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

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

  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    When I played M:TG, I always preferred a small 60 card deck to the 120 card decks other guys were using. Did I always win? No, but I believed in my deck because it stood for something.
     


  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I've been trying to pare down my wardrobe. My issue with it being too large is that I feel the need to always wear everything I own. I wind up with some rather poor combinations, because I'm forcing myself to make use of particular items. I feel much more comfortable with a small selection of high quality items which I can mix and match pretty easily without too much thought or effort. I think PG and Foo have mastered this very well, although with perhaps a bit too much compulsiveness. Nonetheless, I like what they've achieved and have been pushing myself in that direction.

    I think that Will makes the best case for what size an minimal tailored clothes today would be.

    Suits.

    Six suits per season, which for most men would be six to eighteen suits.

    Then, on top of that, I would say three odd jackets per season, so three to nine jackets. Appropriate number of trousers for variety.

    Reverse the suit and odd jacket ratios if you inhabit a more casual life.

    Add dinner wear and clothes for whatever sporting life you pursue.

    In a location with a nice change of seasons, then, a nucleus of around thirty suits/jackets, divided among three seasons of wear. Will notes a replacement schedule of approximately three suits/jackets annually after that, and that also makes sense to me.

    Can it be done with fewer? Sure. It can also be done with more, but that I think is the sensible middle.


    - B
     


  3. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    Probably a bit of meticulousness seeps through above. Is it as much as you think, though?
    Thanks for the constructive response. The real life shots certainly look better. But here's a way of thinking about this problem. A man's wardrobe should allow him to be well/appropriately dressed for any occasion. Now, that is certainly much more difficult to do with a smaller wardrobe. So, other things being equal, if one achieves a range R of appropriateness with a wardrobe of n garments, then they must be doing something better than the guy who covers the same range with n x 4 garments, say. On top of that, the guy with a smaller wardrobe will also gain (i) more lived in clothes, and (ii) probably a more recognisable personal style. Mafoofan achieves this very well, albeit in a rather extreme and almost caricatural way; but he'll probably find a more subtle approach as time goes by (sorry, that sounds condescending, whereas I don't have any pulpit to speak from).
     


  4. Aluan

    Aluan Well-Known Member

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    When I played M:TG, I always preferred a small 60 card deck to the 120 card decks other guys were using. Did I always win? No, but I believed in my deck because it stood for something.
    Well, yeah, because when you need that one card to win (or live), you're more likely to get it if you had only 60 cards as opposed to 120. Unless, of course, if your deck had just the OneLand and the OneBolt, in which case deck size [​IMG] really wouldn't matter. [​IMG] To be on topic, though, having a large wardrobe really means "large and varied" wardrobe, right? Most people that have large and varied wardrobes usually have had small wardrobes and acquired pieces over the years, so they should know how to wear each piece well. I'm not so sure about those who suddenly find themselves in possession of a large wardrobe.
     


  5. sifl

    sifl Well-Known Member

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    Take, for instance, Voxsartoria. He is obviously very well dressed, but don't his clothes always look too neat, not lived in, etc?

    How do you know? Does Mr Vox post pictures of himself?
     


  6. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    I'm not so sure about those who suddenly find themselves in possession of a large wardrobe.
    This happened to me thus proving the OP's thesis.
    When I played M:TG, I always preferred a small 60 card deck to the 120 card decks other guys were using. Did I always win? No, but I believed in my deck because it stood for something.
    So you play without a full deck?
     


  7. AnticGod

    AnticGod Member

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    My wardrobe is very big because I need space to store my cloths. [​IMG]
     


  8. radicaldog

    radicaldog Senior member

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    To be on topic, though, having a large wardrobe really means "large and varied" wardrobe, right? Most people that have large and varied wardrobes usually have had small wardrobes and acquired pieces over the years, so they should know how to wear each piece well. I'm not so sure about those who suddenly find themselves in possession of a large wardrobe.


    That's a good distinction. The general point stands, though (mostly because of the ceteris paribus clause).
     


