2010 Question Time

2010 Question Time

Maybe I'm a little old school when it comes to fashion, but I am having a hard time finding the appeal of today's looks.  My girlfriend is studying fashion and frequently shows me new styles online, some I like, others I think are just silly.  After living in New York City for several years, I have noticed countless styles…and the more eccentric and colorful the outfit, the more snobby and arrogant the individual.

To me, fashion has turned into cries for attention rather than practicality.  Either outfits are designed to sell sex, or scream out for attention by encompassing bizarre trinkets and bright colors.  To me, good fashion requires class, practicality, and creativity.  Where has this gone?  I enjoy several of your styles, and find others not so intriguing.  Of course these are my opinions, and I wouldn't have an opinion if I didn't care about the subject matter.  I'm afraid people will think I'm ignorant when the reality is I just dont see the practicality behind a lot of today's looks.  I would love to hear your side of the story, and your views on what I call "dramatic" fashion. Thank you so much, and continue blogging!  I'm finding it all very interesting.
Mr Kellman-Carlen from New York

This email above from Mr Kellman-Carlen landed in my inbox on New Year's Eve.  Sadly I had Kettle chips, pigs in blankets and copious amounts of alcohol to consume that day and seeing as I spent most of New Year's Day with my head hanging in a toilet bowl, I have had to delay my answer to this email.  Still, I have asked his permission to quote his email and hopefully this post will answer the questions he poses and also satiate other people's ponderings who perhaps feel the same way as he does.  

There are a few phrases/terms/sentences that are rather problematic for me and I will first and foremost clear those up before I begin to tackle the main question at hand.  I'm hoping this won't just be a reply filled with snarkiness because Mr Kellman-Carlen actually does pose a good question and it's a very friendly and polite email he has sent.  So we start 2010 with this loaded post… 

Problematic Term #1 – 'Class' – I'm always baffled as to what this actually means.  'Show some class', 'She's wearing a classy outfit'.  Is it a reference to the aristocracy?  Are we talking feudal-peasant class systems?  Are we bringing in Karl Marx into the convo?  So supposedly in all other areas of life, we don't talk about distinctions of class as an unspoken rule of social ettiquette, but as soon as we're talking about a skirt or a top, suddenly the echelons of society come crashing down on us?  A confusing one for me… 

Problematic Term #2 – 'Practicality' – Practical for whom?  Practical in what situation?  If I'm assuming that Mr Kellman-Carlen finds colourful clothes incredibly offensive, how is say a multicoloured patchwork jumper going to be far less practical than a grey sweater of the same shape?  Is changing a nappie whilst wearing a tutu less practical than wearing jogging bottoms?  I guess that depends who you're talking to.  Is the practicality that Kellman-Carlen is referring to here, therefore NOT anything to do with physical practicality but in fact, he is really trying to get at the conventions of dress that have been deemed 'practical'.  I think a general blanket term of practicality can't really be applied here as it is something that needs to be determined by an individual depending on their own lifestyles.  

Problematic Term #3 – 'Attention Seeking' – Ah, my old foe.  A phrase that has haunted me time and time again when I stumble upon disturbing forums where I'm labelled as 'attention seeking', 'crazy' and 'bag lady'.  Are we so concerned with the expected levels of decorum and humility that we are ashamed of seeking admirable glances with our outfits?  Nobody will believe me when I say I dress mainly for myself so I'll try a different tact to prevent any rumpus.  Is it such a crime to dress in a way that you feel will provoke a reaction, good or bad?  Past rebel movements (teddy boys, punks etc) propelled their own style of dress to provoke and certainly to seek attention to their cause.  If we revel these style upstarts now, why do we then poo-poo all over those that in some ways may have similar sentiments. The other biggie problem which courses through my whole answer to Mr Kellman-Carlen is that there is NO WAY I could possibly know the inner thoughts of those accused of 'attention-seeking' with their outfits.  Are they attention seeking?  Are they in fact hiding some other insecurity?  Are they fearful of attention altogether?  I just know I'm not going to find out any of that information by looking at the hat or shoes they're wearing.  I'm just not even going to try and assume certain things from their outfits.

Then comes the big theory that Mr Kellman-Carlen proposes…crudely illustrated by this graph…


Initially, I did completely guffaw at this theory that Mr Kellman-Carlen suggested.  It is ostensibly complete and utter tripe.  I'm not sure how many of these 'eccentric' dressers Mr Kellman-Carlen has spoken to in depth and have thus determined their level of arrogance.  Or perhaps he was once verbally smited by a gang of eccentric-ly dressed people and since then he has formulated this theory… kind of like how I used to think that the chubbier someone is, the jollier they are (granted, I was five at the time of this theorising).  

However, to give some benefit of the doubt to Mr Kellman-Carlen, I did think again and perhaps what he is referring to are people who are very VERY aware that they have a very 'INDIVIDUAL' and 'ECLECTIC' style of dress (caps are necessary for the emphasis…)  They're quite proud of this and this pride can somehow be interpreted as arrogance.  For example, x says they're going into Topshop, y says "Urgh Topshop!  I would rather die than shop in there…"  x says they're going to Brick Lane for vintage shopping, y says "Urgh Brick Lane!  That's such a generic place to buy vintage".  I'm not ashamed to say that I've probably been both x and y which is probably why I'm giving this ounce of benefit of the doubt.  

The theory may or may not hold depending on how you look at it but my general conclusion about what Mr Kellman-Carlen suggests is that true arrogance can't really be determined from a mode of dress. People may be very proud of the way they dress and they are allowed their pride if what they're wearing is completely rocking their world.  I just somehow highly doubt that arrogance towards others is going to be caused by a few bright colours, a penchant for hats and a preoccupation with lots of accessories.  

My ultimate answer though to Mr Kellman-Carlen's protestations against 'colourful outfits', 'bizarre trickets' (whatever could he be talking about here???), 'dramatic fashion' and general eccentricity, is a burning question… has he asked each offending individual "Are you happy?  Is your brightly coloured, bizarre trinket-laden, dramatic outfit making you smile and walking the streets with Mint Royale's Don't Falter wafting in your head?"  Because that's a pretty important question to ask myself everyday when I get dressed.  To put it childishly and bluntly, if there's no outfit mojo, I'm not going to be walking out.  This doesn't necessarily translate to purposely loud and colourful outfits but something there has to be making me happy somehow.  Otherwise, I'm just a grouch feeling exceptionally dreary all day long and pulling moo-faces at everyone.  Who wants to be looking at a grouchy person?  I certainly don't.  It maybe a selfish endeavour, but it isn't causing people real acute pain other than protestations like this one.  I'm not chiding Mr Kellman-Carlen for his opinions because it's nothing I've not encountered before and perhaps in his experience, he has some evidence to support his theories.  I'm just wondering whether he has taken one paintbrush and painted it across a whole group of people without actually getting to grips with the individual in question as well as forgetting the very vital component of personal satisfaction and happiness that is a mighty big deal to me.

Of course, I think we need more concrete examples of what Mr Kellman-Carlen is actually referring to, in order to fully answer the questions he poses but then again, that would require an even bigger thinking cap on and to be honest, my head isn't up to it at this point.  Despite the longwinded-ness of this post, I do hope it forms something of an answer, a reply or at the very least, a reaction.  Given the complexity of the subject, perhaps you would all like to weigh in too, to give a more well-rounded answer.  Now… err… more dry toast and peppermint tea please…


Leave a comment
  1. Courtney

    2010-01-02 at 6:57 PM

    i thought that was rather unnecessarily rude and defensive

  2. sammi

    2010-01-02 at 6:57 PM

    Bravo! A very good answer to his email. I almost choked on my scone when i first read what he had written but the poor mister actually genuinely sounds baffled and very confused. Perhaps he is yearning for the yesteryears of limited fabric choices and dress shapes one could purchase unlike fashion now which is a vast accumulation of all the previous trends, shapes and styles of the past and with increasingly astounding technology the more sheer, glitzy, shiny fabrics can be. Anyhow I think you tackled it very very well. Happy New Year Susie!

  3. susie_bubble

    2010-01-02 at 7:03 PM

    Ok…here we go… Courtney: How was I rude? I did note the problems I have with some of the phrasing he uses but that’s just how I personally read his email…
    I have actually answered his question with another question and hopefully he will reply here to contribute to a discussion because I’ve left it rather open-ended…
    He knows I’m posting it on the blog so I’m very much hoping he goes onto to specify what he means… that’s how discussions go and my answer isn’t by any means a dead-end…

  4. Alicia

    2010-01-02 at 7:25 PM

    I didn’t find your response rude at all. Fashion for the individual is a very subjective thing and I don’t think it would be fair to generalize why people dress they way they do, chalking it up to a lack of class or practicality.
    I’m interested to know about the people who gave him these impressions and am hoping that a discussion on the topic does develop.

  5. Benji

    2010-01-02 at 7:30 PM

    Susie, I thought your response to this buoyant issue was a pretty fair statement that tried best not to negate the values of Mr Kellman-Carlen.
    This is such an impossibly heavy topic – I don’t think anyone can properly answer this without writing a thousand-page thesis paper – and even then, probably very difficult to avoid coming to any sort of mass generalizations. But anyway — I think there will always be a lot of attachment to the past, in any era of culture. It just seems that certain individuals might take more value in retaining the pieces of it, while others decidedly want to launch from this point. Personally, although I think there is a lot to be cherished in the old ideas of luxury, class, etc. – like the punks and the teddy boys, there is always going to be room to expand an acceptance of these (life)styles. What I found most troublesome about Mr Kellman-Carlen’s email was how it projected a pre-determined biased view on individuals based on their choice of dress. Arguably, this biased view is grounded on his own personal experiences – which, I think it’s safe to assume, are completely external to a lot of these “arrogant” eccentrics. It’s always interesting to make up little stories while people-watching on the streets – but to make certain rash judgments as reason to disapprove of another human being seems rather harsh.
    Anyway – great post, Susie!

  6. meep

    2010-01-02 at 7:56 PM

    I wonder why people feel the need to argue about these things, what is Mr Kellman trying to reach? Does he think you will agree with him and thus convince all of your readers to start dressing in gray only? I’m sorry you wasted your time and breath on this one, as am I. I should be studying quantum mechanics! and for the record, I’m a bit arrogant & I like dressing eccentric, does that make me a bad person? Well I don’t care, as long as santa brings me some shoes I’m happy!
    Sooo, I think I wanted to make a point here, which might got lost in my rambling…right! no argueing about these things, it’s a free world honey, and I’m sorry people feel the need to drop this garbage in your inbox!

  7. Julie H.

    2010-01-02 at 7:57 PM

    You are right, it is very difficult to answer his question without concrete examples demonstrating his claims.
    Is he getting his experience from people on TV, certain parts of New York, on-line blogs? Does he associate with these people on a daily basis or just in passing? There is so much information left out.
    The only two things we can determine is he sees new styles on-line and that he has lived in New York. New styles tend to be often out there because new designers are trying to get attention. Practicality is not something they are concerned with. So not something one can judge using his criteria.
    The other, New York city, if that is where he is making his judgements, then it’s a rather unique place. Hard to base an opinion on all of fashion just from there.
    There is a lot of practical fashion out there, one just has to be willing to look for it and not be overwhelmed by the more creative aspects. And that there is creative fashion that is also practical. Most importantly not to put people and fashion in a box but be aware there are all kinds of people and likes in this world. Sometimes we have to expand what we are looking at.

  8. mickerri-desu

    2010-01-02 at 8:01 PM

    Yeah, I don’t see how it was rude at all. And personally I think this is a necessary and, might I add, delayed response to this topic. The reason I read this blog in the first place is because I find an unhealthy connection to this fearless stunner oceans away who looks to me like she dresses up every morning simply for the pure joy that only cute clothes and yummy shoes can bring. And to be judged solely for her sartorial choices is an affront to her individuality. I used to be bothered and upset by similar things I’ve heard from strangers and from people I know. But after read this here blog, I just don’t give a damn that I’m an Asian Catholic, I’m going to shave one side of my head and get inked as much as I can afford. I don’t care that I’m obese, I wanna wear a sheer poet blouse, bring on the chiffon! And I certainly don’t care that I’m a guy rack up those chunky wedges and stacked heels and (one day hopefully!) that pair of Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse!!!!!! Susie’s blog empowers a couple thousand people on an hourly basis and I personally think that if anyone was being rude, it would be that douche who wrote that email, deciding he had the right to question and pose limits to Susie’s (and indirectly, her audiences) personal uniform. Rock on, Suze.

  9. Anna Craig

    2010-01-02 at 8:02 PM

    I think you did a great job answering his question.
    and. I think that he had a fair question. No one is in the wrong. Opinions are opinions.

  10. LarsS

    2010-01-02 at 8:03 PM

    Have a great 2010!!
    And have a great night!
    The Best Of Sweden

  11. FashionStyleAdvice

    2010-01-02 at 8:18 PM

    I like this post. Very interesting topic.
    And no, you’re not rude:)

  12. The Fashion Informer

    2010-01-02 at 8:25 PM

    Susie, I love your blog – and your personal style – but I have to agree with Courtney. Mr. Kellman-Carlen wasn’t being hostile or rude in his email to you; he seemed to be genuinely trying to start a dialogue re: your views on dramatic fashion. But instead of using it as an opportunity to share your views with him and (maybe) open his eyes a bit as to why people love impractical clothes, “bizarre trinkets,” et al., you launched a take-no-prisoners attack designed to make him feel small using language that has the effect of shutting down, rather than encouraging, further discourse or discussion. I don’t actually disagree with anything you said in your response, but I think the way you said it was unnecessarily harsh and felt a bit bully-ing to me.

  13. Winnie

    2010-01-02 at 8:26 PM

    Both of you raise some really interesting questions. Susie…your blog reply was not at all rude.
    With his email, I find it incredibly generalising. Especially as you cannot compare NYC to London to Paris etc.
    The Eccentriciy/Arrogance idea is more than a little stereotypical and like you said, must point towards a few unfortunate individuals he must have met and obviously made a bad impression. It’s not to say they don’t exist but you just cannot generalise this to every individual who dresses a little more outlandishly.
    To say that fashion has become attention seeking? I really don’t believe this as some of the most eccentricly dressed people are actually really shy! There’s a paradox for you.

  14. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  15. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  16. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  17. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  18. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  19. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  20. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  21. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  22. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  23. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  24. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  25. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  26. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  27. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  28. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  29. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  30. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  31. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  32. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  33. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  34. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  35. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  36. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  37. <3

    2010-01-02 at 8:32 PM

    I think your response to the questions posed, which I agree with the other comments could warrant a thesis in response, was really interesting. And I was curious to see what both you and your readers thought about the link between the arrogance/snobbery that comes with dressing a certain way. Would you say that magazines are in part responsible for promoting specific social subcultures that cause this choice to use: “dramatic fashion”, as Mr Kellman-Carlen calls it, to enable them to fit into a specific social subculture? Does this cause the “cliqueyness” that many could percieve to be arrogance or snobbery?

  38. mariel

    2010-01-02 at 8:36 PM

    I used to dress as Mr. KC put it, in “eccentric and colorful” outfits, but I don’t for one minute think I could be described as “snobby”. Then again, it is me saying that about myself, so that point is up for debate. However, I do know the reasons why I dressed in strange get-ups, it was to express myself in a way I felt comfortable.
    I am not a particularly artistic person, I enjoy photography and sketching, but I am by no stretch of the imagination an exceptionally creative person. With clothes, others had done the “creative” part for me in creating the garments, all I had to do was to choose how to wear them, and with what. Clothes were a type of escape for me, and they still are, and so for me, Kellman-Carlen’s arguement that those individuals that dress eccentrically are “snobby and arrogant” is very narrow-minded.
    Despite all that, I can sympathise with Mr. KC’s point, I have met my fair share of people who believe that just because they dress in a way that is not considered normal, they are better or more stylish than others who do follow trends and shop at common high-street stores, for some time, I was one of them.
    It is a shame, but the issue of “class” and how to dress with class will always follow fashion. Some people believe that they are better for the way that they dress, and unfortunately a key part of the fashion market is judging what looks good, and what looks bad. This judgement issue will always cause negativity within the field, but debates like this, and creative outlets like blogs such as your own are opening up new arenas of discussion.
    I’m looking forward to following this debate, thank you Susie and Mr Kellman-Carlen for your well written and respectful approaches to a really interesting question, it could have turned into a mud-slinging match.

  39. Wendy Han

    2010-01-02 at 8:37 PM

    Very balanced reply Susie
    I wondered if the dislike of, for want of a better word, flamboyant dressing was somehow connected to the wider issue of creative endeavour?;
    Enfant Terrible was a word used to describe people like Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin during their rise into the public consciousness. For centuries there have been people in the arts ‘making waves’ or shocking the establishment, and these type of tag-names help reinforce the effect. There is, though a lot of distance between someone like Damien Hirst and the tortuous life of Dostoyevsky. Maybe that is because we live in more ‘stable’ times – the threat of the establishment smothering the life out of anything that purports to go against the grain is less likely now – isn’t it.
    Isn’t it? or is it? as Robert McCrum aptly put in the Guardian the other day there is a deal of difference between being ‘disloyal’ and ‘complicity’. Shazia Mirza was also banging on about the amount of petty hate that’s flying around these days Рlike the venom spouted toward Jedward, Tiger Woods, Jordan and various people who have very little real effect on our lives, and certainly not worthy of the vitriol given to that of Hitler, say, or Pol Pot. It seems that for most of us the minutiae of detail we seem to absorb on a daily basis deserves the same amount of hurrumphed response of a Victor Meldrew clone in full swing.
    As Neil Young sang in the 70’s, Rust Never Sleeps; so however ridiculous and irrelevant the concept of going against the grain may seem today, falling into step with the crowd is still a one-way ticket, not least for creative originality (and god knows how difficult it is to create something absolutely and completely original).
    Graham Greene passionately believed in playing devil’s advocate and ’being a piece of grit in the state machinery’. With popular culture now as state of the art if not art masquerading as entertainment, however small the ‘disloyal’ gesture made it will go some way to ensure the imploding nature of complicity doesn’t take hold – every little helps.

  40. frances

    2010-01-02 at 8:37 PM

    I’ll just say I really enjoyed reading that. In this post you’ve managed to define something which I didn’t even realise I was trying to grasp an explanation of (the penultimate paragraph about happiness being the motivational factor for dressing. Essentially, the whole ethic behind my blog- which I’ve never scrabbled around in my thoughts hard enough to extrapolate).
    Questioning his terminology and his phrasing isn’t rude or defensive- not only is it done in an upbeat way, but it creates another layer of discussion, in that different people will interpret language in different ways. And that’s a natural progression in any debate! And I definitely don’t think this was a waste of time nor words, this isn’t an argument but a discussion. In understanding and countering views which oppose your own, you can deepen your own knowledge of a topic and gain greater empathy. It’s a way to avoid ignorance.
    Good job, SB.

