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what percentage of your income goes to clothes?

post #1 of 93
Thread Starter 
I read with fascination here some time ago as older wiser voices admonished a younger poster not to go into debt by charging a new suit on a credit card....obviously using the plastic is hardly ever the best choice, but since we're all clothes horses here I figured my obsessive compulsive shopping behavior was 'normal' (for us).

I am trying to be more fiscally responsible these days and this has made my desire for bespoke saville row difficult to reconcile with my not-even-close-to-six-figure-income.

sobering but I reckon where there is a will there is a way; I was wondering if any other mere mortals spend a goodly portion of their annual income on a bespoke suit or shoes?

I figure if I limit myself to just one suit and shoes per year that's still a quarter of my present earnings.... with no real savings left for things like a house, emergencies, vacations, etc etc

short of robbing a bank or getting adopted by donald trump ( wait - never mind, he'd force you to wear HIS new line of duds.....defeats its own purpose), how do you guys do it? (meaning any of you who make less than say, 100k/yr)
post #2 of 93
I think there is plenty of advice on this forum on how to buy good suits at a fraction of the price. If it is Savile Row that you must have without waiting for a salary increase, then
  • you might consider the Kilgour "entry-level" bespoke:
    http://www.8savilerow.com/entrybes04.html
    The opinion about the quaality of this product has been favourable without exception, or

  • reduce the number of suits, with a two or three year gap between each Savile Row job
post #3 of 93
I'm a soul with a respectable annual income hovering near the six figures. But Mrs. Vintage Gent and I have a policy of maintaining no debt other than a modest car note and our mortgage, and we've committed over the next several years to save as much as possible for our kids' college and retirement, so feeding the sartorial beast requires a bit of creativity:

(1) Purveyors of discounted higher end clothes like Sierra Trading Post and Virtual Clothes Horse.
(2) WW Chan as a reliable but affordable bespoke option.
(3) Visits to area thrift stores.
(4) Come Christmas, birthday, anniversary and Father's day, I always make sure clothing wants are on my list.
(5) Bricks and mortar discounters like Last Call, Off 5th, Marshalls, etc.

I spend around $4,000 per year on clothes, but I probably get three times that in actual retail value.
post #4 of 93
If you limit yourself to only buying classic, stylish, and high-quality versatile pieces, and purchase them cheaply on ebay, at sales and outlets, or through the SF favorite sites (Lance, STP, Yoox, etc), then you will have a wardrobe containing the highest-quality labels that you can wear everywhere.

I find that I have tons and tons of clothes, but the pieces I wear most are also some of the most expensive and classic (at retail, not what I paid) I own (not always the case).

I want to thin down my wardrobe because I am an impulse buyer - something seems like a good deal, but if you don't end up wearing it, it was just a waste of money. I probably have 15 casual Express shirts that I picked up at various times on sale for $20-30. I hardly ever wear them. I could have spent that money on ebay and walked away with a couple Etro shirts I'd wear a lot more often.
post #5 of 93
I just settle for a good Hong Kong tailor (Chan). It's not the Row but for under 1000, it's close enough for me.

Now for shoes, a number of people are getting the trunk show EG's for the reason that you can customize so many things that it comes pretty close. It seems to me that this is a point of diminishing returns for many people on this board.
post #6 of 93
my folks and the elders always reminded me to always, if possible, pay in cash. i don't know, maybe thats a chinese mindset. (i am of chinese descent) but i still know a lot of old folks that disdain credit cards. i myself have found the credit card useful because of my fear of losing my wallet, especially when travelling.
post #7 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgoat
I read with fascination here some time ago as older wiser voices admonished a younger poster not to go into debt by charging a new suit on a credit card....obviously using the plastic is hardly ever the best choice, but since we're all clothes horses here I figured my obsessive compulsive shopping behavior was 'normal' (for us).

Interestingly enough, the exact opposite advice was recently given to me on this thread (athough the suit was much less expensive than a Savile Row Bespoke, the proportion to my total income was probably similar)
http://askandyaboutclothes.com/Forum...TOPIC_ID=21183
I received the suit on Monday and I am VERY impressed with it. Unfortunately, though, I did spend more money than I should have and, as a result, some of my less-popular pieces will be making an eBay appearance. Sartorial darwinism, if you will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acidicboy
my folks and the elders always reminded me to always, if possible, pay in cash. i don't know, maybe thats a chinese mindset. (i am of chinese descent) but i still know a lot of old folks that disdain credit cards. i myself have found the credit card useful because of my fear of losing my wallet, especially when travelling.

