Frumpiness and Austerity
The rich nowadays wear plain rags so as to warn the poor that sacrifices will be necessary for everybody.
Giorgio Agamben, 'In This Exile' (1996)
It'd be interesting to trace the sartorial vagaries of late capitalism through the two poles of new money crassness and the corresponding shedding by the administrative classes of their uniform. This could be done via the lyric from Outkast's bling-baiting 'Red Velvet': ghetto ostentation vs actual, real money and power- 'Bill Gates/doesn't dangle diamonds in the face/of peasants when he's Microsofin in the place'. Hence the reaching for the suit of the MC-mogul with real delusions of grandeur (Jay-Z, the ex-Puffy) alongside the gradual abandonment of suits, ties and shirts by those whose wealth has actual consequence. The horrifying prospect of David Cameron as the first permanently dress-down prime minister. (Pending a conversion to ghetto fabulousness and the Conservative Party manifesto being designed by Pen & Pixel, this can also be seen in graphic design, such as the new Tory squiggle.)