Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Examples of social decline, especially in the UK

Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Andrea » 01 Aug 2011, 22:43

If you saw a lady walking down the street wearing a dress from the Restoration period or Regency period, etc. would you ridicule her?

Why is it one cannot dress in clothing from another era but is free to dress in foreign ethnic garb, or with a Che Guevara t-shirt, a half-shaved, half pink hairdo and a face full of rivets and studs and flesh tunnels? Until certain pop singers embraced the look, you'd get no end of ridicule and perhaps worse by dressing in the style of the 1940s.

What are your thoughts on how people wear jeans and a t-shirt to work at the office now, instead of a nice suit? How has this come to be? Do you think this good or bad? What can be the consequences of such an apathetic outlook?

True, there should not be a huge emphasis on aesthetics, for that is a character flaw. But we should, I believe, make an effort; if not for ourselves, then for those around us.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby John » 02 Aug 2011, 00:35

One very clear example of what you are saying here was when Gordon Brown as Chancellor of the Exchequer would turn up to formal dinners which had a ‘white tie’ or ‘black tie’ dress code and turn up in his working suit.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1569114/Gordon-Brown-gives-in-to-Lord-Mayors-dress-code.html

It strikes me that the origins of ‘dressing down’ phenomena you describe is the same as the origins of Brown’s behaviour at the dinners. It comes from the bogus egalitarianism which infects our culture, the rejection of the idea that anything should be seen as better than everything else. It is ultimately a form of decadence.

It’s true that aesthetics should not be seen as too important. However it does link in with other things. I notice a number of threads on this forum show various sides of a common theme in our society. Whether it is dress, art or body ’decoration’ in all of these cases we are seeing aesthetic decadence. That is bad enough by itself but I think it is linked in with moral decadence.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby George » 02 Aug 2011, 03:04

John wrote:It strikes me that the origins of ‘dressing down’ phenomena you describe is the same as the origins of Brown’s behaviour at the dinners. It comes from the bogus egalitarianism which infects our culture, the rejection of the idea that anything should be seen as better than everything else. It is ultimately a form of decadence.


Most cases of dressing down that I've seen haven't really had any ideological motive behind them. They usually start with one person who's always dressed a particular way and doesn't feel comfortable dressing more formally, and since he figures he's not hurting anyone, he doesn't bother going out of his comfort zone and dressing more formally. And once a few people have started dressing down, it just snowballs until it's the norm.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Christopher » 02 Aug 2011, 03:20

A related example of the phenomenon of dressing down is talking down, the self-conscious use of the demotic by those who should know better. The Duchess of Cornwall recently described Prince William's engagement as 'wicked'. I think she had been instructed to say this by her PR team.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Andrea » 02 Aug 2011, 20:16

The Duchess of Cornwall recently described Prince William's engagement as 'wicked'.

I find the use of such a word by the future Queen consort of our country quite disturbing, Christopher, and I cannot begin to understand why someone who is known to be bright would debase herself by using such a low class word. Thanks for pointing this out to us.

And once a few people have started dressing down, it just snowballs until it's the norm.


I agree, George. In fact, I must mention how, upon my first visit to the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, I wore a ballgown/evening dress which is what you *should* wear. As I waited in the queue, an older lady laughed and said, "Why are you so smart?" I replied, "This is the opera, we should dress up accordingly." "Oh no, dearie, that's far too old-fashioned." This occurred in 2005, when I had just turned 20. In 2009, I went back and dressed in formal attire again, only to find the other patrons had dressed even worse - in jeans and trainers! To the opera! I was mortified at such attitudes. I felt it was disrespectful to the art of opera and was shocked they were allowed in at all. We had saved up to be able to enjoy such an evening, and made the effort to dress in a respectable manner. We have let ourselves down by allowing people to enter such establishments, thus permitting such dressing down to become the norm, as you stated.