  41. Vesa

    2010-01-02 at 8:39 PM

    Susie, your blog is adorable and I agree with everything you said. I don’t classify what you said as rude or bullying-ish at all; it seemed that you genuinely spoke what you thought and were happy to accept that he had a different opinion to you.
    I don’t see how it matters what a person wears s’long as they feel comfortable in it. I love seeing people who a brave enough to wear the more eccentric things and though they might be considered eccentric, those are my favourite kinds of people.
    I sort of always assumed though that “class” was based on wearing something that wasn’t revealing and made you look sophisticated- but fashion isn’t always about that, is it?
    And practicality- people say jeans are very practical but I always feel perfectly comfortable in a dress.
    It’s interesting to note what other people consider to be fashionable though, I suppose.
    There’s no need for you to feel bad about your response- it is, after all, an opinion which I presume people are still allowed to have? x

  42. Hannah

    2010-01-02 at 8:55 PM

    This reminds me of the frequent “Why do you do (x y z appearance)? We men find you more attractive in jeans with sex hair anyway.” Or how my college roommate is confused by how people dress on our liberal, arty campus when she’s used to polos and uggs being a de facto requirement. Some people really do dress for themselves! Don’t get offended because I’m not dressing for your approval! None of us owe it to society to use clothes to express our insecurities!
    I mean, he probably means well, but to me the question reeks of “Why aren’t you dressing for MEEEEEE?????” Not every girl is/wants to be the typical girl next door. Intimidating, maybe. But I mean,,, deal with it.

  43. Bea

    2010-01-02 at 9:01 PM

    Does Mr. Kellman – Carlen from New York want us all to dress generic? That would be the death of fashion and all of us.
    I enjoyed your rebuttal Susie.:)

  44. Hannah

    2010-01-02 at 9:03 PM

    The root of the problem, to me, is that women are expected to care about our appearances but shamed for being experimental/caring too much. It’s a lame double standard, and we get crap when we care more/less than we’re expected to.

  45. Claire

    2010-01-02 at 9:04 PM

    This is an issue I personally have mulled over in my head many a time…but when it comes down to it if there weren’t any eccentric fashion oddballs, style creatives or, even these’attention-seekers’ in the world…there would be no industry, no blogs and it would all get rather dull… Claire @ young-shields x

  46. susie_bubble

    2010-01-02 at 9:06 PM

    I really REALLY do hope Issac hasn’t read my response as rude. I have actually emailed him and he replied to say he will be weighing on the subject later on‚Ķ. we shall have to see what he has to say‚Ķ.
    Benji: Yes, we do need to see what his examples are for his theory‚Ķ. he may have concrete experience to uphold his views…
    I really do hope they aren’t generalisations that he has conjectured‚Ķ
    Meep: It’s not garbage – that’s why I felt compelled to reply with this post‚Ķ. I get a ton of other garbage in the mail‚Ķ.this isn’t one of them and I do think he has a valid point‚Ķ.
    Julie H: New York may have a specific part to play in all this in which case I’m ill-equipped to answer his question given my attitudes towards fashion is very much formed by my environment of London.
    I’m not sure whether practicality opposes creativity which was another issue I wanted to touch upon‚Ķ. but of course they can also go hand in hand too‚Ķ. the thing is, I don’t really think about levels of practicality which is why it’s especially difficult to answer that point.
    Mickerri-Desu: Thanks for the very empowering vote of confidence. However, this post isn’t to knock the emailer’s views because he does have a valid question which I felt I should try and answer‚Ķ.even if it still opposes his view. Different folks, different strokes and all that‚Ķ.
    The Fashion Informer: I don’t feel I launched an attack‚Ķ. it may be that there were certain terminology within his email that I found especially problematic, which I cleared up in the first instance. There are seemingly generalisations within his email which I find a little disconcerting. He will actually be contributing his opinion later so we shall see what he has to say and if there are grievances for which he gives evidence to contradict what I said, then I will retract my statements. There is an ounce of negativity in my tone but that is because on one level I am disagreeing with what he has to say but that’s not to say I’m disrespecting his question. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have answered his question at all and instead, simply delete it‚Ķ.
    Winnie: I was going to also touch on the idea of a lot of eccentrically dressed people I know that also happen to be incredibly shy with plenty of insecurities…. but that would be another generalisation which can only be accounted for by individual accounts…
    <3: I do agree that there have always been subculture wherepeople who dress in 'dramatic fashions' feel they belong to and that there is a clique feeling spawned…. i'm not sure that's down to magazines. In individual cities, it could be down to nightlife. e.g. the way people dressed at Boombox in London. I'm just not sure whether arrogance can be attributed to these subcultures though.
    Mariel: I'm the same in that I'm not physically all that creative but that clothes are a form escape/expression for me…. I've addressed that in a previous post. I like how you've addressed class within fashion. It's just very difficult to pin down these parameters by which outfits/fashion etc are measured.
    Wendy Han: You bring up a lot of further-reaching points about this argument that are connected to wider popular culture and how we analyse and dissect things in general. Shock-factor within fashion is a whole other issue that requires a separate post really…. it's a dichotomy that I've struggled with for a while….that fashion seeks the shock-factor but also is quick to criticise those who step out of line...
    Frances: You definitely exude the happiness thing in your outfits, that's for sure! That's the thing….without speaking to Mr Kellman-Carlen in person, all I have is this email where the language can come across differently. That is why I have to dissect his terminology thus…. it does add negativity to the air but so be it…. i'm hoping he'll look past that and respond with his own experiences...

  47. daphne

    2010-01-02 at 9:08 PM

    Why are “dressing eccentrically” and acting superior seen as tied? Some people are rude. Some people are not. Even beyond that, sometimes people are rude and sometimes those same people are not. Some people dress a bit more what could be called “eccentric” than others. Some dress more conservatively. Therefore, some of the people who dress in bright colours and wear a lot of accessories (God, that felt dumb to write) are bound to be rude, and some are bound to be nice. Just as some brunettes are bound to like vegetables and some are bound not to. I don’t know why he’s decided there’s a correlation between a style of dress and an attitude.
    I liked your response, because I too was a bit put off by various sentences in his letter, and hearing you rebut those was enjoyable to me. I also agree that his letter, although not my favorite, was polite enough and seemed genuine.
    I’m just think he’s worrying his little head over something silly. And missing the great point that you noted- that personal style ISN’T always about “being cool” but feeling cool and enjoying oneself. This made me feel sorry for Mr. KC, and concerned that to be asking this question, he must not get a lot of joy out of him own wardrobe. Otherwise, he would understand these supposed eccentrics more.

  48. lopi

    2010-01-02 at 9:09 PM

    I totally agree with your questioning of the meaning of words like class, practicality, and creativity. They all mean different things to different people.And anyway, why should being proud equal being arrogant? And does really arrogance signify an attention seeking person? And are all those things really THAT bad? I mean, even if a person is indeed attention seeking, it’s far from killing someone! Like you said, it’s not a crime.
    For the record, the vast majority of snobby people I meet, actually wear total black and fancy labels. But, even after this observation, I refuse to jump into assumptions of a person’s character before I actually socialize with them.
    PS1: A funny theory someone shared with me recently: Allegedly, the more a person is interested in fashion, the more quirky they need to dress. An “I’ve seen it all, bring me uniqueness” kind of attitude. I didn’t answer back to this thought, but I find it weirdly interesting… Something like the theory that the more spicy the food you eat, the spicier you want it? I don’t know…
    PS2: almost forgot, have a happy new year!

  49. Beelze

    2010-01-02 at 9:11 PM

    I think a more naturally occuring, inherent correlation exists between how snobby a person is and how many times they use the word “class” in reference to a positive thing.

  50. Marta

    2010-01-02 at 9:19 PM

    I have enjoyed very much reading this post. I must confess I like fashion when it’s controversial and causes a reaction, and I think your reflections are all very interesting.
    About arrogant people dressed eccentrically: I don’t think they are arrogant because they dress in an eccentric way, I work in fashion and I know so many people that dress in bright colours and are totally lovely…Then again, there are some intrinsecally arrogant people who desperately want to be and dress “cool”…in my opinion that’s related to some sort of complex but that’s an individual matter and here we’re talking about fashion, not about psychology…
    By the way happy new year!

  51. fashionstu

    2010-01-02 at 9:37 PM

    “To me fashion has turned into cries for attention rather than practicality.” Oh Mr Kellman-Carlen,you can’t truthfully believe you are the first person in history to say so. The Flappers, Dior’s New Look, Punks (as Susie mentioned)- someone, somewhere, MUST have sniggered, attention seek much?
    Fashion has always been a powerful social and aesthetic tool, at an individual and at a group level. I don’t understand why it’s only now that Mr KC grants it status beyond the humble ‘practical’? Are the walls of history white-washed with uncontested sartorial ubiquity? Or is it only now that he feels this ‘drama’ matters? And if so, why?
    However, at the same time, fashion is also just ‘what someone wants to wear that day.’ This is an unavoidable paradox, and it’s surely what makes clothing so exciting to both wear and watch. Looking back you can put generalisations and cultural niches on everything relatively effectively, but it doesn’t work to strap them to any old fellow passing you on the street. More often than not, I suspect, we are not statementing or provoking any one particular sentiment (LOVE ME I’M BONKERS?) with the colour/stripes/baubles or whatever: that’s just what sort of comes out, for whatever reasons we aren’t usually fully sure of. And its definetly not a statement of arrogance. Clothes, like any other thing through which we construct and reflect teensy little bits of ourselves are probably just doing that very thing at that moment. Being yourself is just more energy efficient. And that holds for arrogant people too.

  52. Stina

    2010-01-02 at 9:38 PM

    I, too, thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Well-argued and insightful, Susie!
    Happy New Year and a toast to your “outfit mojo”!

  53. Eline

    2010-01-02 at 9:43 PM

    Honestly, I think the answer to this is very simple: this man has a certain taste. That is all.
    I honestly can’t see what’s there to muse about? Aside from the graph of course. Oh god, I kind of laughed. I most definitely understand that because I meet a lot of people who are like that but those are into “dramatic fashunz” only because it’s currently HIP to do so. After you’ve talked to an individual (and it really doesn’t take long) you can immediately tell if they’re passionate about what they wear and do.

  54. Benji

    2010-01-02 at 10:03 PM

    I wonder how much this is all related to an anesthetization of common cultural perspective… a lot of things seem so shocking the first time we see them. But after the second, third, fourth, billionth time – that surprise and interest eventually wears thin. Maybe this issue is partly rooted in the level of exposure one experiences of the fashion world… that can completely change the fluidity of an individual’s understanding of “class”, “practicality”, etc. So perhaps – certain people just have a lower “tolerance”, in a way, to see past the surface of an outrageous outfit – to the value of what it really means on whatever personal level.
    In response to your response to my response (ha), Susie – I think that even if he has concrete examples to uphold his views, they can only go so far as proof for those specific people he has come in direct contact with. I think that really serves as an unfair basis for a theory that attempts to generalize and undermine an entire world of individual beings.

  55. Playlust

    2010-01-02 at 10:22 PM

    No, I don’t think we need a thesis;-) If I had to break it down to the essentials, I’d say fashion is a great and easy way of communication. It’s like a language. Some of us are native speakers, some are beginners, some are quite illiterate, some like to play, while others -regrettably- use it as weapon to shut others down and feel small. I also think the way we choose to dress and express ourselves through clothes is an extension of our personality. Again, some have personality while others have insecurites. I’m not saying a is good and b is bad – after all, fashion is an ongoing project, we all need time to develop our individual style. Personally, I prefer looks which invite a conversation to fashion monologue.
    Ps:though our gentleman here appears to be still at beginner’s level commanding only a very crude fashion vocabulary, he’s made an effort to improve. So I do find it a little bit smug to dismiss his arguments and ridicule him publicly. On the plus-side, this post has sparked a v interesting discussion. That’s it from me.

  56. hek

    2010-01-02 at 10:23 PM

    I’m just really glad that there are people like Mr. Kellman – Carlen who are more conservative, and that there are people like Susie Bubble who are more creative. Different people, different oppinions, and differents styles…makes the world more interesting.

  57. Sarah

    2010-01-02 at 10:41 PM

    I wear what I like which makes me happy, which includes “bizarre trinkets”. Who says happiness has to be practical? Your response Susie was very classy in my opinion.

  58. jenn

    2010-01-02 at 10:45 PM

    I think that was a well balanced reply, Susie. I don’t see how you can have been any more polite whilst still getting you’re point across.
    All I can draw on is my own experience, of course, and not living in a particularly Fashion-y city means I don’t run into the kind of arrogant “look-at-me-i’m-oh-so-individual” types on an everyday basis, but I do know they exist. Some of us just can’t help but stand out, especially when you live somewhere where the majority live in Uggs and jeans.
    I can say, personally, I dress to make myself happy, and whether that seems attention seeking or whatnot doesn’t matter to me. An outfit can cheer me up – if I’m in a bad mood, and am in the house, I will change into something cheerier, even if I’m not going anywhere.
    I think it unfair to brand people who get attention as attention seeking – just because all eyes are on someone, doesn’t mean they’ve been doing a song and dance to attract them. But I do see why one might think that – the very idea of a blog, especially one in which you post your own outfits, is by definition, a bit egotistical; a little arrogant, perhaps. But without confidence in ones own style, would Fashion advance? (of course, this from a design student; without confidence in MY style and by proxy, my design style, I wouldn’t get far at all!)

  59. roxy

    2010-01-02 at 10:45 PM

    ugggghhh… people take fashion too seriously…people are dying in other parts of the world and all people here can think about is if their shoes match their dress…. really, it’s a nothing to write a page long article about with graphs and stuff..

  60. e

    2010-01-02 at 10:51 PM

    Here is the perspective of a fellow New Yorker at the opposite end of the spectrum from Mr.Kellman-Carlen.
    As a girl who grew up in Tokyo in the late 90s/early 2000s going to Harajuku every Sunday with friends all camped up in our most out-there garb, and have now moved to NYC and find it horribly stuffy and conservative in terms of dress.
    Even in my most basic of outfits (Yes, I have white/light pink hair. Yes, I only wear pastel. Yes, I wear a lot of ruffles.) I get harassed to a degree where it is difficult for me sometimes to even want to leave the house unless I am taking a taxi or staying in my quiet residential neighborhood.
    People cannot possibly fathom that I am not in some sort of costume or dressed for some special event. They don’t realize that in looking through my closet I have no jeans, tshirts, leggings, sneakers, or even flats that most people swear by. And I don’t wear black nearly at all (only as an accent) which is practically a crime in New York. The only odd or eccentrically dressed people I see are at least all dressed in a uniform of black.
    Before I moved here I never imagined that I could ever stand out more here than in Tokyo- I’m a blonde, green-eyed caucasian, and I spent my entire youth fighting off people who wanted to touch my hair or take my photo and getting mobbed by throngs of teenagers screaming “Gaijin!” and phrases from English 101 while I was trying to do basic things like buy groceries. But amazingly, New York is worse! The attention level is the same, and unfortunately most of it is negative or sexual.
    Men assume that I am asking for it, women that I am a slut or a freak. Despite all this, there is no way I will ever stop dressing like me; this is who I have been for ten fucking years, it’s no silly teenage phase!! But I won’t say it doesn’t hurt or that it isn’t difficult for me – there have times that my safety has been threatened, like being chased home buy a group of men from the subway when I was living far out in Brooklyn. I am much more careful now but it still happens, especially in tourist traps like midtown, where I frequent the garment district.
    I want people like Mr. Kellman-Carlen who are not into dressing up or eccentric clothing to understand that it isn’t easy to “be this way”. One could counter that it is a choice, that I could choose to wear jeans and sweatshirts and blend into the herd instead. But I would argue that for me (and many others) my appearance is deeply ingrained into my person. It IS me. I couldn’t live on this earth happily in any other shoes than my own.
    A comparison one could make (maybe extreme) is to conservatives who argue that homosexuality is also a choice. But why would one choose to be homosexual if in some conservative parts of the world you could be harassed, attacked, or even killed for being openly homosexual? We all know it is really not a choice, it is something one is born with. Just like one can be born Isabella Blow or Sarah Palin.
    And yes I do believe that people are born with atleast the seed of their style already in them. I doubt any guy who grew up with a penchant for khakis and polos would suddenly change into a eyeliner and leather wearing rocker. But I’d be happy to be proven wrong!
    My final point is to explain my point of view in the “snotty attitude” category. It’s true, for reasons that I have previously explained, that I am on the defense when I am out in public. The vast majority of the time when I am approached by a stranger it is a negative attack on my appearance. Adults sneer, teenagers howl with laughter and even throw food or other things at me. However, when I do get the occasional “cute outfit” from someone, I am automatically relaxed! I always say “thank you!” and smile.
    But I am still on my guard. After a long day, especially after a particularly rude remark, I may even be irritated and antsy about being spoken to. So I could see how when someone approaches me cold, they may think I am snotty right off the bat. But given a chance, I am very friendly and nice to everyone!
    No matter what anyone looks like, it is their choice, and they have the right to wear whatever they want. I know it sounds cheesy, but underneath it all we are all human beings after all!
    I hope this helps Mr K-C.

  61. Lola.

    2010-01-02 at 10:54 PM

    I think that in order to dress ‘eccentric and colorful’ one must have quite an amount of self-confidence. Not true in all cases, obviously, but as dressing in such a colorful way is currently not the norm for society (or at least in the small-ish city where I come from) it definitely takes guts to dress outside of the norm and risk being ridiculed or negative comments, therefore, even if you’re secretly self loathing and shy and wear eccentric clothing you are going to at least going to come across as one who isn’t afraid of anything because of your outfit. And typically, really confident people can tend to be a bit arrogant and snobby, or at least have the confidence to act more so outwardly rather than just hide it all inside. I hope this makes sense. It’s all really just stereotypes though, so just sometimes true, sometimes not.
    Basically what I’m trying to say;
    dressing ‘eccentric and colorful’ = other people see you as confident, out there,
    brave out there, brave, confidence people = stereotyped as arrogant, self absorbed, snobbish, arrogant
    I think maybe, because the very definition of arrogance basically requires confidence to achieve, arrogant people are possibly more likely to have the courage to dress the way they want? Which may be colorful, may be not. If you have an exaggerated sense of self importance you might want to dress in a way that suggests so, in standing out from the crowd outfits and such.. so I guess you could hunch that people dressing in an ostentatious way are more likely to outwardly be arrogant than people not brave enough to dress that way, or people who do not enjoy attracting attention from the way they dress? So I understand where he is coming from, However not everyone is that way. Stereotypes are stereotypes and while admittedly accurate for a few are definitely not true for every person.
    Susie, I COMPLETELY understand and believe you when I hear you say you are dressing for yourself, I dress for myself as well and am often plagued by people asking me why I do so and who assume that I must be dressing to impress other people or something when I purely and simply dress for my own happiness. It must get so annoying for you, getting that all the time online and potentially in the real world as well. People judge based on appearance, and many things judged are completely untrue and ridiculous.
    “To me, fashion has turned into cries for attention rather than practicality. Either outfits are designed to sell sex, or scream out for attention by encompassing bizarre trinkets and bright color” – I really personally do not see that happening on runways, at least not more than before. Sadly, there are thousands of teenagers dedicated to dressing more like Lady Gaga because it’s cool and ‘original’ so perhaps with more costume-y clothes becoming more accessible at chain stores and more widely worn this is what he refers to? Honestly, that particular argument of his sounds a little ‘why don’t you wear crocs they are so much more comfortable’ to me. Fashion has never been about ‘practicality’, after all, it is art, and when is, or has it ever been, it arts job to be practical? It’s a little like in Garances latest blog, where she has no shoes for the snow, no? 🙂
    Wow, I wrote a lot. It’s just I semi-understand where both of you are coming from. I suppose actually I will post it for a change after writing all this! If any of at all came across as rude or foolish, I really didn’t mean for it to be. Admittedly, I am quite a foolish person but I really did not mean for any of this to seem rude in tone at all. I love reading your blog and hope you continue to write here for a long time and share your opinions and personal style.

