Quick little realization.
The term "style" is outdated and needs to be thrown out. It's connotations are too broad; if there can be good and bad "style," how can anything be "stylish?" Which is the worst phrase of all, because at one point in time Lisa Frank binders were stylish.
And "fashion," which is misused far too often within both the daddy's girls-with-money clique and the gay community, is so much deeper than style. And it is important. Fashion and clothing is important because it brings to the surface everything latent about a person. (That is, if they even care enough to get dressed, period.)
Are you religious? Slap on a Kabbalah bracelet, a cross necklace, the Star of David. Are you gay? It's incredibly easy to show your sexuality through clothing choice--or, as my incredibly dikey (yet entirely straight) friend Lauren puts it, "Let your rainbow flag fly." Are you smart? Are you a stoner? Are you a geek/into movies/into music?
Thoughts, aspirations, admirations, sexual longings--these are all shown through how we dress, like organs on the outside of your body. Your heart, your brain, even your stomach (those Dr. Pepper tees need to die) is on display when you throw on your unwashed button-up and mussy slacks.
So why would I buy $100 Marc Jacobs track pants? Because what he as a designer values--simplicity, volume, French culture, multiculturalism, innovation, New Americanism--part of me values, and therefore I'm giving away just a bit more of myself when I wear them. Maybe it's subtle, even unknown to the average person (the tags aren't on the outside. Obvious logos make the process of analyzing an outfit way too easy), but for people who care about dressing, who have tapped into that third-realm of perceptive communication--your only target audience--they get it. For the rest of 'em, it's like writing a sign in Japanese and expecting the Chinese to read it.
Viewed in this light, clothing becomes part of the machine, one of the cogs that drive us to our ultimate self.