For the uninitiated, let me briefly introduce the world of online men's clothing forums. In 2009, these forums are perhaps not as exciting, novel or addictive as they were back in 2003 or 2004 when I first came across them. But very often these online forums are the "gateway drug" to sartorial enlightenment for many of us. More than a few duckbill-shoe wearers and designer fashion fanboys among us have stumbled upon one or more of these forums and emerged more informed and knowledgeable about the rudiments of clothing manufacture and construction. Some have even refined their sense of judgment or sense of style by reading and participating in these forums.
With the benefit of hindsight and some distance, I have taken it upon myself to compare the forums along a few criteria. A brief comment on my rating categories. "Groupthink" might be viewed strictly as negative. However, groupthink is also a measure of likemindedness, which may or may not be a negative quality. If thought-provoking, it serves to educate. If persuasive, it can confirm or support uncertain conjectures on your part. If the groupthink is silly, then sit back and enjoy the show!
- Laugh/entertainment value: High due to insider jokes and/or copious sarcasm - Level of groupthink: High - Level of forum-specific jargon: Very high. Recent coinages include the "iGent". In fact, I suspect the amount of insider sidebar discussions on threads among SF veterans can be rather distracting or induce head scratching for the newcomer. - Newbie friendliness: Low (high snark) - Prominence/influence of "power" members: High - A sampling of my favorite threads: "A tale of two shoes" or a photo essay on resoling and refinishing a pair of shoes, London Cut exhibition photos
- Laugh/entertainment value: Low - Level of groupthink: Extremely high - Level of forum-specific jargon: Low - Newbie friendliness: High (low to microscopic levels of snark) - Prominence/influence of "power" members: High - A sampling of my favorite threads: Recommended vintage fedora brands, recommended custom hatmakers
So how do you rate the different forums?
For a break from the occasionally overheated self-indulgences of the men's clothing forums, get an invite and check out Fashion Spot where guys and gals but mostly gals talk about their favorite models and designers.