Why don't contemporary architects care about well-dressing anymore?

i took donna's comment as facetious.

anyway, not caring about dressing and choosing a different way to dress are, of course, different. bow ties and double-breasted suits look wildly out of place in the context of my business and i'd be branded as a goofball if i made that choice. 

while i care about my dress i also like  to dress basically within the mainstream of those around me. when i find new combinations of things that are still normal-ish but less than obvious, that makes me a little happier. 

Feb 28, 12 7:42 am

My comment is intended to be facetious, but I mean it seriously.

Today I'm wearing a Tshirt from the clearance rack ($9.99) and a scarf.

Feb 28, 12 9:09 am
George Showman

I'm very glad if fashion and architecture are separating.  I think they are very different fields.  First I should admit that I came into architecture from a relatively un-artistic background, and that I dress quite badly.  I think there are three main reasons: my general resentment of the fashion industry (see below), lack of time (duh!), and lack of money.  If I had more time, I would love to make my own clothes - that would be really interesting and fun.  If I had more money only, I would probably buy a whole rack of tailored suits and just call it a day.  Having neither I have kind of given up on fashion for the next few years.

My time in architecture school, where I was exposed to a little more thinking about fashion, made me more scornful of it rather than less.  The general denial of real human bodies, the tendency to favor appearance over substance or feel or experience, the extreme conservatism (say, men's suits), the insane price differentials that do not seem to correlate very closely to craft or material, the ludicrously fast cycle of obsolescence and rediscovery, the nasty materials used in a lot of affordable clothing, the terrible wage structures used to produce a lot of clothing..... Most of what I'm interested in in architecture goes against all this.  So I think it's quite natural for architects to distance themselves from fashion.

And all of this when it seems clothing design could actually do some real, lasting good in the world.  We should have easy access to affordable clothes that fit well (to all sizes!), are adjustable, are made from comfortable materials by non-child labor, and last a long time.    Then, building on that, we could get playful about what we wear, if we had the luxury of time or money.

Yeah, I'm American (seeing the earlier comments).


Feb 28, 12 9:48 am

I think that's a shark bite on Corb's leg, no?

Feb 28, 12 10:26 am

@george - the problem is not fashion - it's about style.  fashion is consumption, fleeting.  style implies history/culture, quality, and identity.

Feb 28, 12 10:33 am

Here's the real question:  how is "well-dressed" defined?

Is this well dressed?...

...or this?...

...or this?...

(All images above via

Is contemporary really any worse than the old styles, yo?

Feb 28, 12 11:06 am

as a person who used to wear the architect "uniform" of monochromatic attire, i've consciously deviated from that course, but also started to have a greater appreciation for textures in clothing.  Wool, corduroy, camel hair, & brushed cotton or velvet [een] all feel more comfortable to me than a suit, so I suppose this qualifies as "business casual".  Deeper colors of blues, browns, & greens and dark jeans have become the new staple in my wardrobe, but always with black shoes.  I agree that personal style has definitely waned in general, but people tend to emulate what they already see around them.

Feb 28, 12 11:48 am

George, I like your post.  Zaha made her own clothes early on and still designs them herself.  I agree with you that fashion choices easily, in our world, become moral choices as well, as most of our options are cheaply made materials put together by exploited labor.

Feb 28, 12 12:25 pm

zaha looks like marshmellow men.  dats wonderfull

Feb 28, 12 5:31 pm

There is a space-traveler among us.  He has come from the outer galaxies to our humble earth so that he might educate us in the ways of personal style.

Feb 29, 12 11:52 am

Wait... isn't that MC Hammer in 1986?

Feb 29, 12 1:30 pm

Dress however you want. Be yourself. But look like you have dealt with big money. If that makes any sense. (it eases clients issues with giving you 8% to 10% of construction costs on a 400 million dollar project)

Feb 29, 12 8:20 pm

Not dressing properly is one of the reason why architects are paid poorly. Unconsciously, people tend to see well-dressed people as people with skills and status, consequently  paying them more.  A mechanic  in a run down garage under the grease will be paid less than a lawyer in tie. The 20 year old genius working in sweat pants at Google earning 150 K is obviously an exception . Also the looks of the office can determine how a profession is perceived.  And since the architect's workspace on average looks like shit, it is expected that  no one can really take an architect serious.  

Mar 6, 12 4:11 am
25 characters in length

In the last two months, I paid my mechanic over $2200.00, and the last time I paid my lawyer, around four years ago, it was $100.00.

Nonetheless, of all the people I shared "on the outside of (a week of) quarantine" stories with yesterday, the one working at a downtown laywer's office was dressed the best, and the one who used to work with my father, machinists, both of them, was dressed the most casual. Myself, the government worker, and the ER nurse, were dressed quite casual too. And all the people I spoke with about "what it was like inside" the quarartine wore uniforms of somewhat subdued colors.



Mar 6, 12 10:53 am


Mar 6, 12 12:41 pm

Why should anyone dress well while Mark Cuban walks around in cargo shorts and flip flops. Athletes show up to clubs in sweat pants. Actresses walk around with no underwear on. 

Oct 9, 12 11:24 am

IMHO, you should dress comfortably and however you want for normal days. However, you should look professional when you're acting like a professional. Not a full fledged suit, but no holes in pants, no blouses that show everything, nothing that was pulled out of the pile of dirty laundry last minute. 

Oct 9, 12 12:59 pm
vado retro

lezz see...

hart schaffner marx jacket 550 bought off season for 50/shirt cremiuex 79.99 bought off season for 29/ chereskin merino wool sweater 89 bought off season for 7.99/tie polo bought for 50 cents in 1983 at a used clothing store. same tie sells for 110 bucks/ perry ellis flat front trousers. don't remember. cole haan chukkas around 150. i'd say i dress pretty damned good.

Oct 10, 12 7:06 pm

some dude found  one of Paul Newman Sports Jackets in his Basement in New Haven he well dressed or what!  Don't think the tie was stuck in the pocket...but the suit makers name was and so was I think he is out sporting it about...

Oct 10, 12 9:15 pm

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