You’ll want to check out this piece over at Less Wrong on fashion. It’s the clearest thinking I’ve ever seen on the topic. I’ll summarize (and add my own analysis), which won’t nearly capture the article itself (so I encourage you to read it yourself, too).
Fashion can be described with a couple of main concepts:
The goal of fashion is to elevate one’s status (duh)
The rich try to not look like the poor, and the poor try to look like the rich–so it’s a chase. Case in point: the rich start wearing a certain brand of clothing, and then the poor start doing it. This results in nobody rich will ever wearing that brand again because it’s associated with copying the rich rather than being rich.
Like the peacock, the rich often switch this up by wearing clothes that are associated with the lower classes.
Number 3 is the interesting one; just as the peacock is basically saying, “I can have this big bright thing on me, and here I am dancing for you and nobody’s messing with me…because I’m a badass.”
The rich are saying something similar by wearing low-class clothing. They’re saying:
…or, more simply:
Of course, it gets really tricky when the poor start copying that.
Anyway, interesting topic, but I’ve got to find some food. Now if I can just find my cargo shorts and leather sandals. ::