The Official Merciless Clothes Culling™ Thread - Page 2
Edited by RSS - 3/12/12 at 7:06am
I came here a couple of years ago needing an education. As F.C. discusses in his "Beginners" thread:
What is a beginner?
They are often asked by men who did not grow up with learning how to dress in coat and tie, and who seem to have not a soul in their personal, social, professional, or even retail lives who can counsel them (or if there are such people, they are people who are not trusted.)
This was (and still is in many ways) me. My father was a physician and rarely wore coat and tie, and even then, when he did wear them I knew it was not something to emulate. So I scuffled around knowing that I didn't know what to do about learning how to dress professionally, but unsure how to learn. AAAC and then SF has taught me much, and I am grateful. I started by buying better shirts, shoes, accessories and suits and getting a better sense of what fit.
In with Canali, Zegna, TA, BB, AE. Much of this was used.
Out with XXXX (brand names have been redacted to protect against profound embarrassment. In addition I can't remember what I wore, only that it was absolute crap).
As I gained knowledge and enjoyed better fit and higher quality garments, I got pickier about what I would wear. I built a good relationship with a tailor I trust.
In with Alden, C&J (bench and handgrades), MTM shirts, Borrelli, Brioni and Isaia RTW suits and shirts. Some of this was used, some new.
Out with some of the Canali and Zegna, and all the AE.
I feel that I now have a pretty good idea about what fits, but I have found that I keep getting more persnickety about fit/quality. What was good enough last year is no longer. Where I would accept a center vent or pleated trouser in an otherwise well fitting suit, I now cannot. Shirts that are off in the sleeve by 1/2" are out.
In with RLPL and Oxxford suits, Vass and DC Lewis shoes, Hober ties
Out with most of the remaining Zegna, Canali, BB suits and all shirts that don't fit right after a visit to the tailor. This is about 30-40 shirts.
I am now getting ready for my first MTM suit (Samuelsohn). I want to compare that to the Oxxford Type A I just bought. If MTM is what I expect, I will be cycling through another round of closet churn. I fully expect this pattern to continue until I have a closet of bespoke suits and shirts.
"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. " I'm pretty sure this quote was not sartorially intended, but it fits regardless. No pun intended.
Nothing specific, but it's generally about two things, with both of which I believe you have some familiarity: fit and combination. There are people here who get these things and people who don't. I have learned from both. One thing I can say is that it isn't about 'brand' and those people who think that throwing out all of Brand X and Y and replacing it with Brand A and B will solve their style problems are probably going to be disappointed.
Three months ago, I tried to donate 4 of my old shirts. They had seen good use (3-4 years) but because of fit reasons and bad craftsmanship (lurking in SF usually "creates" this reasons ) it was time to give them away. So I washed, ironed and folded them, leaving them at the hall. The same day, my two sisters came home and seeing them on the table, decided to try them on and took them with them. Since then, they occasionally use them in their outfits.
In my defense, one of the shirts was black, none had any bizarre pattern and both of my sisters study architecture.
There are a couple of places I have too many things - coats, ties, maybe shoes, but overall I am pretty satisfied with this method.
The best advantage is that it enforces discipline on the buying process - I know something will have to go everytime I buy something.
Pretty simple philosophy: if it hasn't been worn in the last six months and it is not part of a costume, sports wear such as hunting or skiing outfits, or outerwear, it is gone.
If sports wear or outerwear, gone if not worn in one year.
If it is part of a costume, gone if not worn in two years.
Around every spring and fall, I gather up the things I haven't been wearing a lot, or at all. Since I bought each for a reason, I can't just bring myself to donate immediately. So I put them into The Pile, high on a shelf in the closet.
If the next time the culling begins I haven't pulled it out of The Pile to wear, it goes. The Pile goes. The psychology helps. I give the clothes the last chance.
Next I have to start doing this with sportscoats, but that will be harder; the investment is higher. Still, I think I've seen the most improvement in the non-bespoke folks when they really get fierce in culling their coats and suits. It must be one of the primary gateways to getting better.
Edited by RSS - 3/12/12 at 11:46am
I've aggressively culled my tie collection over the past few months. I noticed that I had a good 40-50 ties that I haven't worn in years, and are simply no longer of any interest to me (dislike the pattern, width, fabric etc.). Gave away the whole lot to a couple of cousins graduating college - the vast majority were repps from Brooks, but they were a few pieces from Brioni, T&A, Hilditch, Andrew's, Tyrwhitt, Vineyard Vines and Ferragamo in there as well.