Weekend Edition (My Beef with Flusser)

Friday I posted a picture of an Attolini teal blue small patterned unlined tie paired with a small striped Hickey Freeman Shirt and a green jacket.  This was the picture:

Flusserian pundits will recall that on Page 70 of Dressing the man, (a very excellent book,) Alan Flusser maintains that small prints or patterns demand larger patterns to correctly complement them, otherwise the small against the small forces the eye to work overtime to distinguish between where the tie ends and the shirt or second patterned item begins.  He then accompanies that theory with the following picture to be found on page 71:

Indeed at first glance, this does seem to bolster the thought that smaller patterns might force the eye into a tizzy and almost create a blur between the two competing patterns trying to figure out where each ends and begins.

But if you take a closer look at the picture here and better yet in the book itself, (If you have the book flip it open to page 71, if you don’t have the book you can rely on my picture posted here) you might want to question the following:

There is no doubt in my mind that the top picture on page 71 was for whatever reason BLURRY to begin with, and the bottom ensemble is quite clear. So while the concept might sometimes be true the visual proof that is utilized to hammer home that point is somewhat suspect. Does it mean that Flusser as a whole is off the mark? Certainly not, and as I mentioned the book is great. However it does tell you (or at least me) that this Flusserian principal must be taken with a grain of salt. To that end I offer up my grain of salt in the form of my picture from Friday.

A very good weekend/workweek to all.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I subscribe the the idea that a pattern should start small and proceed, ever larger starting with the shirt or suit, outward. There is harmony, I feel, to be found in the gradual progression.

    … Hard to articulate without a photo as an example. In your example (first photo) the texture of the suit “reads” as a small “pointy” pattern and so is too close to the pattern of the tie for me. Or perhaps it is the colour of the shirt ground that is too dark. I might have chosen a stripe with a larger repeat or a bolder spot. Nevertheless, it appears “muddied” to me. I’d have to play around with it to approximate my idea of balance.

    A blurry picture will only increase the blending of the textures (again in my opinion) to better effect; it is the scale of the patterns in relation to one and the other that throws off Flusser’s “don’t” example. Call me a traditionalist, I suppose. It’s all subjective.

  2. I really wanted to bring out the issue I had with flusser more than the pushing of my ensemble.    

    I am not saying he is wrong on this concept I am bothered by his visual aid.  

    If you look at the book that’s what hits me.  I have similar complaints on his complexions section which I will post next week.  

  3. It would be interesting to see the ensemble you selected with a tie paired with a larger pattern.

  4. You can as I did the previous post with a tie with a larger pattern.

    There is no question that it looks BETTER with a larger pattern and I dont mean to say that Flusser is wrong in that smaller patterns aren’t best suited with Smaller patterns. My issue was that the visual aid that was used was somewhat misleading as what he was attempting to show was that smaller patterns with smaller patterns force the eye to work hard, and the picture that was supplied was a hazy one. In effect smoke and mirrors to illustrate a TRUE point.

    I added my picture from Friday to show that it doesnt have to be true always.


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