Categories
Uncategorized

Straight Up – How Theory Shapes Style

There are trends that you should not consider following. I, for instance – a sober Brit – will NEVER be seen in a Christmas jumper. Not one of those Christmas jumpers anyway [the Tesco‘s kind], and certainly not one that my wife chooses for me, simply as a matter of principle. That’s not to say that I’m against experimentation, although it only extends to matching a tie pattern with my socks.

Needless to say, I move in restricted circles that have been fairly challenged by the 2020’s. First Brexit, when I felt compelled to hide my [style] conservatism from anyone who interpreted it as political. Then Covid – the joy of ‘homing’ [and of having extra money to spend on ties and shoes] sobered by the need only to dress in black from stomach to neck. And now by the woke movement.

Of course, in many ways, Critical Theories [gender, race and fat studies] have had a laudible but negligable effect on style. Yes, there is more racial and bodily diversity on the catwalk, But for a movement that traces its roots to communism and Faucault, it’s weird that physical beauty [the most undeserved, empiricist and unigalitarian standard, and the one most successfully harnessed in the name of capitalism] still rules.

Theory has certainly made an impact on how we interpret beauty. inclusivity has created authentic opportunities for minority skin and body types, although one can gape at the the digi-cosme versions of people’s faces on social media and wonder if we’re heading instead towards an amalgamation of all the wrong ideals.

Theory’s most imprtant contribution is in shifting the expectations of what people can wear. Part of that change has been going on for ages and has little nothing to do with wokeness [a dress-down work wardrobe, for example, is a shift both socio political in origin [related to liberal attitudes toward work and clothes] and movements, like athleisure, that the industry promolgates for profit.

For me, the more interesting changes [and challenges] are in suits and formal clothing, where getting it wrong is often more than a matter of personal pride: Investment firms, full of the kinds of people who actually buy designer clothes, stake their reputation on how their employees look, and for that reason, alterations to established templates need to be tempered. Radical, even on a macroccopic scale, can mean just that.

Chitose Abe at Sacai has exemplified a non-binary shift in etiquette that is a-political because her design’s utilitarianism and androgyny is so robust, while Thom Browne will create anachronistic templates and role-swapping silhouettes that an oft grey palette helps to normalize.

My point is that for the very best designers, integration is as important a revolutionary ingredient as radicalization, while that Christmas jumper is perhaps the most radical fashion statement a conservative could make, but is ultimately a meaningless statement because its too keen to make a point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.