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The Three-Piece Suit and Modern MasculinityEngland, 1550-1850$
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David Kuchta

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520214934

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520214934.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Inconspicuous Consumption

Inconspicuous Consumption

Chapter:
(p.173) Chapter 7 Inconspicuous Consumption
Source:
The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity
Author(s):

David Kuchta

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520214934.003.0007

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.

Keywords:   inconspicuous consumption, elite men's fashion, sociology, conspicuous consumption, invidious distinction, invidious indistinction, great masculine renunciation, three-piece suit

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