Pleasure and pretense are not mutually exclusive.
What is the motivation for paying four times as much for a pair of shoes as for another that fulfill the same function? If not that you understand the details and differences well enough to appreciate the differences?
What is even the motivation for seeking out the $2k pair of shoes as opposed to the $500.00 pair of shoes unless you understand the details and differences?
Read this forum...nine times out of ten it's the box. And SF is hardly a reflection of society at large.
From there it's just a matter of degree. Those who seek better often try to learn more in order to increase their appreciate and pleasure...and to justify their continuing interest. But not always. For some it's just too much trouble and they'd rather depend on the recommendations, and the work, focus and experience, of others who are motivated by details such as techniques and objective quality. How many times do we hear "what should I get?" when the real question being asked is "what should I like?"
What makes pretense distasteful...in my personal opinion...is that there is a failure to be honest with one's own self nevermind everybody else. And that leads to disrespect and confrontation.
Example...because I have Scottish ancestry, I sometimes wear a kilt. In the sense that I am not Scottish, it is a pretense. But the saving grace is that I Know that, I openly admit it and I do it with respect...esp. for people who are Scottish.
And no, the Ferrari salesman is the last person you should listen to if you really want to understand and appreciate.
I wholeheartedly agree.
I was sucked in along with everybody else for the "fancy boxes" as you put it but luckily I learnt fairly early on in my journey that all that glitters is not gold - despite what other people may say.
I picked the shoes I own based on the general aesthetic which pleased me most at the time (and still do) however, I now see that my money would have been better spent elsewhere (HW as opposed to GYW) but without going though bespoke the very sleek lasts which were my preference earlier on are seldom seen in HW RTW so it is a matter of priorities.
It is mostly as a result of your helpful posts that I have arrived at this conclusion and I genuinely thank you for it. Unfortunately it was only as a result of owning my first few pairs that I discovered Styleforum and decided to try and better understand the work rather than the finished article.
The shoes contained in this thread (which from what you have seen/read I assume you will concede are well made?) are unfortunately way above my budget so rather than own one pair of top end bespoke I would rather own a good rotation of HW RTW shoes (which I am slowly starting to amass).
I think admitting your failures (ignorance) is the opposite of pretentious and I can (and do) appreciate many things without understanding them.