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Slipsen är utrotningshotad

On the weekend, the era of the universal man-in-jeans-and-a-T-shirt is almost here. At work it is not far behind

This trend depresses me; others find it a relief. Either way it’s a puzzle.

Human beings still see themselves, in the first place, as reflected in others’ eyes. We are vain, hierarchical and desperate for approval. Why are we expressing this less and less through what we wear?

Let us turn, then, to our greatest theorist of showing off: Thorstein Veblen. The Theory of the Leisure Class, written 120 years ago

Once a new order is well established and class boundaries are firmed up, conspicuous display of power becomes less important and, ultimately, vulgar.

For those at the top of the status system, formal attire is replaced by “more delicate methods of expressing [power]; methods which are no less evident to the trained eyes of that smaller, select circle”

FT 9 September 2020


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