out the right image and being a solid citizen of the community. These days the pony tail has gone and he wears business attire like l do. I taught him the importance of having a tailor on speed dial and decent shoes and shirt and sportscoat. Other friends have taken notice also.

Strangers are also drawn to people who dress well and carry themselves well. Why? Because that is an important part of being a `real' human. In the past we were all like that. These days people look ratty and act ratty...that is not real human behaviour,it is the behaviour of fallen humans ie, beasts that look like humans.
I completely get your point, but look around you. Fewer and fewer care.
 

The Shooman

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I completely get your point, but look around you. Fewer and fewer care.
Yes, dressing nice is something quite rare now among the general population however their is a growing group that has got into clothes due to blog and forums.


The footwear industry has come full circle
The most noticeable difference has been in the footwear scene over the last 8 years, things have improved out of site in Oz. Gone are the square toes and pointed turned up shoes with hideous designs and ugly extreme lasts. These days you see HEAPS of nice traditional designed shoes on more traditional lasts, and now Florshiem has taken the amazing step of greatly improving quality and designing more traditional shoes again.
http://www.florsheim.com.au/shop/styles/shoeMens/mensDress/page1.html

Imo the companies started looking at forums and blogs and noticed a big following in the higher end dress shoo styles, so the lower end companies started imitating the higher end knowing full well that the classics were making a major comeback. The entire dress shoo market is completely different now...gone are the ugly extreme shoos and in are the classics.

See...the shoe industry used to be the opposite way 10 years ago. For many years the classics were not big sellers where-as the modern extreme shoes were, and THAT is why the market was filled with square toe, pointed and upturned shoes with hideous designs. See...for years people had only the classics, but generations got sick of them and wanted something unusual so they bought ugly shoes. Ugly long pointed shoos and square shoos were so cool and so many wanted them, and having heaps of seams on a shoo was egdy, so that is what was sold. Now the industry has gone full circle again and the classics are now desirable. How do l know this? Because l have spoken to industry designers and pattern makers who have been in the industry over 50 years and know the market inside-out. See...the companies filled the market with ugly shoes because that is what sold well...most people were sick of the beautiful classics because they reminded them of their grandfather's shoos. People wanted to rebel, and that is why they stopped wearing classic shoos.

There is a very good reason why so many dress shoe companies stopped making the classics, there was no money in it for a long time. It's quite interesting how igents have started new trends.
 

The Shooman

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Nice =

Nice fitting clothes that make one look respectable and decent to the average person
Not jeans
Not sportswear (baseball caps, sneakers, shorts, t-shirts, tracksuit pants)
Nothing extreme (not too many zips or seams or pockets or too out there)

Nice can be classic clothing or classic designer clothing with an egde. Nice can be a chinese made jumper with chinese made pants. Nice can be a nice fitting fused Chinese sportscoat with pants and glued chinese made shoes. Must be nice fitting and neat and tidy and fill the above four requirements IMO. Nice must NOT draw the eyes for the wrong reasons. Nice must be just right, but nice can't be out of fashion (a distraction).

"Nice is a sartorial X factor that puts harmony in a balanced man's heart". - The Shooman
 

InstaHate

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Why not jeans then, provided they fit well and are neat (no holes or stains)? While jeans might not make one respectable to the average person in 1967, in 2017 they do (even to those who might be "above average").

That standard will change with the times (and I think what all of us here think when we first hear "nice clothing" is an obsolete standard of what would be considered respectable). I think neatness is key. Dirty clothing has not been respectable for thousands of years. Clothes should also fit as they were designed to fit (as you said). They should not stand out as being unfashionable either (as you said).
 

The Shooman

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Why not jeans then, provided they fit well and are neat (no holes or stains)? While jeans might not make one respectable to the average person in 1967, in 2017 they do (even to those who might be "above average").
Some jeans can look respectable such as dark blue jeans that fit and are cut well, but most jeans don't look respectable imo and can lower the image of a person/. In other words, there are SOME exceptions to the jeans rule, and there are probably SOME exceptions to the t-shirt rule, but probably not too many other exceptions in the other areas. I suppose it also depends on how a person looks. If a bloke looks scruffy (eg, messy hair and beard) then jeans may not make him look good no matter what, AND since he looks scruffy he needs all the help he can get in order to look more respectable.

....the rest is deleted because I don't want things to get too boring with academic talk...

...simple talk is better...

...waffle bores people to tears so l deleted the rest of my post...
 
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Jan Libourel

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I am not a big fan of jeans in general (don't own any), but I do see a qualitative difference between a good pair of classic jeans and these ghastly "pre-distressed" jeans with holes, slashed knees, fraying, etc. These things look like they were picked out of rag bin. Yet some people, more commonly women, I think, will pay large sums for these bizarre abominations.
 

