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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Inert-Wear  
  Clothing made of dead fibers; clothing that is unmoving, static.  

In this short story, most fashionable people wore clothing made of bio-fabric, which transformed itself according to the mood and needs of the wearer. Some people, however, were not quite up to it.

Certainly a careless or offhand customer who made the mistake of trying to climb into a wrong fitting, or, even worse, was endowed with a figure of less than Dietrich-like proportions, would receive brusque treatment from Georges and be directed with the shot of a lace cuff to the inert-wear shops in the town's amusement park.

This, of course, was a particularly bitter jibe. No one, with the exception of a few eccentrics or beachcombers, any longer wore inert clothing. The only widely worn inert garment was the shroud, and even here most fashionable people would not be seen dead in one.

From Say Goodby to the Wind, by J.G. Ballard.
Published by Ultimate Publications, Inc. in 1970
Additional resources -

It is the sensitivity to mood that made bio-fabric so popular.

Clothes are no longer made from dead fibers of fixed color and texture than can approximate only crudely to the vagrant human figure...
Inert-wear is one of those uniquely SFnal constructions like "groundcar" and "static home" which are used to identify the lame technologies we endure today

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Say Goodby to the Wind
  More Ideas and Technology by J.G. Ballard
  Tech news articles related to Say Goodby to the Wind
  Tech news articles related to works by J.G. Ballard

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