Sartorial sameness bedevils this letter writer, and Dr. Know attempts to enlighten on questions of style in his response, from the June 2012 issue.
Our city has a major state university, and that state university has an acclaimed fashion design program. So why aren’t our citizens more chic?—Daring Dresser
Dear Dresser:The same major state university has an acclaimed architecture program. So why are there so many nearly identical vinyl-and-faux-stone-sided houses fouling the landscape? There’s an excellent art school on 12th Street that’s been turning out painters since Frank Duveneck was walking the streets, so why are there thousands of framed tiger prints in thousands of local dens? If there were a direct connection between the excellence of university departments and the behavior of the man or woman in the street, we would all be jabbering to each other in vulgar Latin and routinely digging up our backyards in the hunt for traces of pre-Columbian civilization thanks to our university’s first-rate classics department. The Doctor is willing to concede that we do actually live in a largely fashion-free zone, and that we tend to hang onto clothing that is still serviceable decades after its purchase, but he points out that there are also a few pockets of chic downtown and that the same New York City that includes the fashion-steeped borough of Manhattan also includes Staten Island and some pretty frightening stretches of Queens.
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