The reasons for the phenomenon of the multitude of sloppy, poorly-dressed, yet prosperous peons in the West are discussed in this week’s Takimag article from Theodore Dalrymple.
I have moved far from my former belief that it does not matter how one dresses. Of course, an overemphasis on one’s appearance is no doubt vanity, and in some men leads to dandyism (but, as the writer Arnold Bennett pointed out in a charming essay, a leaven of dandyism in a society does no harm, and is in its way an admirable effort after perfection). But I have come to the rather obvious conclusion that our mode of dress is a message to others, and taking some care over it to appear with reasonable smartness is an act of social responsibility and respect for others rather than egotism. Not to take such care is egotism, insofar as the message conveyed by the lack of care is “I am not going to make an effort just for you, mate. You have to accept me as I am.”