Lesson 4

For those who don't know me personally, I d like to state that I call these jaunts lessons not just for the readers out there, they are reiterations of lessons I have learned in my life that I’d like to go over for myself, to remind me why I love clothes. My life revolves around them, whether it’s through my job, which is a tailor, or an event I stage called Williamsburg Fashion Weekend, or just being an avid dandy, the slope is slippery, and  I have felt myself slip into disdain for facets of Fashion.

I’d like to talk about the power of clothes, not the power suits of banksters, or ermine trimmed Saville Row coronation capes of nobility, or the black robes of judges or the Hugo Boss designed Nazi uniforms. I’d like to talk about clothes making you feel good when you are feeling down or an outfit you see on someone that makes you want to go on living, and the other side of the coin, the uninspired, ill-fitting, conformist, "normal" clothes, that people actually seek out and then wear.

These robes take skill and hours that unfortunately belong to a by-gone era.

These robes take skill and hours that unfortunately belong to a by-gone era.

The rich and "powerful" attempt to keep the power in their hands by seducing us by the allure of outrageously expensive "things", clothes included. My approach to this manipulation, is, never read magazines, never watch TV, and never go to the movies, those three are the biggest tools the manipulators use to brain wash us into sheepdom. I know it sounds extreme, but, I love myself too much, and am interested in discovering myself on my own terms, instead of being dictated to about what will make me a whole person.

The power that I’m talking about comes from you creating an aesthetic that’s your own, that no one can copy, from which you derive a confidence that is authentic. This type of confidence translates into body language and even the aura, that exude power in a benevolent, enlightenment-inducing way, as opposed to a bashing, I am-better than you vibe.

This I am better than you attitude is just a mask for insecurities, and the vortex of using "things" to elevate yourself is a road that is littered with victims of abuses, be it drugs , booze, violence, etc. I have always used my achievements to elevate others. For me a sign of strength of character is someone who has it all, and doesn’t rub it in your face, rather using it to help people to achieve the same.

I know it sounds like I went off the clothing topic a bit, but what I’m saying applies to clothing as well as everything else.

can you spot the different type of power clothes have from the two pictures?

can you spot the different type of power clothes have from the two pictures?


lesson 3

In all of life's endeavors, whether you’re war monger, a choreographer of dance or a fashionista, knowledge of history is a must. Imagine Obama plunging us into an illegal war without having learned lessons from the previous presidents who have done the same, it would take twice as much time and money, but more importantly, you have the appearance of a pro, which gives you credence in the eyes of your peers and subjects.

In fashion knowledge of history is even more acute because you’re working with clients who pay more attention to a hem length on a skirt then the fact that their country is killing innocent people all over the world under false pretenses and using their tax dollars. To keep the mill of fashion consumption humming along, the designer must pique their interest every season within a very finite medium. If you show a collection that’s too far ahead of the herd you’re deemed avant-garde, hence not commercially viable to investors, if you show a collection palatable for the masses, you’re unimaginative and middle of the road, and are written off by the fashion police, it’s a juggling act few can pull off for any length of time. The balancing act of designing for the masses is so agonizing, that some designers take their lives as a way out.

Magazines were invented to create an artificial need for the latest and greatest that comes out of the fashion mills, they create a desire for what we can never achieve, and puts a weak-willed individual on a tread-mill of never ending grappling toward the impossible.

The myth of "if you own this, your life will be complete" has been with us since the beginning of time. It's a ploy like organized religion, compulsory education, entertainments, etc. that the moneyed class has used to keep the masses busy in their mire, instead of looking toward the sun. Throughout history nearly every civilized country instituted a Sumptuary laws to prevent the commoners from emulating the nobility, and as we all know if you can't do something, you want to do it even more. Movements like Le Sans Culottes, Dandyism, even Punk were reactions to this bizarre prohibition on personal liberties.

OSCAR WILDE, one of the first and greatest dandies of all time.

OSCAR WILDE, one of the first and greatest dandies of all time.

