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Is expensive clothing really necessary anymore?

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
My basic question is if all these expensive, highly marketed clothes can truly improve the average man's appearance in relation to their cost? I have encountered several men recently dressed in all the ubiquitous luxury brands (kiton, borrelli, zegna, oxxford, etc.), and the majority of them, while sartorially impeccable, were still very underwhelming visually. On paper, these outfits should have been sartorial homeruns, but they adapted to the ordinariness of their wearers. All of the well known top brands seem to engage nowadays in the heavy, intense advertising that the board members here deride and decry. The majority of the price of their products nowadays is marketing and profit margins and the exclusivity factor is constantly diminishing. Sure, I understand the free market capitalism aspect, and if kiton can easily get 5-10k per suit, then why not! But are we deluding ourselves that these stratospheric prices derive from handwork and manual/artisanal labor costs rather than marketing expenses, opulent real estate in the most expensive cities, and huge profit margins like all other luxury goods manufacturers? Is the contribution these clothes make to an attractive appearance on the average looking man really validated in the majority of cases? I am curious to hear other's opinions.
post #2 of 58
Of course not, Old Navy and H&M are the only clothing anyone needs.
post #3 of 58
Quote:
I have encountered several men recently dressed in all the ubiquitous luxury brands (kiton, borrelli, zegna, oxxford, etc.), and the majority of them, while sartorially impeccable, were still very underwhelming visually.

Good style has nothing (well almost nothing) to do with the price of your clothing.

If you don`t have style it helps a little if wear expensive clothes. If you have style, it helps a lot if you wear expensive clothes.
post #4 of 58
I've heard costume designers say, that if a man has a fit body, is on the tall and slender side, and under forty . . . a three hundred dollar suit, will 'show' at least like one worth, a thousand dollars. I think that's probably true. On the average person, however . . . packaging is more important.

When Saint Laurent was in business, he produced garments of such surpassing beauty and quality, that they were worth whatever money it took, to own them. Now, I don't think see anything compelling about women's clothes . . . but I do think that women need packaging, even more than men. Bring back hosiery, please.
post #5 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrri77
kiton, borrelli, zegna, oxxford, seem to engage nowadays in the heavy, intense advertising that the board members here deride and decry.

Highly marketed? Intense advertising? I think not. A little print but zero radio and television.
post #6 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrri77
Is the contribution these clothes make to an attractive appearance on the average looking man really validated in the majority of cases? I am curious to hear other's opinions.

Probably not. But I don't spend a lot of money on RTW. At Oxxford and Kiton prices, I find I can do a lot better with bespoke. If I drop more than $200 on a shirt, it's because I know the guy who is cutting it. Similarly with shoes and suits. If it doesn't fit, who cares how well it's made or what sort of packaging it has at the point of sale?
post #7 of 58
Excellent query.

I think these brands (zegna, brioni, kiton, etc.) do engage in a great deal of marketing. You can see it in Asia. They have a clear mass-market image they are trying to push and it sells well. It is of a successful, confident man who has taste. He is not a man with unique style or any particular creativity, but he does understand quality and tradition. He believes in the importance of details and believes that style must be subtle (and display wealth). This image probably has a far greater audience, potentially, than D&G, Dior Homme, YSL, etc., which appeal only to the showy, fashion-conscious sons of the wealthy. It appeals to those with taste and those who want to show off their money, which they have made themselves. This image is already popular and will become steadily more so - particularly in the developing world, where displays of subtle, traditional, style (with the message being taste and money - "I am a successful, respectable, member of the bourgeoisie who understands that style must be understated") will gain increasing popularity.
post #8 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrri77
I have encountered several men recently dressed in all the ubiquitous luxury brands (kiton, borrelli, zegna, oxxford, etc.), and the majority of them, while sartorially impeccable, were still very underwhelming visually. On paper, these outfits should have been sartorial homeruns, but they adapted to the ordinariness of their wearers.
I would say the makers you suggest, besides Zegna, are hardly well known. They appeal to a very small portion of consumers. You do point out an interesting experience though. When I first started visiting the Styleforum I learned a lot about what quality clothes are, how to look for them, etc. I was fascinated by the minute details of quality jackets, pants, etc. What was interesting though was when I started to look for these items and found them I was ultimately left kind of empty. Oh that's it! A Kiton jacket! Yes, it's beautiful, incredibly well crafted, fits me like a glove etc., etc. but ultimately, it's a jacket. It keeps me warm, comfortable, and confident, that's it. Obviously on this forum we treat clothes with great reverence, but I believe you need to balance getting the details right and frankly not giving a fuck. Clothes are a part of life and should be lived in, not fretted about constantly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrri77
Is the contribution these clothes make to an attractive appearance on the average looking man really validated in the majority of cases?
In both this quote and the one above one hackneyed phrase comes to mind, the clothes make the man. The most stylish men I've ever met have spent less on their entire outfit than what I've spent on shoes. a.
post #9 of 58
[quote=Ivan Kipling]I've heard costume designers say, that if a man has a fit body, is on the tall and slender side, and under forty . . . a three hundred dollar suit, will 'show' at least like one worth, a thousand dollars.../QUOTE]

