Originally Posted by unbelragazzo
To add to what Manton added to this, there are a number of factors that determine how nice the things you end up with are. How much money you have is a big one. Your ability to discern elegant from garish is another. Where you live and therefore what you have access to counts as well. Certainly there are some levels that can only be achieved by spending lots of money. But you can also spend lots of money without any discernment and end up with something terrible. If you develop good taste, then you can make the most of the money you do spend, and determine what more costly items might be worth to you. It's a good idea to try and do this as much as possible before you go spending lots of money, whether for you lots of money means tens of thousands on bespoke clothing or four digits spent on high-end brands on eBay.
To quote Frazier
, who I think hit this just right
But even studied carelessness cannot make a man well-dressed if he lacks, in Max Beerbohm's words, "physical distinction, a sense of beauty, and either cash or credit." Moreover, if age cannot wither, neither, for that matter, can custom-tailoring stale the man who has those attributes.
It is scarcely a coincidence that not only are most "best-dressed" men more than forty years of age, but also that they rarely, if ever, wear ready-made clothes. For in addition to good looks and clothes sense, they have by and large, enough money to afford the invaluable collaboration of superb tailors like Bernard Weatherill and H. Harris in New York and E. Tautz in London; of such American shirtmakers as Dudley G. Eldridge, Brooks Brothers, and Sulka's, and Turnbull & Asser of London; of bootmakers like Lobb of St. James's Street in London (which is, incidentally, one of the most beautiful shops in the world) and the Boston Bootmakers of Boston; of tiemakers like Dudley G. Eldridge, Sulka's, and Brooks Brothers in this country and Turnbull & Asser abroad; and, equally important, of barbers as skilled as, say, the celebrated Vincent Battaglia of the Plaza Hotel. "Best-dressed" men are, almost without exception, committed to nothing but the best (though not necessarily the most expensive), and even their shoes must be polished (and, frequently, boned) to perfection—just as was the case in Regency London when the death of one Lieutenant-Colonel Kelly of the First Foot Guards sent all the dandies racing to hire his valet, who was rumored to have a secret formula that had imparted the incomparable sheen to his late master's footwear. When, incidentally, the valet let it be known that he expected a salary of two hundred pounds a year, Brummell told him, "If you will make it guineas, I shall be happy to attend upon you." As things were to turn out, there was a certain ominousness about this anecdote, for it reveals Brummell at the critical moment when he was beginning to lose one of the three ingredients that combine to make a man well-dressed—in this case, his credit with his tailor, Schweitzer & Davidson of Cork Street, Piccadilly. When, a bit later on, he began to lose his trim figure as well, he was no longer the glass of fashion mirroring the most elegant of all eras.