If your wardrobe is too large, you end up looking worse.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by radicaldog, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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    Some of us dont have all the kinks worked out.

    It actually helps to take pics and post em, i see where i need improvement.

    Overall I think my wardrobe is much better turned out then 2 years ago, or even last year for that matter.

    What do you guys think?
     


  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    30 seems a little much, but not crazy. Really, add 20% plus a couple of luxuries to the Diavolo set and you've probably got the ideally sized wardrobe, as I see it.

    It's possible that I know who Diavolo is [​IMG], and if I do, I might also know that he does not need a tailored wardrobe spanning four true seasons. His climate is similar to yours, I believe which is one reason why you find affinity in his choices.

    - B
     


  3. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Overall I think my wardrobe is much better turned out then 2 years ago, or even last year for that matter.

    Much, much better.


    - B
     


  4. SkinnyGoomba

    SkinnyGoomba Senior member

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  5. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    It's possible that I know who Diavolo is [​IMG], and if I do, I might also know that he does not need a tailored wardrobe spanning four true seasons. His climate is similar to yours, I believe which is one reason why you find affinity in his choices.
    My climate situation is not straightforward: I grew up in (northern) Italy, but I've been living in the UK for a few years now. All my bespoke stuff is from Italy, and a couple of times I've ordered there I find difficult to wear here, mostly because of the colours (the fact that I order a lot of stuff when I'm there in the summer doesn't help). Anyway, it's true that the UK climate needs less variation, and I obviously agree that the ideal wardrobe size will vary with the climate. The general principle of parsimony remains, though. To return to our neat numbers, I'd say that a Diavolo + 25% set (i.e. about 20 suit-equivalents) would be perfectly adequate for a typical continental climate like that of northern or central Italy. And one could do quite well with less -- you really don't need that much shoulder seasons stuff if your climate is not extreme and if you choose your cloth well.
     


  6. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Has dopey weighed in on this yet?
    I am sorry this thread has gone on for so long, but I was unable to post for the past few days. The scorecard is Vox +1; iammatt +1; early radicaldog -1; re-educated radicaldog +1 Really, this thread needs FNB to lend some credibility as he has sources in the industry and speaks often to men of great style. In the meantime, this summary will have to do: The correct answer is -- [meh - deleted, for another day]
     


  7. RSS

    RSS Senior member

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    We could say that it's an average, for someone who is comfortable enough to afford all the clothes he needs. If you live in the country you'll want more odd coats than suits, if you're lawyer you'll need more suits. But speaking about the average man does given an idea, doesn't it?
    If one were to be "comfortable enough" to afford all the clothing he needs, I would not think of him as the average man. If you are speaking only of those men who are comfortable enough ... I get your point.

    Of course, among the men who are comfortable enough ... there are those who are not limited to living in one location ... such as "the country." Some may have a house or apartment in the city and house in the country ... and/or homes in more than one city ... or even a marine vessel requiring a wardrobe. If so, I would think the wardrobe in each location is to be considered independently of the others. Or ... perhaps this person simply does not reflect the average man among those who are "comfortable enough" ... and is thereby disqualified.

    As for the lawyer needing more suits ... that may well be true ... but a private life and other personal circumstances often play an even greater role than a professional one when it comes to wardrobe.

    Now ... when it comes to numbers of odd coats/suits ... if 30 is a bit much but not (yet) crazy ... and we do not divide by location ... oh, my ... I'm in trouble. I'm already half way to the 15-18 mark with formal attire alone.

    But seriously ... it seems to me that the perfectly sized wardrobe depends greatly on the sartorial talents of the person to whom it belongs.

    Edit: I'll note that the man in redicaldog's avatar -- Mr. Agnelli I presume (unless it's Gore Vidal ... it's sometimes hard to tell given the scale of the photos) -- did not have so limited a wardrobe as you propose.
     


  8. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I'm already half way to the 15-18 mark with formal attire alone.

    I think that this cinches the Nobel Peace Prize for you next year under their new standards.


    - B
     


  9. srivats

    srivats Senior member

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    As for the lawyer needing more suits ... that may well be true ... but a private life and other personal circumstances often play an even greater role than a professional one when it comes to wardrobe.


    True ... What does one do when he is self-employed?
     


  10. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    True ... What does one do when he is self-employed?
    Dress for pleasure or for intellectual/aesthetic fulfillment, or no differently - as even the self-employed man may wish to present a cohesive aesthetic front to the world.
     


