Lion of the Blogosphere

Inverse correlation between fashion sense and libertarianism

First, my definition of “fashion sense”:

The quality of knowing what clothes and accessories are in style, popular, and flattering to the wearer, and the propensity to put effort into wearing such clothes and accessories.

The conjecture is that the more fashion sense one possesses, the less likely one is to be a libertarian.

Now, maybe you think I am just joking, but actually the goal of this post is to show that there are psychological reasons why this is a real phenomenon.

First of all, the evidence: (1) computer programmers have below average fashion sense; (2) men (except for gay men) have less fashion sense than women; (3) the libertarian movement skews heavily male and towards computer programmers.

For example, the blog NH Insider writes:

In an article about the Free State Project … I found a rather interesting quote that got me thinking. In the article they describe the typical Free Stater as: “Many are single men; the majority are computer programmers.”

There’s more direct evidence that libertarians don’t dress very well. Do you remember that in debate after debate, Ron Paul was unable to wear a suit that actually fit him properly? And sometimes there’s a libertarian booth in front of the Time Warner Center, and the men who man the booth are never dressed very well.

The reason for the connection between fashion sense and libertarians is that libertarians are loners who don’t care what people think about them and who don’t want to adhere to the conventions of society, and that’s why they are attracted to a political philosophy of the government leaving them alone.

People who put a lot of time and effort into dressing fashionably are the exact opposite. They are people who are very comfortable with the idea that they should conform their behavior to the whims of the majority, or at least the majority who influence what’s trendy, popular and fashionable.

Unfortunately for libertarians, this correlation makes it very difficult for libertarians to get their message out; no one will take them seriously because they are dressed like nerds.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

May 29, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Posted in Libertarianism

41 Responses

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  1. Bryan Caplan’s prole jacket gape:


    May 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

  2. Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    And then to realize that in order to succeed on the Free Market, you need social skills, and then some. People without them need welfare more than others. How the irony!


    May 29, 2013 at 1:52 PM

  3. I lean libertarian (for a woman) and I think that I have pretty good fashion sense–I’ve been on street style blogs, etc. Since people who appear attractive to others get preferential treatment, wouldn’t libertarians realize this and try their hardest to keep up an attractive appearance? It seems like the rational thing to do. Although, does this matter as much for men?


    May 29, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    • Libertarians are the type to take logic to it’s ultimate conclusion “why does anyone need more than one pair of shoes” they ask. They fail to understand the importance of looks because to admit that would mean recognizing their low place on the totem pole so they deny it instead and invent rationalizations. As for the importance of male attractiveness overall sorry honey but it matters 10x more for men than women. In the animal kingdom the males are almost always more attractive than the otherwise plain females.


      May 29, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      • Yeah, male peacocks are flashier than female peacocks, but I think you’re among the minority if you’re claiming that attractiveness is more important for human males than human females. However, I can see how fashion sense might be more important for men than women IF it’s more of a signal of social status or wealth, rather than a facilitator of attractiveness.


        May 29, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    • Nowadays, male peacocks tend to give up their peacocking in their early- to mid-30s, and that’s when a lot of unmarried women start peacocking hard. They attempt to fill the void in their lives with a never-ending interest in fashion.


      May 29, 2013 at 5:18 PM

  4. This played out even within my own life. When I was more libertarian (for example, I read Atlas Shrugged) in my late teens/early twenties I had terrible fashion sense. I wore jeans that were too big and t-shirts. In my mid-20’s I gradually started caring more and more about fashion. Now at 30 I am the kind of person who buys fitted dress shirts and feels underdressed if they are not wearing a suit at work, and of course, I am obviously not very libertarian any more since I am the kind of person who would read this blog and mostly nod in agreement.

    Jokah Macpherson

    May 29, 2013 at 2:34 PM

  5. Paul Ryan’s suiting fits were horrifically poor even in comparison to Ron Paul. And PR is no libertarian.

    Ron Paul can be excused because at his age and body frame, it is tough to get American suits that fit well.

    Paul Ryan on the other hand has zero excuses.


    May 29, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    • The thing is, it’s really not that hard (or even that expensive for these guys) to get a suit that fits well. They just don’t care.


      May 30, 2013 at 2:47 PM

  6. I lean libertarian (silly as it may sound, Roissy’s really the one who put the nail in the coffin of my pure libertarian beliefs), and I’m a very well put together guy who lives in Manhattan.

    That said, I will agree that most internet libertarians do seem to be pretty socially retarded (especially the Ron Paul types).


