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Men in Suits: Fine and Dandy by Paul Sweeten

In civilisation, history, society on August 31, 2012 at 03:57

 

From: Men in Suits: Fine and Dandy by Paul Sweeten, The Oxonian Review, http://www.oxonianreview.org

According to Baudelaire, the Dandy “must live and sleep before a mirror”. The Dandy must always be alert, attentive and fussing over his look because to be a Dandy, as Albert Camus noted, is to be “always in opposition” (a pursuit far more demanding than to be always conforming). In challenging the herd mentality of fashionistas, Dandies were required to be stubbornly unfashionable. Here we find a familiar paradox shared by many “alternative” subgroups. From Dandies to punks, the discord between the libertarian and mimetic compulsions of a group’s members has drawn its associated clothing as both uniforms as well as an antidote to uniformity. The suit has always straddled this divide, and though it remains occasionally daring, it has suffered the transition from innovative style to requisite dresscode in the three centuries of its evolution.

Read the essay

Reposted with permission from: The Oxonian Review

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