December 5, 2013

"Cartoon characters wear the same clothes every day, because their animators are lazy."

"You are not a cartoon character."

From "6 Telltale Signs It's Time to Upgrade Your Style." [A "sponsored" article at Gawker.]

Does that mean Steve Jobs was lazy and needed to upgrade his style? And as long as we're doing lists, we might as well shift over to "18 Famous People Who Always Dress The Same": Jobs, Zuckerberg, Tom Wolfe, Michael Kors, Larry Page...

These people are so not lazy. They're style icons, projecting power. The same clothes every day projects industriousness, efficiency, and — if you pick the right stuff — style.

Remember the scene in "The Fly" (the one with Jeff Goldblum)? He shows his closet:
 [H]is girlfriend,  Geena Davis, asks him why he never changes his clothes.

“What are you saying?” he replies. “I change my clothes every day.”

“Well, how come then you always wear the same thing?”

Goldblum walks over to his closet, opens it, and shows Davis a long rack of identical suits, ties, white shirts, and black shoes. “See?” he says. “What did I tell you?”

Albert Einstein was even less fashion-conscious and reportedly had only one suit of clothes.  Like the Goldblum character, Einstein felt that having to worry about what to wear distracted him from more important work.
Do you follow this path? If you do — or if you were to do this — what do you wear? Why isn't everyone wearing black knit tops and blue/black jeans (or a black skirt with or without tights)?

65 comments:

Original Mike said...

""Cartoon characters wear the same clothes every day, because their animators are lazy."

Me too.

Original Mike said...

It's just easier.

Freeman Hunt said...

My husband does this.

Freeman Hunt said...

A bunch of identical black shirts and a bunch of identical tan pants.

Original Mike said...

Life is short. There's more important things to do than get dressed.

Irene said...

Black T-shirts also are great because they show less dirt and less sweat.

Julie C said...

I looked through the list - many of the people wear black all the time, rather than the same thing every day.

I love wearing black but it shows dog hair and that's a problem. Takes away from the stylistic panache.

rhhardin said...

I dress the same every day.

I have no clothes that can't all be tossed into the washing machine every two weeks, for the single load.

White outerwear for bike riding visibility.

St. George said...

“Unshined shoes are the end of civilization.”

“Black is the hardest color in the world to get right—except for gray...”

Diana Vreeland

rehajm said...

Best part? You can claim you're stylish and/or industrious even though you're lazy. Though you probably don't realize most people can tell the difference.

Archie said...

I wear a 2x mans white dress shirt untucked and black tights. It works for me.

Dave

Eric Jablow said...

Cartoon characters always wear the same clothes? Bugs Bunny often dressed in women's clothing. She was the best Brünhilde in movie history. Daffy Duck wore a lot of different outfits, especially in Duck Amuck, and his animator certainly wasn't lazy.

Eric Jablow said...
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D.E. Cloutier said...
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Michael said...

I believe that the faux proletariat uniform of elite Hollywood executives has done much to downgrade the norms of men's dress. You can no longer easily tell the plumber from the very rich guy. You can tell, but it is harder than it was.

Look, for instance, at pictures of baseball games in the 1930s and you will se that most of the fans were men in coat and tie. And hats. Rich and poor alike. We have arrived at the same place but with the respect for ourselves and each other vacuumed out.

Men dress today like they are on the way to yardwork or to golf.

D.E. Cloutier said...

"Do you follow this path? If you do — or if you were to do this — what do you wear?"

Casual: All black.

Business: Navy blue suits, white shirts, red ties, black Gucci belt and loafers. Every tie goes with every suit. It makes life easy for a global nomad.

- DEC (Jungle Trader)

Henry said...

My mom used to reorder the suits in my dad's closet to make sure he picked a different one.

Carl Pham said...

