Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Claghorn, Jan 6, 2014.
Edit- Nevermind, I'll let Stitch take this.
First off, let me say clearly, I have no hate towards thrifters, there are some top notch fit posters that are almost entirely thrifters, though some of them do "splurge" here and there. Maybe they drop 400 or so on a Spoo LuxeSwap suit... But again, I really feel they are the minority.
What I mean is this. Thrifting basically means, catch as catch can. You scour the racks, and notice a decent item, from a decent brand, for pennies on the dollar, so you get it. Keep doing that, and for the most part, you end up with a closet full of one offs, that dont really do much for building a wardrobe. Lets take RTCs recent fit with that real light blue, almost teal, SC. A great SC, sure, but its far from a staple, and its obvious when you wear it. Its not something that you can wear with a ton, and you cant wear it often without going noticed.
So, do that x 25, and you have 25 ok to nice items, that do not a wardrobe make. To really put together a solid wardrobe, you need to not take the leftovers. You need to hone in on what you need, find those items in good quality and well fitting iterations, and that is going to require bitting the bullet from time to time.
If that means you only get to kop every 2 to 3 months, instead of all time time, so be it, but in a few years you can have a killer closet, instead of a ton of fly by night "neat" items that are an aggregation of stuff one happened upon. In that sense, 2 years down the line, most hard core thrifters will have a weaker all around wardrobe than one who spends more, even if in quantity they have more items.
As well, it requires a little more brain and a little less heart, which is hard, because buying things is mostly an emotional experience, and to excel, you need to quash your emotions a bit. For example, did I "want" to buy a navy suit, or a bunch of variations of gray pants? No, not really, there were a lot more fun exciting items I wanted, but after doing that for a year, I realized that I had a weak wardrobe, even if expansive.
Id bet that most people think I have a lot of clothes. I dont. I have 5 SCs, 6 suits, about 8 pairs of pants, and ton of variations of boring blue shirts and mostly boring ties, and I think 5 usable PSs. But they are almost all interchangeable in combination, and they are all solid, well fitting, nice, items (imo). Some cost a pretty penny, others did not. Even shoes, which I feel I have a lot off, my number is 12 in total.
It took me 4 years to get here. The first 2 were essentially a loss. I was scrambling for all the coolest things I could find, and in the end, I had a lot of cool things, most of which I bought on the cheap, that were all over the place in terms of versatility. I have almost none of those items any more. The next 2 were spent selling off that stuff, and buying targeted, mostly higher priced, better, more useful, items. I spent more money in total, not exceedingly so, but certainly in the last 2 years more cheddar was spent than in the first 2. I have less items, but I have a much better, much more useful, wardrobe, now, than I did then.
And that is what I mean that imo, for most people, you gain more in the long run by spending more money on less items.
Oh, I dont make a lot of money. Dont think that Im some baller spouting off telling people to just spend spend spend like it means nothing. Im saying buck up, and spend more per item, according to your financial abilities, and over time, you will almost certainly be better off.
I can think of exactly one member, possessing a mostly thrifted wardrobe, that I would consider well dressed.
Great post Mr. Stitches...
Right, I dig where you're coming from now. No question, it's slower to thrift -- but I thought you were saying a given mistake thrifting would slow things down more than a mistake buying new stuff, when of course, the opposite is true. Thank goodness, because I've made tons of mistakes thrifting. Probably enough that I could have walked into, say, SuitSupply and rolled out with a perfectly nice suit (or made exactly one mistake at that end of the market). But I like to think I learned a thing or two that I wouldn't have otherwise.
That said, of course, when I can finally start on the second half of "buy less, buy better," I'll be up in here.
@in stitches, that was a fantastic post.
I think I'm tied with Roycru for youngest.
In the wise words of 2Pac...that be the realist shit you ever wrote, Stitchy.
My path is pretty similar to yours except I have slightly fewer items....I'm a year or so behind on the journey. I don't make a lot of money either...I just spend what I do make on clothes. Don't worry people.....my kids eat and my bills get paid.
This would make an intriguing two-part Friday Challenge. First, people post fits with one thrifted item in the ensemble. Then, once all submissions are gathered, people see if they can identify the thrifted component. Two winners: best fit and most accurate guesses.
My bet, though, is that among our better dressed members, no one could reliably pick out the thrifted item. Selected thrifting around solid staples is the best of both worlds, IMHO: good fits plus the satisfaction of serendipity.
Segue--Stitchy, what's your take on thrift shoppers vs. sale shoppers? Is that a meaningful distinction for you, or does it usually boil down to the same tradeoff of quality/versatility/price?
I made the same mistakes everyone did when they started. The end result was that they were cheaper mistakes than they would have been had I liked similar 'shiny' stuff.
I'm not totally opposed to buying stuff new and do it from time to time actually. The advantage that I have is that I DON'T have to dress a certain way for work and could wear a polo and khakis every day if I wanted to. This is a hobby for me and thrifting is fun.
When I thrift, I flip a few things too and also trade stuff with friends from around the US. I've picked a few awesome things up by trading or buying from friends that thrift and also by selling stuff and buying other stuff.
At the point of life I'm at right now, paying a 100 bucks for a pair of grey wool pants that will bring me accolades on the WAYWRN thread means sacrificing a weekend of debauchery with friends. At this point, I'd rather go to a nice dinner, show, and drinks on a saturday night and wait to buy a pair of pants like that when I find them or on ebay.
Honestly, I get that this isn't for everyone, which is why I don't hate on people that like buying nice things. Hell, I'd do it if I could afford it...maybe. But at this point, dressing up is a hobby for me, one which I enjoy more because of thrifting. It's probably a waste of my time on certain days when I leave with nothing to show for it for myself or to sell, but it is what it is.
Point is... I'm 25 and looking forward to a decade of schooling where dressing up is defined by wearing a button down shirt and maybe a jacket.
If I got a job tomorrow that required me to wear a suit every day, I'd either grab a couple of used ones and have them altered or jump into a JAB/uniqlo and pick out what I could on discount. Shirts at uniqlo. Scour yoox and ebay for certain things that are cool but fell through the cracks.
Guess what, if I paired things right, I'd still look good.
I feel like I've read this same argument before from you, but like YRR said, we have time on our side.
Also, I am blowing SO much money on med school applications and will be spending a crap ton more on traveling to said places. I'd like to be able to afford that. At said interview, I will wear a thrifted/traded suit, proxied shoes, and second hand tie, all while looking respectable and will hopefully land a spot somewhere so I can spend mental energy doing the stuff that actually motivates me.
That said, dude, I'm having fun with this stuff and you'd be hard pressed to say that I haven't learned a bunch in the last year.
Also, one of the first things I thrifted was a navy blazer, that light blue jacket, and a navy suit. The blazer and suit stopped fitting after 3 months when I started lifting again. This would be a freaking expensive as FAK proposition given that I've gained more than 20lbs in the last year.
Good stuff, RTC. I wouldn't take it personal and yes, you have noticeably learned a bunch.
Oh, I don't take it personally. Stitches is right. Once you know what you're doing, it's far easier to just go to the right places and buy the right things without having to waste the time to go digging and wait. Unlike stitches, I don't have a mortgage, a wife, or kids, among other things, so I can afford to goof off and do this!
Haha, same here. Most people think I'm in my late twenties because of the way I dress, but little do they know I'm only 23!
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