Lorenzo Pirisino

Tuesday 4th October 2005 - Old Shoes

Posted on 2005/10/04 19:59:08 (October 2005).

It has been raining for the past 5 days in Italy.
That kind of rain that never seems to stop, it's cold, gloomy. And this was supposed to be the land of sun?!
Working in a textile factory we have some interesting people that roam around us. Style consultants (read: failed stylists), designers (in most cases read: people who cannot do anything), Trend researchers (read: experts in clairvoyance) and so on.
This is to introduce a concept that I frankly hate of italian culture and generally our company.
I'll start with the company.
There is no dress code. So, as far as I don't come with offensive clothes or naked, I think that I can dress up as I wish.
WRONG! Let's say that the comfortable stance of my boss on the matter is that designers and women in general can dress up as they wish, all the Area Managers should wear a shirt and tie. Of course this division cannot be enforced, but it's "advised", with not so subtle comments and such.
Of course I can't give a flying fuck about this idiotic situation and I just wear whatever I feel like.

In Italy we care a lot about appearances. We like to dress well, colour matched, trendy and cool all the way. It's like a brand for us, we are born italians so we have to do it. People look bad at you if that jumper is not the latest plum colour novelty.
I cannot say anything about it, mostly because I can't be arsed at what other people wear, doesn't change the way I think of them.

Unfortunately this also comes with the package of good looks here. Italians, especially elder people and all the ones that never lived abroad, seem to put a lot of importance in this feature.
I agree that you must wear something nice during an interview and so on, but once you know the person and you know her/his worth, does it changes a lot if she/he dresses more "casual"? Maybe even not following the latest trends?
Apparently this is the case.

From my experience people wearing nicer clothes and being complete idiots have always gotten the better treatments and even promotions over other individuals that were more talented but less "aggressive" on the clothes side.

I remember my old Granfhater, now passed to a better life. I had to go to a marriage, he got so upset because I wanted to wear a pair of shoes that were a casual but nice, instead of the typical leather coffins that you usually wear on such occasions. In the end I had to comply to his will, but I didn't like it.
Why are we so shallow? I admit that first impressions are important, but for people that know each other from a long time, is it necessary all this fuss?

Comment 1

Well, I don't know. Personally, I rarely follow the trend and I'm never wearing recognisable trademarks. But, apart from that, I'm very classic. I tend to sneer at teens wearing baggy trousers. And I hate nike's, except for the practice of a sport.

Posted by Sheri at 2005/10/05 10:16:41.

Comment 2

A friend and I concocted a phrase to describe this - "Inappropriate Sportswear." So many indulge in this practice it's maddening. Levi's used to run an advret "Quality never goes out of fashion". I guess this is true.

Posted by Nigel at 2005/10/05 14:57:05.

Comment 3

I don't mind nice clothes. It's just the social message that I hate. Trends are made up things, fashion is just a bullshit fed to weak people to make them feel better. Believe me I know, I work in this industry! A very famous designer recently asked me

"I need a shirting weight (usually 100-110 grams), 100% cotton, but also 100% silk would be nice. Oh yes last year we run the perfect quality with you, it was heavier than this (touching a 150grms article), but I think it was a check design... Yes we should develop a stripe on it, maybe a check or a plain. Can you send it? Make it feel fluid, but with an hard touch, thanks!"
Now, i have been asked a series of oximorons here, technically and conceptually.
I have to translate this to the real world and get them something that they can actually sell...
But the point is: Does a person like that know what he/she wants to do? My answer is NO.
It's just smoke in our eyes, fashion and everything attached to it is pure evil, mind washing marketing.

The only positive side is that when I buy for myself I can tell what is good and what is not now, simply touching the fabric.
"Quality never goes out of fashion", that's exactly the point! And remember to wear what you like the way you like it!

Posted by Lox at 2005/10/05 15:52:53.

Comment 4

I'm certainly not fashionable - not according to other people at least. However, I have just enough arrogance to think I actually know better than the rest of the world, and actually like the way I dress normally.

Generally though, I would agree with you, it is admirable to think of a world - particularly in business - where people are judged on achievement rather than attire.

Allow me to play Devil's Advocate here a little, however. There a certain physical constraints with which we are born and cannot change. OK you can cut your hair, go on a diet, but fundamentally speaking you can't change your basic size and shape. Your face particularly is difficult to change - maybe women can slap some make-up on, men can grow a beard, but basically it is still going to be the same face.

Clothes at least give people free reign to change aspects of their appearance and have a bit of self expression, etc.

I have over the years had a number of conversations with an assortment of people about what they find attractive in other people. Ideally of course, we'd like to hear everyone say it is only personality that matters, but few on this planet are really this virtuous.

However, I think it is actually a good thing that a number of those I have spoke to cited the way people dress as an important factor in whether or not they are attractive.

On the one hand, yes, this is purely about appearance, and as such it is sort of superficial. Having said that though, it is an aspect of someone's appearance that they are able to choose themselves, that they can alter throughout their lives, and that hopefully might give them some sort of outlet for self expression, or something.

Almost everyone says "I don't care about the way I look" because it is actually very uncool to say anything else. In reality though most people do care about their appearance on some level, because everyone realises that they will be judged on it. Even top models will probably try to fob you off by saying they just wear what they feel comfortable in... They just happen to only feel comfortable in ten thousand pound designer outfits!

Posted by John at 2005/10/08 13:11:04.

Comment 5

Well the point that John makes is quite valid, but this is exactely what I was aiming for.

We have been brainwashed! Appearences are important I am not going to deny that, but it seems to me that we are moving from "importance" to "the one and only thing".

Maybe is because people are getting more and more stupid and need to be prodded by the packaging, but I think that it's a rather dangerous route that we are walking there.

I was having a discussion with a colleague and he told me that dressing up well was a sign of respect towards other people. In reality I think that he wanted to make others feel less "formal" or "well dressed" to state his power on the people that he manages.

In the end is a form of expression, but it's so vain! What happened to the real things? I wish that these "external factors" were less valued when assessing a person for the things that he/she does.

Posted by Lox at 2005/10/09 11:13:25.

Post a comment