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Investing in Quality vs. Senseless Waste of Money

Soph

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Originally Posted by iammatt
Hardly. There is a difference between what somebody likes and prefers and what is a waste of money.

IMO, it is all a waste of money, you are not "investing" in clothes after all.

There are plenty of things that I do not like that are not a waste of money. They would be a waste of my money, but that is not the point.

A $1500 cashmere sweater would also be a waste of money IMO, I was referring to the ones that they have that go around $500. Not cheap, and a bit of a waste, but better.


---I was teasing.

I do think a high quality business wardrobe is a solid investment though.
Also, date/going out wear is another solid investment.
Education CAN be a good investment along as their is an ROI on it.
(or mom and daddy pay for it all anyway)
Their are definitely social dividends with many items.

But yes, from a strick financial perspective, we should all shop at Costco for everything, and just max out our 401k, roth, real estate, and eat / drink from paper cups and watch rental movies at home.
 

GQgeek

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Originally Posted by Soph
I do think a high quality business wardrobe is a solid investment though.

Yes and no. You need to look professional, but you can do that for less than the price of kiton or bespoke, even if you do find the kiton on sale.

Also, date/going out wear is another solid investment.
This, i definitely agree with. Dressing exceptionally well definitely renders women more receptive to speaking with you, which opens the door for other things.
 

jmonroestyle

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The subject of this thread really interests me. It has always been common wisdom that the most value in almost any durable goods purchase, no matter what it is, is in the middle part of the spectrum. The low end usually does not last as long and needs to be replaced. The very high end usually buys one mostly bragging rights. Also, I have found that some very high end items are made from such fine and delicate wools or leathers that I would think they would wear out far sooner than their medium priced counterparts.

I really enjoy hunting down really good quality, made to last items which are sold for "respectable" prices. If those items are somewhat obscure, that is even better. I feel it is poor etiquette to go about flaunting one's clothes, shoes etc. However, it does feel good on the inside to know that what I own is somewhat unique and not found in "Any Mall" U.S.A.

Here are a few of of my favorite items that I think represent good solid materials, crafstmanship, and good overall value.

Hart Schaffner & Marx suits- I had one made using their "Especially For You" program. It is made from a fine worsted wool, is the perfect cut for my body shape (it fits better than many other way more expensive suits I have tried, and even fits better than some bespoke suits I have had made).

Alden, Tricker, and some Cole Haan shoes (the ones made in Brazil are quite well made).

Schott pea coats

Tissot, ESQ, and Skagen quartz watches (for those who don't have a problem with owning a quartz watch)

Charter Club Cashmere V-neck sweaters

Wrangler jeans

Nordstrom "SmartCare" poly/cotton pants- Teflon coated, washable, and wrinkle free

Leather jackets made by "The Leather Ranch" (A Canadian leather company)

"Spyder" ski jackets and pants- This may be pushing the value end of things some. However, I have been wearing one of their jakets for 10 years. It is the most incredibly well designed and well made jacket I have ever owned.

Cowboy boots from such makers as Paul Bond, M.L. Leddy, Stallion, Tres Outlaws, J.B. Hill etc. (Even at the $700-$900 price tag these are still considered mid level priced boots in the custom cowboy boot world).

Briggs and Riley, and Eagle Creek luggage

2006 Mitsubishi Eclipse (GS 4 cylinder model)- I get to feel like James Bond driving around. The Astin Martin will have to wait...

Anyone else care to share their favorite "Value" brands?

Jess
 

Dan-

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Originally Posted by Soph
---I was teasing.

I do think a high quality business wardrobe is a solid investment though.
Also, date/going out wear is another solid investment.
Education CAN be a good investment along as their is an ROI on it.
(or mom and daddy pay for it all anyway)
Their are definitely social dividends with many items.

But yes, from a strick financial perspective, we should all shop at Costco for everything, and just max out our 401k, roth, real estate, and eat / drink from paper cups and watch rental movies at home.

It's cheaper to use glass rather than paper.
smile.gif
 

aportnoy

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#1) Just because you fantasize that you've made all the right sartorial decisions and that you somehow give off some sense of power or authority as a result is just pathetic. You're trying to make yourself feel important and justify your own decisions, it's laughable.