I recall the joy I felt when I realized if I bought 50 white gym socks and 50 black work socks, all identical, I would never have to worry about the sockeaters living behind the dryer again.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Two anecdotes from my time as a UC/Berkeley grad student:

(1) [Visiting professor to fellow grad student, from Nebraska:] "You seem to have an endless supply of light blue shirts!"

(2) [My husband, commenting on a very eminent professor's unbelievably filthy tan corduroy jacket:] "Obviously it said 'wash and wear,' and he washed it, and he's been wearing it ever since."

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Carl Pham,

I remember an article in The Sciences (man, I miss that zine!) positing that the sock is the larval form of the wire coat hanger.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Michael,

Men dress today like they are on the way to yardwork or to golf.

Well, not all of them do, but enough that it matters.

My husband's a public school teacher. He wears a jacket and tie, mostly; occasionally a banded-collar shirt. His colleagues here mostly do the same. It's obvious, right? If you want to be taken seriously, you dress as though you are doing something serious.

But school districts in some places have had to insist that their teachers not show up to work in shorts, T-shirts, and flip-flops.

Sam L. said...

I don't believe what people I don't know tell me I should do.

John said...

I long ago standardized, more or less on pleated khaki Dockers, Stafford long sleeve dress shirts from Penney's and black shoes from Payless.

That is if I am out calling on or working with clients.

In the office, walmart jeans and Hanes T-shirts.

Going somewhere with my wife, or to church, Khakis and either a Hawaian shirt or a dress shirt.

As someone said earlier, I have more important things to do than worry about what to wear and whether pants and shirts go together.

John Henry

John said...

A fashion tip on shoes:

Other than safety shoes in a client plant and running shoes or Crocs around the house, 80% of the time I am wearing the same black shoes from Payless Shoesource.

A lot of people think of Payless as cheap crap.

12 years ago I was on a trip and needed a pair of black shoes for some reason. I figured I would buy something real cheap and throw them away when I was done.

Most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. They are not high fashion, spiffy enough for any occasion including with a business suit. My daughter told me to wear them with my tux to her wedding and she is being very finicky about my tux etc. All leather uppers with nice cushioning inside.

I buy them on special 2 pairs at a time which puts the price at about $30/pair. Since they last 2 years or so. I figure the 3 pairs I have in boxes are close to a lifetime supply.

I highly recommend Payless.

John Henry

Barry Dauphin said...

Cartoon characters wear the same clothes every day, because their animators are lazy.

It could be an artistic decision.

David said...

"Men dress today like they are on the way to yardwork or to golf."

So you live in a fancy place.

John said...

Michelle said:

"If you want to be taken seriously, you dress as though you are doing something serious."

Absolutely but it is even more than that. Look the part, be the part. The Marines put a great, some say excessive, emphasis on appearance. Their thinking, born out over a couple hundred years is that if you don't look like a Marine, you won't feel like a Marine. If you don't feel like a Marine, you won't act like a Marine. If you don't act like a Marine, you will get killed.

Almost 30 years in sales and consulting. I've found that looking "professional" is almost more important than what I know and can do.

When people are concentrating on how you look, especially if it is not professional, they are not concentrating on what you are saying or what you can do for them.

John Henry

William said...

Cartoon characters wear gloves. I only wear gloves on cold days. Many cartoon characters don't wear pants. I always wear pants, even on weekends. Taken on the whole, I have a better fashion sense than most cartoon characters.

Christy said...

Certainly there are more important things than clothes, but not, I maintain, when one is getting dressed. -- paraphrase from Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophie

Capt. Jack Harkness wears the same thing most of the time. Mmmmm, Captain Jack.

My freshman physics prof wore the same yellow sweater every day.

Hammond X Gritzkofe said...

Carl Pham: I recall the joy I felt when I realized if I bought 50 white gym socks and 50 black work socks...

If you have more than seven changes of underwear, you never know if someone's been stealing them.

Bob R said...

