We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

By all means, wear pyjamas in the privacy of your own bedroom. Wear them round your own house, even. But I am frankly disturbed that the art of dressing oneself has transmogrified these days into a competition to see who looks most like they got their clothes out of a recycling bin. We don’t all have to look like the poor and starving in order to persuade others that we care. It’s a big lefty trend, and now is the time to reclaim the clothing-sphere as something capable of expressing more valuable ideas than, “I wouldn’t wear a Gucci suit if you paid me.” Improving your style isn’t about getting different writing on your t-shirt. It’s about conveying who you really are. You are not a sack of potatoes.

Alice Bachini last Sunday (good to see she still knows how to spell pyjamas)

32 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I suppose somebody should tell the people of India not to go around all day dress in pajamas.

    Still Bachini has point that clothes communicate who you are. People seeking to market themselves has someone else usually create most fashion disasters.

    I personally have a visceral moral revulsion to the faux-poverty look. The late 80’s for $150 pre-ripped jeans sent me right over the edge. I once saw a homeless person setting in front of store display for such merchandise and I thought the scene rather nicely encapsulated everything I hated about faux-poverty fashion.

  • Robert

    God I HATE fashion!

    I hate impressing others for the sake of impressing others. I just wear what feels most comfortable. Baggy jeans and a loose fitting plain black t-shirt. That’s me. In fact, outside of my work uniform, that’s really the only other thing I own (that still fits anyway). Loose blue jeans and a plain black t-shirt. Some people say I look like a slob. I agree, but dammitt I’m a comfortable slob!

    Besides, blu jeans and black t-shirts are metal!

  • A Sack of Potatoes

    I am so a sack of potatoes!

  • Rob

    So, instead of dressing how we like, we should dress how Alice Bachini wants us to dress? No thanks.

    I’m not fond of the faux-poverty look either, but people are entitled to their own personal style. Besides, how could we tell the idiots apart from sensible people if everyone dressed the same?

  • Johnathan

    At the risk of sounding crude, there is a simple reason why it is dumb for we chaps to dress like slobs. If you do, are any hot women going to be interested in you? Think about it.

    In many cases, it is all about projecting the image of whether you can “be bothered” about your appearance. While generalisations are silly, I cannot help but wonder whether scruffy dress, like slovenly speech, betoken a slovenly mind.

  • You are accusing Brian and I of having slovenly minds Jonathan?

  • I cannot help but wonder whether scruffy dress, like slovenly speech, betoken a slovenly mind.

    It has been my experience that many of the owners of the finest minds tend to present their bodies as though they have been rooting round on the council tip. Indeed, when attending an academic seminar the aesthetic experience is somewhat akin to Fagin’s den whereas the most fashionably attired people these days seem to be footballers.

  • Johnathan

    Michael, you never struck me as scuffy!

    Anyway, I was generalising. The slovenly state of the Average British Male is a sort of bugbear of mine.

  • Robert

    “At the risk of sounding crude, there is a simple reason why it is dumb for we chaps to dress like slobs. If you do, are any hot women going to be interested in you? Think about it.”

    Oh it’s absolutely true, women don’t dig slobs. But women are a pain in the ass anyway (damn women’s suffrage!).

  • A man should always have to hand at least one crisply-wrinkled Hawaiian shirt and a pair of elephant-skin cowboy boots, in black. Always.

    That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

  • Anointiata Delenda Est

    “Thank God for California, thank God I’m coming home…”

    Tom Petty


  • Jacob

    Black seems to be the fashionable color these days. Black is sooooo ugly.

    Those who dress in black are the slobs, and also slaves to the latest fashion, i.e. the “vox populi” – not really independent persons with a will of their own.

  • Jacob — you might have taken that up with Johnny Cash while he was alive.

  • Verity

    Shannon Love – “I suppose somebody should tell the people of India not to go around all day dress in pajamas.” No. Not really. Given that pyjamas (spelled thusly) were invented in India and have always been day dress there. It was the Brits who brought them back to the West and started wearing them to bed instead of nightshirts. The habit, so to speak, caught on.

  • Richard Easbey

    What Robert said.

    I’ve always suspected–but never been able to prove it–that fashion designers get together and deliberately design crap just to see how many people they can con into buying it. Can’t you just picture them sitting around a table laughing at what people will actually pay big bucks to wear because it’s “fashionable?”

  • dearieme

    I’m an academic: when I visit a firm, I adopt its dress code – suit and tie. When corporate man visits the Uni, though, he never adopts our dress code – ragamuffin.

    Why is that?

  • J

    The decline of dress standards has got nothing to do with the decline of aesthetic standards, and everything to do with the rise of individualism and loss of uniforms. Look at a photo from the 1920’s. Every man in it is wearing a uniform, from the bowler hat uniform to the boiler suit and cap and neckerchief uniform. Uniforms were designed by people with some fashion sense, and you had no choice but to wear it.