    May 29, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    • Libertarianism is about contracts; and contracts are reassuring to nerdy types, since everything one must do is clearly stated. “You do that, you will get that. Nothing less, nothing more.”

      Outside of contracts, it’s a scary realm of social intrigues, emotions and social competition in which they are often incapable of evolving.

      When you look back on it, libertarianism is really an attempt at making the world safe for nerds by reducing the importance of politics, fashion and media, and ceasing to coerce people into social activities they don’t like.

      Of course it will never succeed as a political platform, because nerds are and will stay a numeric minority.


      May 29, 2013 at 7:58 PM

      • Very good point on the contracts. I never looked at it that way.


        June 14, 2013 at 12:25 AM

  7. TOOSers have been dressing the same for a long time.

    Biggest “fashion” no-nos:

    no cuffs on your khakis
    no undershirt

    Nicolai Yezhov

    May 29, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    • Hmm, where’d you get your info?


      May 29, 2013 at 5:26 PM

      • Some things have been handed down. The Preppy Handbook agrees though, but maybe its the TOOSers version of psyops sabotage.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        May 31, 2013 at 12:26 AM

  8. What in the world are you talking about? Here in the Bay Area, the worst-dressed people are likely to be committed libs, like Occupy types, pubic radio droids and old hippies. The uniform is washed out jeans, sandals, and something black up top. Always black. Plus for men, a scraggly beard that would have caused people in 1966 to assume you were a railroad hobo. Don’t forget, they’re still rebelling against that stifling ‘conformity’ of the 1950’s (even if they weren’t born yet), in which everyone was shaved and well-dressed. You’d never make it as a marketing guy, because you’re provincial, in the strict sense. Do you really think people in NYC who wear, say, Alan Flusser, are conformists?

    alonzo portfolio

    May 29, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    • What you call “worst-dressed” is actually “best-dressed”.

      Fashion is not about objective beauty; it’s about trendiness.

      In certain (decadent and ridiculous, yes, I admit) circumstances, dressing like a hobo will get you more girls than dressing like your grandfather at his wedding.

      In XVIIth century France noblemen were all wearing wigs, tights, and ridiculous frou-frous that made them look like girls. I wonder if it’s fundamentally better than dressing like hobos.


      May 29, 2013 at 7:47 PM

      • Most of style has to do with signaling, but you’re wrong when you say there’s no objectivity to it. There’s a touch of science, and people do damage to their appearance when the former collides with the latter. Alan Flusser’s Dressing the Man has some good advice about what details to select for based on your height, shape (skinny, chubby, athletic) and face (oval, round). How a suit is cut (crop, button stance, pant leg break) can make a man appear taller or shorter. The short and unattractively tall can use that to their advantage. There’s also proportion. Structure in the shoulders of a jacket should differ based on broad, narrow and sloped shoulders, along with the width of ties and lapels.

        Here is a brief video where Flusser gives recommendations to differently sized and shaped men.

        Mohammed Chang

        May 31, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      • My mistake, here is the video I meant to link.

        Mohammed Chang

        May 31, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      • “Fashion is not about objective beauty; it’s about trendiness.”

        Au contraire, there are objective standards in clothing and fashion just as there are objective standards in human attractiveness. The existence of fashion “trends” does not alter that. Don’t be a blank slater; readers of this blog ought to know better.

        “In certain (decadent and ridiculous, yes, I admit) circumstances, dressing like a hobo will get you more girls than dressing like your grandfather at his wedding.”

        That’s simply a testament to female irrationality (or affection beneath, if you prefer an evo-psych explanation).

        “In XVIIth century France noblemen were all wearing wigs, tights, and ridiculous frou-frous that made them look like girls. I wonder if it’s fundamentally better than dressing like hobos.”

        And yet even with that style of dress, some men were less “girly” than others. Rest assured that those were the men — the more masculine ones — who received the most attention from the attractive wimmin of their day.


        May 31, 2013 at 3:27 PM

  9. I’m a libertarian, and I find this theory totally believable.

    No Pity For The Majority


    May 29, 2013 at 7:53 PM

  10. “Chicks dig me, because I rarely wear underwear and when I do it’s usually something unusual.”

    E. Rekshun

    May 29, 2013 at 7:53 PM

  11. Most women who dress poorly do so because they have a dysmorphic self image. For example, a very large woman wears clothes better suited for a bikini model or stripper, but the large woman thinks she looks amazing. Dysmorphic self image is the recurring theme in “What Not to Wear.”

    Perhaps libertarian men have a dysmorphic self image. If they dress shabbily, they think it makes them look rugged and strong.


