Tuesday, 26 August 2014


In this era where we are all assailed from all sides by more reading material than ever before, yet seem to act upon almost none of it, it is a rare and welcome occurrence when an article on the internet actually changes some small part of one’s philosophy of life. Thus it is with high distinction indeed that I credit Theodore Dalrymple’s article, Slobbery as Snobbery, for changing my mind on the subject of clothing.

Dalrymple himself claims to have changed his own mind on this subject:

"In my youth, I considered concern with dress as frivolous and evidence of a superficial mind. To be concerned with dress was surely not only vanity but evidence of a propensity to judge by appearances, though by what else in most cases we have to judge I did not enquire of myself too closely. It did not occur to me that it is not to judge by appearances that is foolish; it is to judge irrevocably and solely by appearances that is so.

"Anyway, in my youth I thought that scruffiness was next to godliness, or at least to high intelligence."

This description of juvenile misunderstanding closely matches my own experiences as a youth – although rather than consciously adopting scruffiness as a mark of intelligence, I simply paid no attention to clothing other than in strictly practical terms, which inevitably produced much the same result. Outer presentation was "superficial" and "vain"; "what was inside" alone mattered, and therefore clothing was “unimportant”. Now that I am a little older (almost thirty), I have come to believe that such ideas are deeply mistaken. "What is inside" – at least that part of it which readily presents itself to superficial introspection – all too often amounts to very little other than petty egotism and acquired habit; and the process of working on this inner self should naturally begin from the exterior side, with outer presentation and deliberately cultivated habits, before moving to the interior. Scruffiness in dress, just like laziness in performing everyday tasks due to the belief that "only important activities matter", can only establish a habit of general slovenliness that will spread like cracks in a wall and undermine one’s entire philosophy of life.

Without going too deeply into this point, suffice to say that after ruminating on Dalrymple's words I was forced to think about clothing for the first time, and in particular the idea of expressing something through one’s mode of dress. What I wished to express was not individual taste or adherence to fashion, but my deeply held conviction that the Zeitgeist of the modern West is irredeemably decadent and must be rejected as far as possible.

This is, of course, closely tied in with the wider problem of finding a unified aesthetic style for the radical-traditionalist or "alternative" Right. It is something that, to my knowledge, the broad movement against modern egalitarianism has lacked ever since the demise of the ill-fated 1980s skinhead subculture, something that hardly presents a suitable model for imitation (and the less said about the SS-Totendummkopfs who see fit to dress up as German army officers from the 1930s, the better). Matt Parrott, evidently one of the few who understand the importance of form and presentation, has the following to say about American Restoration Fashion:

"The image we need to project is a Radical Americanist one, one that people will intuitively associate with our golden age. … In practice, this would include dressing like a traditional adult American man: with a clean dress shirt, a simple analog chrome watch, a black belt with a chrome buckle, khakis or jeans, black socks, and black boots or dress shoes. He would also wear a traditional hat, like a fedora or a flat cap, and know when and where to doff it. Aside from the hat, the costume is typical business casual. A ring, perhaps with an A3P logo or some runic characters, would be the only explicit indication of subcultural identity.

"This look projects competence, seriousness, and and traditionalism. … It’s an immediately understood indication that I reject this Zeitgeist."

Tradyouth's Matt Parrott
fashion icon of the radical right.
Other than their specifically American basis, my only problem with these recommendations is that they may not do enough to differentiate the wearer from the surrounding “mainstream” culture – indeed, Parrott writes that "at the drop of a hat, we could slip our rings into our pockets and blend into corporate and blue-collar White America." However, my own requirements for a radical-rightist style would hinge more on the question of to what extent it can, without of course descending into fancy-dress, make a clear demarcation between who is within the subculture and who is without. To that end, the new style would have a licence to be somewhat more outlandish; and while it would not go out of its way to offend the tastes of ordinary people, the wearer should expect to – at first – become the butt of public incomprehension and even mockery, an experience that would go a long way towards helping a few of us on the Right build up the social courage necessary to bring their similarly misunderstood political beliefs into the open.

With this in mind, I took on board Parrott's recommendations for a dress shirt, a black belt, black jeans, black socks, and dress shoes. However, to this I added a colourfully brocaded waistcoat, a two-fold cravat secured by a pin, a traditional pocket-watch on a metal chain, and a simple, black flat cap in place of Parrott's fedora.

Now, I am prepared for the charge that this style of "reactionary dress" may be perfectly ridiculous – perhaps it is. Moreover, I expect to be chided to no end for either not having approximated my chosen style entirely correctly, or else for having chosen a style that evokes the Victorian and Edwardian eras rather than the more traditional Middle Ages/Roman Empire/society of the Mahabharata/lost city of Atlantis. However, as the attentive reader will have gathered from my sarcasm, I consider all such objections to be as foolish as they are irrelevant. The only salient requirements for a radical-traditionalist style of dress are that it should (1) reverse the quintessentially politically-correct style of "studied slovenliness" described by Dalrymple; (2) make a clear demarcation between those who choose to adopt it and the wider, degenerate culture around them; (3) be practical, attainable and acceptable enough not to descend into an exercise in LARPing; (4) project a certain sense of seriousness, archaism and traditionalism. Pedantic imitation of a particular cultural or temporal style would not just be unnecessary here, but also positively harmful.

Happening to go on an errand in London soon after having adopted this style, I was struck by the new consciousness that it seemed to inculcate in me: this can perhaps best be described as feeling like an ethnic minority, and not merely because I was a European man in a city heavily affected by the British government's policy of ethnic replacement. What I mean is that I felt as if my style of dress actually projected some sense of specific cultural identity (i.e. like the saris of Indian women, or the hats and kaftans of Hasidic Jews), in stark contrast to the deracinated and universal fashions of the other English people around me; thus I have added a whole new layer of meaning to the pejorative epithet, "mannequin," that I have been using privately for some time to describe whites who are indifferent or positively hostile to European culture and tradition. While feeling like an ethnic minority in one’s own country is never a good thing, this consciousness of difference is one more step towards the cultural separation, tribe-formation and self-cultivation increasingly being urged by many of the more visionary writers on the radical Right.

Furthermore, there are indications that a few elements of this style have recently begun to creep into the "mainstream," a phenomenon that we can see in the predicted rise of “steampunk” and the apparent resurgence of the cravat, although there are likely to be definite limits to the extent that this will be allowed to subvert the dominant ethic of egalitarian scruffiness. Many on the Right will take this as an indication that even this style of sartorial reaction is poised to become just another narcissistic fashion trend; but although I share this concern to a certain degree, it must be said that it remains a declaration from the point of view of cultural weakness and impotence. From a different point of view: would it not be interesting to see if some of these purely stylistic currents could not be entered into, “hijacked” as it were, and their “retro-futurist” forms imbued with some rather more dangerous archeofuturist content?

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