I think one of the main drivers of the popularity of the Steve Jobs style is the shoes. In almost every functional aspect, athletic shoes are superior to anything else (with exceptions for special circumstances in factories and farms.) All you need is one episode of foot problems and those nice looking Allen Edmonds go to the back of the closet. And once you put on the Nikes, the dress pants look ridiculous. And once you switch to the jeans, the shirt and tie looks silly. If you throw a good quality charcoal grey suit jacket over it all, you can pull it off.

But it all starts with the shoes.

mishu said...

Watches are obsolete. Thank God. I can't stand wearing those things on my wrist. I even had a pocket watch as my first watch.

mishu said...
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Richard Dolan said...

What would the world look like if everyone wore the same thing each day? Seriously dull.

Most mornings I walk over the Br'lyn Bridge to work, and always enjoy seeing someone dressed in real clothes, not jeans. The Uniform in which people hide -- jeans and khakis, mostly -- is ubiquitous, smothering any sense of individual style. It's not just the Americans -- if anything the European tourists (the bridge always has many) are even more likely to be wearing the Uniform. But there are always a few who decline to conform. Thank God for that.

The Sartorialist (Ann has a helpful link) has a keen eye for those taking the trouble to do it their way. Kudos to them and Scott S.

m stone said...

I agree with Richard Dolan.

Seems that most of the commenters need new animators, based on the discussion. Wives, husbands, role models, Cary Grant.

The western world is becoming a "casual Friday" Starfleet.

Lance said...

What would the world look like if everyone wore the same thing each day? Seriously dull.

I don't think the Amish consider their lives dull. Rather the opposite.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

My grandfather wore Key striped bib overalls. When he needed to go into town and his overalls were dirty from farm work, he would change into a clean pair of Key overalls.

He also wore straw hats. When he got a Honda 90 motorcycle for his grandkids in the 1970s, you would sometimes see him flying down a country road on his motorcycle wearing his overalls and straw hat.




JoyD said...

Ha! I get teased about this at the school where I teach. My uniform consists of jeans and a black sweater every day. No need to think about it, my jeans fit and black looks great with my hair. When student teachers call me before a new semester and ask what to wear, I just tell them, "no cleavage, north or south. Otherwise, just be clean and comfortable". Scarves are my style Indulgence. I really enjoy choosing my scarf every day. I read in the NYT that scarves are over. Imagine me paying attention to that!

JT said...

As an animator I can tell you it's not about being lazy at all. There's a reason animated films take years to produce with thousands of people working on them. It's an incredibly difficult, complex and laborious process. Changing a character's clothes frequently only adds to that complexity. Lazy animators don't last long. They're shown the door pretty quickly.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Rachel Maddow wears pretty much the same drab Maoist outfit every day. A simple Google search proves it.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Freeman Hunt said...
A bunch of identical black shirts and a bunch of identical tan pants.

A classic Black & Tan

MadisonMan said...

Watches are obsolete. Thank God.

I'm in the opposite camp. I need to get a new battery, and then my watch goes back on. Tired of fishing out my phone to check on the time.

Conserve Liberty said...

White Oxford cloth shirt, charcoal gray wool flannel slacks, Cordovan belt and loafers, gray socks, wristwatch, navy 2-button blazer.

Authentic striped Regimental or School ties (arranged to cycle through about 20 in sequence). The ties are the signature.

Every weekday since 3rd Grade - 50 years.

Paddy O said...

Pair of shorts, every day.

That's it.

Most stores don't let me in to shop.

Beldar said...

When I'm representing clients, I dress in a manner calculated to appropriately serve their interests.

Otherwise I dress to please myself. When I find something that fits, launders well, and otherwise serves the functional purposes I seek in clothing, I tend to stick to it.

If that's "style," then I'm guilty of it. If it's not, I could not possibly care less.

SOJO said...

I know I always feel sorry for the TV cops having to hoof it in flat semi-dress shoes chasing after the gangstas wearing the latest in LeBron sneakers.

