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The price and worth of clothes

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
With all the high-level debates that have been posted on over the last week or so, I felt it an opportune time to chime in on some of the thoughts that have been swirling in my head as of late. High-level meaning instead of talking about quality/construction/workmanship etc, a lot of threads have focused on the reasoning and thinking behind the choice of clothes we were. I now would like to focus to the price of clothes and the worth they bring with that price.

Believe me when I say that for some clothes, the price more then justifies the worth the clothes. For others, the correlation are not as high, IMHO of course. I can understand suits and shoes being expensive because of the material cost, labor and life span. For shirts, at least for me I don't see the correlation. I have many shirts(50+) so far and treat them like gold. I hand launder them, iron them myself etc. I wash them after every wear. I rarely scrub my shirts because just preheating the collar, underarm, shirt cuffs and soaking the shirt for a few hours in lukewarm water does this trick. I get what I feel to be a good life span from a shirt but eventually, after 2 1/2 - 3 years of wear, the collar begins to fray. Am I the only one to experience this? Perhaps the tiny hairs on the back of the neck somehow does this? Obviously, the oxford cloth shirts are bullet-proof and don't show any signs of wear even after some 5-6 years.

As for the construction of a shirt, except for the attachments of buttons by hand, I really can't see the need for handwork on a shirt. I think handwork is a nice touch when attaching sleeves and creating the hem but IMHO, doesn't add much functionality as handwork does to a suit. I have focused on shirts because after suits and shoes, shirts are the third in the line of cost. Please let me know how you think and disagreements and well as agreements are welcomed.
post #2 of 14
*pssssh* paging Doctor Bresch, code red in men's clothing, paging Doctor Bresch *pssssh*
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by m@T
*pssssh* paging Doctor Bresch, code red in men's clothing, paging Doctor Bresch *pssssh*


I hope this doesn't get as far as that. Just a perspective, that's all.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
What I am trying to get to is what items do you feel have more weight relative to other items in one's wardrobe. Civilized discussions please.
post #5 of 14
I agree with you about shirts. No matter how well I take care of them, they give out sooner than other items of clothing. I thus tend to avoid super luxury shirtings. I have a handful of shirts that I take extremely good care of, and wear somewhat infrequently. These are the expensive ones. The others cost quite a bit less and don't get that treatment.
post #6 of 14
I put the value in shoes. A 20 year old pair of Aldens which I purchased for $90 is a great value. I can't speak to shirts or bespoke suits. I buy the sale suits, take good care of them and when they've done their time move on, try something else.
post #7 of 14
Trousers.

I generally take good care of my shirts; as I have too many of them there's a good rotation. With good shirts I find that a little wear actually becomes them. I'm wearing a 5 year-old shirt from Mountainhole & Lock today that is going strong -- better than certain shirts I have from RJ that are younger.
post #8 of 14
Given the hours of my job - I just do not have the time to regularly launder/iron shirts myself that is necessary for their longevity. That coupled with the realities of the modern laundry service, I generally treat shirts as somewhat disposable items. However, I must keep in mind that my company is a no jacket firm, so I realize that fit is still important. With all this considered, I generally get my shirts from three places -

1) H&K during sale time. Only striped shirts - love the matching stripes

2) BB no iron slim fit. Dont fit like tents and need no ironing. Are great in a pinch when I did not have time to get to the cleaners.

3) CEGO. Carl makes a great shirt, but does not charge so much that it makes me weap when the cleaners ultimately ruin it after about 2 or 3 years.
post #9 of 14
I've experienced ruining more shirts from sweat stains than fraying. As to fraying, maybe fraying is just not a big bother. I read over the weekend about someone noting how frayed Prince Charles suits were. If the shirt is fraying, then have the laundry up the starch level. Was it the head of the Fiat empire who was noted for his frayed American made shirts?
post #10 of 14
Good Thread...

However some people look beyond cost and look at the overall product. There are two different types of customers. If everyone was always looking for the cheapest then the North American economy would collapse.

Thoughts?
post #11 of 14
The most important thing for me about a shirt is the fit. I need a trim-fitting shirt. This is actually, apparently, a huge thing to ask for in the United States: a trim shirt that fits correctly. A shirt is not unlike a kitchen. You cannot expect one person to build a kitchen for you. You need a plumber to do the plumbing, a carpenter to do the cabinets, a tile setter to do the tile, et cetera. You let one person do all those things and it gets all fucked up. So with a shirt. And who is the first genius you have to deal with when ordering shirts? A salesperson. Who knows nothing about how to build a shirt. No matter how many classes they take from Ermenegildo Zegna. I mean, it is a rare thing to find a person in a men's store who knows what to do other than pass you a swatch book.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by damonallan
Good Thread...

However some people look beyond cost and look at the overall product. There are two different types of customers. If everyone was always looking for the cheapest then the North American economy would collapse.

Thoughts?

There's more than two types of customers. They're all on a continuum in my opinion. The North American economy wouldn't collapse, though. Een if everyone was economically rational (looking for the cheapest price on any given good), price for goods (and in turn, wages) will normalize at a certain level. The reason sales exist is because not everyone has rational behavior (actually, because the rationale for each individual takes a broad spectrum, ending up at different price levels at different times), so no, I don't think the sales or lack of sales really matter on a large-scale economy sense, at least in theory.


As for the main question posed, I do think that spending money on shirt handwork is not something I would prefer to do, and to be honest, there's some stuff in suits that I'd rather not pay for on a consistent basis (pick stitching, working buttonholes, although sometimes it is nice to have and I would like it for aesthetic reasons) and also other accessories. But the thing is, past a certain point, clothing is not a necessity and becomes a luxury. I don't think you can really talk about intrinsic worth of something if it's something that's not a basic necessity. The worth is set by market, and not tied to anything "real."

However, as a general rule, I think I wouldn't spend more than $150 on a shirt, more than $5000 on an MTM/Bespoke suit/sportcoat (probably less than $1500 on an RTW, inclusive of tailoring), and less than $600 on RTW shoes. I think that's where I see the value points for those items, if put in a corner.
post #13 of 14
I go through bespoke lace jabots like nobody's business.

Manto-san, if my memory serves me correctly there was no chapter in them in your book. Will they be in the sequel?
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by HitMan009

Believe me when I say that for some clothes, the price more then justifies the worth the clothes. For others, the correlation are not as high, IMHO of course.

before i joined this forum and aaac, i used to lurk at the gq forum. after a while i got very sick of it (with all due respect to gq forum members here) because the active posters tend to use name brands to describe what they're wearing. so instead of saying "i'm wearing a benchgrade captoe blucher in oak" someone would probably say "i'm wearing prada", or instead of saying "i'm wearing a canvassed, peak lapel sb suit" they'd be parading "in dior suits".

now, putting a premium on an item because of the perceived value of the name brand is a common thing. you pay more for jl's, as you pay more for a bmw or a house overlooking a beach. what i've learned from this forum (and aaac) is name brand does not equate to good quality. what does is construction, attention to details, the fit, etc... and personally i have learned and appreciated paying a premium on what i wear, most specially shoes and shirts, based on what i picked up here.
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