I think I might have to start taking this advice myself. The problem, though, is that it's so easy to blow $25+shipping for something on eBay and pay via paypal without even looking at your credit card. However, it's time for me to cut back and (despite all the benefits of using a credit card) I think this is going to be my answer...you can get a much better grasp of how much of your earnings you're spending when you're forking over bills.
post #8 of 93
Thread Starter 
some wonderful thoughts folks, please keep it coming

I will have to check out the EG trunk sales - I am more in need of custom shoes than suits - I figured bespoke would be more of a need for my feet (MTM should do for suits; I am looking into the Brooks Bros. Greenfield program). I tried Vogel for shoes in Chinatown but I was not too satisfied with the results - beautiful workmanship but the fit was seriously lacking imo.

so far I am doing pretty good on finding nice names for suits on ebay and at C21, etc. My biggest beef and waste of $ has been on suits that don't fit well (I am between 44 and 46R so I have suits that are too tight/loose, in spite of my shelling out the same amount I paid for the suits to Wilfred's or other NYC tailors to get them altered.)

My point being I am no snob about getting bespoke or SR just for bragging rights....I am just fastidious about fit and want to get a better look in some way. I could certainly live with a bespoke suit every two or three years, and I figure with proper care and heavier weight fabrics a good bespoke suit purchased thusly should create a nice wardrobe. Ebay and the discount stores have helped me build one up quickly since last fall.

The HK tailor route is also intriguing; cheaper than Kilgour's entry, no? I've also seen Geives suits on ebay for $500ish, though not sure if they are inferior or even related to the SR namesake. How does one go about getting fit for a Chan suit short of visiting HK?

As always your thoughts are all well appreciated!! I've learned so much through the generous sharing here over the last year or so.
post #9 of 93
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidicboy
my folks and the elders always reminded me to always, if possible, pay in cash. i don't know, maybe thats a chinese mindset. (i am of chinese descent) but i still know a lot of old folks that disdain credit cards. i myself have found the credit card useful because of my fear of losing my wallet, especially when travelling.
I don't know if it's Asian (I'm half Vietnamese) or foreign or what, but I don't understand how comfortable most people are with credit cards. I don't have one, and while I plan on eventually getting one just to up my credit score, I really can't imagine using one otherwise. Debit cards (real and generated accounts) serve fine for online purchases, and cash for everything else. Debt is a thief.
post #10 of 93
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nerdykarim
Interestingly enough, the exact opposite advice was recently given to me on this thread (athough the suit was much less expensive than a Savile Row Bespoke, the proportion to my total income was probably similar)
http://askandyaboutclothes.com/Forum...TOPIC_ID=21183
I received the suit on Monday and I am VERY impressed with it. Unfortunately, though, I did spend more money than I should have and, as a result, some of my less-popular pieces will be making an eBay appearance. Sartorial darwinism, if you will.



I think I might have to start taking this advice myself. The problem, though, is that it's so easy to blow $25+shipping for something on eBay and pay via paypal without even looking at your credit card. However, it's time for me to cut back and (despite all the benefits of using a credit card) I think this is going to be my answer...you can get a much better grasp of how much of your earnings you're spending when you're forking over bills.

Sartorial Darwinism - I love it! Yes, I am already eyeing up some victims for the ebay chopping block in my closet......

Before the board went down I had posted how I started keeping track of my spending this year and by far clothes were sucking my money up more than anything else.

With ebay I found it helped to link my paypal account to my checking account so I really have to think before buying. I never use my credit card on there anymore. I went out of control for a while buying other obsessions (musical equipment, watches) but I find they are easier to re-sell than clothes.
post #11 of 93
Credit cards can be useful for the associated benefits. As long as the bill is paid in full, they may more than outweigh annual fees, if there are any. For example, my rent and bills are paid with a credit card that gets me an airline upgrade every few months. I'd also rather use a charge card than debit card.

Chan visit a host of USA cities a few times a year. NYC is one of their stops.
post #12 of 93
Yeah, there are buyer protections, in which case they're useful. But aside from that, I don't really see the point.
post #13 of 93
I don't think it's such a good idea to give others direct access to your cash, which is what a debit card does. Better to give yourself some credit card protection and pay it off each month.
post #14 of 93
Thread Starter 
I'll keep my eyes peeled for Chan in NYC - is there a web site or mailing list?


Better to give yourself some credit card protection and pay it off each month.

you're right of course - but the trick is to pay it OFF each month - takes discipline.
post #15 of 93
You can see their tour dates here: http://www.wwchan.com/us.php
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