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Is it my imagination or has this forum changed in recent times? Let me explain: I seem to think - although I could be wrong; I have not conducted a survey, much less a scientific one - that in the early days of this forum members cleaved, albeit to varying degrees, to a menswear "code". There was a consensus, albeit a loose one, that gentlemanly apparel conformed to certain rules and that if those rules were to be broken - as they have been by a number of men who have been elevated to the style Pantheon - they should be broken only when armed with the requisite sartorial knowledge (lest one should fall prey to a solecism).

Now, it may be that sartorial "rules" are more imaginary than real. It must also be admitted that we live in uncertain times (if not downright dangerous times, as Luigi Settembrini once famously observed) and that society has become fragmented, but am I alone in thinking that the trend, here as elsewhere, is to state simply, "I like it [whatever "it" may be] and therefore that's good enough."

I don't know about you, but I find this response unedifying. I wish to continue to be educated by this forum and unless members are able to speak of "rules" or, at the least, demonstrably successful sartorial strategies, we shall descend to an anything goes cafeteria (take-it-or-leave-it) "multiverse."
 

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I think that the clothing corporations put out new "rules" on a yearly basis in order to convince gullible young men to shell out for new (and often preposterous) clothes on a seasonal basis. Some people get confused, and think these are actual rules, even where they clearly conflict with the traditional (read: REAL) rules.* Adding to the confusion are those who confidently express their personal opinion or preference as a rule. Pretty soon, 50 different people are citing 10 different, mutually exclusive rules. No wonder so many throw up their hands and assume that there ARE no rules.

*Which may, of course, be broken effectively if done purposefully and with a sense of style and proportion.
 

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I wouldn't call them "rules," because of the negative connotation related to that term, but there are certain standards about what is considered classically stylish in menswear. Some may not agree, but we all tend to follow them to a degree.
 

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The rules still exist, my friend. It's just that many of the AAA icons of a couple of years ago are silent or less frequent visitors while many of the leading posters of the past year take a more, shall we say, left wing approach. That may be why the icons have taken the recent approach they have.

Outside this forum, I can still spot the occasional gentleman who undoubtably knows the rules. Sadly, we exercise a few less of them than in Edwardian days.
 

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I think that the clothing corporations put out new "rules" on a yearly basis in order to convince gullible young men to shell out for new (and often preposterous) clothes on a seasonal basis. Some people get confused, and think these are actual rules, even where they clearly conflict with the traditional (read: REAL) rules.* Adding to the confusion are those who confidently express their personal opinion or preference as a rule. Pretty soon, 50 different people are citing 10 different, mutually exclusive rules. No wonder so many throw up their hands and assume that there ARE no rules.

*Which may, of course, be broken effectively if done purposefully and with a sense of style and proportion.
CuffDaddy, I believe you are referring to "the fashion industry" which LOVES to "change the rules" of fashion and in fact has to change the rules on a yearly basis just to survive. AAAC serves to provide its members with a forum where Style can be discussed primarily and style moves at a far different pace than fashion and for different reasons.

If the original posters fears were fully founded then this forum would be a sartorial tower of babel filled with much heat and little light as we argued about how much of our boxers should stick out above our baggy jeans and whether Hollister was cooler than Abecrombie and then in 3 years both of these companies would no longer exist (fate willing) and skin-tight would be the new saggy.

While I hate to think of mens style as being strictly rules based it does have a certain set of time honored traditions and truths that survive the whims of fashion. Certain colors will always compliment, some colors will work better with some skin tones than others. Certain cuts of clothing and modes of tailoring will always be more flattering than others. These "truths" are in flux but they move at an evolutionary rather than revolutionary pace and they serve a purpose both to the style lovers and even the fashionistas.

Without the classic style of a traditional mens business suit the current fad of peewee herman suits would have no frame of reference, it wouldn't make any sense because it would lack a baseline against which it could be judged. The same is true for the less daring - the fitted look - that harkens back to JFK and can be seen on TV in "Madmen".

When Georgio Armani "shocked" everyone with his less structured suits the fashion trend it created lasted for about a decade and then slowly fizzled but likely moved suit styles a bit off their previous course permanently.

I am still able to find what I am looking for here as it relates to style and I pick and choose whose advice I would take, I would also recommend Andy's CD-Rom because it provides a ton of information and without a knowledge of the theory and the history the practice (what you wear and why) will suffer and you will remain frustrated.

I do find that right now there is a recent influx of younger folks about to enter the job market or leave school as well as folks looking for information as they try to get new jobs etc. and along with that you are getting opinion, misconceptions, "rules" and just general feedback which you can filter out if you have some kind of solid foundation.

If people want to come in to AAAC and rail against the past or against traditional mens style I doubt they will stay long since they arent looking for a starting point and already have all the answers they will ever need. Its likely you will see them one day at an event where everyone is dressed moderately well and they are wearing a costume of their own invention that they swear by. Good luck to them but I would rather look well dressed.

