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How Americans Spend Their Money on Clothes - Page 3

post #31 of 68
Originally Posted by Will View Post
Esquire magazine is proud that their average reader spends $300 on clothes each year.
Are you serious? I find that a bit hard to believe. Are you sure its not per month? That would be more realistic. If the OP is to be trusted, that means the average Esquire reader spends less than the lowest fifth of household earners on clothes. I don't understand how a clothing magazine could stay in business with such an un-lucrative market for advertisers.
post #32 of 68
Originally Posted by Threadbearer View Post
He told me that I was dressed like an Englishmen, and he pointed out that I was wearing a sport coat, a cashmere scarf, and hard-soled shoes. That's all it took to set me apart from my countrymen. Oh, bloody hell.

Same thing happened to me except it was from a Brittish female co-worker.
post #33 of 68
Originally Posted by Fuuma View Post
What's the average in here? 10-25K?

Per 1/4 right?
post #34 of 68
That Maffofan is a crazy guy, in a good way of course. I am inclined to believe he's the future president of North Korea or P.R.O.C. Okay, I kid, I kid.
post #35 of 68
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post
I would echo the opinions of others that the reason expenditures on clothes are so low is simply that a lot of people, irrespective of economic circumstances, simply don't like to spend a money on clothes. Case in point: I know one fellow who makes about $300K a year. His wife also makes very good money. Awhile back he had to go to a wedding or something and discovered that the moths had ruined his blazer, so off he hies himself that citadel of masculine elegance Men's Wearhouse. There he purchases a new blazer, some slacks, a dress shirt, a tie and a pair of dress shoes. However, he was quite indignant to find that the total tab for his new ensemble came to a whacking $400! What more can I say?

I would venture that many who would regard spending $300+ for a pair of shoes or $700 on a suit as outrageous extravagance are the proud possessors of Harley-Davidsons, RVs, wide screens and other such necessities of life.

I have often remarked in the fora that I am always amazed by how much high-quality (and frequently overpriced) menswear is offered for sale at places like South Coast Plaza. I wonder who buys all that stuff, so rarely do I see an even halfway decently turned out man.

The notion that cost precludes many men from dressing well I find flawed, given the ridiculous sums that many will spend on blue jeans, sneakers and such. The other day, my stepson cajoled me into buying him a pair of "7" jeans at a ridiculous price at the Off-5th, although every fiber of my being cried out against this stupid extravagance.

Just a few thoughts.

The economic analysis for Australia would probably be similar to the US as far as %age of annual income goes. Perhaps even lower. I believe the French have a higher national wardrobe expenditure.

I too am amazed that people driving BMWs etc complain about the price of a polyester shirt and glued shoes. I see people driving high end cars wearing worn out t-shirts and shorts. Never mind that a pair of welted shoes will last longer than many an expensive car.

The same goes for high end watches. I am amazed by the range and selection available. Yet my watchmaker says that high end watches today are all grossly overpriced for what you get - mostly driven by marketing. People will gladly fork out thousands and thousands for a gaudy Rolex but gasp at the prospect of paying a few hundred dollars for a pair of shoes.

It is also funny the excuses people make when you point out that quality clothes last longer and are therefore cost effective. You get these sob stories from the same BMW owners etc complaining they can't afford it because the children's school tuition fees are too high, interest rates are too high blah blah. If you change the subject it won't be long before you get them bragging about the new computer, plasma TV etc that they just brought...
post #36 of 68
It is always difficult to have an intelligent conversation about spending because it is part of our core values systems...

Some people will spend a few grands on a cruise ,on a car ,on a meal others on a pair of shoes or smoking themselves to death....
Everybody is coming up with some great analysis on how ,when or why but at the end ,we need to live and satisfy our inner lifes...
post #37 of 68
Originally Posted by globetrotter View Post
I have 12 suits - average price $500-600, bespoke in India. 10 jantzen shirts, $42 each; maybe 20 ties at average $100 each. a half dozen pair odd bespoke trousers, waistcoats, a few nice sweaters - total maybe $500. I have about 50 or so shirts that I had made in india, at $21 a piece. a leather jacket, bespoke in india, and a cashmere overcoat, ditto - maybe $500 together. 2 pair church shoes, 1 pair tricker, 2 pair vass bespoke - less than $3,000. 1000 bucks worth of underwear and socks. so, total 10K-14K - but this is everything I have bought over the past 8-10 years. pretty much works out to less than $1,500 a year, and my wife never had to touch her sewing machine, and, aside from a half dozen ties, nothing bought used. almost everything, aside from part of the shoes, most of the ties and the underwear, is bespoke.
Okay, so say you're the average American and you read this and set out to build such a wardrobe over the next decade. Problem is, until the wardrobe is done, you need to keep wearing your current clothes. But since they're crap, they keep falling apart and need to be replaced until you've saved up enough to buy the next investment piece. Now how long does it take to build such a wardrobe spending $1500/year? Remember also that the average American is gaining 1-2 lbs/year. So by the time you're done, the first investment clothes don't fit anymore and the cycle starts again. ----- People are satisficing: buying the cheapest clothes that are socially acceptable for their current circumstances. For many of them this is economically rational.
post #38 of 68
Originally Posted by JohnnyLaw View Post
I don't think that most people dress poorly because they spend too little on clothes. They dress poorly because they don't care.

