Good Natured Advice Thread (improving a business wardrobe)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Claghorn, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    Ignoring your rather distasteful need to make presumptions about the income of others in your attempt to prove a point, there is a reason some expensive brands receive more vitriol than others. Your arguments about appealing to the wealthy and the value of convenience could just as easily be made for Ralph Lauren Black Label, Ralph Lauren Purple Label and many other higher quality brands that are readily accessible in retail environments. Armani charges a massive brand premium and doesn't give you anything for it. To your car example, imagine if an entry level Audi sold for 2/3 of the price of a Ferrari. A Ferrari may be "just a car," but it is a pretty damn awesome one and I can understand why someone would want to buy one. I would have a major issue with the entry level Audi selling for 2/3 of the price of a Ferrari regardless of whether I could afford it. Same thing with Armani vs. other brands that offer the same convenience. I definitely understand the reason for the high end RTW business; I just happen to view Armani is a prestigious way of buying fake product for far too close to the price of the real thing. Slight exaggeration mind you.
     
  2. sugarbutch

    sugarbutch Bearded Prick Dubiously Honored

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    ORLY?

    [​IMG]



    jedwards, I think you're mischaracterizing the objection to the Luxury Brands[​IMG]. mimo gets at the problem above. The mainline "luxury" goods are currently produced to standard only slightly above that of generic retail garments, but they trade on a heritage of handwork and quality which it at odds with their offerings. As he notes, Ferraris and Lamborghinis may be "just cars" but they do perform at a level commensurate with their cost, and they're also manufactured using materials and techniques not available in mainstream cars. If you want those things, you can't get them anywhere else. With fused suits, your options are plentiful and don't require spending multiple thousands to get them.
     
  3. jedwards

    jedwards Senior member

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    I was worried someone would mischaracterise my meaning about incomes.

    FWIW, I would probably be deemed a middle class earner. At this income level, I do not have the disposable income to buy a 5k tom ford suit. But nor do I make comments about the foolishness of tom fords pricing strategy because I understand the simple fact... I am just not his target market.
    So, I still have the mindset of "there is so many better things I can buy for the same 5k" because I do not have his REAL target market's mindset of "can't wait to wear it to that party, probably won't wear it again as it's too memorable but at least I'll look great in the night".

    As for Armani, I stand by comment (although I comment on his suits)... Mr. Armani never said " I'm going to give you the absolute best quality and construction garment you can find for price / quality ratio" I'm sure, if you asked him where the best quality suits can be had for the prices he charged he would probably point you to Naples or savile row.

    Armani brand says (paraphrasing and interpreting of course) "I'm going to give you my vision of Italian elegance which will make you stand out from the crowd"

    As long as it does the above and the materials are of a decent quality.... I don't see what the problem is with the prices he charges?

    Again, I go back to my initial point - if I truly, truly have the disposable income to buy an Armani suit, it's not really an issue if it's fused or whatever because I am not asking it to be anything other than it is. I just like the design. If I want a better construction suit, I'm fully aware I can go to savile row.

    Back to my Levi's example which I can easily afford. Sometimes you just wanna try a new wash jeans, you know you might only wear them for the summer but that's ok, because for my income level, I happy to "lose" the money if I decide to stop wearing them in 3 months. I know if I want the best quality ever jeans I am probably gonna have to go through japan or some such.

    But there is no point a guy on welfare who shops in charity shops telling me "those jeans are not worth the money!!! Spend some time thrifting and you will get a better pair of better construction and denim"

    He may well be right. But even though we both pay the same price for the Levi's, the "cost" of the jeans is very different to me than they are to the welfare guy, and I am happy to accept the cost based on my current economic circumstances. His reference point is different, understandably so.

    I hope I have conveyed my point well enough so that people understand this is not about "looking down" on those who can't afford certain brands. That's not my intention. It's more about understanding target markets and recognising that in most instances, average income guys should not be shopping in Luxury Brand store because even if they have saved many months salary for that suit, the "cost" to them is just too high.
     