  62. sharon

    2010-01-02 at 10:58 PM

    i find it really irritating when people try to pigeonhole fashion and style into something they think it should be. because they think fashion should be about “class” and “practicality,” the style of those who don’t fit under these norms are automatically invalid?
    great post. i always love reading your thoughts on fashion.

  63. katie

    2010-01-02 at 11:29 PM

    Fashion has ALWAYS embraced the impractical, from corsets to platforms etc etc I agree classy is a ridiculous adjective- does he mean classic??? elegant??? cos he also wants creativity and if you are going for stuff that’s classic its generally not very original or creative, even if it is lovely.if that IS what he’s after then there are plenty of designers/blogs/vintage fashion stuff out there that he could read which would keep him happy, but your blog is about new, exciting, cutting edge fashion that takes pride in laughing in the face of practicality.HA HA HA!

  64. miss a.

    2010-01-02 at 11:55 PM

    I think you’re just as entitled to wear colorful fabric just as he’s entitled to stick with his monotonous factory wear. It’s funny how these people are so quick to label some as ostentatious and attention seeking and forget that others may see him as boring and completely uninteresting.

  65. lauren

    2010-01-03 at 12:04 AM

    ehhh…outfit post please! 😛
    wanna see all your new sample sale/post chrissie sales buys!

  66. AngieMontreal

    2010-01-03 at 12:07 AM

    I’ve seen some incredibly arrogant people in the nude and they’re still really arrogant…I’m pretty sure their clothing didn’t make them that way 😉
    Seriously though, I think what it really comes down to is relativity. Meaning, if a person is used to seeing everyone around them dress a certain way, and then they see something unexpected they’re likely to not relate to that person, and therefore come to a conclusion based on THEIR life experiences as to why that person is dressed that way. And frankly, the conclusion will probably not be right, as it’s based on a whole other set of social norms, values, experiences, etc.
    The end point is that something that’s practical for one person will not be for another, something that’s “bright” for one person will not be for another and so on and so on. Only the individual knows exactly why they put on what they put on that day. We can guess, but unless we go over and talk to the person it’s just speculation based on ZERO facts.
    Unless that person is you (Susie), and then you TELL us why you wore what you wore, and it’s based on a random song/movie/story/idea and I love that 😉

  67. moi

    2010-01-03 at 12:11 AM

    Fuck! That’s way too much reading for my quota today! (which encompasses my twitterific feed). Firstly, can’t really compare NYC to LDN as there’s a colossal contrast in culture and mentality. Secondly, who cares if people thought it was condescending as everyone has their own perception on ‘shit’…There maybe is a relation between ‘eccentric’ dressing and ‘attitude’…however I don’t really buy it. There’s plenty of public school girls that talk bollocks out their ‘puppy fat’ asses and shop at A&F and that other place I can’t remember (toff land?) and they all seem to have back-combed hair, what’s that about? Anyway…utilising that theory alone suggests a can of worms…I moved to LDN and instantly realised how many pretentious muppets there actually are in the world, but it’s the same everywhere really. Perceptions built on regurgitation’s of other peoples externalisation of their internalised reality (still with me?)…In simple, it’s far more complex than susies rather amusing graph. There could be a hundred books written on this subject and still nobody would have a concrete answer to the proposed question…anyone with a sociological/psychological/anthropological masters to propose a few extra pieces to the jig-saw? There’s probably a lot of people that see me as an asshole, I still sleep fine at night though..mwuhuhuh p.s. drunk.

  68. Natalie

    2010-01-03 at 12:19 AM

    So I do find it a little bit smug to dismiss his arguments and ridicule him publicly.
    I have to agree with this. The original poster sounded simply inquisitive/confused and this public enquiry and dissection of his email seems unnecessary to be honest. Not to mention I agree with whoever it was that said there are more important things to write an essay about.. Admittedly I got bored halfway through and stopped reading

  69. marie

    2010-01-03 at 12:20 AM

    I feel that it is necessary to contribute that “practicality” in clothing which i assume to mean a utilitarian aspect, user-friendliness, ease of care and ease of pairing is not exactly an important feature of fashion. Fashion is a distinctive aspect of “clothing/dress” used as a tool of social distinction (not necessarily to say that it is a means of communicating class or superiority but to distinguish oneself from others, express individuality or creativity, to not be part of a monotony) or as a means of self expression.
    The way in which we express ourselves is not restricted to a particular palette and it is eternally changing. Fashion is this continuously turnover in styles of clothing due to changing tastes (and etc) and can therefore not be termed in any way as practical. It would be far more practical to wear the same utilitarian outfit every day e.g.t shirt and jeans every day and throw them out when they are no longer “wearable”..
    I am therefore of the opinion that practicality should not form so large a part of this argument.
    Of course, there is a scale of “wearabliity” but this is purely dependent on taste and confidence..I agree with Susie that “practicality” is actually in the eye of the beholder.

  70. Serc

    2010-01-03 at 12:23 AM

    Could it be that he is more likely to consider eccentrically dressed people as arrogant, because their eccentricity makes him pay more attention to them and makes him scrutinise them much more than some ‘normal’ dressed person, who just blends into the crowd?

  71. Emmy

    2010-01-03 at 12:34 AM

    My thoughts are definitely in the vein of those voiced both by Playlust and Lola. As I come from a small, conservative town, I’ve experienced a lot of people who’ve shared Mr. KC’s views. What I try to impart to those people is that basic “fashion is art” argument. In a time where “dramatic” fashion has become more generally accepted, I think it would be a shame that we did not take advantage of our societies liberated from uniformity imposed by government (like in Afganistan) or by culture (like America in the 1890s). To me, being able to dress in an “eccentric” manner is just as much a right as freedom of the press. It doesn’t mean people will necessarily approve of those risks, but if you’re lucky enough to have the self-confidence to disregard others’ opinions, why not? Fashion is the most utilitarian and accessible form of self-expression, so why wouldn’t an individual take advantage of those opportunities? There will inevitably be people who just don’t get it, just like there are some people who just don’t get modern art (I count myself as one of those). In general I don’t think people who dress dramatically search for approval, they search to express an idea, an artistic endeavour, even just simply to express themselves…they don’t NEED to be practical. I know that often when I get dressed, practicality is the last thing on my mind…and I don’t even consider my style ground-breaking. If eccentric art can be tolerated, why can’t eccentric fashion? It’s not hurting anyone. The people who spearhead the more daring side of style are the ones that shape and define aesthetic, and they’re also the ones who defy it…which is what I find so fascinating about your blog. I thought your response was very even-handed to a dangerously inflammatory topic…hopefully we’ll be hearing Mr. KC’s response soon!

  72. WendyB

    2010-01-03 at 12:34 AM

    I just want to know if “Mr” is his first name! It cracks me up when people refer to themselves as “Mr.” Other than that…his complaint is kinda boring. There’s always someone whining that exact same whine. Been there, heard that, don’t care. Sorry, mister!

  73. Mademoiselle Robot

    2010-01-03 at 12:39 AM

    I think the only answer to his email is that personal style is called “personal” for a reason that doesn’t need to be justified.

  74. abigail

    2010-01-03 at 1:10 AM

    interesting discussion ~ i’m blurry-eyed having read it all ~ i really can’t add much of anything substantial that hasn’t already been said ~ maybe that makes me dull ~ but i do strongly believe in being yourself, expressing yourself, whatever that may be ~ multiple layers, crocs, uggs, bright colors, black, ruffles, grey, jeans, dresses, scarves, hats, tights, socks (whatever!!!) ~ and practicality depends on one’s individual & internal needs ~ maybe this whole subject is superficial as someone suggested ~ this individual probably believes that art is superficialas well with so many dying & suffering in the world ~ however, i believe that without art (and fashion is art of course), the world would become a rather sad, boring, generic place ~i’m thankful for the present time we live in because the internet has opened us up to the world, to cultures & ideas foreign to those we grew up with ~ let’s all keep open minds, and let’s keep learning ~ thanx everyone for expressing your interesting thoughts (mr. k-c as well) ~ and susie, your response impressed me, as did everyone’s ~ happy new year all…..
    🙂 abigail

  75. The Fashion Informer

    2010-01-03 at 1:36 AM

    Thanks for clarifying, Susie. The one part of his letter that didn’t really make sense to me is that on the one hand, he says creativity is one of the requirements for good fashion, yet he denounces overtly dramatic looks. Not that the two are synonymous, of course, but isn’t most creative fashion a tad dramatic? Or does he mean creative in a clever/functional way? I’m curious to know what he’s referring to when he talks about creativity in fashion.
    And Lopi, I was thinking about that theory your friend (or whoever they were) posed re: the more one is interested in fashion the more quirky they need to dress and am not sure it really tracks. Because yes, while there are people who love and adore fashion who like to experiment with different or unusual or envelope-pushing looks (whether it’s Susie or Daphne Guinness or Lynn Yaeger or Anna Piaggi or Hamish Bowles or Lady Gaga – I’m just using better-known fashion/entertainment industry types here to make my point), there are just as many people who love fashion and are surrounded by it, day in and day out, who favor much more mainstream looks.
    Think of most magazine editors/stylists/buyers/designers. Even those that feature, make or promote outlandish or dramatic looks tend not to dress that way themselves. They may have a highly defined personal style/aesthetic, but it usually tends to revolve around more recognizable/practical items of clothing (e.g., a suit, sharply cut jacket, pencil skirt, jeans and t-shirt, et al.), rather than something more unusual or experimental. Or maybe I just travel in highly conformist circles and need to get out more, lol.


    2010-01-03 at 1:50 AM

    I think ur answer reads as though you want to cut him down but ur holding back. But if you ask a silly question then you get a silly answer. I think alot of people who dress in the way Mr Kellman-Carlen describes aren’t dressing that way for attention, they’re doing it because they love fashion.
    Great post

  77. michelle gosse

    2010-01-03 at 2:04 AM

    bravo Susie. I always look at style as personal taste, I love the wild looks and the prepp, fashion is feeling, its the air we breath, its creative and expressive.

  78. qwertycoo

    2010-01-03 at 2:55 AM

    I completely agree with you susie. The nature of quirky or individualistic style, it’s very essence (at least in my life), developed out of a need to find the beauty in our differences when faced with the snobbery of the style status quo. Personally I’ve found that those who follow the flow of the majority instead of standing out of the crowd, are the ones who have the sense of entitlement. They see people who unabashedly wear bright colors and crazy prints as a-social and feel the need to stigmatize and alienate them. Maybe it’s just a personal matter as previous comments have touched on, but if creative expression through clothing choice is seen as snobbish, why can’t we say the same about artwork or music? Is every painter who pushes the boundaries arrogant, or every composer who tries something new judgmental of others? I don’t think so…

  79. Mr KC

    2010-01-03 at 2:57 AM

    My initial reasons for writing Susie came from a curiosity and desire to learn more. I am a very diplomatic person and always try to see all sides of an issue. I purposely ask “general” questions because I am curious to see how people define these “vague” terms. A collection of ideas and views only helps us further understand the reality or significance of any subject at hand. I do apologize for those who were sensitive to my remarks, but understand that my intentions came from an honest curiosity. Anyone who truly cares about the subject matter would approach my questions with mature analysis. I cant say that I appreciate the sarcastic graph, select bolding of my paragraphs, or the assumptions that I had bad experiences in the past. I feel this set a precedent for the majority of the responses that followed, so I ask you all to re-read my post in an inquisitive tone. That being said, I will try and clarify my previous remarks in hopes of clarifying my point.
    Let me compare fashion to wine tasting. Wine tasting is a very unique and complex thing to fully appreciate. There are a fair amount of people who actually understand this, but there are also countless “posers” who simply smell the wine to appear “bougie” or refined. I blogged about this exact issue with some wine connoisseurs and they agreed that many people are full of it. Instead of taking my remarks offensively, they were actually very helpful in describing the art and technique of wine tasting. I still dont fully understand it, but I was happy to hear the constructive responses.
    Class, practicality, and creativity are words I threw out there to engage healthy debate. Class, in my view, has to do with professionalism. Provocative attire seems to me like an easy way out. To clarify, there is a time and place for the provocative. I want to see fashion evolve to a point where we can use vast colors and patterns yet retain a professional image. Maybe this already exists, but I dont know of it, and again, thats why I am posting here…to find out. Whoever states that Im promoting conformity and gray outfits is simply not reading me right. Practicality is something I find very important, and will attempt to clarify by providing examples. When riding the subway, at 6am, packed with people sitting and standing, the last thing I need is some feather in my face, or big hat at my throat. Im not saying that the look is bad, nor am I saying that all of you readers are this person. But maybe you can understand where my experiences of “snobby and arrogant” come from. The “hipster” trend has become a prime example of practicality. When Ginsberg, Boroughs and the Beatniks popularized much of the look, I dont think they would agree to overspending on second hand clothing. I cannot tell you how many people Ive seen spend their week’s paycheck on a pair of used socks. The reason why thrift shopping was fashionable was because of how practical it was. It was an art…but now has become a profitable trend, getting everyone to wear Kanye glasses and tight jeans. Again, Im not making a judgement call, Im simply stating what I see regularly. Creativity is subjective, as is fashion. Creativity can often only be explained, because appearances can be deceiving. How often are people classified as punks, jocks, emo, etc.? You have to immerse yourself within those cultures to really appreciate where that “look” may derive from. So here, I was simply asking for opinions and views behind today’s looks.
    I currently reside in Los Angeles after moving from New York where I had lived for many years. I am always being exposed to new looks, ideas, and thoughts. We can never understand what we don’t question.
    Mr. KC

  80. rhianna

    2010-01-03 at 3:04 AM

    This is a very interesting topic, and reading the comments, I’m glad that it has already sparked a varied debate. I empathize especially with e’s comment because I feel that in oder to avoid making assumptions and generalizations about other people’s motives, and in order to gain a deeper understanding of the issues, it’s useful to write from our own experiences and try and be open and honest about our own motives.
    I don’t think that the way I dress can really be perceived as full on eccentric, but I don’t necessarily either follow conventional rules, or current trends. This is a conscious choice because I feel like dressing only according to convention is stifling – like constantly trying to emulate an ideal that I will never reach. On the other hand, I am also a somewhat lazy person, and am thinking of moving to a different country within the next year. These lifestyle constraints mean that even though I admire eccentric dress, the way I choose to dress myself is comparatively simple.
    I also think that everyone makes a choice about the way they present themselves to the world, whether it is conventional or not. I find the motivations behind those choices incredibly interesting, because I think that although the expression of those choices may seem initially bizarre to an outsider, the motivations behind those choices is something that is easier to understand. I would love to hear from Mr K-C explaining WHY he dresses the way he chooses to.
    Thanks Susie, for facilitation this discussion!

  81. Peyton

    2010-01-03 at 4:10 AM

    Mr. KC
    fashion is art. Art is all about defining the human experience which is not always practical or classy but most of the time it is messy, bizarre, and eccentric. And remember if we all dresses “practically” we’d all be in granny panties. Which is what no one wants right?;)

  82. Eryanie

    2010-01-03 at 4:14 AM

    I think Susie you wrote well to answer his email and to open up discussion among your readers. One thing that stands out in Mr KC’s email is that he asks, what happen to practicality in fashion. Fashion is an artistic form of self-expression, it is subjective, it is a trend of dressing, certainly not for convenience and practicality.

  83. Eryanie

    2010-01-03 at 4:16 AM

    And I ABSOLUTELY dress for me and I have gotten the same reaction from people when I say that lol!

  84. Michael

    2010-01-03 at 4:37 AM

    Thank you so, so, so much for this! I don’t agree wholeheartedly with everything you’ve mentioned but, lady, you’ve hit the nail on the head with regards to how I feel about fashion, style, and personality.
    ps. ‘Bag Lady’ would be an adorable name. You could own it 😛 Thanks again!!

  85. tuwie

    2010-01-03 at 5:00 AM

    bravo, susie. i enjoyed your reply, it was balanced, insightful, and open.
    what is fashion but a personal style? There are always going to be different opinions on fashion, trends, and style, because each person is their own individual, and that should speak for itself. I feel like Mr. Kellmen-Carlen’s opinions about “dramatic” fashion is concerning the practicality of it, but I feel like if he looks beyond the clothing on the individual, he will see a huge variety of different things they do and accomplish, just like any other group of people he has seemed to categorize by how they dress. Are all people who dress colorfully and “dramatically” attention-seeking and arrogant? Are all people who buy clothes from the Gap basically the same person? no.
    you are so right to bring up the happiness factor, and i couldn’t agree more 🙂
    rock on.

  86. helena

    2010-01-03 at 5:47 AM

    well….quite honestly, i think he is a little ‘old school’ cause he doesn’t like the style of ‘today’. i’m pretty sure the people of ‘today’ would feel the same bout 70’s style.
    i don’t know, i don’t think i can contribute to this discussion.
    i don’t think Susie was being rude nor was Mr email guy….just giving opinions

  87. V

    2010-01-03 at 6:02 AM

    Susie, I absolutely love your style. However, I don’t dress at all in colours that screams “styles”, because that simply isn’t me. But that doesn’t deter me from liking other people’s style 🙂
    I can’t read personality through an outfit. I think colour is an amazing gift from God. It gives us different moods and feelings. Many cultures use colourful patterns and fabrics, to celebrate their traditions…it’s wonderful!

  88. Kim

    2010-01-03 at 6:59 AM

    Dear fantastic Susie,
    As a middle person, I support both Mr Kellman Carlen’s question and your response. You must mention to Mr KC that sometimes the unfriendly stares that are given off to those dramatic fashionistas might be the reason why “arrogant attitude” was presented in the first place.

  89. I think he just has certain tastes, and doesn’t understand the dress sense of others who have different tastes.
    And then again, what do people mean (and what does he mean) by “eccentric” outfits and “bizarre” trinkets? Is my fondness for sparkly hair bows or brightly coloured clothes- among other things- supposed to be indicative of my inherent nastiness? I live in one of the dullest, most cookie-cutter places on the planet and dressing the way I like- whether or not it happens to be the way other people around me dress- is almost my only way of giving myself a constant reminder of what I’m actually like as a personality. If it’s seen as a non-verbal “fuck you” by whoever sees it, should that be my problem? Though I do admit that being labelled a freak as a child/teenager is probably what led to me proudly embracing it as an adult- the fact that I’m not really into ‘fitting in’, so to speak is really just a sign of my greater comfort with my own body and self.
    I’ve never seen you as an attention-seeker, really- you seem far too self-contained for that. And the graph is hilarious.
    – Dru/Blue Floppy Hat

  90. And then again, KC mentions ‘provocative’- I suppose I’ve got my screws completely loose since to me, a whole lot of things that other people call provocative, simply aren’t. Agreed with the points about overspending on used socks though, it’s valid enough.
    I don’t quite agree with Peyton that fashion is necessarily ‘art’. It is itself, and if anything it sometimes takes on aspects of an applied art- but yes, like art, it can be deeply personal and not quite one-style-pleases-all.