Monkeyface

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It's also a matter of comfort. Of course sweatpants would be the most comfy, but this is still not socially acceptable, so I much prefer soft wool trousers that were made for me than off the rack tight denim which is tough and stiff because it was made for working in the mines. Especially in hot weather denim doesn't perform well.
 

prince nez

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No, putting out an image of being a solid citizen of the community is an important first step. The second step is to back that up with the right mindset and actions. Also, if one enjoys dressing up and is comfortable about it and presents a good image of a well bred man then it is well worth it.

Many folk don't understand why dressing well is important, so educate them IF the opportunity arrives or at least lead by example and inspire them. You would be surprised at how many poorly dressed men actually appreciate someone being well dressed, especially if he comes across as a nice and approachable person.

One of my mates used to have a pony tail and dressed poorly, and he always wondered why l dressed with a sportscoat and great shoos 7 days per week most times of the year. He got used to my image, but it made an impression on him as someone who knows how to dress. Over time l explained the importance of putting out the right image and being a solid citizen of the community. These days the pony tail has gone and he wears business attire like l do. I taught him the importance of having a tailor on speed dial and decent shoes and shirt and sportscoat. Other friends have taken notice also.

Strangers are also drawn to people who dress well and carry themselves well. Why? Because that is an important part of being a `real' human. In the past we were all like that. These days people look ratty and act ratty...that is not real human behaviour,it is the behaviour of fallen humans ie, beasts that look like humans.
I always try to look like a solid citizen - it throws off suspicion when I start acting like the ratty fallen human I am.
 

Journeyman

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I know plaints of this sort have turned up with some frequency in menswear fora. However, in a world of cargoes and sandals, I increasingly wonder about the relevancy of discussions about button-down collar rolls, bluchers with a suit, etc. I also have to wonder about the point of acquiring an expensive wardrobe, when it serves only to make one an oddity in most circumstances.
Late last year, I turned up to a new workplace - a government office - and was greeted with expressions of surprise and statements like, "You're wearing a suit - and a tie?!?!"
 

prince nez

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Late last year, I turned up to a new workplace - a government office - and was greeted with expressions of surprise and statements like, "You're wearing a suit - and a tie?!?!"
Ha the other day someone suggested I keep one of my ties in the office for "emergency" use for the team.

I shot them dead on the spot and fled the scene without leaving an emergency tie.
 

Monkeyface

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Ha the other day someone suggested I keep one of my ties in the office for "emergency" use for the team.

I shot them dead on the spot and fled the scene without leaving an emergency tie.
I've lent out my ties probably a dozen times over the years for colleagues who didn't prepare for client meetings. Even lent out a navy sport coat a few times. I'm such a good coworker, I'll literally give you the clothes off my back.
 

WildBlue

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I've lent out my ties probably a dozen times over the years for colleagues who didn't prepare for client meetings. Even lent out a navy sport coat a few times. I'm such a good coworker, I'll literally give you the clothes off my back.
Then why are you selling your stuff? Be a good samaritan and give it for free to the poor joos.
 

Lord Buckley

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Denim is a disaster, I can only think of Bing Crosby who could carry it off:

tl-vertical_stack.jpg


As for the original question, it all depends on intent and your definition of "dressing well" is. It's cosplay if you're wearing some serious heavy fabric with a cut and silhouette of Bugsy Malone or Al Capone. Personally, I'm not really interested in what the herd and mainstream are wearing. Something to do with Superdry me thinks, whoever he is, some ghastly gangsta rapper I imagine.

I can wear a tie, or sans tie, it doesn't matter, I will still look good. I dress with presence and it commands respect. It works for me. If I go out to a bar or restaurant, I already know that I am going to be leagues above the other patrons in terms of sartorial finesse. Not over dressed mind you, but enough for the proprietors to recognise that this is one serious dude who digs the whole event of dining out in our establishment. Already you're going to get the respect and service you deserve.

In business, that extra effort, in sporting what is excellent quality, fit and in look, is going to differentiate yourself the chap in a cheap polyester suit and tie. You're already dressing for the seriousness of your position, or even a higher position. It will get you noticed for the right reasons. Even in office cultures where it is all Lacoste tennis shirts or clients who dress like they shop at Primark, you're making the right statement that you are soaring above the herd. At the very worse it will become a talking point in the office. You're being noticed. And being noticed and not being noticed, well you know which one to choose.

Of course, you need to dress right for each situation. The dandy peacock of Sebastian Horsely, is a difficult look to pull off in most circumstances.

Dressing well can make something average into an event and I think our societies would be much better off with a few more solid dressers out there.
 

OfficePants

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Yes, dressing nice is something quite rare now among the general population however their is a growing group that has got into clothes due to blog and forums.
We crossed wires. Fewer and fewer care how you look, I was talking from the perspective of the person looking at you.
 

OfficePants

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Being well dressed still opens a lot of doors that would otherwise remain closed.
It does, but every day it becomes less meaningful.

You know what's getting traction? Wearing garb. Instead of looking good, it's becoming more important to identify correctly.

