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I suit therefore I am.

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Matt Deckard, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    Costume is a grand tradition of putting on the things we love which bring back cultural memories; Me and my suits.
    Fashion, on the other hand, is a way of fitting in on a level that helps you associate with peers that may have their own social costume that pulls them into their lineal circle, but may not help them be part of your group of peers that isn’t connected to your cultural memories. I could wear more hooded sweatshirts with zippers in the colder months. Social Status.

    What do you think?

    PeterB likes this.
  2. hatsRme

    hatsRme I'll Lock Up

    Boston area
    Well done, Mr. Deckard, although I may not be of the right demographic to answer here. I've noticed that as a "boomer," my memory of typical proper daily dress for men reaches to the days when we all wore suits to the airport. So, my perspectives [still] include suits as normal. As I saw interviews with a couple of male New Year's revelers dressed in totally contemporary manner yesterday, complete with perfectly perched and slung back tuques and hoodies, I was reminded of what has happened under our watch....

    Suit ON, Matt!!
  3. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    Well to take out the confusion. Costume and 'a' costume are one and the same and should be protected. Novelty wears are another subject, and fashion then another. They all do cross paths, but are all distinctly separate.
  4. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

    New Forest
    What an eloquently phrased post. Given that the social costume, as you describe it, of today is a homogenised mix of T shirt, jeans and trainers, suit wearing will make you look like a rose in a thistle patch. Only once have I seen that scenario reversed. It was last Thursday night, New Year's Eve. The venue ticket made it clear that it was a black tie event, but as It was also a vintage event, vintage appearance was most acceptable. Out of 250 guests, one guy, a baby boomer, turned up in a printed T shirt, jeans and trainers. His wife however, wore a black ball gown. For once it was the T shirt that was a nettle in a rose bed.
    stratcat, Hal and PeterB like this.
  5. Rabbit

    Rabbit Call Me a Cab

    Live from Somewhere
    To me, costume vs. fashion is just a matter of using the terms in different contexts. Costume is merely an older word for attire/ wear/ clothes/ dress, as in "evening costume" which was replaced by the term "evening wear". Both fashion and costume mean a style that reflects the belonging to a certain group, profession or whatever, within a given timeframe.
    Btw, costume is Italian and originally meant "custom", or implicitly "custom clothes" because obviously before the industrial revolution all clothes were made either custom or at home.

    To clarify, we are of course not talking about theatrical costume. When talking about vintage clothes, I avoid the term costume altogether because today it's mostly associated with theatrical costume rather than the original term. As far as theatrical costume is concerned, I draw the line between that and vintage attire somewhere around 1910, but I'm clearly biased as I dress 30s-40s vintage every day. Haven't got anything else in my closet.
    Edit: I should add, why c. 1910? I figure that this is about the time when the precursors to the lounge suit became more or less discernible as such. The teens were a highly experimental period in men's clothes, but the lounge suit did emerge then fairly clearly. I consider the pre-lounge suit stuff, such as frock coats, as belonging to so distant a style that they look too alien for the lounge suit era that we still live in.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016
    Hal likes this.
  6. Dirk Wainscotting

    Dirk Wainscotting A-List Customer

    What a lot of people here (me included) wear is merely the fashion of yesteryear. At the time it performed much the same function as regular fashions do now. I'm sure there are people who have the same cultural memory of people dressing in suits or jacket and trousers, but don't want to emulate it; it's therefore a matter of taste rather than a lack of exposure.

    In some way - and I know I'll be castigated for it - the adoption of yesterday's clothes partially enables an easier, fixed approach to dressing codes with a built-in aesthetic; as opposed to being fashion forward which actually takes a lot of effort.

    I know some people see the suit before the man, but I judge people on their character and their ideas rather than the cut of their suit.
    Hal likes this.
  7. Rabbit

    Rabbit Call Me a Cab

    Live from Somewhere
    I agree on all points, Dirk. Becoming immersed in the aesthetics of yesteryear is an effort in itself, but once it's "done", there is no real need for learning all that much more about it all the time. Being fashion-forward on the other hand does demand a lot of constant effort indeed in order to be attentive to the changes in fashion.
    I avoid generally talking about fashion (or costume or whatever you choose to call it) outside this forum altogether. What I wear is just my clothes. In German we don't even have a proper translation for the term vintage, and most people seem to be unaware of the possibility of wearing clothes as old as that.
    Hal likes this.
  8. Patrick Hall

    Patrick Hall Practically Family

    Houston, TX
    Would that things were so in the US. Dressing is very fraught with ideology here. Dressing in coat and tie as a matter of habit rather than occasion invites a whole host of challenges and declarations from people, ranging from complimentary to curious to rude. It is, as Mr. Deckard suggests, very much a statement of identity, whether you want it to be or not. And, you will most certainly be called upon to defend or explain it, that is guaranteed.
    Hal and PeterB like this.
  9. Luis

    Luis One of the Regulars

    Costume to me at least is some article of clothing that is to replicate the original.
    Halloween costumes for example... sure you can dress up as a cowboy, the clothes look really cheap and thin.
    If you rode horses and worked on a ranch, wore the real deal as they clothes are more for functional, then I am hoping someone with common sense can distinguish the difference between the two.

    Suits - In my opinion are still casual but more properly dressed casual. I always get the "why are you so dressed up?" question when im rolling around in a suit. The kinder comments are from the more experienced in age, "wow you look sharp".

    Tuxedo is where I say that is formal, anything below that (sport coat/tweed/suit) I consider that as almost as casual/properly dressed.

    I am sad to see that folks are walking around the grocery store in pajamas and flip flops. I do hope that the suit comes back. I make any excuse to wear one for the appropriate event of course.

    wearing a suit feels great and if tailored well will make a man looking great.

    GHT, I like your story about the T-shirt.

    Mr. Deckard, that is a great looking suit, very well put together. Looking sharp!
    stratcat and Hal like this.
  10. PeterB

    PeterB One of the Regulars

    Abu Dhabi
    FWIW, I have worn a tie at least five days a week since about 1980. Weekends it is sports jacket and spectators, without a tie, but only to avoid putting people off at get-togethers. I find that wearing a tie makes other people feel important, and although we have a trend here of casual Thursday (the weekend is Friday and Saturday), I have no casual clothes, so I don't follow the trend.

    Suits are just clothes: I never did see anything particularly formal about them. Formal is dinner jacket. Possibly a different shade in the evening, but suits are just clothes. I would never consider wearing anything else at work. Most of my customers wear suits or national dress, so I don't look out of place. Because I live in the Middle East, vintage is not easily noticeable compared to modern styles, because fashion rules here are mixed up with national cultures. The only thing you do not see here much is hats. They would draw attention.

    Nobody ever said anything about it. I think that people think suits are appropriate for men of a certain age (middle or old), and do not question it particularly. That goes for hats. The only reason I do not wear my hats is because there is nowhere to put them at meetings. No hat racks or coat racks in meeting rooms or offices.

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