  91. dust

    2010-01-03 at 8:50 AM

    Mr KC, times change, people are different, some are snobs, some like colors… It sound a bit like ” when I was young…”. Fashion is a nice reflection of our society and a great thing to indulge in. Snobs were around since stone age, the exhibitionists too, I don’t get it, what is so different today? What is here the problem?
    Beatniks were exhibitionists of their time, while the general population still wore “practical and modest” hats and gloves. Most of women were housewives, in some countries they still had no right to vote. Was fashion then better than today? Hell, NO!!!!
    By the way WINE TASTING is sooooooo snobbish!!! And complaining about people in metro and tight jeans…blah…even more snobbish.
    Sorry, I don’t even see a polemic here….

  92. Helena

    2010-01-03 at 10:12 AM

    Susie, firstly i think you are great. Secondly, I think you gave a level headed and very diplomatic response to this mans email, well done. I understand your view point completely but i must say i have had times when i have questioned what this man poses/asks. I think that (in my experience)that there are some people who dress ‘eccentrically and colourful’ who do come across as ‘snobbish’ but i think there are also many ‘eccentrically and colourful’ dressed people who completely and utter lovely and unaffected. Guess it just depends on who you are spending your time with. Maybe this issue has something to do with unconscious jealousy..?..I dont know but also think a thesis could be written on this topic as there are many many view points to consider and to understand.

  93. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 10:12 AM

    I know of course, this is all a boring read to some of you but you know what‚Ķ. this blog alas cannot subsist on outfit posts and labels alone and it has been a while since I’ve actually written something longer than a paragraph‚Ķ.which still isn’t an essay btw..‚Ķ an to me essay is a 5,000 cruncher, something i haven’t had to do in a while fortunately‚Ķ. this post took me about 15 min to write‚Ķ. but ok point taken if it is a little longer than posts normally‚Ķ. pretty pictures etc to resume‚Ķ.
    Some of you have noted that Mr KC’s reply sounds a little not of ‘our generation’ and perhaps that’s why I’m so eager to reply‚Ķ without meaning to go all Freudian, I know that my dad and his generation have asked similar questions to Mr KC’s and i’ve never really had an answer for them‚Ķ. this may be me doing some weird exorcising‚Ķ. in which case, i do apologise for having taken up such a large chunk of reading space/time….
    Lopi: That’s a somewhat debatable theory you propose there‚Ķ. it is oddly interesting‚Ķ. and I do think there are those that adhere to that theory but it’s definitely not a universal one otherwise we’d see a whole lot more eccentrics out there…!
    Marta: Yes, there might be a correlation between ‘cool’ and ‘arrogance’ and THAT i do have firsthand experience of‚Ķ.
    Fashionstu: Haha‚Ķbasically you have reduced my post to fashion is ‘what someone wants to wear that day’‚Ķ. succinctly put‚Ķ.!
    Eline: Sorry, I may have over-mused….see above…the DAD reason….!
    Benji: i completely agree with you about a person’s tolerance/acceptance which is of course dependent on their environment/experiences of the fashion world‚Ķ. ok, he has given some examples, which are in my opinion a little on the LESS-concrete side of things but I’ll let you judge‚Ķ
    Playlust: Great language analogy…. I really did NOT mean to dismiss his arguments, otherwise I would have not replied…. ridicule…. hmm….also questionable….I did want to reply in a way that i would provoke a debate…. the language i have used is no less derogatory than I would use in a debating class….
    Jenn: It’s so true what you say about attention-seeking‚Ķ. it seems to be our social etiquette of humility that is quick to downpour on the act of ‘attention-seeking’, when those that are supposedly seeking it aren’t exactly doing a lot to incur this ‘attention’ And yes, by definition, i guess this blog defines me as ‘attention-seeking’‚Ķ..
    Roxy: This isn’t an article about errr‚Ķ shoes matching dresses..‚Ķ and you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to‚Ķ.
    e: Wow, that’s a really really detailed contribution! Loved reading about your experiences‚Ķ. it’s quite inspiring actually! The idea that style is a choice or something that is ingrained in you is something someone else asked me about but I’ve not got any facts/evidence to say something worthwhile..‚Ķ
    Lola: I agree that there is a connection between arrogance and confidence..‚Ķthat confidence is the seeds of arrogance but i still think they are two different things. I may very well be confident in what I wear but I would also never even think about myself as someone who is better than someone else‚Ķ. if anything, I spend my life thinking other people are far superior to me! I’ll thank the rehabilitating girl’s school for that‚Ķ.! You’re right about the ‘dramatic’ becoming more ‘mainstream’ as it were‚Ķ. spring/summer 2010 might pare that back a bit though….
    Katie: Again, it is something of an odd combination‚Ķ.creative AND practical‚Ķ I’m not sure I’ve ever fit those two boxes at the same time alas….
    Lauren: i’ve not got anything to show because i’ve been holed away at home‚Ķ. sorry for boring you….
    Angiemontreal: Oooh…who are these nude arrogant ppl? Another succinct point….speculation is pointless! Must wear more outfits based on a random song…
    Moi: Agreed about err…the toff girls…. attitude exists everywhere and yes, my shitty little graph is quite laughable because its theory is far too simplistic and base to even propose properly…..
    Natalie: Yes, he was inquisitve/curious but for me to reply and to provoke debate and discussion, I did need to harden the post up‚Ķ. there are things I found problematic in his email that I felt needed to be cleared up‚Ķ. terminology is important but I’m not dismissing his views‚Ķ. I wouldn’t have answered at all otherwise‚Ķ. anyway, i’m sorry you were bored but you’re not obliged to read it either‚Ķ
    Marie: Well said about the somewhat redundant quality of practicality within fashion‚Ķ. reminds me of the girl who wore the same dress everyday for a year‚ĶThe Uniform Project‚Ķthough even the ‘practical’ aims of her project were somehow overturned because she did have a lot of accessories/shoes etc to change up her outfit everyday….
    Serc: Let’s hope Mr KC answers that….
    Emmy: Pretty much hit the nail on the head…. it does go back to the idea of confidence perhaps being misconstrued as arrogance….
    WendyB: Yes, it is perhaps an age-old problem‚Ķ. and like I said above, i think I may be feeling like I owe the ‘older generation’ an answer or something‚Ķ. who knows!
    The Fashion Informer: You actually pointed out a very strange dichotomy within fashion that those that promote these ‘dramatic’ looks are people who don’t dress in ostentatious ways‚Ķ. interesting‚Ķ.
    Nigel: Like i said before, I did want to provoke a debate and without injecting some form of ‘cutting down’ as it were (again, what does this mean‚Ķ.we don’t really have that phrase in the UK‚Ķ), I don’t think I could formulate a good enough ‘argument’ and it is supposed to be that‚Ķ. a debatable case against his‚Ķ. as well as TRYING to provide something of an answer which I evidently did not successfully do….
    Qwertycoo: That’s really interesting that you think those that blend in are the ones who have the ‘sense of entitlement’‚Ķ.. your final question touches upon the idea that perhaps fashion is seen as something frivolous and not at all an artform in the same league as music of ‘art’‚Ķ.

  94. Helena

    2010-01-03 at 10:31 AM

    One more thing- In my experience i think that those who are true individuals with amazing style (ie Susie) are in vast majority of ‘unsnobbish’ lovely people where as those who dress extreamly well ‘stylish, sopistocated, well put together etc’ but generally not possessing a strong individual sense of style, tend (i know this is a SUPER generalization) to have a greater likelihood to come across as ‘snobbish’. Possibly reasoning
    (?)..Jealoulsy of others amazing sense of individual style (deep seeded dressing for oneself and not to impress etc others) or judging ones complete lack of fashion sense or style.. ? (I know that was a rather massive generalization, mainly i was just thinking aloud). Prove me other wise 🙂

  95. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 10:35 AM

    Ok, so some people have gotten to Mr KC’s reply which I will reply to here‚Ķ.
    Mr KC:
    Firstly, I hope I haven’t offended you by writing back the way that I did. I did have some problems with some of the language you used which I explained and you of course can counter my points if you wish and I will retract anything that I feel is out of turn‚Ķ.
    You admitted you gave me a general question so I came back with some specific
    I definitely know you came from honest curiosity. The graph was a step too far perhaps but was used to break up the huge CHUNK of text and you did suggest the theory of the graph in your email. The bolding was to highlight the main points which I think they were. Those were the main things that stuck out at me. As for assumptions that you had bad experiences, well‚Ķ. why else would you say that after living in NYC for a few year, “I have noticed countless styles…and the more eccentric and colorful the outfit, the more snobby and arrogant the individual.”
    This definitely made me assume that you had experienced something that made you think this way….
    So in short, I’m sorry if I have misrepresented your question in anyway but know, that I DID have a hard time understanding the true meaning of some of your language without you giving any specifics….
    Ah‚Ķ.wine-tasting‚Ķ. something I know NOTHING about but i’ll try and understand. So are you therefore saying that fashion is full of ‘posers’ pretending to ‘understand’ fashion but not actually having the knowledge to do so? Or are you saying that this blog post’s commentors are full of those ‘posers’‚Ķ.. and that we have not been constructive enough‚Ķ. that maybe the case but I don’t really understand the analogy.
    When you link class to professionalism, that’s even more confusing to me. I’m assuming you mean a level of professionalism in a workplace, in which case, this is again dependent on the individual‚Ķ. we all have very different codes of dress within our working environment. I work for a magazine where you could walk in wearing a Gareth Pugh PVC dress and nobody would bat an eyelid‚Ķ.
    Again, define with examples what you mean by provocative – sexually, structurally?
    As for using lots of colours, patterns and being ‘professional’, that’s even more of a head-cruncher than an outfit with ‘class, practicality and creativity’‚Ķ.
    Could you at least describe or produce an image (fashion lovers rely on imaging heavily alas…) that somehow depicts your fashion ideal?
    I’m sorry to hear that someone poked you with a hat/feather‚Ķ. I personally try to make sure I’m not in the way of anybody with anything i wear‚Ķ. though if it’s 6am in the morning, perhaps it was the alcohol that was to blame for their hat/feather getting in your face rather than the attire itself.
    ‘Hipster’ – I’ve written about this before as in the UK, we don’t really have the same sort of ‘movement’ as it were. I do agree with you though that the act of thrifting has become a mercenary thing where people are taking advantage of those with disposable incoming (the hipsters‚Ķ) and have jacked up prices in the name of profit.
    Yes, creativity is entirely subjective‚Ķ. and yes, subcultures can’t be understood unless you are fully immersed in it. You asked for the opinions/views of today’s looks but the trouble is you’re asking a very very LARGE group of individuals‚Ķ. even within the 60 or some commentors on this post, we all have VERY different styles and approaches towards fashion and so in the last few paragraphs of my post I came back to you with a question which was whether you’ve considered the idea of personal happiness‚Ķ. that the way these people you have encountered dress is something important to their happiness and that they’re not really compromising for other people?
    I’m sure you’ll agree that personal happiness has to be formed as part of the equation in your question?
    Sorry, i’ve come back to you with even more questions but I’m actually finding it even harder to understand your grievances with fashion and yes, you’ve come at me with honest curiosity but now I’m the one who’s curious and confused….

  96. Jessica

    2010-01-03 at 10:37 AM

    I am about to embark on a dissertation about fashion as art, hopefully I am able to add something new. I have never commented before and only read 70% of the above posts so I hope I am not covering old
    ground. (Just noticed Susie has posted while I’ve been writing also!)
    Firstly I would like to disagree with Mr KC on a specific point in his argument. This hopefully goes some way to answering his overall question. Popular fashion is not nesicerily practical, I belive that it is a recent development in “western” thought, that it should be. Perhaps a selling point used in advertising? It was from feudal Europe/England (I think Tudor time period, correct me if anyone knows better) that fashions fast changing nature took form. Those in court would wear a style, which would then be emulated by the lower “classes”. When this happened the upper classes would change their look so as to distinguish themselves from those they ruled. The fashions were often deliberately complex so they were harder to reproduce. I do belive, and I know this will upset people, that to a large extent this is still the case. With alternative, mainstream and high fashion. Therefor practicality is not an essential element of fashion, alternative fashion with it’s desire to push boundries is only perhaps
    more obviously impractical.
    Our exteriors are the first impression we give of to the rest of the world. With fashion we are able to shape how the rest of the world reads us. Dressing alternatively marks people out as different. Yes people are able to dress “for themselves”,in things they love. This in itself is a statement of personality. I arguably dress “for myself”, I only wear things I love. I step out of the house in: bright oranges, strange headgear, my personal “signature style” is wearing clothes that are somewhat falling apart. However I am fully aware that in dressing so extremely
    I provoke reactions in people. This is something I enjoy, it helps me read people, be aware of who to befriend, who might share similar interests in politics and art. It is not nesicerily attention seeking, although in some cases belive it can be (I do not think it is in Susie’s case). Personally I find an outlandish outfit when clubbing is an ideal way to filter out men to conservative for my taste. To you all I put it that extreme dress is a way to influence how people respond to us, a social tool in day to day life!
    Hopefully I have added something to the debate on why people dress in eccentric and impractical fashions. I have chosen not to deal with the issue of snobbery, we all have day to day experiences of this and it depends on individuals in my experience.
    Lastly I would like to address what to me was the most interesting part of Mr KC’s question, and the part I belive most comment were misguided in their response to: CREATIVITY AND CLASS, which he then compared to wine tasting. For my purposes here I will use the example of art. Much art is produced, as self expression, attempting to explain social issues, sometimes even just to be pleasing to the eyes. However most art just isn’t very good.There is a general consensus however upon what is good art. To be able to recognize and appreciate good art you have to spend a long time looking at all sorts of art. Much like a wine taster has to try many wines to educate her/his palette. Some people have creative skill, which has to be developed and nurtured, which produces pleasing and engaging results, others do not. I belive it is the same with fashion. In order to dress well you have to have a natural good and then developed eye. Now this is linked to class. For purposes here perhaps sophsication would be a better word? As I do not belive Mr KC intended upon the more Marxist definition. In dressing well and in a manner where you are educated about what you
    wear and how you wear it. You are able to make other people appreciate the way in which you are dressed much as if you were an art form. The Sartorilist’s subjects are good examples of this, they although all dressed very differently are put together in a way which many people can appreciate as “well dressed” and with “class”.Many people appreciate how Susie dresses,
    not because they dress like her, or wish to emulate, but because she dresses excellently. It is hard to put a finger upon why this is so, as it is hard to identify the difference between good and bad art, it just is.

  97. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 10:44 AM

    Jessica: Yes, you are correct in your example about court dressing infiltrating down to the lower classes…. I was actually going to introduce a historical trajectory in my argument that it really wasn’t that long ago that men were struggling with buttoned breeches and women were wearing hooped skirts…. in complete opposition to the ideas of practicality today, which is as you pointed out only a very recent development….
    I like what you said about the way you dress influencing how people respond to you…. that’s another brain-buster and I’m not sure whether that is what I do myself…. perhaps subconsciously I do…
    So much food for thought here and it’s only err….10.44!

  98. Mary

    2010-01-03 at 10:57 AM

    From a practical perspective, (means: having met a lot of eccentric dressed people and actually talked to them, or: being friends with them) I can not agree with Mr KC. There is no correlation between the way people dress and their grade of arrogance. Some of them are surprisingly shy, some of them are over the top, some are just about “normal”.
    But I also got similar questions in interviews or from curious people, asking if it is not too time consuming to dress up, whether they have “nothing else to do”, or whether this is just a “pose” to impose some kind of provocative action, declining all aesthetic rules to just gain attention (which is, in this question, of course a bad thing).
    I mostly notice those kind of questions coming from “outsiders” – e.g. people who can not imagine that fashion is more than just being class(ic) or dress flattering (whatever that means). Esp. people who never encountered eccentrically dressed people, talked to them, befriended them etc…
    And another experience I had with you, Susie. When I see you wearing your clothes in persona I find your style choice far less eccentric than I find it sometimes in pictures. They look so natural on you, so truly correlating to yourself, when one experiences you “live” (how creepy does that sound, ha). I would never think, “oh what a poser”, or assume that you want to “provoke”.
    I find the wine comparison rather funny, and it reveals what this question might be about – there are some people who assume there would be a kind of basic knowledge, basic rules you would have to understand to “do fashion”. (this is what most women’s mags are all about, don’t wear blue and red, don’t wear miniskirts if and so on …) But I experienced that there is nothing like that, that fashion is about “anything goes”, about an open mind, about despising rules (or not) and about being playful. And that this is actually to be understood as positive.

  99. Sabine

    2010-01-03 at 11:06 AM

    This got my head spinning (and immediately started an argument with husband who tends to agree with Mr X)… I do dress for myself, too – i.e. dress to please myself, having fun and expressing myself and what makes me really happy is seeing other people doing the same, with very different styles and tastes. Wouldn’t it be boring if we all dressed ‘practical’ and ‘classy’?… Whatever this is supposed to be, bringing us back to your thoughts. Sabine x

  100. Gem Fatale

    2010-01-03 at 11:07 AM

    Haha Wendy’s comment cracked me up!
    Good response. Why would he email you that?! What was he hoping to achieve?
    Self expression needs no explanation.
    Anyway, your outfits are certainly ‘creative’ (one of his criteria for ‘good fashion’)!
    I wonder if this means the rest of the ‘eccentric’, ‘colourful’ fashion he describes could be labelled ‘bad fashion’?
    Haha! I do hope so. If so, you are indeed bad, if not dreadful, and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

  101. Kamicha

    2010-01-03 at 11:33 AM

    However politely the original e-mail was put, I still find it borderline disturbing. I’m afraid that politeness does not iron out the seeds of intolerance or even discrimination. I’ll bet that all the despots through the history were perfectly capable to phrase their agenda in very civilized manner. But this post is not about raising up the nazi-card…
    Postmodern societies are hard on individual. We are supposed to be very “self-made” and polish the brand of “self” all the time. But the need to connect to other people just stays – and often gets but funny, kind of artificial and often very superficial forms. Following a subculture dress code to an A, paying ridiculous amounts of money of right kind of second hand pair of socks or trying to desperately belong to the people who “know wine”.
    But this does not imply that both of those things cannot be practiced with plethora of motives, some of them more “authentic” than others. Authenticity is a difficult concept itself, but I like to see it binding to direct personal pleasure and motivation, plus the actual cultural background of the person. The latter is more problematic, contemporary world lets us select some cultural groups to belong – and in these cases you will be “rookie” for a while, learning and immersing the things that define that group. Important thing to understand in this contemporary world is that you just can’t reveal these motives of the individual just observing the behavior – or at least it takes time and knowledge of the subject matter.
    The fastest route to understand might be to get to know the person. And of course this is not possible with everyone – maybe it is the one thing that embodies the need for generalization on a personal level. Meet couple of eccentric dressing schmucs – ok, eccentric dressers seem to be schmucs, no need to further exploration of this group, I can concentrate on wine tasters, at least the real ones have some class… What is important to understand that this kind of behavior is probably necessary – and detrimental at the same time. For the sake of our own saneness we have to make some choices about where we want to belong in this contemporary world where almost everything seems to be on our reach. But pasting negative attributes in very general level to the groups one does not belong to has never lead to anything good.
    I’d like to address the subway issue, too – what about those backpacks those existence is completely forgotten by the carrier, but not with the people around? DIrty clothes? Personal odors? Hell, perfumes, some of them can be quite offensive? I find that every day every day is an exercise of tolerance, there are over 6 billion of us, after all. I would say that our tolerance is one definitive part of “self”. The tolerance for the discomfort caused unintentionally by the people around can be seen as a personal property (this person probably chooses a life on countryside), disorder (autistic spectrum disorders), temporary reaction (personal stress level too high) or pure snobbery (you can probably add few explanations more).
    Same implies to eccentric dressing, there is no definitive view or “explanation” on “dramatic fashion” on individuals. Every response for this post is valid, but not definitive. Postmodern world is overwhelming.
    Disclaimer: I’m not native English speaker, so please forgive the awkwardnesses of this lengthy ramble.

