Matt disputes my claim of "aesthetic neutrality":
"But what can 'aesthetically neutral' mean besides 'neither beautiful nor ugly'? (cf Switzerland: neither on one side nor the other.) You clearly don't believe your shoes, for example, are neither beautiful nor ugly. At least, you'd be wrong if you did. I think you must mean that your shoes and attire achieve their particular beauty through plain and simple means. But that is 'aesthetic simplicity', not neutrality."I understand your point, Herr Professor, and you are not the first to dispute my claim. Perhaps I would do well do adopt a less contentious term, but indulge me for a moment, and allow me to explain my intended meaning.
First, I use the term "neutral" in the literal sense as it applies to color. I love the browns, and blacks, and greys, and blue (this last is not technically neutral but may be treated as a de facto neutral for fashion purposes, particularly when it is the blue of blue jeans). Certainly, a little red or orange here or there, a bit of pattern, all of that is quite lovely and desirable, but I find it most beautiful when set against a backdrop of the quieter colors.
I also intended "neutral" in a broader, more metaphorical sense. The Beautiful/Ugly axis is one criteria against which a wardrobe may be measured. And true, I don't believe my attire is neutral in this regard. I believe it is beautiful, though not excessively beautiful. But there are many, many other criteria against which a wardrobe can be measured:
- quantity of lace
- quantity of spandex
Due to the limitations of the human intuition and the two-dimensional screen, I cannot depict fashion-space in all its multi-dimensional complexity, but instead, schematically represent it in simplified form with only a handful of the most critical axes.
I prefer to stay relatively close to the center of this fashion universe, wearing items not overly identified with any particular time, trend, or scene. I don't claim to inhabit the absolute origin ('cause that's Dullsville, man, strictly Dullsville). Certainly, I've got a touch of the retro, a modicum of geek, a splash of the prep, a little bit country and a little bit rock 'n' roll, but it is all, I hope, in moderation. Nothing "too too." Nothing très très.
Neutrality? Simplicity? I'm easy. I care not what motto is emblazoned on our banner, merely that the banner flies and that we rally around to defend it. As for your claim:
"[I]n the pitched battle between the beautiful and the ugly, the faction of aesthetic simplicity might be one of the most partisan and bloody."'Tis true. 'Tis true. I would gladly spill a river of blood for our noble cause. Vive la révolution!