For example that idiot Cornel West wearing that Arafat terrorist scarf on Real Time.

 

viaattovannucci

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cornel west is a national treasure
Yes! And that three-piece suit has been his uniform/armor at least since his graduate-student days. . .

Ephesians 6:11. (Saul may have gone astray from the straight path, but he always has the best quips.)

As a black man and an organic intellectual who has not only survived but thrived in US academia on his own terms, Cornel West profoundly knows that he has to aspire to a higher standard than everyone else around him. With that in mind, every article of his daily uniform has a particular lineage or purpose, even utility, towards the kind of persona that he wishes to cultivate inwardly and project to the external world, borrowing from a number of black traditions. The three-piece suit, the white double-cuff shirt with gold links, the pocket watch, the black necktie with a FiH-knot, the scarf, the low-vamp black tassel loafers, all are carefully though-out parts of an extended spiritual exercise.

There was a video interview with him about his style somewhere on youtube, which I will dutifully dig up in a moment. . . There it is (I think that it consists of four parts):

 
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Monkeyface

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Yes! And that three-piece suit has been his uniform/armor at least since his graduate-student days. . .

Ephesians 6:11. (Saul may have gone astray from the straight path, but he always has the best quips.)

As a black man and an organic intellectual who has not only survived but thrived in US academia on his own terms, Cornel West profoundly knows that he has to aspire to a higher standard than everyone else around him. With that in mind, every article of his daily uniform has a particular lineage or purpose, even utility, towards the kind of persona that he wishes to cultivate inwardly and project to the external world, borrowing from a number of black traditions. The three-piece suit, the white shirt double-cuff shirt with gold links, the pocket watch, the black necktie with a FiH-knot, the scarf, the low-vamp black tassel loafers, all are carefully though-out parts of an extended spiritual exercise.

There was a video interview with him about his style somewhere on youtube, which I will dutifully dig up in a moment.
See, I knew I was on to something with black low vamp tassels
 

OfficePants

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every article of his daily uniform has a particular lineage or purpose, even utility, towards the kind of persona that he wishes to cultivate inwardly and project to the external world, borrowing from a number of black traditions
Its also known as garb. I wonder what he intends to cultivate by wearing a terrorist scarf.
 

viaattovannucci

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He tryin to trigger folk I tell you what
I think that InstaHate InstaHate is on point here, so I am not going to go on about the semiotics of it to avoid causing further hurt or trauma.

The function is otherwise rather simple. West lives on the East coast and travels all over the country to give lectures for most of the year, so the scarf (which is usually all-black) is there to ward off the inclemency of the local climate and to protect his voice.
 
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Jan Libourel

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Just a little update: On Thursday I went up to the Santa Anita racetrack where an old school friend had a horse running. He is a very prominent turfman--at the moment he owns 107 racehorses. I was to meet him in the clubhouse where he had a box reserved. At our local racetrack (Los Alamitos), they have a somewhat stringent dress code for the "elite" section, and I thought things would be similar there. I asked my pal if he preferred me to wear an ascot or a necktie. He favored the necktie. So off to the track I went in coat and tie...and found myself way overdressed! I felt rather ridiculous. Frankly, if I had worn the clothes I had been wearing just for bumming around the house, I would have been more appropriately dressed...and still one of the best dressed men present.
 

Scherensammler

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One of our long-time MTM customers has fallen to the Italian style craze.
Sprayed on jackets and short trousers with low vamp loafers and no socks.
He's ex-military with wide and square shoulders/ back and thick thighs. Not sure he can pull off that look.
Not to mention that his face is the least Italian looking around (Brits don't seem to tan well)!
 

prince nez

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Mods I think we can lock this thread now...

I had planned to go to Derby Day this year, and assembled a very traditional outfit for it. However, at some point I said to myself "as a matter of fact, I have no interest at all in actually attending Spring Racing Carnival events, but I do like the clothes".

So I dressed up and dragged the wife out to do a quick photoshoot.

I guess I'll probably never get to wear this outfit, anywhere, ever. A bit too dressy for weddings (and besides I never get invited to weddings any more, only funerals); and AFAIK the only institution which still insists on morning dress for men is the VRC, and that's only on Derby Day.

Maybe next year. But I have to somehow get excited about horses first.


 

Thruth

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Mods I think we can lock this thread now...

I had planned to go to Derby Day this year, and assembled a very traditional outfit for it. However, at some point I said to myself "as a matter of fact, I have no interest at all in actually attending Spring Racing Carnival events, but I do like the clothes".

So I dressed up and dragged the wife out to do a quick photoshoot.

I guess I'll probably never get to wear this outfit, anywhere, ever. A bit too dressy for weddings (and besides I never get invited to weddings any more, only funerals); and AFAIK the only institution which still insists on morning dress for men is the VRC, and that's only on Derby Day.

Maybe next year. But I have to somehow get excited about horses first.


 
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