  102. Kamicha

    2010-01-03 at 11:39 AM

    Oh, should never post in a haste, correct at least
    this person probably chooses a life on countryside
    person with low tolerance probably chooses a life on countryside
    so you get some sense in it.

  103. jenn.

    2010-01-03 at 11:40 AM

    Mary: completely agreed. Again drawing on being a fashion student; trying to play it safe and second guess what our tutors want to see usually means you’ll miss the mark. I realised, by second year, that there are no rules in fashion, and if you do try to apply them (at least as a designer) you will fall short.
    dust, not to be rude, but “By the way WINE TASTING is sooooooo snobbish!!! And complaining about people in metro and tight jeans…blah…even more snobbish.” – surely this is judging Mr KC just as I imagine you think he is judging we, the fashion types?
    It is a point well made, I think, to suggest that some outlandish dressers, as some wine tasters, are mere posers; those trying to emulate others style without understanding it; or of course, without the personal link to it. Those who will spend money to emulate a look, just to have that look. As opposed ‘the emulated’, who would see a piece and love it, buying it purely for their enjoyment and NOT so as to fulfill the certain look, or trend.
    After all, both wine and fashion are required tastes, no?
    Do hope I’m making sense…very invested in this discussion now Susie! Interesting to see how people react to a view “against” their aesthetic or an aesthetic they enjoy, and so many good and valid points are being brought up from both sides!

  104. Zoe

    2010-01-03 at 11:50 AM

    I think that often the people who dress the most “eccentric” have a lower self esteem/confidence and dressing that way makes them feel more secure. I don’t mean that in a negative way ATALL, I think I am part of this group! I am quite shy and dressing in a way that pleases me (if not always others) makes me feel happier and more confident. To have an outfit that references a million different things only I know about probably gives me a little self satisfied smile…maybe this is what is mistaken as arrogance?
    Truly, if one type of dresser is to be categorised as the most arrogant, I would say it is those who adhere firmly to set fashion rules – whether they are those set by their peer group or the media – and look down at anyone who doesn’t follow their codes. “Yahs” in their Jack Wills, perfect makeup and ugg boots spring to mind.

  105. Laila

    2010-01-03 at 12:15 PM

    Sorry but I have to agree that your response was incredibly rude and defensive. The guy just paused an innocent question!

  106. sisimae

    2010-01-03 at 12:21 PM

    I do agreed that it’s not really necessary to show his critique publicly like this. One does not need a justification of one’s style or class. Mr Kc and ms bubble are both right on each end of the ‘class’ here. There is a reason for different people to stay at the same planet. Freedom of speech. But who really cares? Clothes/fashion are only something that cheer us up, or for practical use, why all this outcry?
    I guess for a guy to reach for such question, he must got a lot of time on his hand.

  107. mimi

    2010-01-03 at 12:30 PM

    although I’m often seen by others around me as being on the ‘eccentric’ side of the fence, I do feel a lot of empathy with the questions Mr KC has raised, and unfortunately many of the responses here, or at least their tone, only affirm the kind of concerns he is putting out, ie. ranging from mildly dismissive or defensive – ‘he doesn’t seem to understand what he’s talking about/ why is he even bothering to ask such a stupid question…’ to exhibiting just the kind of rudeness and ‘arrogance’ he mentioned in his original email, by saying he’s just some stupid, snobby old fuddy-duddy who doesn’t have a clue and that his question isn’t even worth answering.
    It’s this kind of snappy defensiveness which is sometimes the problem – the assumption that if someone is questioning your beliefs they must automatically be attacking/dismissing you and therefore you get out your pre-emptive strike, and end up affirming the mistaken stereotype of snobby fashion types. This is the problem when trying to start any dialogue between 2 different groups who see themselves in opposition, time and again, whether it’s questioning dress sense or religious beliefs. There are some genuine people who do just want to know more about what makes you tick. I think this is what he meant by the wine tasting example – that he saw this was a complex subject that could look ludicrous to an outsider, but he wanted an inkling of what might make it so valuable and interesting for those involved. Yes he knew he had some presumptions in mind – but he put them out to be questioned and disproved.
    and openmindedness goes both ways of course – in the same capacity you might wish for someone to respect your personal dress choices, whether they understand them or not, you should at least try to muster the same amount of respect for others’ interests and not slam down with clich√©d assumptions – as many commenters have done here. This is probably my own bugbear with ‘eccentric’ types – in my early years I always equated the opposite of Mr KC’s feelings – that quirky, outlandish types would be more creative, innovative, accepting and broadminded individuals. Instead what I found was they are no different to any other type of people – a bit of a reality-check to my naive self! – that they can be just as snooty, ignorant or judgemental as anyone else, while the girl next door in an ordinary sweater and jeans might actually be the sweetest and most imaginative person in the world. Now I’m a grown up and take it all as it comes, but it still bothers me when I come across this attitude.
    as for putting personal self-expression in fashion on the same level with sexuality or any other factor that may cause controversy such as religious beliefs, race etc – what a load of tosh! that is seriously deluded and arrogant – I’ve had plenty of people knock me down, spit at me, etc for what I wore out in the street, but I knew each time that I chose to be that person and all that came with it.

  108. Vesa

    2010-01-03 at 12:48 PM

    I don’t usually wear particularily outlandish outfits as it’s not really mr own personal style but I go to an all girl school and whenever it’s an own clothes day, I love seeing what it is other people wear.
    A lot of girls end up wearing the same stuff- I usually end up wearing something entirely different and then there are people who do look extravagant and/ or eccentric and those are the people who stand out.
    It doesn’t necessarily make them arrogant, it’s just something they wanted to wear. They wanted to stand out from the crowd to show their own individuality and to prove that they’re different. It’s especially obvious in teenagers and young adults who want to show how different they are (or else go with the flow)and the easiest way to express yourself is through your garments- before even getting to know you, peoplewill know something about you and what you consider beautiful.
    There was a comment earlier on how we should be focusing in more important stuff than clothes matching shoes.
    Well- this is a blog on fashion. Any debates on here would most likely revolve around fashion. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re ignoring the more important things, it’s simply a way to discuss one of our favourite subjects.

  109. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 1:21 PM

    Mimi: You’re right that once this kind of discourse is out in the open like this, there will be a lot of defensiveness and those that accused me of being defensive, well….yes, I am! Mr KC came to me with an email that in part was inquisitive but he did also say that he found some of my styles ‘not intriguing’ which to me said that he found some of my style guilty of what he terms ‘dramatic fashions’…. i.e. NOT creative, practical or classy…
    Of course I had to therefore react with some amount of ‘defensiveness’ in my response…. otherwise, it would be hard for me to mount a counter-argument, which this post is, in reply to his question. He did pose an honest and curious question but also did so with provocation (and I think he knows this…) so in turn, in my reply back I too had to provoke….
    You are right in saying though that in some of the responses here, we are guilty in the same sort of dismissiveness that we accuse Mr KC of displaying…
    I hope I personally haven’t offended his interests/niches in my response…the only real problems I had was his use of certain terminology and phrasing which I find problematic… and I still haven’t really had a response as to what he thought about the component of personal happiness in his equation…
    So, perhaps this is all very long-winded, pointless and completely boring to everybody…but it has at the very least produced SOMETHING of a discussion and actually, there are quite a few valid points being raised…
    Laila: See previous comments…

  110. mariel

    2010-01-03 at 2:00 PM

    I think that Mr KC’s point on wine tasting brings this debate around full circle. While, yes, it is frustrating that some feel a need to put on a pretense, there wouldn’t be those faking knowledge on wine (or indeed fashion) and trying to act “bougie” as he put, if there weren’t those who choose to judge negatively when others do not have the same knowledge as they do.
    In the same way, as I have already said, fashion is an extremely judgmental field. and unfortunately, fashion would not develop if it were not judgmental. However, to me, Mr KC is shielding a narrow-minded ignorance with a facade of curiosity. Curiosity does not lead people to label others as “snobby” or “arrogant” simply because we do not understand the way that they dress. While I say this, I suppose it could be argued that my lack of knowledge on Mr KC’s experiences or curiosity is leading me to be narrow-minded in respect to his question, I hope I am not.

  111. Cassie @ Miss P Dolly

    2010-01-03 at 2:27 PM

    It’s just a difference in opinion. I don’t look at what you wear and think about what you’re trying to convey, how you might be feeling, whether you’re a snob etc etc. There are so many different styles, trends etc etc, they’re not meant to be for everyone, they offer variety and diversity.
    Just because he likes ‘class, practicality and creativity’, does not make it the definitive classification of ‘style’. I don’t really understand the importance either, of ‘practicality’ in fashion , and completely agree with you in that what difference does it make if you’re wearing ‘jogging bottoms or a tutu’? Depends on the situation, occasion, person blah blah…
    Everyone dresses differently, if a style isn’t for you…stop looking.

  112. diane

    2010-01-03 at 2:30 PM

    Bah, men and their practicality. If it was up to them, there would be no babies.

  113. ShopCurious

    2010-01-03 at 2:48 PM

    Everyone is entitled to their personal opinion, including Mr Old School . I can understand where he’s coming from, but the whole point about fashion is that it’s subjective and a matter of personal taste.
    Here are some of my own points of view, taken from an article I wrote:
    The psychology of fashion is very curious.
    At ShopCurious, we believe that ‘style with brains’ is about being confident in your own skin, trusting your intuition, respecting your individuality and personal preferences:
    It’s not illegal to wear something that offends others’ sense of style and taste… Don’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks – what you wear is entirely up to you Рyour personal style is timeless.
    We all like to make an impression, but looking good is also about walking tall, smiling, and being polite and courteous to others. Having something interesting to say is also useful. These are all completely free of charge.
    Susie, your posts have style with brains – but what makes them really unique is the large dash of your special je ne sais quoi! Love the graph x

  114. The Fashion Informer

    2010-01-03 at 2:52 PM

    Very nice response, Mr. KC. This is one of the most interesting fashion discussions I’ve read in a really long time.
    Personally, I don’t think fashion is an either/or proposition (either artist self-expression OR practical, functional garments designed to clothe one’s body before facing the world). I think it’s both, and I think there’s room – and SHOULD be room – for both things to coexist simultaneously. Some people take the fashion-as-art approach when getting dressed in the morning (to widely varying degrees), others take a more pragmatic, I’m-going-to-wear-a-suit (or jeans-and-a-t-shirt, or whatever) “uniform” every day due to a lack of interest in fashion, a desire to get out the door more quickly or a combination of both those things.
    And then there are those, like me (and, I would image, many people over 35) whose style has evolved from more eccentric/dramatic to more practical/classic/functional due to both one’s changing tastes and a desire to dress age appropriately. I definitely dressed more outlandishly/colorfully/dramatically when I was in my teens, twenties and early thirties. I still love (LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!) fashion as much now as I did then – I am a fashion writer/editor by trade and cover the industry for a living – but my personal tastes have definitely changed as I’ve gotten older and I find I’m just naturally not as drawn to tricky, more avant-garde “is this a sleeve or a leg?” pieces, multi-color garments, dramatic makeup, trendy shoes/bags/jewelry, etc. and over-the-top anything. Yes, I still enjoy seeing other people (of all ages) dressed that way, but the older I get, the less inclined I am to dress this way myself.
    I think part of it stems from the fact that as I’ve gotten older, I’m no longer drawn to certain things. But another part of it that I’m no longer drawn to those things BECAUSE I no longer feel the need to experiment as much with clothing to determine or define who I am to myself or the world at large. I think one of the reasons I found this thread so interesting is that it really speaks to something I’ve been thinking about/grappling with for a while, and that is the fact that in my younger days, I was still figuring out who I was – clothing played a big part in that, for me – and I also dressed much more for other people than I did purely for myself. That’s not to say that I didn’t like the more eccentric/dramatic outfits I wore, but I was definitely dressing as much to get a reaction from other people (whether wearing ruched, tri-color balloon pants from an NYC indie designer or a pricey designer bag/shoes) as I was to express myself creatively through clothing. Interestingly, I didn’t even realize I’d been doing this until I stopped doing it, which wasn’t a conscious decision but something that has happened slowly and organically over the last few years as I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin and, well…just stopped caring so much what other people think (one of the unsung joys of getting older).
    Plus, I have definitely gotten more lazy/practical-minded as I’ve gotten older and no longer want to spend hours and hours putting together an outfit – or spend extra $$ to buy the perfect shirt/dress/pants/whatever to go with the latest avant item I got that requires some other new item to make it work in the way I had imagined. I now find it very liberating to have a uniform of sorts, which I think is just as creative as my old way of dressing, but a bit more subdued and grown-up (the older I get, the less experimental I want to look/feel, in general. I think some people can carry this off well into their forties, fifties and beyond – look at Lynn Yaeger, Anna Piaggi or the late Isabella Blow). But the older I got, the less comfortable – and the less MYSELF – I felt dressing in this way.
    And I want to be clear that I’m speaking ONLY for myself here, so I do not presume (or assume) that everyone who dresses dramatically or eccentrically does so because they’re trying to get a reaction from other people, or because they care what other people think. I am sure there are dramatically dressed people who dress only to please themselves and there are dramatically dressed people who dress, in part, to please other people – just as there are people who dress in a more conventional/traditional manner because that’s the way they LIKE to look and the aesthetic to which they gravitate, and others who secretly yearn to break free of the jeans-and-t-shirt mold and strut around town in a Vivienne Westwood/Comme des Garcon outfit and some McQueen Armadillo booties (or some equally creative indie designer/vintage look), but are afraid to do so for fear of what others might think/say. I also am NOT saying that everyone who dresses in a more dramatic fashion should stop doing so as they get older. Again, to each his/her own. All I know is, the older I get, the more comfortable I feel in more streamlined, simple, well-tailored clothing (whether it’s from Rick Owens, Shelly Steffee, Vera Wang or the Gap), and the more I adhere to a less-is-more, quality vs. quantity credo. I find it strangely liberating to have less choices/stuff in my wardrobe rather than more.
    Lastly, I honestly don’t think confidence/arrogance/self-expression is relegated to one side of the sartorial fence (eccentric dressers) or the other (traditional/classic dressers), just as I don’t think people should be forced to choose between one way of dressing or the other. Both are valid, both are (hopefully) personal choices that make the wearer feel great about themselves and both are visually pleasing – and inspiring – if done well.
    I apologize for the long-winded post, but this topic really resonated with me. Thanks, Susie and Mr. KC for bringing it up!

  115. Helen

    2010-01-03 at 2:53 PM

    I understand what Mr KC means about beatniks – the whole point with Boroughs, Ginsberg, Kerouac etc is that they were so into literature,politics and drugs that all their time and money went on that- so they had to buy second hand clothes, because if they got a week’s wages they would spend it on benzedrine and a jaunt around New York. The beatniks of course, just bought into the clothes and drugs without the intelligence, achievement and censure that the original ‘beatniks’ experienced, which negated the authenticity or ‘practicality’ Mr KC mentions.
    I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to confuse arrogance with being extremely shy, or well, just not needing the approval of others. If you say to yourself that you can’t wear something because other people will disapprove, it’s really galling when someone else does it and ‘gets away’ with it. The fact is more that they wear what they like and *have to deal with the consequences* ; which can be people questioning your gender or sexuality, people not taking you seriously, people assuming you are a ‘slut’; basically trying to frighten you into conformity because anything different scares people.
    As for creative and professional, look at Diane Von Furstenberg or Japanese designer Issey Miyake.

  116. The Fashion Informer

    2010-01-03 at 3:12 PM

    One last side note re: confidence/arrogance. I actually don’t think the two are synonymous AT ALL. Quite the opposite, in fact. I personally think most people (myself included) are confident in some areas and insecure in others. That’s just human nature. But I think arrogance/rudeness is borne of insecurity, not confidence. When I think about the kind, thoughtful people I know, they tend to be fairly secure in who they are/their place in the world and, as such, don’t feel the need to put others down or put on airs. To me, arrogrance/confidence has nothing to do with the way one chooses to dress, it’s about who one is/how one feels about oneself deep down, and that plays itself out in how one treats others. I realize I am venturing way off the fashion topic here, but I’d be curious to hear what others think about this idea, since it has come up several times in this thread.

  117. Raquel

    2010-01-03 at 3:15 PM

    i raised my eyebrows when I read the e-mail, but put on a smile after reading your answer!

  118. jy

    2010-01-03 at 3:19 PM

    ok i basically scanned your post and the comments.and
    NO! i do not think you answered this objectively at all. egregarious slant here, i mean as someone who loves fashion i do understand there are some people who don’t understand the fashion world’s point of view.
    you’ve totally misunderstood class and practicality. c’mon who can deny the fact that the alexander mcqueen exoskeleton shoes are unpractical. you’d probably end up walking like a lobster.
    and class is not some society status thing, more like an intellectual thing. mr kellman probably wasn’t referring to post punk era dressing or the like when he meant no class. appeal to human inclinations to certain shapes and structures and i will have to write an essay to elaborate.
    you have to mind your tone though you may not mean it but it comes across as ignorant and lambasting.
    i mean i love you haha, don’t be insulted, everyone needs their opposition.
    fashion for me is aimed at social inclusiveness, if its too loud and garish and totally ignorant of others’ feelings(weird huh) like sheer top+hot pants???? then we can laugh at it but not imbibe it.
    overall this post is complicated.