  4. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Senior member

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    Tom Ford is vastly different from Armani when it comes to construction/fabric quality. The cut of TF is very hard to mimic, so if you're a fan of that you'll have to go there, despite the cost. The cut of a contemporary Armani suit isn't anything special, nor is the construction quality. If you could by a Ferrari for 300k, and the exact same car but not called Ferrari for a 100k, knowing that no one would ever know the brand unless you tell them, would you really go for the 300k car? If so, advertising has worked it's magic on you.
     
  5. MGD83

    MGD83 Senior member

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    I do enjoy some designer brands, Canali, Drake's and Zegna come to mind. However Jed makes some valid points. I have a friend who recently spent 640$ on a pair of the ugliest, black plasticky pair of Prada derbies I have ever seen. He purchases clothes based on the brand appeal, and among his other circle of friends in separate social settings he thinks his clothes are the shit. Now, I myself know most of the designer stuff is below par, and I get most of my suiting made from my long time tailor. But there will always be a demand for products from Armani, Tom Ford, Gucci, Burberry etc. from those who embrace that kind of fashion lifestyle. We here on SF are in the minority of men who have taken an interest in classic menswear, bespoke tailoring, and embracing the "little guy" companies for our ties, pocket squares, and shoes. The average guy doesn't know Edward Green or Carmina shoes, but they sure as hell know Tod's or Prada, and I can see the appeal of wanting to open your jacket during a night out with the "Tom Ford" label on it instead of "exclusively tailored for ________".
     
  6. TM79

    TM79 Senior member

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    Ah ok sorry - back to the shop to work on that mind reading machine! Drats.
     
  7. jedwards

    jedwards Senior member

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    People keep talking about construction and quality. In some ways, to the target market, these are almost irrelevant.

    They just want to look nice. That's it.

    To them, that may mean Giorgio Armani head to toe. To others, Ralph Lauren purple label, to others still Prada etc etc.

    There is no point making the argument to or about these people "well they should educate themselves to buy something with a better cost/quality ratio otherwise they are just idiots susceptible to advertising"

    We're all susceptible to advertising, what do you think all the drooling about rubinacci is, it's 50% about branding and heritage etc. The high price also makes the product more desirable as any psychologist will tell you, There will be tailors equally as skilled in Naples who can give you the same handwork and cut for maybe half the price.

    The diference? Well maybe, they don't have the rubinacci houses heritage or clientele list, or lovely atmosphere where you can sit and be served coffee or fine brandy etc.

    So does that make the rubinacci guy a fool for paying more?
    Not at all, because to him it's worth it for the imperceptible branding differences he experiences.

    Same with armani. Maybe I can get a better suit for the same price elsewhere, but customer may like the Armani store, history more than suitsupply or whatever it is that people are proposing here.
     
  8. AJL

    AJL Senior member

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    Damned uppity Bostonians...(can you read my mind now? emoti-hint: ;) )
     
  9. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    Pretty much no luxury brand is going to give you the best quality / price ratio. You will always be paying for the brand. That said, there are $3,000 (or whatever price you want to put in here) that are significantly better made than other $3,000 suits. Even people who do not really care what things cost if they like them, however, may assume that if they are paying a high retail price for something that they are getting a high quality item. While there is some skepticism of luxury brands in general around here, the reason Armani gets trashed more than most is because the assumption that you are getting a quality garment (even if it is implicit) is not valid, while that assumption is valid for many other brands.

    Now, if one takes pride in wearing a certain brand (e.g. Armani) and intends to wear a suit only once (in an extreme case) and doesn't care how often one has to replace it, fine. There are certain people who are brand obsessed and don't care about other details. With any brand / price level, you are going to have people for whom a purchase is an aspirational goal or an afterthought. You also have people in the middle who can afford to buy the products regularly but might reasonably expect that paying a high price is getting them something of good quality as many use price and prestigious sounding brands as a proxy for quality. Some people with extremely high incomes may not care and it's their right to spend their money as they wish, but there are a decent number of people out there who believe they are getting a high quality suit when they shop at a place like Armani. A lot of those people are core customers in Armani's target market too; it's not just the too rich to care set. With your jeans example, you know that they may only last you through the summer and are fine with that. That is you making an informed choice based on what you value. If, however, you assumed those jeans would last you for years, that would be another story.