It strikes me that the origins of ‘dressing down’ phenomena you describe is the same as the origins of Brown’s behaviour at the dinners. It comes from the bogus egalitarianism which infects our culture, the rejection of the idea that anything should be seen as better than everything else. It is ultimately a form of decadence


Yes, John, I wholeheartedly agree that it is ultimately a form of decadence. I, like anyone else, despise vainglorious persons who prize aesthetics above all else. This said, however, we should not therefore take the view that there should be no standard for dressing in public. Why, some people do not even dress well for weddings, including their own! Samantha Cameron's lack of suitable attire and headwear during the recent Royal Wedding was, I perceived, an kind of rebellion against the etiquette required at such an event. They were asked to wear a suitable hat or substantial fascinator. She did neither.

It has been most interesting to read your comments.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Liviu » 03 Aug 2011, 10:31

Andrea wrote:If you saw a lady walking down the street wearing a dress from the Restoration period or Regency period, etc. would you ridicule her?

Why is it one cannot dress in clothing from another era but is free to dress in foreign ethnic garb, or with a Che Guevara t-shirt, a half-shaved, half pink hairdo and a face full of rivets and studs and flesh tunnels? Until certain pop singers embraced the look, you'd get no end of ridicule and perhaps worse by dressing in the style of the 1940s.


A very interesting observation that may reveal the inner workings of the present social mechanisms. I believe that at the heart of the matter is, to put it simply, the leftist intellectual’s desire for power. The self anointed high priests of demotic culture have found the cheapest means of exercising dominance and repression. There is no need for genuine effort, talent or insight – the celebration of stupidity, ugliness and sentimentality will due the job just fine.

By subverting traditionally established moral and aesthetic hierarchies and the idea of hierarchy itself, one becomes invulnerable to any sensible argument. The allegiance to the mores of the “people” becomes the sole legitimacy of public discourse. A pile made of people wearing jeans will be, in most cases, much higher than one made of neck-tie lovers, so the demotic intellectual sitting on top of it will feel empowered and morally superior to those elitist rambling about opera.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Christine » 03 Aug 2011, 19:29

Andrea, I have yet to attend the Royal Opera House but anyway, at the Metropolitan Opera full evening dress can be seen (but is not really required ) at gala events and first nights of new productions. Usually on other nights audience members come in straight from work and are in what you would call “workday best” and given this day and age, it could include denim and t-shirts. There are of course some opera regulars who like to dress up and then there are cute young couples in full evening dress in the orchestra rush seats or up at the top at Family Circle. I usually see these couples at performances of La Boheme. They look very charming and only a troll would make a negative comment about their outfits. The Met remains the best place to see elegant women’s shoes in action in New York.

At La Scala last year, I noticed many people in denim and casual wear.

In the end, it's more important that I see nice outfits on stage, and all I ask of my fellow audience members is that they remain as quiet as possible during a performance and bathe regularly.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Andrea » 04 Aug 2011, 21:12

Hello Christine,

Thanks for your reply. I must have done something wrong and I had typed up a long reply and had some sort of malfunction, so I am sorry this will not be as long.

I can't believe they would allow such dressing down in La Scala and the Met. Surely, there should be men at the door who will bar people from entering if they are not properly attired (or plan on changing once inside, if they've come from work). Like you wrote, jeans and t-shirts are standard now at some companies and I do find this rather vexing. I was always taught to dress impeccably when going to work and an office job should have some standards about dress code.

I wonder what will happen next? Flip-flops and bikinis at the opera?
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Michael » 04 Aug 2011, 22:05

Andrea and Christine,

I was curious whether they perform operas 'straight' in the UK. Here where I live in Canada the opera companies have an unfortunate tendency to take the thousands of dollars donated to them by companies and individuals and do trendy 'reimaginings' of classic operas.

Recently my wife and I went to see a production of "Die Entfugrung Aus Dem Serail" by Mozart by our local opera company, and it was terrible. The cast was talented, the sets were good, but the libretto had been rewritten to make it 'modern' and comical, making the villain Pasha Selim only a wit or two above a retarded California surfer. This completely undercuts the resonance of the glorious finale, wherein the whole cast sings the praises of the Pasha's virtues in releasing his captives because he was moved by their love and devotion to each other.