  119. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 3:40 PM

    Jy: I think Mr KC was after opinions that helped him to better understand the thought process behind what he refers to “dramatic” fashion but there was certain terminology that I found problematic (think I’ve said that a few times…)…. I haven’t ‘misunderstood’ class/practicality…. I personally would just be careful how I would use those terms because they denote certain things….
    By your definition, class is now an ‘intellectual’ thing….? I don’t think that’s how Mr KC meant it… but anyway…
    I may have been lambasting at times but that was the way I had intended to write the post… to set up an ‘argument’ and ‘debate’ as it were, to counter back and to also try and understand his point of view….otherwise, I would haven’t posted at all….I would have just nodded, said “Well let’s agree to disagree” sent him a polite email and let it go…
    Yes, everyone needs their opposition and Mr KC stands somewhere along those lines, albeit he is also incredibly friendly opposition…this is all as he puts it…simply a “healthy debate” and there is no malice involved and I hope everyone here and Mr KC knows it…. posts that give way to debate and discussion isn’t about spouting off catty replies and insults….
    As for social inclusiveness within fashion, that’s another topic altogether….

  120. Lola

    2010-01-03 at 3:41 PM

    Suzie I love you but do you really need to display such a condescending manner when talking about your loyal readers who may not be interested in this post. Yes we do visit this blog to look at ‘pretty pictures’ and your point is? Just because we may not partake in these lengthy discussions doesn’t mean you need to put the rest of us down 🙁

  121. Laura

    2010-01-03 at 3:45 PM

    I think fashion is what you make it…
    if you want to be snobby about it, then thats that persons choice?
    You will come across people who wear off the wall styles but if we all looked the same the world would be very boring.
    And don’t understand the whole ‘there’s better things to write about’ – not on the fashion blog?

  122. The Fashion Informer

    2010-01-03 at 3:53 PM

    Mr. KC, just to clarify (esp. since I think the word “class” can have a slightly different connotation in the UK vs. US and people are getting hung up on that word): Did you mean class as in the traditional British class system or did you mean class as in classy/elegant/having good taste (which is the modern American understanding of the word, which may have originated from the class system but today has a more broad/generalized definition that has nothing to do with one’s literal social/economic standing and is more about how one comports oneself/presents oneself to the world (after all, there are plenty of tacky rich/well-bred people, too, right?).
    Or did you mean class in the traditional (class system) way, which is, indeed, a very loaded term?

  123. Bryanboy

    2010-01-03 at 3:57 PM

    Beautiful post.
    Thank you so much.

  124. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 3:59 PM

    Lola: I didn’t mean to ‘put readers down’…. I was merely pointing out that this blog isn’t just about picture posting… people can read what they like of course but some people were saying that ‘essay like posts’ are pointless…
    They may be right but I personally would like there to be a mix of content on the blog…
    Apologies for going off-topic there…
    Sorry, it just seems like I’m completely without tact here when I was genuinely trying to bring up a discussion and have as a result, offended everyone here…

  125. sasa

    2010-01-03 at 4:00 PM

    “Do what feels good”? I think that applies to the way we dress, each of us honing to our own needs and aesthetics, we all have different ones after all. Plus, if everyone dressed in the one way of how class and all that is defined, it’d be rather boring. What’s wrong with totally living to offend others’ eyesights? It may not be nice, but we all have different purposes of life. Diversity is good, its a part of evolution. Sorry for the amatuerish answer, just saying how I feel.

  126. Sophia

    2010-01-03 at 4:09 PM

    I do agree that fashion has never been practical what with corsets and jeans so tight you had to lie on the floor to close them BUT I think maybe Mr KC means that eccentric dressing is unnecessary? Or at least seems to be so to him.
    On another note, no one can deny that colorful, eye-popping outfits DO attract attention. And people know that and are therefore okay in some sense with the attention they receive….
    It’s like a discussion I had with my friend about belly piercings. In my opinion you don’t get a belly piercing and then not tell anyone about it nor show it. Therefore, you are okay with showing your stomach. She completely disagreed and meant that those people had no desire what so ever to show of their stomachs…. I guess it’s all a matter of point of view !!
    I really, really enjoy your blog Susie !!! And great initiative to start a discussion on an interesting subject 🙂

  127. Georgie Porgie

    2010-01-03 at 4:13 PM

    Working in a bar on le weekends, I see so much evidence of the ‘dressing eccentricity’ meets ‘massive wanker’, because such people have appeared to follow the oh-so-hip route as that’s what they want to be part of. Of course, I’ve also met eccentrically dressed people who are lovely. Swings and roundabouts guys.
    But, I did find your post a litle defensive as it appeared quite one sided, but I’m a politics student and we’re told that’s very naughty.

  128. Jennifer

    2010-01-03 at 4:21 PM

    Susie, I liked it. A lot for me to digest on a Sunday morning with only two cups of coffee in me belly….but what I really think is that many of the above are thinking way too much about it. Seriously…if you dress a certain way because it makes you happy and you don’t give a shit what others think…then just ignore, don’t try to justify. Sounds too much like you give a shit.
    a note from a Midwest mom who you would consider conservative but others here think otherwise….feel free to color my world with your artistic outfits my friends.
    My fashion conundrum lately is whether I should stop sucking in my stomach and start wearing maternity clothes again…they are cuter than a lot of the shit out there these days. 😉

  129. Lola

    2010-01-03 at 4:23 PM

    Suzie I apoligise then, I did not read the comments about ‘essay like posts’ therefore was not aware you were referring to those in your comment, guess this post is a bit too long for me to read after all 😉
    Please don’t worry no ones offended. This post has just shown how much spirit everyone has for fashion! You’ve sparked a grand debate so don’t feel you need to reply to everyones comments.

  130. ShaolinTiger

    2010-01-03 at 4:29 PM

    I think he perhaps confused arrogance with being pretentious.

  131. Jenni

    2010-01-03 at 4:32 PM

    Eech, I guess this is why most fashion blogs tend not to stray beyond the “this is what I wore today” kind of posts, it gets so messy! Personally, I respect Susie for wanting to actually address something in her blog, and I’m pretty sure there’ll be some more ‘pretty pictures’ soon enough. This is a really thorny issue though, and I have to say I agree with both sides of the debate. In my personal opinion-purely based on my experiences of those I have met- I would say that there is a higher percentage of cliquey and sometimes condescending behaviour among those who dress to be ‘hip’ /’unique’ etc. However, there is also a great deal of arrogance among people who dress in a very plain way, I think that maybe because the former group dress differently and are thus more easily recognisable people sometimes get a warped idea and start tarring all with the same brush…?

  132. Joy D.

    2010-01-03 at 5:11 PM

    I like your poignant arguments and I also agree. Mademoiselle Robot is correct: It IS a subjective option some choose to take. There are plenty of fashion greats that did not come from wealth or a high status. It is the character of the person that, then, wears/carries the clothing. This is what makes a “faashionable” person. Also it is a very political thing. Just because the masses like an individual does not mean they are the best that means they are popular. Now I am just rambling but I would like to say that I enjoyed the comments on this post and the post itself.
    Happy New Year all!

  133. Denise @ Swelle

    2010-01-03 at 5:12 PM

    Angie’s first statement kills me.
    I think the Mr. must be feeling a stinging sensation on his cheek for a good hour or two after what will most likely have been taken as a whoopin’ (or maybe not?), but would anything but a feisty and compelling rebuttal from Susie Bubble on what is nothing less than a prejudiced/myopic view on fashion be anticipated?
    Still, I think it’s great that he asked the question. Someone who assumes that those who wear bright colours and dress eccentrically are arrogant isn’t typically an inquisitor seeking to understand what they clearly don’t get. His girlfriend can only benefit from this. I wonder how she’s dealing.
    Further to the colours/eccentricity/arrogance connection – are clowns arrogant? Creepy, but not arrogant! When I see a Rainbow Brite walking down the road I see a playful soul who is making attempts to brighten their world and in turn, it brightens the day of others. Yes, many of us feel the corners of our mouths turn up when we catch a glimpse of a Susie Bubble or Fred Butler on the street. I would have a miserable time living in Mr Kellman-Carlen’s head.

  134. SUPA KiD!!!

    2010-01-03 at 5:36 PM

    love this post!

  135. jenn

    2010-01-03 at 5:54 PM

    Susie, please don’t feel disheartened or put off posting these types of posts in future; there will always be readers who prefer one kind of post over others, and those who like a mix. In my eyes, it can only be a good thing to add an good ‘intellectual’ debate to the often frivolous Fashion world!

  136. Growlette

    2010-01-03 at 6:24 PM

    Wow! Very complicated post, absolutely fascinating, thanks to all who have commented, and especially thanks to Mr. KC and Susie! This has given me much to ponder.

  137. sarah.p

    2010-01-03 at 6:27 PM

    Hey Susie & Mr K-C, and thanks both for prompting debate…
    I won’t repeat all said above (though whoever it was who pointed out that personal style is termed ‘personal’ for a host of very excellent reasons is absolutely right!), but just wanted to say, perhaps slightly agreeing with KC, that I do understand how ‘hipsters’ can appear arrogant. I live in the East End, a spit from Brick Lane etc., and for at least 2 years after I moved here, I would dodge the eyes of those who were very obviously highly styled, because I assumed (quite wrongly, of course) they would be looking at me with withering disgust. Of course, time has moved on, and though I remain very often intimidated, I now know a fair few who qualify for the hipster label and find myself utterly baffled to discover they sometimes like and admire my clothes. (One friend said, quite nicely, that I’m so resolutely uncool I’ve gone full circle and come up the other side).
    Anyway, long post short: sometimes the confidence required to sport a vintage bra over a grey sweatshirt (and whatnot) can appear intimidating to those of us who only have the guts to occasionally adopt the odd veiled hat or handmade skirt. I have learnt to convert intimidation into admiration and inspiration: I hope the same will be said for Mr KC…

  138. fashion westie

    2010-01-03 at 6:35 PM

    I think the whole “class/classy” thing in the world of fashion is the last bastion for people to be politically incorrect without fear of being slammed by all and sundry as fashion is not considered a necessity but a creative outlet.
    Me personally? I use the terms class or classy as a compliment without reference to actual status but as a colloquial form of saying “Your outfit is cool!” or “You are cool!” Nothing more , nothing less.

  139. dust

    2010-01-03 at 6:49 PM

    Jenn, I know what I wrote previously might sounded rude. I was addressing Mr. KC and tried to use his language, only more…rude. Once you start to judge, you can judge anything, even hipsters and wine tasters… It’s all the judging that bothers me like a bad mouthwash.
    History repeats with every new generation of young people, it makes me laugh when trying to imagine what people used to comment on punks back in the days, as it is important for that every new generation to ask themselves these questions. You guys are doing it so great!

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    2010-01-03 at 7:05 PM

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  141. ds {ms.shoo}

    2010-01-03 at 7:20 PM

    I think this is an interesting discussion. It’s just an opinion right? That’s all we have right? At the end of the day there is no “right” or “wrong” response because afterall fashion is subjective. Although, I’ve encountered many of practical and classical wearing folks who are just as arrogant as the so called “style influencers”. So, yeah I shrug a bit at his question and the long responses, because as Mademoiselle Robot so eloquently stated, “personal style” needs no justification. It’s still an interesting discussion that will illicit a million interesting responses, because of the aforementioned.
    It seems to me that fashion embraces the so called eclectic and the practical, so at the end of the day who cares what others think? Expression is something we humans need to do, and fashion is one way we do it. Hell expression alone is arrogant no? Oh dear again interesting and thought provoking that leads to more and more.

  142. Shelley

    2010-01-03 at 7:50 PM

    Susie, I didn’t think your reply was rude, but it was probably unnecessary. I loved reading the other comments on this topic–it is obviously one on which people have definite opinions. People like Mr. Kellman-Carlen will never understand that for many of us, getting dressed in the morning is a means of creative expression, of putting yourself out there in the world in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. Whether that is a mix of bold colours, all-black, jeans and a t-shirt, or gold harem pants and a Marie Antoinette wig. People will always feel threatened, or at the very least, puzzled and uncomfortable about things/people they don’t understand. It is obvious that Mr. Kellman-Carlen could not imagine why someone would want to dress in such a way that would provoke reactions from strangers, good or bad. Personally, I think it’s better to go through life shaking things up a bit, than always worrying about whether you’re rocking the boat. As a photographer with a street-style blog, I am always approaching individuals whose personal style is outside the norm, and rarely have I encountered “snobby” or “arrogant”, but more likely, creative, open-minded and engaging.

  143. emily bosence

    2010-01-03 at 7:52 PM

    ha ha! I made the top namalee is wearing in the pic in your graph! http://Www.Oopsfashion.Co.Uk

  144. Anonymous

    2010-01-03 at 8:28 PM

    Dear Susie,
    Firstly, thank you Susie for putting your opinions forward on this delicate and almost taboo matter. It’s all very interesting and you express yourself so well! I wish I could do so fluently. The three terms you noted seem easily understood to me. I tend to look at it simply.
    Class – hmm, I see this word as nothing that spills your boobs out or a “skirt” that doesn’t cover your but is considered “classy”. It’s not necessarily referring to money, class system or occupation.
    Practicality – hmm, I see this as high heels you can actually walk in, sleeves that don’t drown your hands etc etc. But I can see what you mean about it depending on life-style.
    Attention seeking – oh but I think Susie, this term is not so problematic. I can understand what the kind Sir means by this. Someone who isn’t wearing “mainstream” (excuse me for using sucha word) clothing is obviously going to stand out from the crowd. Of course, many just find it a way to express themselves or for other reasons!
    If nothing else Susie, I admire you for dressing the way you do, for facing up to these opinions which unfortunately are not always put across in friendly emails.
    I must also give my thanks to Mr. Kellman-Carlen. A lot of the things he said are what I sometimes think, but I never quite know how to express it. His opinions are very thought-proving and very thorough.
    I’m a teen whose style is constantly in evolution. Debates like this only fuel this evolution even more. I tend to try and find the balance: not the odd one out but still have my own style that is unique and different. I hate looking like everyone else but I’m a wimp too so y’know, nothing too “eccentric” either. [And please excuse my English… and I want to be a fashion journalist! Ha!]

  145. Mr. KC

    2010-01-03 at 8:58 PM

    Clearly people are not reading me right. Only one or two people actually made helpful suggestions of designers. I can ask you, “why do you like apples?” You can respond with an empty response such as “Because I like them,” or you could be descriptive and say, “Because they are sweet and small, a perfect little snack.” Im asking for people to be descriptive. Obviously everyone will take offense when their passions are being questioned….I guess I am surprised that nobody cares to share this passion, they would rather ostracize someone genuinely interested.

  146. Stacey Kelly

    2010-01-03 at 8:59 PM

    hey susie,
    i thought this was a great post, thanks for posting. i think it’s very easy for people to criticize fashion by saying it’s shallow, exclusive, or as the email said, attention-seeking, etc. i find myself having to remind people that fashion is an art and a form of self expression, and whatever that entails depends on the individual.
    anyway, great post 🙂
    fall in love with a shooting star…

  147. susie_bubble

    2010-01-03 at 9:03 PM

    ^ Mr KC: I did reply with more questions asking for YOU to be descriptive actually….as well as a better definition of ‘professional’ as actually, that confused me even more if truth be told….
    I think someone did suggest Diane von Furstenberg or Issey Miyake but is that all you’re after… a finite list of designers? Because if we’re bringing personal style into the equation, the large majority of people tend to ‘mix’ it up in their dress sense and don’t just stick to one designer or the other….
    I thought your original question asked for the REASONING behind ‘dramatic’ fashion?

  148. ds {ms. shoo}

    2010-01-03 at 9:20 PM

    Dear Mr. KC,
    I am neither offended or trying to ostracise you. I would hope you’d welcome any response, whether it’s to your liking or not. But of course those are my ideals when we ask questions.
    The answer I gave is the exact same one I give those who ask me the very questions you’ve posed. I’ve learned a long time ago if I tell someone that I actively pursue non-known-labels they will form their own opinions, and rightfully so. Do I care what they think? Not really, because I’ve already told them that it’s a personal preference that I wear clothes that no one else does. Arrogant? Perhaps, depends on your perspective. I prefer individuality to group ideas. I’m not sure if this is the description you want, but just because I prefer the lowest common denominator doesn’t mean I’m necessarily arrogant or trying hard to standoout to anyone else but myself. I guess in a lot of ways one can accuse me of trying to distance myself from the crowd, and surely I am. To deny this would be foolish of me. We all know clothes help strangers form opinions. Perhaps I prefer to help those strangers form opinions about me. There is nothing wrong with wanting to help folks form opinions about you, but at the end of the day it’s their opinions, it doesn’t make it my truth.
    For example you see a woman in a sharp suit you think “powerful business woman” when she could very well be a housewife coming from a wake. The only point I’m trying to make is that assumptions can be made about anyone you don’t know if clothes alone is your indicator. We all use descriptors when we encounter collections, and I doubt we’ll ever escape that very human habit. The key {at least I think} is when we move beyond the assumptions. You prefer clothes that are practical and I prefer clothes are practical and a bit crazy 😉

  149. Roz

    2010-01-03 at 10:09 PM

    Susie, I have to admit this is actually one of the most interesting deabtes I have come acroos recently.
    I personally felt that you replied maturely, giving your own point of view. I’m afraid that everyone’s own view isn’t going to be the same, meaning that however you replied was your thoughts, not something that was just going to ‘please’ everyone.
    I think if I had recieved such an email, I would feel a bit defensive too. We can appreciate and understand something, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to react to it.
    Anyway, the actual debate. I’d say that I would pride myself on what I wear, because it’s a way of character expression. I enjoy wearing unique pieces and my favourite three tyes of clothing are homemade, vintage and thrifted. I suppose that might put me into the ‘snobbish’ category because I like to express my individuality in the way that I am happiest. But I would never consider myself to look down on others because of this. Obviously everyone has trends that they will dislike. e.g- Oh dear.. jeggings. But thats just my opinion. That’s not to say that I would criticise someone else for their choices of clothes.
    And the whole practicality issue. I find it just as easy to do my homework in a bright sixties minidress with brogues and silk shirt than I would do in jeans and a t-shirt. Its just your own preference.
    And the issue of attention seeking? I think it’s guaranteed that if you like to dress a bit more outrageously, then you are going to be a bit more noticeable (especially if you live in the rural midlands like me!), but why is that such a problem? Guaranteed, there will be many who enjoy turning heads, but thats just their choice and we shouldn’t judge them for that. I personally have found that being happy in what I wear, however outrageous, has really boosted my confidence immensely. How can gaining self esteem be a bad thing?
    And also, the whole point of fashion is to have your own taste. One person’s ‘classy’ may be anothers ‘trashy.’
    Basically what I am trying to say here is that we shouldn’t judge by appearance and instead appreciate that everyone is an individual. Making assumptions based on what people are wearing is a kind of reflex action, but sometimes you need to find out more about that character before giving them label. Clothing can give you an indication, but not the full picture. Obviously I’m more likely to be interested in the vintage clad person than maybe the trackie bottom wearer, but that doesn’t mean I already have a clear cut assumption of exactly what they’re like. And I’m not quite sure how you could ever be offended by another’s outfit unless it was covered in expletives! It might not to be your taste, but at the end of the day does it matter that much?
    I really hope this makes sense! I appreciate both sides of the argument but agree with Susie’s answer. “Creativity is entirely subjective.”

