The problem with being fashionable

You know what’s going to look funny in 20 or 30 years? Photos of men in those little tiny suits:


You know, sort of like this:


Nobody wants to live or work in a building like this:

images (1)

or this:

images (2)

if he can help it. Such buildings are torn down or renovated in a different style. Whereas restoring building like this:

download (3)


images (3)

and this:

is all the rage. Yet people still build apartments like this:


and high schools like this:


and this:

download (1)

and churches like this:



When you build, or dress, or paint, according to the latest fashion, almost always it will end up ugly.

My theory is that the appeal of such things is relative. They are cool or cutting edge, relative to other things. So that if clean lines is fashionable in one decade, then the next fashion will be even cleaner lines, or else dirty lines. Not because clean or dirty lines are beautiful in themselves, but only because they’re a step “beyond” the kind of lines that we liked before.

Thus, the design of a slim-fit suit has no merit of its own but is only a deviation from, or a skewing of, the norm.

In other words the standard is something other than beauty, and at some point, when the fashion has passed, it’s ugliness will become more obvious.

download (2)


download (2)

Whereas beauty is beautiful forever.images (2) download (1)

images (1)

3 thoughts on “The problem with being fashionable

  1. You are right. If no God, then no morality, is a well-known argument. But its equally true that if no God, then no beauty. This is not only true as a matter of first principles, but it has proven to be true in practice as well as the West has grown more godless,.


  2. Maybe I’m an odd one (scratch that, I am an odd one) but even those ugly looking buildings seems nifty to me.

    I’m sorry I don’t have anything substantial. But my heart is like ‘that bowl sign would be awesome to have in my living room.’


    • I hear you. I don’t advocate banning fashion. I just wish people would think about what they’re doing when they build “cutting-edge” architecture, because in my view it just doesn’t last. They tend to go through a series of stages: (1) shiny, hip and cool; (2) dingy and starting to wear out; (3) definitely dated and passe; (4) if it’s lucky, it becomes hip again through the mysterious workings of nostalgia, and therefore worthy of being cleaned up, renovated and re-used; but more often, (5) either remodeled in the latest fashion (which ends up making it even uglier when the later fashion also goes out of fashion), or (6) torn down.

      Whereas buildings in the “classic”, i.e. timeless styles end up being preserved for decades, nay centuries on end, and generally form the core and basis of an area’s beauty and charm. A neighborhood with lots of old buildings built in a classic style, can tolerate and even be enhanced by a few cutting-edge buildings, signage, etc. This is the charm of, say, the Grand Central Station neighborhood of New York City (the only area of NY that I’ve visited in person). But areas with nothing but cutting-edge buildings simply fall out of fashion and eventually are abandoned or become low-rent districts, because they lack even a basic level of charm and beauty which could serve to attract people to live and work in a place.

      Granted, there can be places with kitschy old architecture that manage to thrive, but these are the result of (4) above and are the exception. IMHO. : )


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s