I don't reject the concept of a re-imagining completely (after all, Ian MacKellen's re-imagining of Richard III in an alternate 1930's fascist Britain is one of the finest filmed productions of Shakespeare I have ever seen), just that re-imaginings must be done so as to enhance the message of a work, not miss or pervert it.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Andrea » 05 Aug 2011, 00:01

Christopher wrote:I've never acquired an appreciation of opera as I have never been able to afford it. The question of whether or not to wear flip-flops to a performance of Gotterdammerung is, for me, entirely academic.


Really? I'm not rich myself, and have gone several times, mainly because prices start at £8 at the Royal Opera House. Yes, that means sitting behind a pillar, but the experience is still breathtaking, so therefore, well worth it.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Gavin » 24 Oct 2012, 12:40

Image

What with "Nappy Boy Records", "Chipmunk" the rapper and people wearing their trousers halfway down their bottoms, it's funny the things youths regard as cool today!

This would be an April Fool in the UK but in America one city has decided to start fining people who might trip over their own trousers. This has already been banned in other cities.

When asked why he does this, one speaker says "It’s just something I do, because it makes me look street – have a swagger... When I get a job, they’ll be above my waist". A little optimistic there, perhaps.

I think people dress like this for the same kind of reason they get piercings, which is why the two often go together: it's attention seeking by way of deliberate offence. They're saying:

"I will deliberately dress in a particularly slovenly way just to show I don't care what anyone else thinks. You will hopefully mistake they for a kind of confidence [as many women do] and thus I will earn your respect."

Actually they just look ridiculous, but when all this goes hand in hand with gang culture and confrontational stares, unfortunately no-one laughs. No-one employs them either, which is when the self-pitying "I'm discriminated against" nonsense begins.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Andreas » 25 Nov 2013, 17:31

An unsavory experience yesterday I just have to vent about. On public transportation, a woman with a young boy about ten years old. She was wearing a T-shirt with a rude sexual message and image that I don't want to repeat. Not shocking or surprising these days, but still pretty disgusting. I was glad I hadn't just eaten.

This was disgraceful on two counts: first, just the thought that it's OK to go out in public wearing something like that (gross disregard for others, and what kind of self-respect can this woman have?), and second, wearing something like that around a child. This boy will grow up thinking that this is normal.

When did this become acceptable? Of course no one will criticize this woman in public, and the people she lives and interacts with in daily life probably think nothing of it.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Gavin » 25 Nov 2013, 18:54

"I'm feelin' ya!" as the modern parlance goes. You see it everywhere now, with no judgment made. We are surely not far off people bringing court cases if they are refused jobs because of their obscene clothing, piercings or whatever other stupid ugly thing they've done to themselves.

Speaking of which, my wife and I have been watching Breaking Bad (we like to get with things later than the fashion). It's interesting to note that central character Jesse Pinkman dresses in the typical manner of young folk today: as a baby.
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Andreas » 25 Nov 2013, 21:26

It's interesting to note that central character Jesse Pinkman dresses in the typical manner of young folk today: as a baby.


An interesting observation, Gavin. I hadn't thought of that, but in fact the baggy clothes make him look like an infant or small child in clothes too big for it. Contemporary youth street clothing might signify not just eternal adolescence, but in fact a regression to infantilism.

The fashion of sagging pants is also very strange. Has anything like this ever existed in history, anywhere? Exposing one's genitalia or buttocks in public (or rather, suggesting the idea) is certainly a way of rejecting bourgeois propriety, but for a young male to expose his buttocks like that could also be seen as an invitation to rape by/sex with another man. I'm sure the youngsters who are dressing like this would vehemently deny that idea if you suggested it to them, especially since they want to appear tough.

But if we're in fact dealing with a form of infantilism, it might make sense. Unconsciously, this fashion communicates that "I'm still a child and I can't keep my pants up."
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Re: Modern Clothing: Your Thoughts

Postby Gavin » 25 Nov 2013, 21:46

Yes, it's fascinating the way this is respected, also by young females. It is seen also in the rappers' names, like "Chipmunk" and "Nappy Boy Records" - even "Snoop Doggy Dogg". The air of menace combined with infantilism.

I think these people look utterly ridiculous. There's nothing like classic style and dressing as an adult.
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