Steve Jobs wore other things when he was younger - he still wore the jeans and black top or jeans and turtleneck all throughout his life.

SOJO said...

Marketers.

Did you notice this entire article was a sponsored ad by Seiko watches? It was all leading to the end telltale sign.

Smilin' Jack said...

They're style icons, projecting power.

Not quite. They're projecting the fact that if you're a billionaire, you have no reason to give a fuck about style.

Trashhauler said...

When I retired, I took off the tie and hung up my suits and sports coats. I still find myself being overdressed most places I go.

Illuninati said...

I thought cartoon characters always dress in the same clothes because the animators are men.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Speaking of really silly uniforms, is anyone else irritated by the, er, narrow color spectrum granted female political pundits these days? It runs from red suits through fuchsia suits all the way to to hot pink suits. In God's name, why? On what planet is this a good idea?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Watches are obsolete. Thank God. I can't stand wearing those things on my wrist. I even had a pocket watch as my first watch.

My watch is a belt watch, on a carabiner clip. Except that it's not attached to my belt; it's attached to my purse. It's a convenient arrangement, actually; I can glance at it any time it wouldn't be inappropriate, but it's not there when it would be (e.g., midway through a really tedious rehearsal).

Ann Althouse said...

Warner Brothers cartoon characters are naked.

El Pollo Raylan said...

Warner Brothers cartoon characters are naked.

Only because they are mostly animals. So yes, they're "naked" in the sense that animals are naked.

mrs. e said...

Watches are obsolete. Thank God.

I stopped wearing them when my eyes started to go - this was about the same time I found myself in front of a computer screen most days and my cars began to have clocks (that worked).

Also, I was always loosing them. So, there's that.

Matthew Sablan said...

I have five suit jackets. I rotate them M-F every week. That doesn't make me lazy. It makes me efficient.

Ann Althouse said...

Disney cartoon characters tend to be topless or bottomless, mice in pants and ducks in jackets.

They're afraid we'd be afraid of fully nude characters like Daffy.

Gloves still needed for Bugs. Paws are appalling (appawling).

Mick Havoc said...

Sojo:

Most cops wear lightweight athletic-style boots or shoes that outwardly mimic a dress shoe.

Our younger practitioners are very good at outrunning and catching people.

The old dawgs, not so much-that's why we let the rookies chase them

EMD said...

I was so excited to see our local mall just opened a Johnston & Murphy store, and they have some nice-looking shoes.

Of course, in advertising, you can dress like a total schlub and no one really cares.

I try to make an effort.

JoyD said...

My husband and I were at Barcelona, an upscale bistro here in German Village (I know, that makes you imagine a Bavarian Alps ski resort, right?) We were dressed for a show afterward. Returning from a trip across the room, he said, "I'm the only one here wearing a tie...except a 12-year-old kid". It's just a little strange to us. To my 86 year old mother, it's the end of civilization.

Belial said...

Ann Althouse said...

Disney cartoon characters tend to be topless or bottomless, mice in pants and ducks in jackets.

They're afraid we'd be afraid of fully nude characters like Daffy.

Gloves still needed for Bugs. Paws are appalling (appawling).


Daffy is not always nude. I have a print of him in a coat and waistcoat (though he seems to have nothing on below the waist). Bugs is, I think, wearing gloves - it's hard to tell.

Freeman Hunt said...
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Freeman Hunt said...

What kind of person walks around naked except for gloves? And often holding a carrot.

jr565 said...

"Does that mean Steve Jobs was lazy and needed to upgrade his style?"

Would it have killed Jobs to not wear a black turtleneck at all the Apple events? C'mon.
Also, I'm not a huge fan of turtlenecks.

jr565 said...

El Pollo Raylan wrote:
"Rachel Maddow wears pretty much the same drab Maoist outfit every day. A simple Google search proves it."

She should check out the store that Althouse linked to earlier in the week that caters to butch lesbians who want to dress like men.