There is an ongoing sartorial war, waged since time immemorial. Weapons technology has shifted kaleidoscopically over the millennia, from the first animal skins to today’s advanced textiles. Consider the battlefield a triangle, with three opposing base camps: Functional, Tasteful, and Extravagant.
The Functionals prefer clothes to serve a utilitarian purpose, meeting a physical need without regard to aesthetics. Form for this group is subservient to Function; beautifying details are looked on as frippery.
The Tasteful cohort view clothes as a backdrop of minimalist palette, allowing detail of texture and fabric to emerge as subtle indicators of quality. Bolder items are used sparingly and within unostentatious constraints drawn heavily from the historical canon of classic menswear (the 1920s to the 1960s). This would be a modern equivalent to Beau Brummell’s dandy approach, perhaps somewhat equivalent to a “stealth wealth” aesthetic, although at the time, dandyism was revolutionary rather than conformist.
The historical dandy (contrary to modern interpretations of the term) was a reaction to the gaudy fops of Brummell’s day, who may be considered historical members of the Extravagant tribe. For them clothes are about colour, pattern and peacocking. It is escapism, provoking calculated amusement in others and in oneself. In the modern world its lineage gives us movements like Sape, and is linked to the concept of Wildean excess and even conspicuous consumption. It’s about catching the eye, not taking oneself too seriously and generally using clothes in a more aggressive manner than the other group.
Few people fall wholly within one camp. The camps are vertices on the triangle that is the continuum of modes of dress, rather than discrete entities. I do not believe that one mode is objectively best. It is better only in the eyes of the beholder, and thus whether the clothes achieve the purpose you need them to have.
Obviously if you are in certain professions, you may be obliged to dress one way or the another. For the rest, the challenge is finding a mode of dressing you feel expresses your inner self and external needs the best, while still appreciating the qualities of other extremes of the spectrum as all are educational.
The idea that one mode of dress is universally correct is flawed. Find the balance that is right for you and your life. Explore the continuum, experiment with different looks, learn something about their history, think about your needs and your personality. Don’t prejudge and back yourself into any one corner.
Find for yourself which you enjoy the most, and which help you achieve the life you want.