Online discussion forums are like fish colonies - they glisten with activity, attract predators, and have very short memories. Styleforum is no different. I only joined in 2011, so I can’t claim to have experienced the “good old days” as longer tenured members love to do so much. But I have spent a fair amount of time reading threads that predate my membership. The nostalgia for those more innocent times has led to some distortion of what the forum was like back then (mostly there were just more and better inside jokes and snark), but there’s quite a bit of valuable content that has been forgotten. Here are some of my favorite threads from days of yore:
A special thanks to David of STYLEFORUM to wrote this great article about us…
Please read it and enjoy
My story on Styleforum about my visit to PN\P in Florence.
Your Online Dating Profile is Boring
I have been resisting writing this post for a while, because 1) I like to pretend I have the shred of self-respect required to prevent oneself from writing blog posts about online dating, and 2) I had assumed there were already hundreds of these types of posts floating around the Internet. Well, apparently whatever is out there already is not yet enough to stem the tide of drowningly dull online dating profiles, because I just read the most boring one yet.
An online dating profile is a collection of random personal facts that would not be of the slightest interest to someone who did not want to see you naked.
Styleforum member ghostface recently asked the forum why men often feel somewhere between ambivalent and ashamed of their interest in style. He suggests that the uneasiness lies in the potential for clothes to ignore or hide our inner, truer selves, to clear more space for an outer, superficial self. My response draws on some of the ideas I explored in this post - that the division between a true inner self and a pretending superficial self is a false dichotomy, and that clothes are at least as much an opportunity for self-discovery and self-reinvention as self-deceit. I’m bringing this discussion to the blog because I think it’s interesting, because I hope more people will join into the discussion on the forum, and because if I’m doing all this writing I might as well post it as many places as I can. Just be glad I’m not printing up flyers and helicopter-dropping them on Pitti Uomo.
Ghostface’s most recent response is that even if we don’t have a complete schism between our self and our style, at least there is a tension. Shouldn’t we be worried that we will be satisfied with just looking the part, without developing the character?
PUTTING TOGETHER A SUIT SILHOUETTE
Bloggers and their readers love lists. I’ve read plenty of lists of the different types of suit silhouettes. There’s British and Italian. No, wait, there’s British and Italian and American. Or maybe British and Continental and Neapolitan and American. Maybe there’s a Milanese look in there somewhere that’s different from the others. This is counterproductive. It’s like trying to learn a language by memorizing every sentence it can produce and the corresponding translation. It’s easier if you understand it in parts.
Menswear Store or Strip Club?
Both menswear stores and strip clubs feel the need to disguise their appeals to the vain and pleasure-seeking shoulder devil that whispers into the left ear of every man with a patina of aristocratic decency. Hence such euphemisms as “gentlemen’s club” and “better value in the long run.”
But there are no more gentlemen, only advertisers pandering to men who would like to call themselves gentlemen. As happens often when two sportsmen shoot from opposite sides of a target that does not in fact exists, these advertisers have managed only to ensnare each other, as it is no longer possible for an honorable man to tell apart names of menswear stores from names of strip clubs.
As proof, I present to you the following 12-item quiz.
COSTUMES AND SECRET IDENTITIES
If only you could love clothes without being a clothes-loving person. Recently some well-meaning and seemingly genuine person asked me why I have become interested in men’s clothing, which is a question that brought me great shame. I hate talking about myself and feel uncomfortable talking about clothing with anyone I don’t already know to be as haunted by it as I am. But I managed to mumble something about clothing’s dual potential for both self-expression and disguise. Which sounded good enough that I have been thinking since about what it means.
I will start with superheroes.
Choosing fabric for a bespoke piece can be an overwhelming process. Particularly if you’re working with a traveling tailor and have thirty minutes to get all your fitting and choosing done before the next asshole knocks on the door for his appointment.
Advice from trusted sources such as strangers on the Internet can be valuable, but you can also peruse much of what’s available from the comfort of your own home, as many merchants now have swatch pictures online. The pictures may not be totally accurate, and of course you won’t be able to feel the fabric until you have it in front of you. But it’s a good place to start narrowing down your search for what you already have in your head, or get ideas for new projects. Here are a few that I know of:
Huddersfield (includes Minnis)
Fox (mostly flannel)
Scabal (you have to create an account, but it’s easy and their database is searchable)
Harrison’s (includes Lesser, presumably soon W. Bill and Smith’s, which they recently acquired)
Caccioppoli (Not swatch pictures of the whole collection, but their Tumblr shows many of the fabrics they offer)
Hunters (tweed and tartan)
Butt of Lewis (tweed)
Vitale Barberis Canonico (usually better to get this through Caccioppoli or Draper’s)
Lovat Mill (via Scotland Shop)
In Tweed (I think the ones with the “LM” codes are from Lovat Mill, not sure about the others)
If you have a favorite that I’ve missed, let me know and I’ll add it in.(thanks to Die, Workwear! for suggesting a few already)
Your writing will improve if you eliminate all of the following phrases from your lexicon, due to their being cliched, meaningless, annoying, or all of the above:
- "stark contrast" - No longer means anything other than “contrast”. Sounds defensive.
- "grab" lunch/dinner/coffee - Annoyingly breezy.
- "Go ahead and…" Meaningless (just eliminate it an proceed directly to the verb, the meaning is not changed) and Lumbergh-y.
- "penned", "quipped" and their ilk - You don’t need to go to the thesaurus every time somebody says or writes something, unless you’re writing for a high school yearbook. Just use “wrote” and “said”.
- "Cold, hard facts" - Similar to “stark contrast”. I suppose this is supposed to recall the dispassionate and robust nature of the facts in question, even though all facts are dispassionate and robust. What is a warm, soft fact? Just the “facts”, ma’am, is better.
- "Why not…?" - When making an argument that the reader should engage in some intrepid behavior like wearing a gingham shirt, buying a knit tie, becoming a #menswear blogger, whatever…there should be some argument better than “you can’t think of any reason not to, can you?”
- "It is what it is" - Is it possible for a statement to be more tautological? Give an example of something that is not what it is.
- "engage in witty banter" - please just shut up.
I will likely create sequels to this list as I read more phrases that annoy me.