    Generally on SF, we want to help people make well-informed choices. That means telling someone that they might be expecting too much when they shell out thousands for an Armani suit. What they do with that knowledge is up to them.
     
  10. AJL

    AJL Senior member

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    On the versatility scale how would you rate this:

    [​IMG]

    I figure it should work pretty well with the MC standard light blue shirt/light grey trews combo, due to the darker blue and rust tones, no? Not exactly navy blazer versatility I understand, but probably easier to work with than this I would think:

    [​IMG]

    Looking at NMWA's Formosa mto offerings, and trying to figure what will work for me. Already considering hopsack blazer, which will be a nice replacement for my tired Zegna number (assuming sizing works), but considering one other "sportier" item amidst the other possibles.

    The lower item is the Cantarelli cream and grey check also offered at NMWA, which didn't work for me either in sizing or colorway.
     
  11. Rudals

    Rudals Senior member

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    NMWA is the place to shop!
     
  12. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    ^ Summer odd jackets are tough. I kind of feel like there is navy blazer versatile and everything else. Maybe another solid colored linen odd jacket would be a bit more versatile but there's not a lot of room to go. I'd agree it probably would be more versatile than the Cantarelli jacket and would think you'd get a fair amount of use out of it (though probably would be tough to wear more than 1x per week). I'd go for it if the Formosa sizing works for you.
     
  13. jedwards

    jedwards Senior member

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    Fair point and I don't disagree, but we must apply the same logic to all the SF approved brands then.

    I've yet to see any such groupthink consensus against rubinacci, savile row, john lobb and others where price long, long ago left any resemblance to cost/quality ratios. (Savile row a possible exception as i don't know how much Mayfair rent is a factor of the suit)

    It's "cool" on here to slate mainstream luxury brands and the guys who wear them. I'm just trying to point out the other side.

    I own several pairs of Crockett jones, carmina and Gucci and personally I see no difference in terms of objective quality when it comes to my Gucci shoes. But they're not approved on here because they're too well known and not "artisan" enough. The same people saying that will be drooling over Gaziano Girling with a similar finish, price x 2, because they are seen as an insider brand. As it's an insider brand, they're happy to pay the x2 cost. But because Gucci or whoever is no longer an "insider" brand, all of a sudden, everyone is an expert about their supposed inferiority in the way they wouldn't be about john lobb or rubinacci which retain their magic amongst iGents, let's be honest, in most instances only because they are more exclusive and highly priced.

    There's so much psychology and group think on here when it comes to labels. But people refuse to acknowledge it applies to their own spending preferences, hypocritically calling Luxury Brand store shoppers "sheep" but convincing themselves they buy only on quality and construction. A lot of the brands worshipped on here are worshipped solely because they are relatively hard to procure versus what the man on the street can procure / endure to wait for.

    We like the fact that we are not going to walk into the local city centre and see someone wearing Carmina or GG, or Naples tailoring or whatever.... Objectively speaking carmina may not be much different from Gucci shoe quality, nor Naples your local tailor.... But of course because we know everyone in a metropolitan city now has access to Gucci etc, it's no longer good enough for us, so we tell ourselves we're sourcing these underground brands purely for their better "quality" and to "support the artisans" and complain loudly that 'Prada' is just not the same quality anymore (now that it's popular and more accessible anyway).
     
  14. AJL

    AJL Senior member

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    Thanks for weighing in. Don't you think this might work in fall & spring also? It is a medium weight fabric I believe, and Greg proposes to have it fully lined.

    Not only wouldn't I wear it more than 1x a week, probably not even once a month. Strictly an occasional suit/SC wearer, I just like to have a few nice things on hand when the situation arises.
     
  15. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    i want one so bad. trying to figure out if i can swing one. id wear it with solid tie or tieless, and with gray, blue or brown pants.

    --

    im ambivalent towards armani, im cool with some gucci and prada i dont like much. so. yeah.
     

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