Thorstein Veblen (1857-1929)
This is Thorstein Veblen, the American sociologist and economist. He wrote an incredibly cutting, objective analysis of his modern-day consumer culture called “The theory of the leisure class“. Chapter 7 of this book deal specifically with dressing to show one’s status as a human being, or “Dress as an expression of the pecuniary culture“.
Please bear in mind that this text was written in 1899, so the vernacular is a bit different (archaic, ancient) than what you are probably used to. If you can wade through the unfamiliar vocabulary, you can get your hands on some real questions and truths about fashion and the reasons that we dress the way that we do.
Also, doesn’t he look incredibly badass in this painting??