  11. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    To bring this back to the real world, the best-dressed gentlemen I've known have not had what SF would consider a particularly large wardrobe. As such, I question the assumption that we need to look "different" every day, or that a wardrobe needs to be expansive to cover the vast majority of situations a fellow regularly finds himself in. As I've said before, I suspect Il Vecchio could wear the same five outfits over and over and always look great. Add in a few more items, to mix 'n' match and serve the seasons, and I doubt any observer would think twice about the depth of such a wardrobe. Personally, I don't want to look entirely different every day, as I don't want people to think I have an endless stream of clothes. That attracts an unwanted attention to the volume of clothes I own, and I've already had an encounter or two that make me think I've tipped too far in that direction. Can a guy really be well dressed if everyone's busy thinking about how packed his closets must be and how much he's spent on his clothing? That looks suspiciously like vanity.

    The advantage of a smaller wardrobe, done well, is that it demands a certain simplicity, and, at the risk of going all iGent, I would suggest that simplicity is one of the hallmarks of elegance. A fellow who has a lot of clothes can still dress simply, of course, but I tend to think the "collector" personality -- the type who wants to have everything, for every eventuality -- is also prone to lose sight of simplicity in favor of "completion." I know I buy too much thinking it will fill a hole that I later realized didn't need filling. Increasingly I find myself reaching for old favorites, and I'm thinking the main advantage of having bought too much is that it will teach me what I don't need.
     


  12. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    ^ Why is 'simplicity' an ideal to strive for? I am not sure this holding up of 'simplicity' as some form of self-explanatory ideal is anything more than an effort to achieve, or an unconscious reaction to, anything more than a mixture of the following: - conspicuous consumerism, - jealousy, - discomfort/guilt at acknowledging personal wealth or a higher social standing (i.e. nouveau/pseudo egalitarianism), - an attraction to various abstract Eastern philosophies (aka the grass is greener syndrome), - a desire to intellectualise/justify one's wardrobe, - practical issues/pressure (limited wardrobe space, budget, frequent travel, etc), - aesthetic self-denial/flagellation/Spartanism, - a desire to 'test' oneself - 'how many good combos can I get out of this limited palette?', - etc...
     


  13. Prince of Paisley

    Prince of Paisley Senior member

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    You guys are analysing this way too much.

    I thought people just wore what they thought looked good? And the size of their wardrobe is proportional to the proximity of a St Vinnies bin to their diggs and their propensity to accumulate crap.
     


  14. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    ^ Why is 'simplicity' an ideal to strive for?

    I am not sure this holding up of 'simplicity' as some form of self-explanatory ideal is anything more than an effort to achieve, or an unconscious reaction to, anything more than a mixture of the following:

    - conspicuous consumerism,
    - jealousy,
    - discomfort/guilt at acknowledging personal wealth or a higher social standing (i.e. nouveau/pseudo egalitarianism),
    - an attraction to various abstract Eastern philosophies (aka the grass is greener syndrome),
    - a desire to intellectualise/justify one's wardrobe,
    - practical issues/pressure (limited wardrobe space, budget, frequent travel, etc),
    - aesthetic self-denial/flagellation/Spartanism,
    - a desire to 'test' oneself - 'how many good combos can I get out of this limited palette?',
    - etc...


    Is "conspicuous consumerism" really an attractive trait? Why would I want my wardrobe to suggest that?

    Simplicity, done right, is an embodiment of discernment, a necessary component of good taste. As such, I can see the appeal. Not that the ornate can't be done well, but it's easy to go wrong, and we're not exactly living in an age of Rococo in men's clothing. (After all, men's fashion has been growing simpler since before the turn of the last century.)

    I don't think simplicity is always the way, or the only way -- Andre 3000 looks great in clothing that can't be called "simple" -- but I do think there's an appeal to it, and not one limited to us clothing forum geeks.
     


  15. apropos

    apropos Senior member

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    Is "conspicuous consumerism" really an attractive trait? Why would I want my wardrobe to suggest that?
    I am not sure this holding up of 'simplicity' as some form of self-explanatory ideal is anything more than an effort to achieve, or an unconscious reaction to, anything more than a mixture of the following:
    [​IMG]
    Simplicity, done right, is an embodiment of discernment, a necessary component of good taste. As such, I can see the appeal. Not that the ornate can't be done well, but it's easy to go wrong, and we're not exactly living in an age of Rococo in men's clothing. (After all, men's fashion has been growing simpler since before the turn of the last century.)
    'Simplicity' and 'discernment' are 2 separate things to me - I could have an extensive wardrobe... with each item meticulously picked. To me, what you appear to be leaning towards under the banner of 'simplicity' is not so much 'good taste' as it is an impactful wardrobe, with much of this 'impact' derived from its narrow aesthetic focus (ostensibly reflecting thoughtful choice) and further heightened by a reduced number of items that comprise this aesthetic thrust. Y'know, like how we need less bombs now because they are 'smart bombs' and thus more accurate, and all that jazz. Perhaps it is this 'simplicity'/consistency of a man's 'image' as projected through his clothes that you find appealing to your sensibilities? Just my 0.02. [​IMG]
     


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