  150. Hollie

    2010-01-03 at 10:13 PM

    Susie, I’d just like to applaud your response to the email you received. Coming from someone who studies dress in depth (I’m a second year fashion history student in Brighton) it is liberating to actually know exactly WHY someone wears the clothes they wear. You truly one of the only people I can imagine who properly wears clothes just because you can/want to. Bloggers don’t seem to realise just how important it is to future dress historians to document things like this, it is so hard to study dress as it is. I’m a long time reader but have never actually commented (maybe it’s the glass of red wine and presentation procrastination that helped me…) it was the talk of arrogance/eccentricty that fuelled this post, it reminded me of a lecture I had before Christmas in which we discussed various historical figures who were eccentric and noted for their uique way of using dress, they were also loaded which tended to mean they COULD be eccentric, think propriety and all that. These days, we don’t need an estate and staff to warrant eccentricity. Emrace it people. Keep up the good work flowerpot.

  151. Leah

    2010-01-04 at 1:03 AM

    I wish my brain was more in gear right now to think, let alone write something, about the numerous points raised, both by yourself, Mr Kellman-Carlen and other commenters. All I can think to say is – I hope no-one is looking for conclusive answers, because I highly doubt there will be any.

  152. Bayley

    2010-01-04 at 1:13 AM

    Hey, I really like you blog. I have one of my own about the history of fashion and my own fashion designs: http://thisiswore.wordpress.com
    Do you have any pointers you could give me? Did you make the header?
    Hope I’m not bothering you!

  153. jy

    2010-01-04 at 2:12 AM

    yay. thank you for your reply, defense was good haha. anyway i think its good your’re not so pix-fixated, people need words in their lives sometimes.

  154. paulinabelle

    2010-01-04 at 3:24 AM

    i think you answered him very well, and im glad you’re posting this because it brings up an interesting point. i think some people dress flamboyantly to stand out, others to make themselves happy. while those who are pleasing themselves may stand out anyways, that’s not the purpose of their way of dressing. i think that you stand out in the best possible way, and also, isn’t it boring to look like everyone else?

  155. Mr. KC

    2010-01-04 at 10:03 AM

    This certainly has been an entertaining string of responses. After reading, I noticed that most responded out of defense. Please note that my questions were not aimed at putting down or offending personal tastes in fashion, or ideas on what define “good” fashion. Obviously people wear what they like, or what they think they look good in. Im not sure why so many people insist on repeating this.
    Lets use an example from Susie to possibly clarify what I’m getting at. Her most recent blog, “Bit of Fluff” discusses a metallic bra which is shown worn outside of the shirt. I don’t think I need to point out how this outfit might get stares in public. But I’m also not saying it’s a bad thing. Simply put, I would like to know what about this look makes Susie feel good about herself, or why does she feel she looks good in it. Again, I am not taking one side or another, I’m simply asking the question. Maybe there doesn’t need to be a reason, but I’d like to play devil’s advocate and find out.

  156. Ali (hello birdy)

    2010-01-04 at 11:24 AM

    Um, wow. I’ve read through the majority of this and although interesting I can’t help thinking it’s all rather pointless. Call me a bit two dimensional but I believe fashion is about fun…you wear things that appeal to you, you style them in a way that makes you feel happy. Yes, perhaps some dress outrageously for attention (although to be honest the sort of person that pops in to my head is more the Katie Price’s of this world rather than the Susie Bubble’s). I must say it gets on my nerves when people theorise things to death when really they should just be enjoyed.

  157. Aggie

    2010-01-04 at 1:09 PM

    Only one thing – PLEASE will people learn the difference between adjectives and adverbs. It seems that in some posts the desire to quote Mr. KC exactly (he has made no such error I hasten to add) has overcome adherence to the proper rules of the english language (although fair play to non-native speakers). One certainly does not ‘dress eccentric’, but might well ‘dress eccentrically’. Pedantic I know, but it is a mistake that has appeared all too often for my liking.
    Gosh I sound like an intellectual snob – I certainly don’t mean to, or maybe I do. hmm. anyhow I have very much enjoyed this discussion, though some do come across as unnecessarily dismissive and in an ‘I dress wildly and eccentrically and therefore I am better and more individual than you, you back-brushed ugg and jack wills wearing sloane (or other generic mode of dress).’ I don’t think this is what Mr KC is suggesting as an alternative to ‘dramatic fashion’ either. Though to be fair, I have certainly felt the above sentiment on occasion and I don’t deny that I judge people almost instantly by their appearance – I both think that this is inevitable, and often unfair and unjustified.
    I have deviated rather horrendously from the original perameters of the debate – so I shall stop myself here…! Suffice to say I understand Mr KC’s point but don’t agree with him; where would fashion be if there weren’t styles you loved or hated or sort of liked, or people whose attire is always bonkers or sleek or practical or sceney or slutty or directional or all of those at once, or clothes which have no discernible purpose save the aesthetic it provides; whether you abhor or adore it, you can still appreciate it. (Susie’s chain dress thing springs to mind – absolutely no practical value, a bit mad, but also a bit marvellous – I’m interested to know though – is it actively impractical?) Actually I think this is where we come into difficulty, as there is no clear line between the practical and impractical, the mad and the conventional, rather a gently sloping gradient between the extremes, no obvious place to draw the line, and nothing ‘better’ than anything else, except in one’s own humble opinion. Anyway. Clothes can just be soOOoo exciting and fun! I think thats the point, not to take it all too seriously.
    Eeek, I didn’t really stop, did I. Nor was it only one thing. Oops.
    P.S. The Fashion Informer I agree r.e. confidence/arrogance.
    P.P.S. I hope there are no honking grammatical errors in this post. If so, I am an idiot.

  158. grace

    2010-01-04 at 2:32 PM

    “e” = do you have a blog? You sound awesome and we have so much in common!

  159. susie_bubble

    2010-01-04 at 2:33 PM

    Some of you have pointed out the ‘over-thought’ on this post (sorry Ali) and by and large, alas a lot of my ranting/raving type posts are over-thought, over analytical and perhaps a bit pointless. Then again, I do feel like the comments that come out are far more interesting than the ones that do on other posts so posts like these will pop up from time to time. I really have genuinely enjoyed the various slants that people have contributed…
    The general conclusion is that there is no conclusion… do what feels good, fashion is fun, fashion is a subjective thing – these obvious statements are the closest things to something of a conclusion….
    ds Ms.Shoo: Perhaps then the point is, that people who are into ‘dramatic’, ‘obscure’ or ‘individual’ fashion shouldn’t really ‘care’ about being perceived as arrogant…. sadly I lack that sort of nonchalance… damn my self-loathing-ness…
    Hollie: WHY is a very important question to me in general be it for dress or other issues… thank you for appreciating that question.
    Aggie: Apologies for any grammar mistakes I may have made too…. re: Chain dress: it is VERY comfortable indeed…. deceptively so… it’s not THAT heavy and just sort of slips on and off….
    Now to answer Mr KC’s question about my metallic bra outfit in the post next to this… perhaps this will be more of a concrete answer. Mr KC, you put it forward to all commentors on the blog but I think only I can really answer the question seeing as it is my outfit….
    You immediately assume that this outfit would ‘get stares in public’ but as it happens, in my opinion, it’s a pretty tame outfit that in London, nobody would really bat an eyelid towards. I’ve worn more ‘adventurous’ thing I think and really, the bra is not so much a bra, but more like a crop top that can be layered. This also touches upon the issue of whether other people’s reactions put me off and most of the time, they either aren’t any reactions or they’re not ones that matter. If my boyfriend told me to my face I looked ridiculous, I’d of course be a wee bit worried but if it’s a friend jokingly saying “You’ve worn your underwear on the outside!”, I’ll laugh it off.
    Simply put, I just happen to be into bodies and underwear-as-outerwear at the moment (actually I’ve ALWAYS been into underwear-as-outerwear)… it makes me feel good because I don’t have to hide a rose-coloured metallic bra away underneath clothes (I actually don’t wear bras as underwear because I find them uncomfortable but that’s another issue…) and I really like the texture contrast of the crushed velvet and the metallic leatherette. I think ‘feeling good’ is a much more important thing for me than the actual ‘looking good’, which of course is an entirely subjective thing anyway. I hope that answers the question… I’ve tried to word it in the most practical way possible.

  160. Elsje Fiederelsje

    2010-01-04 at 2:50 PM

    Although I disagree with many of Mr. KC’s statements as much as most here seem to do, I agree with him that many responses in this discussion seem defensive instead of explanatory.
    It’s very easy to silence any question people pose about fashion by saying it’s a matter of personal taste and claiming that personal taste is something that cannot be discussed.
    Why not, I ask you? Why can’t we try and explain to people why we are attracted to certain fashions, in the same way we might do when it comes to music, movies or environments we prefer? Correct me if I’m wrong Susie, but in many ways, I’ve always felt like your willingness to share your thoughts about this makes for a great deal of the amazing spirit of your blog. I realise that many of our preferences seem to come to us instinctively, but I highly doubt that they can’t be analysed to some extend in retrospect. Trying to do this might not only help Mr. KC understand us a bit better, but might also help us understand ourselves. What’s wrong with that?
    I can see how Susie and many among you might be offput by the generalisations made by Mr. KC in his original email. However, I think he’s also pointed us towards a lot of interesting subjects of discussion. For example, I think it is a valid question to ask what Susie is expressing by wearing her metallic bra outside of her shirt. Not because I think it is wrong or inaesthetic to do so, but because I’m interested in what her personal answer might be. Questions like these touch on the often cited statement that we dress to express our personalities. If we cannot answer them, than how does this statement hold up?
    Really, as a former design student and someone who’s been drawn to somewhat eccentric clothing throughout my life, I’m rooting for outrageous fashion here! But if us fashion lovers don’t get past defending rights that are not really being attacked at all, instead of responding in a thoughtful illuminating way, we can’t expect understanding (which differs from tolerance) from people who ‘just don’t get it’.
    OK, I hope this hasn’t turned into a huge ramble. I find this post very interesting and I can’t possibly communicate everything I’m thinking in one comment. Please excuse the scatteredness. Basically I would love to see some more people come up with explanatory answers. Personally, I would be happy to share some thoughts about why I wear the things that I wear. I have a whole lot of study material to catch up on first though. 😉

  161. susie_bubble

    2010-01-04 at 2:58 PM

    Elsje: Hope you saw my comment above yours that attempts to answers questions with explanation….

  162. Elsje Fiederelsje

    2010-01-04 at 3:13 PM

    Hey Susie, I hadn’t seen it because I was typing my comment while you posted yours, but now I have I think you made a fair attempt at answering a difficult question. I’m looking forward to Mr. KC’s response. 🙂

  163. Zing

    2010-01-04 at 4:33 PM

    I think what everybody’s ignoring in the discussion is that the most dramatic, OTT and creative dressers are usually women. And women (more so than men, although this assumption isn’t by all means limited to women in fashion) are subject to a whole host of ideas about what “real” women should be like, the idea that fashion is “frivolous” and “intelligent” women should be doing something “worthwhile” with their time like being a doctor/lawyer/etc etc.
    I think the idea of practical, “classy” fashion ties into this – there’s an implicit sneer of “why aren’t you doing something more worthwhile with your time? Why aren’t you dressing more demurely/ conventionally?” that accompanies the question “why do you dress like that?” At least, as one of those women who never have and never will dress demurely, that’s how I interpret it. There’s an assumption that flamboyant dressers dress for an audience and are attention-seekers, mainly because dressing flamboyantly (as opposed to say, writing or painting flamboyantly) is immediately and publicly visual. And to be honest, there are those that do – but at the same time, there are those who dress for themselves and that’s just their style. So never change, Susie 🙂

  164. Anonymous

    2010-01-04 at 5:11 PM

    Susie! I really wish you would reply to my comment… I was the Anonymous girl…

  165. laxilax

    2010-01-04 at 5:11 PM

    Funnily enough I was actually having a debate along similar lines on new years with my bf…who also opened my eyes to the fact that a person’s characteristics are not distinguished by the clothing that they wear.
    Something which we all tend to forget, and for which I am glad that I read your blog today…every day I up and dress the way I do because it makes me feel good…nothing else.
    I now feel somewhat guilty for judging the book by its cover!

  166. Kamicha

    2010-01-04 at 5:28 PM

    To be honest, for me it is almost impossible to read the original e-mail as something else than cry for the “good” sensible fashion – or shout against “dramatic fashion”. But Mr. KC, your latest post is simple enough for my small brain – although I still feel bit like shooting with a shotgun, of course it is still difficult to say when we actually enter to the discomfort zone – or the area that needs explanation.
    Hey, but let’s look in to these two basic motives mentioned…
    To dress to look good
    – in whose eyes? Opposite sex, same sex, fashion insiders, style bloggers, important customer, skaters, hipsters (haha, does somebody actually count herself voluntarily as a hipster, bad example), possible future employer… …I guess that not one is totally free from this aspect of dressing up – at least in some situations.
    But I have a wild kitchen psychology theory that could be applied here: extrovert people might tend to dress more to please/attract other people – or just to fit in enough, praise for good looks optional. For introverts this aspect is probably less important, or the “looking good” perspective can be very focused or purposeful. (I know what to wear in boardroom, but I feel extremely pretentious doing so). My kitchen psychology does not imply that introverts are more outrageous dressers than extroverts or vice versa, but the outrageousness happens for different reasons. Extrovert shakes the borders because she belongs (or wants to belong) to group that encourages her to do so, there might even be an essence of competition. Introvert might do so because she does not care about dressing and/or opinions of others too much, or because she is expressing her own inner world through dressing up.
    To dress up to feel good?
    To feel good so that there is no tension, friction, sweat, movement is not restricted etc… …meaning purely physically good. To feel good for fitting in to a certain group. To feel good for blending in, being almost invisible. To feel good because of the creativity involved has yielded a satisfying output (oh the dreaded personal taste, it was not to be discussed here in general level) – or the process itself has been enjoyable. To feel good because of the (almost secret) gratification of slight rebellion through dressing up (wearing underwear as outerwear, wearing stuff that is considered as “bad taste, “kitch”, “hideous”…)… To feel good because of the sensory experience of pleasant materials. Could there be a situation without any feeling good -aspects (or at least aim to feel good somehow), if the person can select the clothes (relatively) freely? Even when one says that she’s dressing up because it is necessary, the weather protection, dress code required by profession and protection for modesty are definitely feel good factors – although in a sense “to not feel bad”. Ok, we can rule out the exhibitionists living in hot climates, without career restrictions. But I think that many of these things are very readable from outside, or do not have too much explanation power (well it might be that the fabric of the shirt feels more comfortable than the fabric of the bra, that kind of stuff you can’t always tell right away). Well then, what is there left to be discussed? That personal taste… …it was not to be discussed.
    Now I could suppose that this underwear as outerwear thing is one of those things in need of different explanations.
    My income is relatively limited (meaning that I’m not poor but I can’t invest to designer pieces often – nor buy stuff all the time whatsoever). I guess that this is the situation with many people. Mass produced, quite generic garments are within my reach, and of course I can do some second hand shopping – but that selection too is mostly the same mass produced stuff. I can do stuff myself but then I need to invest some time – and that I can’t do too much, either (could now, but iz too tired…).
    So this implies that single items I buy are seldom exclusive or individual. If I want to express my individuality through my outfits it has to happen by not picking the most obvious items and combining stuff individual ways. And although I’m not an extreme example of self expression through dressing up, I’m not satisfied to combining a nice pair of jeans to decent T-shirt, either.
    A thing that left echoing in my mind in Susie’s answer was that there are not that many reactions to unconventional dressing than one could think – and I totally agree. You don’t even need to live in London to witness that, Helsinki is big enough. No-one questioned my vintage slips with army boots and *sigh* flannel shirts on the beginning of the nineties – and slightly surprisingly no-one pointed a finger to my flesh toned lace bustier (very underwear-like) that I have worn as visible part of different outfits few times lately. It can be almost a game: what can I pull off without being publicly ridiculed… …not meaning that I try to actually be ridiculous… …rather exercising my general sense of aesthetics by challenging myself. There has to be some sort of idea behind (the lace layers up beautifully with other patterns, I need some chest support anyway, why can’t it be outside of the basic garments, the darn H&M striped shirt is yawningly boring itself… …etc. etc.) The excitement of bending the rules slightly is definitely a motive for me for unconventional combinations. And curiosity, the simple “what if” question… …ok, I’m also curious about the reactions, although actually looking good in others eyes is quite inferior motive for me – and I probably never enter to the territory of provocation. I also feel that thing that is difficult, or somehow off, makes me think more creatively than items that are just perfect. It is healthy to step out from the comfort zone. And with fashion you just can’t die to that.
    And the underwear as outerwear:

  167. susie_bubble

    2010-01-04 at 6:09 PM

    Anon: Sorry about that – I did want to reply to everyone and somehow I missed yours because for some reason, the word ‘Annonymous’ was a deterrent‚Ķ. don’t ask me why!
    I do understand what he meant by ‘class’ but actually Mr KC then brought in the use of ‘professionalism’ which I think is even more confusing. I just don’t particularly like the way the word ‘class’ has come to mean because to me, it only really means a certain thing….
    Practicality – Like you said, entirely dependent on situation.
    My problem with the phrase “Attention-seeking” is the amount of negative connotations bundled along with it. I was asking whether it was such a CRIME that people do seek attention and in the attention-seeking-scheme-of-things, diverting someone’s glance with an outfit isn’t exactly a heinous crime or a terrible grievance.
    No need to apologise for your English at all!

  168. Ali (hello birdy)

    2010-01-04 at 6:22 PM

    Ok, so now I’m in on the over-thinking :o)
    I’m certainly no Susie Bubble in that I’m not nearly as eccentric in my style. Not that I wouldn’t like to be and I suppose my style has become louder, brighter over the last 5 or 6 years as I’ve become more content with who I am (I used to suffer from severe depression and would do anything NOT to be looked at). It’s not like I put things on thinking “what’s going to make everyone notice me”. Primarily I think “What can I wear today that will make me feel happy and confident?” and I admit there’s a little bit of “Will anyone else think I look good or simply notice me?” Surely this is natural? Surely all species do this? Yes, so with animals it’s generally about getting some procreation action but humans are a bit more complex. Ok, some folk like to blend in. I sat on a busy tube carriage the other day wearing a leopard print fake fur jacket and multi coloured lycra leggings. I couldn’t help but notice everyone on the carriage was wearing black or at least dark shades of grey or navy. I was astounded by how they all blended in to each other. I was immediately cheered up by my attire. Susie’s right though, walk around London wearing something you thought a teeny bit outlandish and no one will really bat an eyelid (unless in a tube carriage surrounded by the black/grey/navy brigade). There’s always someone more crazy, more colourful. Some people just like to be noticed and that’s ok, isn’t it? There’s a big difference between confidence and arrogance.

