I don't know if any of you folks are sailors, but you may have seen
this cheesy type of hat,
notice that there is a gold braidish kind of cord along the base of
the bill. Most baseball caps have a cord there too. What is it
with that? why that decoration, of the thousands of possible
decorations that might have been chosen? do you use it to stick
your reciepts and movie tickets into?
Well, if the cap was made in china by someone who dosen't have a
clue, that is about what that string is good for, or nothing.
But if the cap was made by someone who understood what caps are used
for other than a head decoration, something interesting could happen
when the wind started to blow. Not 10 knots, maybe not even 20, but
when the wind hits 30 knots the sailor will take that cord, pop it
over the bill, and pull it under his chin. Hat stays on, rain is
out of eyes, hands free to do work and stay safe.
If the hat was made by a clueless boob, the poor sailor would
perhaps find that the cord would just about reach his nose, and
would not be too sad when the next gust carried the stupid useless
hat to a deep watery grave.
The point of my story is, don't assume a feature is 'only'
decorative. Every thing either has or once had a function, and you
should try to understand that function. Not only for the sake of
funtion, but to assure that the look is right.
Let me give another example: the lapel on a modern men's suit is
purely decorative. No one ever, unless in a suprise survival
situation, will try to unfold the lapel and button it at the neck.
Yet, that is what a lapel is, or was. Most good 1000$ suits will
actually let you do that, however. More importantly for normal use,
most $1000 suits are made, by staying in touch with the original
function, with a sense of consistent logic, so that the lapel has
the right proportion and balance. It looks RIGHT, even if you don't
quite know why.