And a good bespoke suit will look like the couple thousand dollars it probably cost.
post #10 of 58
I think the point is that MTM/bespoke can attenuate for a not-so-good body/frame where RTW would highlight the bad parts.

For myself, it's the opposite, I am relatively lean with an athletic built (athletic as in triathlete and martial arts, but can still bench 225) and many people comment that I seem taller than I really are because of my posture, yet I have to go with MTM (zegna) because RTW (perhaps catering for the not so athletic?) makes me look worse.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan Kipling
but I do think that women need packaging, even more than men. Bring back hosiery, please.

Amen. Buy that man a beer!
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by xarope
I am relatively lean with an athletic built (athletic as in triathlete and martial arts, but can still bench 225)
post #13 of 58
It sounds like the guys that live in your area have a lot of money and little style. The suits that you mentioned should look great on a man if they are properly tailored. The quality of the clothes makes them last longer and wear better but it does not influence the way the clothes fit on an individual. In other words, you can look horrible in Kiton or Brioni, but you shouldn't. If this isn't perfectly clear...I just got back from the bar.
post #14 of 58
This reminds me of the Jaguar marketing campaign trying to showcase the car firm as something of a marker of taste when in fact it's simply insipid outer shells with inferior quality American derived innards.

I think Jaguar "gave" some cars to numerous British celebrities in order to show off that "taste factor".
post #15 of 58
I live in Madrid, and I often travel to Germany. At least in these countries, I do not see much mass marketing by Zegna, and even less by Kiton and Brioni (actually, I just became aware of these two brands some years ago, as a men's fashion shop across the streat from my office sells them; I actually wondered why these never-heard-of-this-brand clothes were so expensive...). What is mass marketed here in Spain, for example, except for local brands (like Emidio Tucci -lower middle end- and Loewe -high end-), is mainly stuff like Hugo Boss and, above all, Armani.
In what concerns cloth brands like Dormeuil, Loro Piana or Scabal, I never heard of them until very recently...(neither have most of my friends and colleagues; I had a Loro Piana jacket made this summer and as it looks quite "special", a lot of people have asked me where I got it from and none of them ever heard of Loro Piana...).
If they do advertising to an extent such as to substantially influence the price of the cloth, well, then it is in forums that I do not visit.
Considering expensive shoes, I have seen some odd adverts by Tods here in Spain, but nothing by most of the other high end shoes venerated here on SF.
I thus think that the high price of some items cannot be explained mainly due to the marketing expenses. Of course, that does not mean that I think that the price is mainly due to the manufacturing costs. I guess that sometimes prices are also kept high in order to guarantee this feeling of "exclusivity".
This reminds me of the old joke about these two new rich Russians that meet in the doorway of an expensive restaurant.
Ivanovich says:
- Hey, Sergejovich, you are wearing the same tie as I!
- Hey, Ivanovich, that is true! How much did you pay for yours?
- 1000 dollars.
- Hey, then these bastards cheated me, they only charged me 500 for mine...
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