    May 29, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    • “Perhaps libertarian men have a dysmorphic self image.” No, they don’t have what you would call a self-image. It simply isn’t something that their brains are expending effort on.

      ” If they dress shabbily, they think it makes them look rugged and strong.” Nope, they aren’t thinking that. They aren’t thinking about their appearance at all. They are thinking about libertarianism.


      May 29, 2013 at 11:57 PM


    Another self-actualizer that transferred value from consumers through advertised products to cable to himself with soft porn serials.


    May 29, 2013 at 8:32 PM

  13. Libertarianism is just the philosophication of Asperger’s syndrome. Ditto stoicism and other philosophies that minimize the importance of emotions and humanness while favoring logic and “see things as they really are”. I am certain Diogenes and Epictetus had strong Aspie tendencies, and their philosophical beliefs were a projection of their Aspie tendencies.


    May 30, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    • God forbid someone should be a rational individual. It’s better to follow the flock like a good little sheeple.


      May 30, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      • My original reply included how libertarians tend to point fingers at the sheeple. That’s their favorite word. It’s funny how the rugged individualist libertarian who dresses like crap and absolutely don’t give a crap about what people think are so judgmental about the ‘sheeple’. They prattle on about being rational and how emotions clouds judgement, yet they fail to realize that perhaps the collective customs and expectations that have survived generations after generations are actually what helped humans survive. On an individual level, being a so-called sheeple seems stupid, but taken as a whole, it allows humans to find common ground and survive. Also, libertarians who don’t give a crap about what others think tend to be loners, and being lonely is correlated with early mortality.


        May 31, 2013 at 4:22 AM

    • “Diogenes and Epictetus had strong Aspie tendencies”

      Diogenes lived in a barrel on the beach, so no he wasn’t a neurotypical.

      In California elites and upper middle classes wear business casual clothing or below. A man wearing a suit is either from out of town, a lawyer coming/leaving the courthouse, or a salesman of some sort. Even lawyers wearing suits don’t look that fashionable, tending toward grey Sears/Men’s Wearhouse products, not dark and stylish European-looking suits like you see all over NYC. The only exception really is the elderly Italian immigrants in San Francisco who dress extremely well, but they are dying off.

      Related to this, SF had a fair amount of Italian immigration, but never developed a guido subculture, and since most Italians married outside their ethnic group so they don’t exist as a population group except among the elderly.


      May 30, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      • North Easterners are much more obsessed with appearance and class than is any other part of the country.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        May 31, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      • People in Los Angeles or Miami don’t care about their appearance?

      • It’s surprising. I’ve lived in LA and the movie stars and movie star wannabes are a very small %. I’ve also worked with NEers. Angelinos and W Coasters in general speak more slowly than Southerners and by the standards of the NE tend to be weird, at least laid back, low key, etc.

        Nicolai Yezhov

        May 31, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      • “North Easterners are much more obsessed with appearance and class than is any other part of the country”.

        Women love the hard charging Alpha men of the Northeast, instead of the beta passive aggressive Betas of the West Coast:

        The betaness of California allow groups such as the Asians to thrive and ruthless take over what was once White territory. Alpha Whites from the Northeast would never allow such a thing to happen.

        Just Speculating

        June 2, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    • BTW Diogenes was a Cynic not a Stoic.

      Nicolai Yezhov

      May 31, 2013 at 12:27 AM

    • I am/was a female Asperger Marxist-Leninist.


      June 14, 2013 at 3:33 PM

  14. People in general dress like slobs and the idea that women have a better fashion sense than men is untrue.

    S_McCoy The Winged Lion of Proles

    May 31, 2013 at 6:37 AM

  15. I’m a libertarian. For pragmatic reasons i go to brooks bros. and have the gay salesman pick out my suits for me.

    some guy

    May 31, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    • Brooks Brothers used to be trad now, with all the darted jackets and non-iron shirts, they’re not quite prole but they are certainly lower middle class.

      S_McCoy The Winged Lion of Proles

      June 1, 2013 at 8:38 AM

      • Brooks Brothers is lower middle class?

        Is this a joke?


        June 2, 2013 at 5:07 AM

      • It’s not, but Brooks Bros have taken a hit, as dress down casual has put suits to near obsolescence. There are giving away some of their inventory with BOGO.

        Just Speculating

        June 2, 2013 at 5:04 PM

  16. I hate clothes, We’d all be better off without them.

    Socially Extinct

    June 1, 2013 at 7:07 PM

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