Monday, April 9, 2012

Young Man: This Arrogance of Ours

If you hang around the online clothing scene enough you are very likely to encounter a particular character trait that pervades every forum and most blogs. That unfortunate trait is arrogance. It is sometimes manifested towards those in the know who aren't quite in far enough (this was always the feeling I got at the Talk Ivy forums), but it is more often directed to those who are not in the know, towards those who've never heard of trad and couldn't care less how their jean legs are attached to each other. They are somehow inferior to those of us who have heard and who do care.

I guess the assumption is that they don't care how they look or what their clothing choices say about them.

But that's a bunch of baloney. Everyone cares about how they look. Just because their clothing aesthetic differs from yours or that they want to say something different with their clothes than you do with yours doesn't mean they are inferior.

The guido all Ed Hardy'd is trying to make a statement. The hillbilly with the same wranglers, boots, and t-shirts is trying to make a statement. The guy coming to class in pajama pants and a blanket (seen it) is trying to make a statement.

Now, I might not agree with those statements. I might think they are dumb, and that the results look pretty dumb too (judging based on my aesthetic standards), but they aren't wrong. Just like I'm not right. I like the traditional/Ivy/American/gobledy-gook aesthetic. But guess what? It isn't the 40's anymore. Society doesn't require everyone to wear a 3/2 charcoal suit to work everyday. So it isn't "the right thing" anymore. I like it because I happen to appreciate the style and workmanship of garments of that period.

I guess this is where I'm going here: don't look down on someone because of their clothes. Style and aesthetics are subjective, and you'll never be able to prove to me (or anyone else) that they're not. So don't offend (or be offended by) someone because of something as silly as the clothes they wear. Not everyone obsesses about the little details of our respective styles. And that's OK. If you aren't into traditional Irish flutes, wouldn't you think I was silly if I wrote you off because of it?

*Big caveat here. I do this all the time. Usually it's in my head. I try not to publish negative thoughts like this. But I'm just as guilty as anyone. And I'll try and do better.

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