FICKLE FASHION

American journalist Joshua Chaffin wrote a sentimental article in the Weekend Financial Times, in many folk’s eyes, the world’s best newspaper.

Specifically, Joshua reminisced about what he missed about London after a two year absence.

It was an enjoyable article touching on British libertarian quirkiness, for example; “I miss my wife coming home wobbly and giggling from drinks with the other mums and not agonised and anxious,” this so contrary to the underlying American puritanism.

That said, one line caught my attention, namely, “I miss the horrid suits worn by your estate agents under the mistaken assumption that they confer some sense of trustworthiness”.

That remark illustrated why so many otherwise competent journalists are often out of touch with life beyond their relatively low salaried world.

Back in the inflationary 1980s with soaring interest rates, at peak reaching 24% for home mortgages, repeatedly we’d read a heading, “Home Owners Punished by new interest rate surge”.

In fact back then, home-owners were mostly unaffected, 70% being mortgage-free and the journalists were reading the scene from their personal perspective and ascribing these to the wider world.

So too with Joshua’s dumb remarks about real estate agents in suits.

Like it or not, a smartly dressed agent brings comfort to someone making a major financial decision. It doesn’t stop there.

If you have a legal issue, a relatively rare event for most folk, would you be more comfortable consulting a lawyer in a suit or jeans and a T-shirt, so too if visiting a doctor?

There’s another factor here that gets me. While it’s tough on the pocket being a woman with the rich array of clothing options, the plus side is the fun of such variety.

Contrast that with men in suits which despite different shades and minor style differences, are basically a uniform.

But the one opportunity available for some colour and flair lies with the necktie. I have about 300 and enjoy choosing which to wear when I go to the office.

Then in came fickle fashion targeting the feeble-minded and suddenly wearing suits without ties was voguish. The result; an even drabber uniformity.

When I see a bloke in a suit without a tie he might as well carry a sign on his back certifying as to his weakmindedness and lack of spirit and individuality.

So too with wearing a dark suit and brown shoes; simply bad taste, targeting the lower orders; male shop assistants, schoolteachers, journalists et al.

When I see these losers my heart goes out to young women and the lengthy queues outside the lesbian enrolment centres quickly become explicable.

10 Comments

Classic! “Far better for it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though chequered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much. Because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

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Suits, with ties are sexy. Especially so if the man smells good too!

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If you are the only suit in a room full of tee shirts you are the boss. If you are the only tee shirt in a room full of suits, you are the owner. Agreed with the uniform bit. Its pretty tiresome. I also have a penchant for smart ties. Its a vanity but only a small one.

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Hey Bob, Have I ever seen you in the street with smart well cut suit, colourful tie, and “grey” shoes ?

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Whenever I see a 20 something bloke wearing a lavender shirt I shake my head in disappointment. I think it is some kind of coded “wokeness” bat signal but I see it as a dismal sign of weakness and surrender.

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Dress yourself up reasonably well and notice the difference in the way you’re treated.
I’ve noticed; put on a decent pair of shoes and a dinner jacket or sports coat and you’ll get better attention at a restaurant and the more smiles from the girls. Slope around like a homeless loser and you’ll be treated like one. Think a self deprecating scruffiness looks cool, nah, good old human nature knows different.

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An new (old) boss of mine, some time ago, introduced himself to the crew dressed like a slob and even had his shirt hanging out underneath his sweater, in the front. He did not even volunteer his handshake to anyone (I had to – and it curiously made him insecure).
The message was “I don’t give a shit about you guys”, and sadly he lived up to exactly that. Clothing is definitely a form of communication. We should take seriously.

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You are absolutely right about suits and their uniform nature compared to women’s clothing, and probably too in many aspects with all the rest about professional comfort factor etc. On the tie point however the opposite is increasingly considered by many intelligent people to be true. Wearing a tie being a blaring sign of weakmindedness and lack of spirit or individuality.

This being where terms like ‘collar’ no doubt come from as it’s a dead giveaway of an ‘empty suit’ legally owned by another person.

A tie is also sometimes a tool for fraudsters, politicians, and all the like to appear seemingly more presentable and trustworthy.

Consider the broader heuristic of comparing two equally qualified people for a skilled task. Say you need high-risk surgery and your option of two doctors to perform it are either a handsome well-dressed fellow in a suit and tie, or an ogreish butcher looking bloke. Who would you choose?
Logically you should pick the butcher, because for him to have reached the same position as the other fellow he had to overcome a great deal more prejudice due to his appearance, so he is more likely to be the greater skilled of the two.

The implication of much this of course is that a tie is unpleasant to wear and never done so by choice. But if one disagrees with that premise, consider another.
On a practical level anyone with even the most rudimentary grappling knowledge knows how open a tie leaves someone to being strangled with the slightest effort.

Depending on one’s proclivities that might be a positive or a negative, but decorative nooses are quite the fashion statement.

Now I am someone that actually tended to where a tie whenever I got the chance as a teenager, especially as I seemed to be the only one of my peers that knew how to even tie one (without going to a school where they were required).

Today the tie strikes me as a signal about freedom, risk taking, loss aversion and chance of being an interesting person, and not something I would tend to wear for “one part arrogance, one part aesthetics, one part convenience”.

That said, the contrarian and snobbish part of me would probably entertain wearing them again if their absence became completely ubiquitous.

Come to think of it the last time I wore a tie would actually have been when I was in your offices. I have an occasion soon where I will wear one again for reasons that are private.

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Important issues such as this really do need to be addressed.
Thanks to all.

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This brings me back to what I observed a few weeks ago. Driving through the local town centre. To my amazement, local bobbys, in mufty. Kevlar vest and all. Instantly, my perception of police was changed. They seemed to me less authoritative. Yes, that was my perception.

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