    Now, people are free to choose what to wear unless they work in a few selective industries. And the result is tragic, because most people are clueless about fashion and dressing.

  • Verity

    As a side issue, but still on topic, but there was a huge internet rumour that designer Tommy Hilfiger expressed himself, on the Oprah Show, incensed that blacks and Chinese had been buying his clothes, saying, “I design for upper class whites. If I’d known my clothes were going to be taken up by these other people, I wouldn’t have made them so nice.” Whereupon Oprah told him to get off her show.

    Does anyone remember all the fuss? In the end, Oprah Winfrey ran a special on the rumour. She’s never had Hilfiger on her show and never even met him. It’s right up there with the Mariah Carey net rumour.

  • Verity, snopes is your friend.

    No, the rumour was bull. Hilfiger had never been on Oprah when teh so called quote was released.

    Oh, and if I never see another skanger in track suit and trainers, my life will be ever so much better

  • Verity

    Yes, Oprah even did a special segment on it and it still won’t go away. Apparently the same rumour dogged designer Liz Claiborne a few years ago.

    J – I don’t think “most people are clueless about fashion and dressing”, but I do think large swathes of men are. The owner of Anabel’s had to reinstitute a dress code when men started turning up in trainers and sweat pants.

  • mike

    Jacob: what Billy Beck said to you thrice over! (Though I dunno about his earlier comment…) I just got a compliment from my girlfriend’s friend earlier this afternoon on how well dressed I was… wearing a black shirt (but with grey trousers I should admit). Black is always a popular colour because it is versatile; its’ constant appeal means it can never become ‘the fashionable colour these days’ or in any other days.

  • mike

    Actually for some reason the quotation reminds me particularly of a time I went to see Bernard Butler a couple of years ago and he had that Damien Rice as support – and I remember thinking how much I disliked his (fashionable and expensive) scruffy clothes – ripped jeans and pullover etc. Bloody socialists!

  • Mike — I once turned up in my boss’s (an Academy Award winning sartorial master) dressing room wearing a brand new pair of Levi’s 501’s in black, a nice black sweatshirt under a black jacket by Givenchy (with the boots, naturally), and the whole thing set off with a couple of nice bits of silver (most notably; the motorcycle-chain bracelet in sterling). He took one look at me from about thirty feet away and stated flatly: “Billy, I’m paying you too much. You’re just dressed to kill.”

    Black always works if one knows how to put it together and carry it off.

  • mike

    Billy Beck: that’s right, you have to know what you yourself can get away with and what you can’t. I couldn’t get away with black jeans I’m afraid! Or silver for that matter… !

  • Verity

    I think men dressed all in black look like silly swanks. I do like pink on a man, though. Especially in the tropics. A pink shirt with chinos in the daytime, or even a pink dinner jacket, or a white dinner jacket with a pink bow tie, look very elegant and flirtacious. Very young men can’t wear pink because they look too girlish in it before they’ve got a couple of wrinkles that need softening, although a pink shirt with a grey suit is nice at any age.

    And pink enhances almost every woman. What’s more, this applies across the races. Everyone looks about 10% better in pink!

  • mike

    This very young man would turn white at the thought of having to wear a pink dinner jacket!! I might remember this ‘pink enhances almost every woman’ theory though…

  • Verity

    Mike – then again, Britain isn’t the tropics, if I recall correctly. Also, I did say that young men’s faces just can’t carry it off.

  • Verity, in re “silly wanks” — that’s okay, darlin’.

    Generally, people who can and do dress like that won’t give a runny shit what anyone thinks about it.

    That’s part of the deal.

  • mike

    Why of course you did – and it is true, I have a good deal more upstream swimming to do before I can hope to pass myself off in anything pink.

    Do you have a favourite colour you like to wear Verity? It wouldn’t be pink would it?

    What always annoys me however, are people who identify certain colours with certain emotions (black and anger for example), and yet the further claim that wearing a particular colour can influence your mood is not something I can hand-on-heart dismiss – I typically feel relaxed wearing a black shirt and furious/energetic when wearing a white shirt – madness, yes?? I so want to dismiss the arbitrary colour-determinists, and yet…

  • Verity

    Billy Beck, Your post tells us a lot about you.

    I didn’t write “silly wanks”, darlin’. I wrote “silly swanks”. Not everyone has to descend to wanking and runny shits to make a point.

  • (shrug) “Preview is my friend, except when I neglect it.” Yeah: I dropped a keystroke. I’ll probably go hang myself, now.

    Well, probably not.

    And you’re right about “has to”. Absolutely right. Nobody “has to”.

    But that’s how I play.