The advanced clothes horse is fully aware of this artificiality of the fashion industry; they sift through it, and come up with their own ideas of what moves them at the moment. At this level you’re no longer dressing to attract a lover, you are now able to express yourself like a fully fledged artist. You can push buttons, provoke, hell, I’ve gotten into fist fights because of what I was wearing. I adore using clothing to instigate reaction, whether it’s through subtle fit of the suit, or bizarre combination of color or texture, or mixing periods that “should never dance together”, in the hopes that the provoked person will realize the power of clothes, and how shallow/deep fashion can be.

one of my own suits from the early days of KING GURVY.

one of my own suits from the early days of KING GURVY.

lesson 2

We are now going to dis-spell a few misconceptions about having style.

Money cannot guarantee style, to prove this point, go to a political fundraiser, a tennis match or one of those nightclubs where a beer costs $15 dollars; amusement will be had, as you see firsthand that all the money in the world cannot buy style. Brand names mean nothing in the hands of shallow minds. Brand names are worthless in the hands of shallow individuals. I have gone to events sporting about $100 worth of clothing and looking light years ahead of almost everyone there, despite them wearing $2500 suits.

Next, I remember getting turned on to the Stooges when I was a whipper-snapper, and thinking I am now the coolest thing on two feet, WRONG!!, I was on my way, but it took another twenty years before I arrived into the pantheon of KILLER STYLE. The point I’m making here is for the twitter-twats who think because they drank a 40oz, smoked a blunt and bought a $75 t-shirt from Metropolis, they are now cooler then GOD.

This road I speak of is a lifelong adventure, enjoy all the little steps. Talk to people who are older then you, who talk the talk and walk the walk, they have been there and they’ve done it, without the help of the internet. You will stumble, you will fall, but you will get up a stronger, wiser, sexier individual. Chart your own path, find your individual voice, and sing a song of your own as loud as you can, or, just whisper it, as long it's your own voice, you can’t go wrong. As you develop, you will find others who are on the same path; their friendship will give you strength to go into uncharted waters. One of these friendships is worth countless, superficial ones, you will be learning about quality over quantity, which applies to clothing as well as people.

me, and one of my first crushes, an attempt at breaking the plaid on plaid faux pas

me, and one of my first crushes, an attempt at breaking the plaid on plaid faux pas

lesson 1

When trying to figure out the oldest/deepest questions about our existence on this planet and/or in the universe, the study of nature is the way to go, in my opinion. Even if the answers you seek are not so deep, like style-related stuff, we get some good clues from the ol' mother. Some species of birds put on the most striking displays in order to attract a mate. The more attractive one is, the higher the chance of procreation. Humans, some might argue are a bit more evolved then birds, but the adage of the better you look, the better your chance of getting laid, still applies. Now, let’s look at some choices people make when dressing themselves: there is the all black camp, the norm/classic bunch, the rockers, the ravers, the punks, the drunks, ohh wait I'm not writing a song ...anyway all those camps are wearing uniforms, meaning " i don't want to stand out from the crowd" attitude, and that's fine if you don't have a personality, or are afraid to display it out in public, but you will go to your grave without adding some pizzazz to posterity.

I know it sounds harsh, but hey, I' m not here to stroke egos, I'm here to wake up your inner glam god/goddess.

Now that we covered why we dress, (to get laid) let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of it all.

STYLE, ladies and gents, and everyone else, is synonymous with TASTE, there I said it...We’ve all seen that person who throws everything on but the kitchen sink, and yes, they are being adventurous and even brave, and yeas it's a style, but its Style in BAD TASTE.

GOOD style is about restraint, wit, "an eye"...sort of like what makes a person interesting, I think they call it a personality.

Yes in order to be a good dresser you have to be an interesting person, meaning you have to have opinions about stuff, and be ready to converse with conviction and wit as to why you have those opinions. Once you develop into an interesting person, (which can take a life time) the rest is pretty easy, your clothes choices will come almost naturally, because it will be an extension of you.

The next step is to gain courage in expressing yourself. For me the turning point was, realizing that the people throughout history that we remember for being "cool", are the ones that took risks, not followers of trends, they were the trend setters.

And make friends with a good tailor.

In the beginning

Hi, my name is Arthur Arbit, and with this blog i will walk all those who are interested through the history of STYLE…yes it will be totally subjective, but it will be coming from a person who has gained insight into this mysterious realm the hard way ..by experimenting in real life (vs. reading about whats cool at the moment in some magazine).

I will begin by delving far into the past, and slowly and methodically take us up to today…stay tuned..