  9. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Thanks for the constructive response. The real life shots certainly look better. But here's a way of thinking about this problem. A man's wardrobe should allow him to be well/appropriately dressed for any occasion. Now, that is certainly much more difficult to do with a smaller wardrobe. So, other things being equal, if one achieve a range R of appropriateness with a wardrobe of n garments, then they must be doing something better than the guy who covers the same range with n x 4 garments, say. On top of that, the guy with a smaller wardrobe will also gain (i) more lived in clothes, and (ii) probably a more recognisable personal style. Mafoofan achieves this very well, albeit in a rather extreme way and almost caricatural way; but he'll probably find a more subtle approach as time goes by (sorry, that sounds condescending, whereas I don't have any pulpit to speak from).

    I'm diggin' this topic.

    Well, you base this on what I feel are two self-deceptive premises:

    The first is this notion of "lived in" clothes, a concept many use often and vapidly on the Internet fora (not you, of course...[​IMG].) Certain aspects of tailored clothes do change over their useful life...like shoulders getting slightly softer in a softly tailored suit. Generally, however, one of the things that you want in, say, a bespoke garment is stability and durability in how it appears. It fits you day 1. It fits you day 1001. It maintains the image that the tailor and you have created. It is not designed to degrade and erode. If that is what one wanted, one would simply spec the most inferior fabrics to hasten the garment's trajectory to a worn look.

    I think that what you might mean instead is simply that you prefer clothes that are maintained less. More wrinkles. More bagginess. More academic and country life, less city, less growing up with a valet. It is an understandable preference to have...but I hope you do not presume it should be universal.

    On top of this, I also think that you mean something that has nothing to do with whether clothes are "lived in," which is that you prefer a dÃ[​IMG]shabillÃ[​IMG] deployment of clothes: maybe a limp knot rather than one that arches out; mussiness rather than tidyness; a scuff or two on the shoes rather than a mirror shine every morning. Approaching your clothes that way has nothing to do with whether the clothes are "lived in" or not, although it might mean that the man also incorporates a less maintained look purposefully.

    The thought of careless nonchalance has a powerful appeal to moderns. Once you go beyond a small dose of it, however, what you get is the slobbishness that is all around us today: the casualization and commoditization of male dress. For most men, moreover, nonchalance does not come naturally if ever...until, perhaps, when they become too old or weak to care very much and the nonchalance becomes genuine rather than contrived. Until that point, most men are too much of a bag of worries ever to be nonchalant. The Sartorialist Blog is a living document to the pretension of making your tailored clothes look "lived in."

    The second thing is the equation of uniformity with how "personal" a style is. Variety is no less personal, and can be related to an individual just as easily. For some, settling on a form of dress in one's twenties and anticipating that for the rest of one's life is comforting; for others, suffocating. If one is in the latter category (as I am, it's no secret) and also growing older, but maintains a continuing affection for clothes from one's past, there will be a substantial variety. That this might be so is no less personal than someone who looks the same, day in, day out.

    Many stylish men of the past had gigantic wardrobes...in fact, it was usually difficult to be famous as a stylish man without one. Here on teh StyleForvm, the only man who has such a wardrobe is probably (***)...and I'm going to guess without ever having met him that he is rather nonchalant despite his empire of bespoke clothes...more than a couple hundred items, I believe.

    You would like how he wears his clothes because judging from his old photographs, the guy can make even a precision military cut Savile Row suit look like he's crawled out of a night in a fox hole. The size of his wardrobe seems unrelated to creating the powerful urge in me to have him stripped and his clothes pressed by a tailor...your reaction would be the opposite.


    - B
     


  10. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    If a gentleman has clothing and accessories appropriate for each season (including seasonal suits) and clothing appropriate for a variety of occasions, then the collection becomes rather large.
     


  11. forex

    forex Senior member

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    Who is the man,Vox?Cough it up!
     


  12. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Who is the man,Vox?Cough it up!
    Yes, Vox, who is he?
     


  13. Nicola

    Nicola Senior member

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    This week a writer ( I know a writer ) on Bon Ton was interviewed by one of the TV shows. He claimed he never wore a new suit in public before having slept in it for two nights.

    I find the comment that managing on a smaller wardrobe is better strange. It's more economical but better?
     


  14. sifl

    sifl Well-Known Member

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  15. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Who is the man,Vox?Cough it up!

    Yes, Vox, who is he?

    No way. He's not one of the usual suspects, though.


    - B
     


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