  169. TheLuxuriousVagabond

    2010-01-04 at 7:00 PM

    Although I am making an assumption here, most dramatic attire seems to be a reflection of the person’s artistic and aesthetic inclinations. Additionally, it is also a reflection of whether that person has chosen clothing to be a medium to interpret their ideas. Unlike others who wear clothing simply and comfortably out of necessity for warmth or personal levels of modesty, the more dramatically attired person has understood the basic concept of clothing and deliberately has chosen to use it to explore, refine, and define his or her artistic and aesthetic concepts. The person could have chosen to interpret and cultivate his or her creative ideas with books, film, science, technology (and perhaps does as well)…but due to some natural inclination, he or she chose clothing. (Who is to question the physicist or botanist why he or she has chosen that method of creativity if one has no idea why he or she was inclined for that in the first place? Fashion and clothing just happens to be a more visible and heavily publicized field, and it is easier for the public to form opinions upon.)
    Dramatic attire might often look impractical and class-less to those who favor non-dramatic attire: a person’s clothing is the visual manifestation of their work to process their creative ideas. Since the clothing or contraption is (obviously) wearable by a living person, it consequently is best tested by wearing it in company with other individuals–a living setting. When out testing his or her clothing/idea, the person is bound to receive positive and negative feedback–and this feedback is what allows him or her to figure out if a certain “look” was the correct formula for the successful materialization of his or her creative ideas. Because some of these looks are still in beta mode, they might look clunky/impractical because the refining process–which occurs after the person has tested it by wearing it‚Äîis still taking place.
    However, what is impracticality? Dramatic attire also responds to the base needs of protection against weather and the person’s own personal levels of modesty. In that aspect, practicality has been fulfilled, so any subsequent additions can be considered equivalent to jewelry in the non-dramatically attired person’s eyes. It’s just jewelry in non-traditional forms. Therefore, impracticality should not be considered an issue if the base needs are addressed.
    Class is, for lack of a better term, a silly term to toss around. Looking up the word in a dictionary just results in a circuitous understanding. The base words are always ultimately based upon a particular person’s perception.
    In any case, there can never be any level ground for what fashion is good or not. A person’s creative process can be admired but artistic and aesthetic tastes will always differ because inevitably we are all separate individuals.

  170. Jessi

    2010-01-04 at 7:25 PM

    Mr. K-C states “good fashion requires class, practicality and creativity” but isn’t “good fashion” truly based on one’s opinion, meaning it differs from person to person. never in life will everyone comes to the same decision about what is good fashion and what isn’t, that’s why we have our own brains, with our own thoughts and our own decision making skills. i have my opinions about what fashions are good or bad or amazing or ridiculous, but really who am i to judge someone if their style or clothing makes them happy. i agree with miss bubble here, the only thing that matters is if it makes you happy. it’s simply rude to lump everyone who dresses a little less conservation and a little more dramatic into a category of arrogance. how offensive! remember… don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

  171. Nats

    2010-01-04 at 9:00 PM

    Mr KC rocks – I read his original email as being interested and inquisitive to find out more which is something, rather than just pooh poohing fashion. I must be honest, I thought that your response was patronising and slightly embarrassing – the graph was just a bit too much for me. Sorry but I think he deserved a little more respect than that.

  172. Leanne

    2010-01-04 at 11:26 PM

    In my opinion, when people dress “differently” from the “norm” (e.g. me versus the majority of ugg+leggings+hoodies of my school), we ARE aware of the fact that we’re dressing “differently”, and it is a form of self expression. It’s also probably true that in the majority of the cases, the person IS aware of the fact that we’re going to get more attention by dressing “differently”, whether or not we like it. I would say that everyone would agree with me up to this point, right? To make an assumption based on this point, I’d like to think that most of us don’t mind the attention, if we’re dressing this way while knowing that we WILL be getting more attention. As Susie mentioned, the term “attention-seeking” has gained some really bad connatations, but I feel that if thought about neutrally, it’s not always a bad thing. It’s about actively trying to express who you are as a person.
    So I think that in most cases when people dress “dramatically”, they’re really saying to the world that this is who I am, and they’re expressing it via “fashion”. I would also agree to some of the previous posts that some “hipster”-type (not generalizing, but for a lack of better description, “hipster”) are dressing the way they are simply to appear that way because it is “hip” to do so, without really trying to be creative or original, and that’s when I would question, like Mr.KC their motives and thinking processes.

  173. A Facebook User

    2010-01-04 at 11:32 PM

    Has he even read your blog? No matter what he may think of your personal style, your posts are informative, accessible and friendly. I can’t imagine how anyone could mistake you for an arrogant snob.
    As for the “eccentric” fashion community in general, I’ve found the majority of people to be open-minded, thoughtful, ecologically conscious, diverse and generous. Can anyone say that of traditional fashion with its high prices, its procrustean body image,its overwhelming pretentiousness and its vicious dedication to consumerism?
    Just look at Outsapop vs. Victoria Beckham. Case closed!

  174. eliza

    2010-01-05 at 1:29 AM

    I know I’ve been a bit silent on the blog love for the past little while, but I’ve been reading and continuously loving your blog susie. After reading this post I couldn’t keep to myself, even if the convo seems to have peetered out. I have to agree with what Playlust said about fashion being something akin to language – it’s all in how you use it and what you want to say with your words (or outfit in this case). I thought your answere was perfect and I appreciate the discussion that it stared. Really very interesting stuff. I have a feeling this kind of conversation will be an ongoing thing with the speed of fashion continuously gaining momentum.
    happy new year, and all the best in 2010!

  175. selina

    2010-01-05 at 1:59 AM

    i wish you would have just brushed aside this email as it’s one of those things where you just have to say, if you don’t like it, don’t look! if this person doesn’t like what he’s seeing and is judging people by what they wear and stereotyping them, then he just shouldn’t look! why would anybody want to talk to someone who thinks just because he doesn’t find certain things intriguing, and thinks that some things are silly, that they actually are unintriguing and silly. why does he have such a solid and correct opinion? his email to you proved no one wants to listen to his opinion. you’re right that he can have his opinion, but you don’t need to change it or listen to it. the world isn’t going to please you all the time, do people who wear eccentric things really bother him that much? aren’t there better things out there worthy of his time? i know you didn’t really want to stay it but i think he’s a jerk! boo!

  176. kim

    2010-01-05 at 8:34 PM

    I thought KC’s email brought up an interesting discussion and am glad that you published it on your blog. I really like reading these kind of posts and their replies, as they push me to think about the matter further.
    So my thoughts:
    – Practicality: When I read the original email I immediately thought about the mile-high heels that had models tripping on the catwalk, the torture heels (so high you have to tiptoe and cannot walk, forgot the designer), and from your blog, the knitted swimwear. I can certainly understand why a lot of people would find these items ridiculous and unneccessary. Some people may indeed wear these because they want to stand out “look at how fashionable I am” (that dude in the Louis Vuitton towel in The September Issue movie comes to mind), others wear them because they just like they way these things look/feel. As long as it makes either of them happy, why not.
    – Class/Professionality: This is something I personally struggle with. I like to dress colourful & a bit more unusual than the average girl. I work in the IT department of a large multinational. There is no dress code, but I do feel that people do not take me as serious if I’m wearing a pink ruffled flowery dress during a presentation. Of course once they get to know me this doesn’t matter, but on a first impression it does affect their opinion of me, and even my work.
    Probably similar to the first impression KC got of eccentricly dressed people as arrogant.
    This is frustrating. But understandable, this is just how the human mind work. So I take this into account when I need to “dress for success”. On the other hand it makes me very sad having to reign in my personal taste to fit the taste of those around me. I could make it “easy on myself” and dress like the other ladies in the office. But I would not feel happy, even right in my skin if I could not be myself. (Take this into the extreme and you could compare it to transvestites. Why do they dress as someone from the other sex, knowing it can cause issues when dealing with others on the subway? Because they don’t feel right dressing otherwise).
    As somebody mentioned, Diane Von Furstenberg is a great example on how to match professionality with personal taste, her wrap dresses would be respectable in the office while still allowing me to express my taste and brighten my day with my favourite colours. I try to work around the social norm at work, but in my own time I can do what I want/dress the way I want and don’t feel the need to justify that to anyone.

  177. Jeyan

    2010-01-06 at 2:23 PM

    Of course there are loads of “posers” in fashion! Too many people in the industry who look the part(be it designer head to toe, eccentric, etc) just talk a load of bull – Yet I have met v understated individuals who could pick up an unassuming item and explain why it would look fantstic on the body, the construction, the evolution of item and how it could fit in a modern context. But they don’t feel the need to “scream” fashion and theorise about it…..The language in your reply was unnecessarily snarky – v defensive. But you have shown that to be the case anytime a bit of criticism is levelled.

  178. susie_bubble

    2010-01-06 at 2:34 PM

    Jeyan: I’m not going to reply to someone who uses FIVE different names with the same IP address…

  179. Aja

    2010-01-07 at 3:39 AM

    I can’t even read all the comments or I’d be here until tomorrow. But what a discussion!! All I can say is fashion has no direct correlation to walking around and acting like you’ve got your head up your ass. I love fashion. At my job, I would be considered the most eccentric dresser in the five floor building. But I also feel I’m friends with everyone because no one’s intimidated by me. I talk to everyone and when they comment on my sartorial choice (either with admiration or disbelief) in the next five minutes we’re laughing about it. Example: today I wore the infinity scarf I knitted during the blizzard (it’s a shameless Yokoo inspired piece and I would highly recommend people buy one from her because she’s the master and it’s very time consuming, knitting all that). Mine is heavy and huge. When I triple it, I can hardly move my neck and it comes up past my ears but I’ll be darn if it isn’t warm. Every person I passed in the office made a comment. I would take it off and show it to them. Even insist that they try it on and before we knew it, we’re all laughing. And how much do I love when someone who has style completely different than my own, comes up and shows me a purchase which they said I inspired!? Life is too short to take yourself too serious. And that’s the problem there’s way too many people that do. But they’re not just fashion folks, that’s for sure.

  180. Aja

    2010-01-07 at 3:44 AM

    Hahaha, touche Susie!

  181. Citizen Rosebud

    2010-01-07 at 3:54 AM

    First off, let me state by saying: I love your blog and adore your style. Then let me follow that by also stating that many times I agree with what the curious Mister Kellman opines about many of “today’s” looks. Something lately has seemed to me more emphasis on shock and less on style. The fact that he wrote you a kind query made me feel that he for the most part likes your style, and more importantly trusts your opinion.
    That got ME thinking….what I like about YOUR style and do not for one moment consider your mode of dress as “bizarre” or “screaming out for attention.” Quirky, eccentric, and mad with style, a roudy HELLS YEAH, which is why I was thrilled to discover this blog.
    As for “class, practicality and creativity,” I’m not sure why these hit your hot buttons. Class is a reference to upper class, not aristocracy and connotates a certain sophistication and flair. Good design, good form, good fit, ya know, that sort of thing. While I don’t think “fashion” has ever been practical, for some reason, I gather Mr. Curious feels that dress should perhaps serve more purpose than mere signifier of status, or cry for attention, and I do think some of the “fashion” does seem less focused on making the woman or man look good, but make you just look, and that is a complaint I feel I can relate to. As for creativity, well, there are times in some stores that creativity seems to have been bled and replaced by some ill-fitting attempt at cookie-cutter formula at “cool” or “in” or “fashionable,” but these are usually at chain malls. ON the streets, I see a different fashion story. More expression, diversity and individuality than ever. I truly believe we are in the midst of a democratic fashion revolution, and it’s blogs like this that rally the creative, the classy, the practical all together to be inspired by the desire of self-expression.
    Happy New Year to you by the way. And once you revive your spirits, I hope you re-read the gentlemans’ letter and see there was no hostility in it, and he truly looks to you for enlightenment.

  182. Yao

    2010-01-07 at 4:17 AM

    On the topic of practicability, perhaps I can contribute an example (albeit not one that the original e-mail writer had in mind). I think that you’ve mentioned in this blog occasions on which you would wear deliberately choose form over function by wearing high heels on rainy or icy days, where a 4″ heel could potentially result in injury. I think that that qualifies as an unpractical fashion choice. If that serves as a concrete enough example, I would ask: Do you consider the practicality of what you wear? Do you think that it should be a factor in fashion design?

  183. ali

    2010-01-07 at 4:26 PM

    initially, I took his email with a grain of salt and appreciated his request for a deeper understanding of fashion. However, upon reading his response to this post, It is clear to me that he has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Not to mention, he is cavalier in his wording. clear, reasonable and effective debate require precision of language.
    I agree that susie’s graph and tone was somewhat sarcastic and smug, but as somebody said before, its difficult to answer dumb questions.
    KC’s supposed pointed open minded-ness is simply a disguise. He doesn’t really understand the joy of fashion. thats ok. whatever.
    He sounds like post-modern Karl Marx. NO PATTERNS OR COLORS FOR YOU unless they’re “practical” and business-like!!!

  184. ali

    2010-01-07 at 4:33 PM

    The crap about beatniks makes me angry though. They were the most attention seeking bunch of literati to grace the planet! and thats why we know about the movement!
    Don’t think for a second that ginsberg wasn’t as calculated in his attire as he was in his performances and social climbing.
    it makes me laugh that you “practicality” and “business like” are included sidebyside next to the merits of beat poets.
    As a poet, I dismiss your argument.
    DO you habitually sniff out internet communities and antagonize them with “friendly” questions? because that sounds ATTENTION SEEKING to me.

  185. Isabelle

    2010-01-08 at 1:25 AM

    All those loaded terms, faux-politeness and silly graphs can’t hide the fact that Mr. KC’s e-mail was essentially a ‘PRETENTIOUS HIPSTER ATTENTION WHORE LOL’ post on internet and Susie’s response a ‘omg f off!!! biatch’.
    When Mr. KC asks, “I would like to know what about this look makes Susie feel good about herself, or why does she feel she looks good in it”, what kind of answer does he expect? “I like wearing bra as outerwear because I like getting looks from mundanes in the Metro, it gives me a sense of superiority that these drab little people would never understand my complex and intriguing bag ladyness”? That’s the kind of thing that detractors of outrageous fashion IMAGINE going on in outrageously-dressed hipsters’ heads.
    He said it himself that he views “because I like it, I think it looks brilliant even if you don’t, why else?” answers overly defensive, but that’s the truth — those ‘weirdo’ outfits are there because their wearers actually do think they’re aesthetically pleasing, and they want to share their aesthetic preferences with the world, screw practicality.
    What are they feeling when they wear said ‘weirdo’ outfits? Happy. Tickled pink. Proud for having thought up a crazy colour combination that actually kind of works if you rub and squint your eyes a lot.
    But Mr. KC is not really curious, is he? Otherwise he wouldn’t put that little accusation of arrogance in his e-mail that he knew full well would set everyone off angry.
    And Susie; are you really baffled about his use of ‘class’ and ‘practicality’? From the context you would know that what he meant were, respectively, ‘elegant simplicity’ and ‘low maintenance and costs you peanuts’.
    Don’t play dumb, don’t hold back, admit it you were pissed off by his e-mail, he successfully trolled you. And do you seriously think changing nappies in a tutu is as practical as doing so in a tracksuit? Wow.

  186. susie_bubble

    2010-01-08 at 11:03 PM

    So supposedly the ‘conclusion’ is now that it was a ‘dumb question’ with ‘dumb answers’ on a post that has well over 150 comments. I still defend on my part that if I TRULY thought Mr KC was a TROLL, then I would not have answered his email at all. Yes, my post may have been a ‘OMG WATF Bitch’ reply in some parts but somewhere in there AND in my subsequent comments, there was something of an answer. Not a definitive one but one that is a point of view as he was trying to understand what the motive of ‘dramatic fashion’ was.
    We’re not denying here that both parties were being provocative. He was (and he says that…) and I was (in my reply). Neither were we simply replying to each with things like “Errr…you really suck!” or “You crazy madhatter lady!” It was a somewhat civilised debate that perhaps wasn’t constructed well but then again, I’m not a great spokesperson. I said my piece. It may have been defensive. It may have been snarky in places but somewhere amongst those things, there was also my one-sided answer to his question, one that I still think in my mind was an innocent one… (to him I have apologised for being snarky in reply…).
    As for my questionings of practicality and class… actually Mr KC’s reply confused me even more. He injected ‘professonalism’ into it which says to me that class has something to do with the workplace? Again, entirely dependent on the individual’s situation no? I PERSONALLY (and yes I may be in the minority here…) would never really use the word ‘classy’ or phrases like ‘She has no class!’ in my own speech as I think they’re quite vague as descriptions… this might also be a UK/US cultural thing I’m not sure…
    And practicality? I would still stick to my point… WHO is to say that a changing nappies in tutu is not feasible. It may not be seemingly physically impractical but I thoguht that about my chain dress (mentioned by a prevoius commentor) and it turns out it’s a doddle to wear out and about… I wouldn’t write things off unless attempted in person…

  187. Katherine

    2010-01-09 at 5:38 AM

    I’m a long-time admirer of Susie’s writing and views, but I detect a bit too much defensiveness in her reply to Mr KC’s email. Similarly with some commenters, whose tones really verge on claims of martyrdom.
    1. Mr KC’s email definitely contains a lot of generalised, poorly-defined statements. However, these are very common sentiments amongst those who do not identify with high fashion, and he has said no more than what anyone would say. His tone is sincere and inoffensive. His questions are open-ended. While the recipient of this email and her readers may place more interpretation into his wording than I do, I don’t think his questions were rude, out of line or anything other than a curious inquiry in order to learn and understand something he doesn’t understand at the present.
    2. “Eccentric and colorful = arrogant”. Needless to say, that is not true. However, I can see where he is coming from. Many people with strong personal styles tend to, in general, have strong personalities, and this can often be mistakenly perceived as “arrogant” by others. However, I believe the true cause of this fallacious statement is that that some people mistake arrogance as a sign of being “stylish”, just as others mistake arrogance as a sign of being “intellectual”. Indie style (being “eccentric and colorful” is common and affordable, but not common enough to be considered undesirable by those without a strong conviction in their own style. Hence, in their desire to adopt a “style” and flag their “uniqueness” and “exclusivity” to others, many youths do indeed behave arrogantly. This is not because of their “eccentric and colorful” style. This is because they are idiots. In a different era, they would dress differently but still behave the same.
    3. The point of fashion. This is something I will happily leave to others to debate. For me, fashion is a form of art. No more, no less. However, when explaining this to sceptics, I don’t see the need to be so defensive.
    I’m glad Mr KC has emailed Susie with his question. At times, the comments become a chorus of unanimous adoration, which really gets boring after a while. Art should be debated.

  188. sarah

    2010-01-09 at 8:48 AM

    i think i understand what Mr. Kc means when he says that those eccentrically dressed people can be more arrogant, i personally know a few people who are very ‘into’ fashion and dress quite ‘eccentrically’ and they are the type to judge others on their clothes and where they shop (the person who says ‘oh, your going to shop there? thats so generic’), but i think these people are dressing more for the approval of others in their clique as opposed to make themselves happy, and feel they have to be seen to not approve of certain styles and stores that are popular in order to seem more knowledgable of fashion. that said, i dont believe that EVERYONE who is ‘into’ fashion or dresses ‘eccentrically’ is like this.
    i personally am interested and fascinated by fashion and love getting dressed each day, and hope that i do not come off as arrogant. well, not all the time anyway. 🙂

  189. ali

    2010-01-09 at 1:26 PM

    Im not saying that your answer is dumb. Just saying that its hard to answer a condescending question like that without being defensive.

  190. thomas

    2010-01-13 at 5:22 AM

    happy new year

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