...one last thought: Black tie has rules,real ones, arguing them is a time-honored tradition here. Everything else offers a bit more flexibility (although your mileage may vary on the trad forum...yeah I said it!).
 

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passage of time

With the passage of time the number of participants on the forum has increased. This has, of necessity, broadened the range of opinions that have been expressed. This has included posts by a number of people who joined without having benefitted from the knowledge and wisdom of some of the truly well-informed members.

I think, however, that there is still much that is worthwhile to be gotten from participating. I continue to learn new things, as well as building knowledge in those areas in which I take particular interest.

Best regards,
Gurdon
 

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As a new(er) member on this forum, I am here primarily to learn. To the extent I'm able to help out, then great, I'll try my best. But I'm not here to educate so much as to be educated.

I've been following this board for nigh-on two years now, and with the somewhat objective and unbiased opinion that forum lurking can give a man, I'll say this much: the more things change, the more they stay the same. It's all well and good to talk about the "golden days," and how the new/young folks are bringing about the end of society and all that. But bear in mind that every generation has said the same thing about its young blood -- be it on internet message boards from here to eternity, or in the real world.

I've gone through the lurker-visitor-newbie-regular-veteran progression on enough internet fora over the years to have seen this pattern for what it is. The bottom line is that the sky isn't falling. New folks may be rough around the edges or less experienced as compared to the vets, but that's the nature of the game. Give them time, and they'll mature accordingly. They're obviously here because they share the same interests as the old-timers do, so give them time to grow into this place before casting aspersions upon them.
 

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I joined to learn as well. I believe, however, that there are people, probably specifically Trads, who have rules that I have never seen followed before and in one specific thread, they railed against a huge range of professionals for not following these rules. So if a rule is roundly ignored then what kind of rule is it?

Therefore I believe that some of the rules I've seen expressed here are no longer the rules that they once were or are no longer universal. There are prep school and society rules that don't take into account cultural differences such as the Bermuda Shorts suit:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Brooke-Popham_%26_Wavell.jpg

While it's impossible to think of someone wearing such a suit at a New England Prep School, I think even the most serious trad can't look at that above photo and say, "Yes, you can wear shorts with a suit in Bermuda." There is likely the same kind of logic about cowboy boots with a suit in Texas.

Then the tropical-weight suit in Florida should also be agreed-upon, and eventually there's a middle ground between what's acceptable and what isn't.

Why are truly goofy golf plaid combinations considered trad because of golf while other weird combinations are not? Where do trad spectators stop and low-class mafia/pimp shoes start? Why don't we wear spats anymore and how has clothing production technology changed these rules? Why do polo shirts look trad when 3/4 of the times I see people wear them they look sloppy and under-dressed? Can the V-Neck sweater replace the vest in winter suits and if not, why not?

I'm not in a position to replace my business casual attire with all Brooks Brothers or MTM. I was in a position to replace it with all Joseph A Banks and ebay. This board is a godsend for people like me who want to cut through the fashion marketing.

I'm not as comfortable with people proclaiming rules though.
 

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This reminds me of a post a member made concerning fashion and style. He made a good point that fashion, to some extent, will always influence clothing even from traditional manufacturers. For instance, it was considered acceptable for John F. Kennedy to wear narrow lapels and even narrower ties and he was in the highest professional office of the United States. I think basically if one sticks to time-honoured rules even within the current styles available, they'll be ahead of the curve. Some clothiers have recently changed their cut a little too severely for my taste though, like J. Press. It's hard to judge where change is good and where it isn't, since a lot of it is subjective. I don't pretend I know everything, but wonder what the sartorial elite said about narrow lapels and ties when they took over in the '50s. Here I am, years later, digging the look.
 

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AAAC serves to provide its members with a forum where Style can be discussed primarily and style moves at a far different pace than fashion and for different reasons.

I am still able to find what I am looking for here as it relates to style and I pick and choose whose advice I would take, I would also recommend Andy's CD-Rom because it provides a ton of information and without a knowledge of the theory and the history the practice (what you wear and why) will suffer and you will remain frustrated.

I do find that right now there is a recent influx of younger folks about to enter the job market or leave school as well as folks looking for information as they try to get new jobs etc. and along with that you are getting opinion, misconceptions, "rules" and just general feedback which you can filter out if you have some kind of solid foundation....
Thanks for the reply. To be clear, I fancy that I've got a pretty decent handle on the rules myself. I have just been surprised to see so many "rules" of dubious provenance (and/or taste) bandied about. I think that this tends to diminish the authority of the real "rules," such as they are, to the extent that many people who do care about clothes have concluded that all the rules are bullspit. An understandable reaction, but not my own.

All that said, and as you point out, if you've got a sufficient grounding in taste and style, there's a heck of a lot of good info on this forum, and some really interesting opinions and photos.
 
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