If spending more money on clothes automatically made you look better, then rap stars and professional athletes would be the best dressed people on the planet.

The average man doesn't buy clothes that fit properly. He also doesn't pay attention to colours or patterns or what goes well with what. I think that it's as simple as that.

You're oversimplifying things by a lot.

First of all, the rapper has no clue on how to dress better, has never heard of bespoke and never went to a tailor. Second, wearing clothes that fit will not make you popular in the poor areas, because you don't want to be associated with rich people if you want to be popular with the masses. In fact the reverse is true with rappers: wearing clothes way way too loose is hip, because it sends the message that you hate rich people too. Third, culturally it's considered unmanly to care too much about clothes. What about patterns, etc?

Clothes that fit really do make you look better. You have to be blind not to see it.

post #39 of 68
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by FidelCashflow View Post
Wow... just wow... I can believe that your co-workers might resent you, but I'm pretty sure it's not your clothes. To paraphrase SoCal: I have the to question the reality:fantasy ratio of OP
I don't have trouble at work. This is not about me. And perhaps resentment is a strong word. And perhaps I'm wrong here. But ... It seems to me like there are a ton of threads and comments, here and on the other clothing forums, about the passive-aggressive behavior, the "are you interviewing today" comments, the dirty looks, that some posters endure on a regular basis. Is this not resentment? Is that not a good word to express it? And is this not an obstacle for some young people who want to "dress up"? Every month there's another long thread, too, on whether or not it is polite to dress well if all of your co-workers are slobs. I'm pretty sure that I am not fantasizing this stuff, Mr. melodramatic disbelief. If that New York Times data is to be trusted, and most men who could dress professionally only spend $60 to $125 per month on clothing, then yes I think money is the main reason they dress like slobs. I'm not some kind of socialist arguing that it's not their fault. They could have better taste. In fact poor taste compounds the problem. If you sink $100 of that paltry budget into an NFL jersey that you wear thirty weekends a year, that takes a huge chunk out of a budget that's more urgently needed for workplace clothing. Poor quality also compounds the problem. A lot of the mall-quality clothing, which we find at the Gap and at the discounters, does not hold up well. If you drop $60 on a pair of Gap khakis that are going to fray horribly within a year, and that's your average trouser purchase, you're not going to dress like globetrotter at the end of ten years, even if you outspend the average for household income bracket. This is not a political argument I am making but a historical argument. I'm not suggesting there is anything we can do about it. Rather I am better describing the train wreck we see every day when we go to places of work. Most Americans spend little money on clothes, they have poor taste and misspend what they have, and they buy a lot of poor quality clothing that must frustrate them when they bother to care. No wonder they hate buying clothes, and no wonder they make some of their better-dressed co-workers (if these forums are to be trusted) uncomfortable.
post #40 of 68
Im on about $10,15k a year.... Having typed that, I am now off to seek counseling.
post #41 of 68
Thread Starter 
Don't feel guilty--unless you are borrowing the money from globetrotter's mother.
post #42 of 68
Originally Posted by SoCal2NYC View Post
Per 1/4 right?

I'm taking I guess; I'm not saying some don't spend a lot more...
post #43 of 68
I hit a sartorial asymptote a while ago and took a dark turn into home improvement and furniture.
post #44 of 68
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by johnapril View Post
I hit a sartorial asymptote a while ago and took a dark turn into home improvement and furniture.

Nice use of the word "asymptote." You mean you spent more and more and more and then one day stopped altogether?
post #45 of 68
Originally Posted by johnapril View Post
I hit a sartorial asymptote a while ago and took a dark turn into home improvement and furniture.
I have forecast this to happen to me this year as I get my own place. I really hope it can happen
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