Watching the dress code die

Discussion in 'Andy's Trad Forum' started by TKI67, May 16, 2019.

  1. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey

    I recommend being dressed for most occasions!

  2. katon

    katon Super Member

    Christmas Island
    In studying history, there is a term called "presentism"; taking the meaning of things today and projecting them into the past. This is easy to do with clothes, too.

    Khakis were the cargo pants of the 1950s. Loafers were for easy-going loafers who didn't wear proper lace-up shoes. The reactionaries were the ones who grumbled about shirts with soft collars and how when they were young every respectable man wore a stiff-collared shirt.

    This is hard to see from today, because as styles age they naturally become more formal, slowly climbing their way up the scale. So the bum wearing a tie seems striking, when at the time it was not really so.
    TimF and Billax like this.
  3. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast Connoisseur

    United States
    New York
    I think - I'm not sure - I was trying to make a similar point or, at least, an oblique one to yours. Yes, today it would seem ludicrous to give a homeless man a tie (up there with Marie Antoinette's cake offering), but it wasn't in '49 as almost everyone - at almost every social level - wanted to dress nicely by that day's standards.

    Today, it's a muddle, but not dressing up - running a billion dollar company and wearing a hoodie - is a way of signaling your specialness / in '49, almost everyone wanted to signal they dressed well by wearing suits and ties.

    The exact point I was trying to draw out is that it wasn't the "rules" that some club or school imposed that drove dressing standards, it was the cultural norms - the unwritten rules that everyone internalizes - that drove dressing standards.

    Today, we'd call it the narrative or meme - but whatever you call it, say a social convention, dressing well was so consciously and subconsciously accepted back then that a homeless man would sincerely want a tie and a kind person would genuinely think it a good thing to give him one.

    That is amazing to today's thinking, which, to your point (I think, don't want to speak for you), is because "presentism" prevents us from fully appreciation the powerful conventions around the dressing standards of that time.
    eagle2250 likes this.
  4. TimF

    TimF Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    New York
    New York City
    Today's culture is much more fragmented than 70 years ago. So instead of a (more or less) monolithic definition of properly-dressed, today there are 50 definitions, and you have to be smart as to the particular social milieu you're appealing to.
    Corcovado likes this.
  5. Flanderian

    Flanderian Connoisseur

    United States
    New Jersey
    I've made that simple; I appeal to mine! :D
  6. challer

    challer Active Member with Corp. Privileges

    United States
    It didn’t die. It changed. Most of us are addicted to a single point in time. It was way different before trad came along
  7. Mike Petrik

    Mike Petrik Honors Member

    United States
    I suppose one can regard "please do not arrive undressed" as a dress code of sorts, even if a sadly impoverished one.

    In any case, trad was and is nothing more that an organic contribution of slightly more relaxed alternatives into the preexisting and continuing classic Anglo-American sartorial tradition.
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
    Charles Dana likes this.
  8. Oldsport

    Oldsport Senior Member

    United States
    New Jersey
    "It was way different before trad came along."

    That sounds interesting. How so?
  9. Mr. B. Scott Robinson

    Mr. B. Scott Robinson Super Member

    Karachi, Pakistan - Atlanta, Georgia
    United States
    Take heart American brethren,
    for most of the world, this is a non issue.

    I have lived on several continents, with school age children.

    In South Africa, Kenya and Pakistan, all school age children wear uniforms. No debate. School = uniform. Great!

    My daughter attended public school in the UK and uniforms were the norm with the exception of 6th form where learners in their final year were allowed to wear traditional business suits. The dress code was rigidly enforced. On the flip side, Upper School learners were allowed to drink alcohol on campus under closely monitored conditions, at the campus “BOP”. Such a concept was completely alien to this American parent.

    My uniforms eliminate the student “dress to impress” problem, with all students wearing the same same every day. I found uniforms to be far less expensive than other types of clothing and school uniform swaps often resulted in virtually free dress for my offspring after an initial investment in one or two suits of clothes. Donning a uniform provided my children with an opportunity to prepare mentally for the school day, never needing concern themselves with “what to wear” each morning. I observed that uniforms created a sense of school pride with children from various schools being easily identifiable by their school kit with old boy/girls continuing to don their school colors at events for decades after leaving. Finally, uniforms created an environment which fostered learning, eliminating all distractions relating to pajamas, visible underwear, short shorts, low riding trousers, £350 trainers, hair the colors of the rainbow, etc.

    The educational environment has many places to encourage youthful self expression including art, music, literature, theater, and sport.

    If one wants their child to wear a school uniform, send them to a public, private or parochial school that requires one. Simple.


    Corcovado, Cowtown, ran23 and 2 others like this.
  10. Hebrew Barrister

    Hebrew Barrister Senior Member

    United States
    I graduated high school in 96, and have no memories of ever wearing anything but whatever I felt like to school (and I'm even including elementary school). Shorts, t-shirts, and ugly nikes were my norm up until high school, at which point I discovered jeans and boots.

    I attempted to dress a bit better when I was in law school (we're talking about an upgrade to polos and less ugly sneakers), and I rarely saw students in anything better unless it was for a specific reason (moot court competition, etc).

    My point - dress codes in school largely died a long time ago.

    And know what? Despite this, I grew up to be a well dressed adult, without ever feel uncomfortable about it. I think you guys are wringing hands over this too much.
    delicious_scent and eagle2250 like this.

Share This Page