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quixote100104
10-20-2009, 12:41 PM
Greetings :-),

I've always enjoyed social polymath characters (James Bond, Dirk Pitt, Aloysius Pendergast), always up on the best and the latest. I assume that such characters learn the basics of style in thier early life/education process, but in the volatile worlds of fashions, food, drink, etc, there would have to be some established sources/publications that would be standard issue for maintaining that level of style. The only one I'm familiar with is the Robb Report (which I especially liked, when I could afford it, for it's classified ads for islands, demilitarized jet fighters, full size collectable fire engines, etc). Any others anyone knows about? The character would be a man, but obviously he'd have to be up on female fashions as well ;-).

Speaking of which, the Robb Report used to have ads for, for lack of a better term, "anything you want companies". Basically, if you couldn't find it anywhere, you hired these people and they'd find it somewhere. Rare collectibles, restricted items, that sort of thing. Anybody out there familiar with any such companies and their operations?

Thanks :-),

RobinGBrown
10-20-2009, 04:33 PM
Not answering your question directly I'd afraid but in Bond's case there are several factors to consider.

First of all Bond has a 'Jet Set' setting and it is controlled by Ian Flaming and there are basically no changes in fashion, etc throughout the series. i.e. A vodka martini is alwys the most fashionable drink, women always wear gowns or cocktail dresses, etc, etc. It's not a 'living' world.

Secondly you could assume that Bond learns a lot from actually listening to the women he sleeps with. i.e. Ivana Humpalot talks to James about the great Dior dress that Kitty Basket was wearing, he hears it and is the sort of person who has a mind for recalling lots of detail, even if his personality treats it as 'women's things'.

I think you're right in that a person liek that would learn a basic sense of style early on. That sense of style can then be applied to new situations.

StephanieFox
10-21-2009, 02:07 AM
I think one problem is that a lot of guys equate fashionable with sissy, and if you bring up the fashionable James Bond they'll just make a confused but dismissive noise. You don't to need to learn about this as a boy, but you do need to let go of the attitude.

Many men don't know that there is a lot of clothes between the t-shirt and jeans and the 'three piece suit*' that seems to be the prototype in their minds for 'stuffy and restrictive.'

There are several men's fashion magazines out there, but I'll bet GQ would be the best easy to find resource. Also, I have found that asking experts is one of the best ways to learn. In liquor stores, go to the wine expert for wine advice. For men's clothes, go to the best men's clothing store and ask a sales person there. If you want 'hip' clothes, go to a hip men's clothing store and ask. There's no shame in saying, 'I don't know anything about men's fashion, but I want to learn. What can you tell me?'

People love to talk about things that interest them, and clothes interests clothing salesmen.




*Have fashionable men worn three piece suits any time since the 1980s?Ummm...no.

clevernamehere
10-21-2009, 09:16 AM
I don't think a character like James Bond would keep up with fashion in any way. I doubt he'd read GQ or any kind of manual.

What I would expect, particularly from a man from an upper class background, is for him to have a tailor or personal shopper who updated his wardrobe on a regular basis. Likely his father would have introduced him to this person when he hit his teen years.

A man who cares about fashion would be a different type of character, more playboy than international man of mystery.

DrZoidberg
10-21-2009, 09:10 PM
I know nothing of Rob Report, but I used to, for professional reasons, have to have high fashion clothing, and had to keep abreast with trends. I also enjoyed it. At the time my girlfriends also had a similar situation and interests.

Being in that world meant I sucked it up without having to make any effort. People don't speak of brands, they speak of cuts and materials. The brands themselves was so obvious nobody bothered mentioning it, other than when we went to fashion show parties.

People who are fashionable do not read fashion magazines, because it would be pointless. They are all for people who, by definition, are not fashionable. For those in the fashion industry, or close to it, wear clothing one or two years ahead of the trends that hit the street, so it would be worthless. By the time a trend reaches fashion magazines they are already out of fashion among the trendy. "Fashionistas" simply go to parties and see what other people with taste are wearing, and that way keep abreast.

Among the super trendy, fashion is used as a way to measure social class and to gauge if you belong among the rich and fabulous. Those who don't regularly rub shoulders with these people have no way of keeping ahead of the fashion magazines. Fashion is used as a tool for judging and exclude those who in their opinion don't belong. So it isn't just about looking pretty. It's got a very practical function.