Don’t Become a Snob

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Badly dressed people sometimes make me angry. I wish they just made me frustrated, or feel sympathy. But all too often they make me annoyed and shout silent commands in my head (“button that jacket up”, “your tie makes you look like a teenager”, “what’s the point in buying a nice suit if you’re not going to hem the trousers?”).

I wish it wasn’t like this. I always admire friends with strong faith that don’t bang on about it. They believe absolutely that there is a God. They believe that I will go to hell. And they care for me. Yet they will not badger me, hassle me, ask leading questions or in any way shuffle me towards confronting my agnosticism.

Most impressively, they will not take offence at me comparing menswear to religion.

They do this because they believe I will only come to God through my own curiosity. They will provide the example, answer any questions and make it known what they believe. Then they will stop.

So I endeavour to make people aware of how much joy there is to get out of an interest in how you dress, without shouting about it. I emphasise the fact that seeing well-dressed people makes me happy, just like being surrounded by beautiful countryside, or well-designed buildings can make me happy.

It’s not an arrogance about only liking beautiful clothes or beautiful people. It is appreciating beauty where you find it. Without that there wouldn’t be much point in anything aesthetic.

I consciously strive for this because I believe passionate interests split people into two types: the snobbish and the tolerant.

When someone becomes very involved in a particular activity, it is usually because they take great joy in its pursuit. I take great joy in considering what I wear everyday and discussing it with others.

Such enthusiasm can easily become obsessive, and with that obsession comes a danger of arrogance. You end up judging people because they do not share your interest – in this case, because they dress badly.

It is a constant battle to keep your interest a positive one, to communicate your passion to other people because you want to introduce joy into their lives – not because you think they are wrong.

Losing this battle leads to the greatest self-involvement, the biggest geeks, nerds and haughty snobs. One should evangelise, but not preach.

In fact, that sounded like preaching. I apologise. I should evangelise, not preach. I wish I was better at it; I recommend it to you as something to strive for.


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Simon Crompton is a journalist and a style enthusiast living in London, who blogs at permanentstyle.blogspot.com. He has too many suits.

Comments

  1. smooth says:

    Kudos to you.

  2. Chris says:

    Simon – Spot on, nicely put.

    Chris

  3. Vickan says:

    When I see people that are badly dressed (that does not include people in a ‘beer built this body t-shirt) I always think of the moment when they selected that sweater, shirt, shoes etc. from the shop. And it makes me feel some kind of sympathy for them (aww, that is very cute, they spent time trying to find something nice). Hence- I think they are cute rather than hating them.

    That might be typical female though..

  4. Vickan says:

    Oh, and I didn’t mean that people in a ‘beer built this body t-shirt’ are well dressed. I just meant that I didn’t feel sorry for them .

  5. Caligula says:

    I am from Athens, Greece and have homes on a Greek island called Mykonos and a flat in Monte Carlo. My family is very into the fashion thing and I have been brought up that way. My father is from Canada and we have homes in Quebec and the US state of Maine, I must say that at first the average looking people all over were quite a sight, but now that I am older, I enjoy relaxing in Maine and Quebec and not worrying about people staring at me if I am dressed wrong. The US is relaxing for me. I get annoyed in Monte Carlo or Athens when people stare and tell you that doesn’t match or go. Nonetheless, don’t get me wrong I love Greece and Monte Carlo.

  6. Nelson says:

    I also have to try very hard not to do this but mostly with the state of others shoes. I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to the way I like my shoes to look, clean and polished. But your right it’s about tolerance not arrogance.