This chapter provides a definition for inconspicuous consumption where elite men's fashion is considered as opposition to luxury. It explains that this distinction was driven not by a sociology of conspicuous consumption and invidious distinction (the attempt to keep up with, or ahead of, the Joneses), but by a dynamic of inconspicuous consumption and invidious indistinction (the attempt to keep away from, hidden from, and superior to, the Joneses). It observes that in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, it was competition for social distinction—fashion itself—that motivated the anti-fashion movement of the great masculine renunciation. It concludes that in attempting to create an image of masculinity compatible with ideals of liberty and property, the three-piece suit merely reproduced a fashion tyranny in inverted form.
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