They think they have grown up to follow in the footsteps of the “real men” tailors of yesteryear.But their collaboration tells a very different story
There are two different types of men wearing suits online. The first, according to Derek Guy’s editor, wear this, like himself – “the clothes are crazy”. They think about tailoring every day. They read about the construction of suits. They see suits as a language, not an artistic expression. “To create a successful outfit, you have to convey something that is culturally legible,” explains Guy.
They also know their history. For example, traditional Western menswear simply refers to what men have been wearing since the early 20th century. Because before the 1900s, “decent gentlemen” would wear work coats. In fact, what we think of a suit today is actually, Guy says, actually a worker’s suit worn for the first time by British Labour Party founder Keir Hardie because “he wanted to show that he was by wearing a suit. Loyalty to the working class. Tweed suits.”
The second type of netizens who are interested in suits are interested in suits because of what they think suits mean to men. “There’s a whole bunch of people calling themselves traditional on Twitter,” Guy said. “They like to defend white women, they like pictures of old European architecture,” often accompanied by words such as “This is what they took from you.” For these men, who bemoan the decline of masculinity and talk about how men no longer dress like adults, the suit is used as a symbol of what we’ve lost — and as a way to reclaim it.
But the problem is, they are transacting in the wrong thread.
Case in point: Jordan Peterson, the self-styled arbiter of traditionalism.When asked about the most recent appearances in Bet on the David Show Podcast Why he wears a suit, Peterson mentioned his father wears a suit, and when he asked his father why, his father replied that it was out of respect. According to Guy, it’s an “often repeated apocryphal story by guys in suits because it hits all the right notes — respect, learning from your father, referencing old practices, etc.”
Peterson went on to list other predictable clichés, like why he wears a suit and why other men should go for suits too. ie: he does it to dress like an adult, he hates seeing an adult dress like a kid. “This kind of thing happens because a lot of men are uncomfortable with their new interest in clothing, which has traditionally been a feminine interest,” Guy explained. “So they code it according to male virtues, which helps them set boundaries around it.”
Guy, for example, cites photos of headless fit that are common on menswear forums. “At some point, no gender language can hide the fact that: You ask people to check your gearso you have to hide your face,” Guy wrote in a 2019 blog post.
But what makes Peterson’s plea to follow his tailor’s lead particularly bizarre is that he’s wearing a suit that closely resembles the 2005 urban man, rather than the supposed greats of yesteryear he thinks he’s emulating. His jackets are slim and short, and are often made of odd fabrics. “There’s a picture of him wearing a charcoal gray jacket and a gray speckled sweater with red poppies on the lapels,” Guy said. “This fabric will never be used for men’s tailoring, but for Chanel jackets.”
So if Peterson’s suit has any cultural pedigree, Guy said, it only goes back to the early queer fashion trends, when many things that used to be considered gay became mainstream. “One of them is a very slim fit suit,” Guy said. “Hedi Slimane did this super slim look because he wanted to overturn the masculine stereotype of the very strong Arnold Schwarzenegger character of the 1980s and 1990s. He said he felt alienated from it when he was younger, so He did this very slim fit.”
Basically, there’s nothing traditional about Peterson’s suits. “A serious, ‘adult’ attire, in his words, should be a dark gray suit with a center lapel between the collar and shoulder joints, and a sober dark tie with four-hand buttons (not Peterson Often used) full Windsor, a white wide-neck shirt with the collar point below the jacket lapel, and a neatly folded white pocket square,” explains Guy. “That said, there are many sober, classic outfits. He doesn’t need to wear this particular one. But ‘adult dress’ isn’t just about wearing a suit. It’s about knowing how to use the little details in a garment to convey what you want to convey. thing.”
“Men who are just starting to pay attention to what they wear often see the process as creative expression,” Guy continued, reiterating one of his earlier points. “They’re using the dress as paint on the canvas — blue with green, or a round formula shape. That’s how many people end up wearing messy, absurd ways.”
Or, this is how you end up looking like Jordan Peterson.