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View Diary: History 101: The Zoot Suit Riots (53 comments)

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  •  Zoot suits were a form of "dressing up" (20+ / 0-)

    According to the writer Ted Polhemus, nearly all street style falls into one of two categories: "dressing up" and "dressing down." Generally speaking, street styles that originate in poor or lower-status subcultures take the form of "dressing up" as a way of broadcasting one's prosperity, while street styles that originate among middle-class bohemians take the form of "dressing down" as a rejection of bourgeois materialism. Beatnik, punk and grunge fashion were all forms of dressing down. Most hiphop fashion is dressing up, though pants-sagging is a conspicuous (and, IMO, somewhat mystifying) case of "dressing even further down."

    The zoot suit was classic dressing up: in an era when all clothes were made either at home or by a tailor, wearing a suit made out of a conspicuously excessive amount of fabric showed that the wearer had money to burn. (Another thing about street-style dressing up: It usually, though not always, goes for a show of quantity rather than quality, because not everyone recognizes quality, but quantity is impossible to ignore. The hip jazzmen of the 1940s and '50s, being real sophisticates, were an exception to that rule, as shown in this famous photograph.)

    "The great lie of democracy, its essential paradox, is that democracy is the first to be sacrificed when its security is at risk. Every state is totalitarian at heart; there are no ends to the cruelty it will go to to protect itself." -- Ian McDonald

    by Geenius at Wrok on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 10:42:25 AM PST

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