#2) Different strokes...people value different things and therefore spend their disposable income accordingly. Any effort to rationalize your choices over someone else's is sad and tells way more about you then your choice of tailor ever could.

#3) Buy what you can afford and brings you pelasure, the rest of this is noise.
 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by aportnoy
#1) Just because you fantasize that you've made all the right sartorial decisions and that you somehow give off some sense of power or authority as a result is just pathetic. You're trying to make yourself feel important and justify your own decisions, it's laughable. #2) Different strokes...people value different things and therefore spend their disposable income accordingly. Any effort to rationalize your choices over someone else's is sad and tells way more about you then your choice of tailor ever could. #3) Buy what you can afford and brings you pelasure, the rest of this is noise.
That's what I meant, but I think that I got a little sidetracked. So, +1.
 

Artisan Fan

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The more you know, the more you appreciate craftmanship.

I think that bespoke shoes may seem a waste of money to some who don't appreciate the art or know about the comfort of a well-crafted shoe. I think my Kiton shirts have been a great investment given the durability and comfort and compliments I receive but I bought these for several hundred less than they sell for today.

I believe that for every clothing item there is a "sweet spot" of great value per dollar. For me Borrelli shirts, Land's End polos, Santoni shoes, Zegna and Kiton suits may be a sweet spot. I feel like my bespoke Amesbury and Lattanzi shoes have been well worth every penny even though they were very expensive. Your mileage may vary.

Like the economists say every person has a different "utility function". Some get great pleasure from some things that may seem boring or lacking value to others. As long as one is responsible with their money I would not worry what others think. Cultivating a personal style is a wonderful thing and we are fortunate enough to decide what we spend our hard earned cash on.
 

Artisan Fan

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I might add one thing-investing in quality and classic conservative styles has given me a wardrobe with longevity and now I have the luxury of cherry picking luxury items during great deals...

...and I have benefited by buying some great clothes from members here at a good discount. Online shopping savvy can improve the odds of getting a great deal.
 

P3R3

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I think some things are quality and deserve a higher price tag. For instance I just got my first Loro Piana polo, and it is frankly the best shirt I have ever worn, puts my Turnbury, Polo, Lacoste to shame. Even my roomates thought it was an awesome shirt. It will likely last me for a long time.
 

Get Smart

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Originally Posted by aportnoy
#3) Buy what you can afford and brings you pleasure, the rest of this is noise.
+100000000 I don't believe that clothes are ever a real 'investment' because you can ruin a well made garment/shoes very quickly thru your own doing or someone else's, just as a not so well made garment can last years if well cared for. I like to buy what's most pleasing to me aesthetically first and foremost, then some semblance of quality is always nice to throw in the mix. I've spent enough on Paul Smith shoes the last 12 months to have bought several EdGreens/Lobbs, but for me, I'd rather have my PS shoes than any pair of EG/JL any day of the week.....some folks do have different strokes.
 

Film Noir Buff

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Originally Posted by iammatt
For once I have to say that I do as well. I fear that your Versace sweaters may be sexier to the wrong crowd, but I do not know your exact proclivities
devil.gif
.

Loro Piana's prices for cashmere sweaters have remained unbelievably constant for six or so years and they are no longer soooo expensive.


I think I know what you mean. Although I stay on the conservative side of Versace usually choosing sexier versions of classics, most of them in solid black. I get pleasant comments from both sexes. Doesnt bother me because I have s trong sense of identity and I mix freely without judgements when Im dowtown.
 

Homercles

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There have been some great, and detailed insights so far so I will just add my own approach. I won't really try to take a clothes-and-economics approach since it's almost impossible to monetize most of the things that motivate people to buy nice clothes.

Echoing jmonroe's idea, for work I try to buy items that hold up well and that look nice, but not necessarily near that upper echelon because the value just isn't there for me. For example, I'd be loathe to spend over ~$400 for a pair of shoes or over ~$1200 for a suit. Beyond that middle level there is just very little appeal to me, but at the same time I won't buy crummy work clothes because I have to wear them ~12 hours a day and I want to look nice. The added benefit is that, similar to what jmonroe said, most of these items tend to be more designed for everyday use. I can wear them on the subway, lean back in my chair for hours at work, eat lunch, etc. without thinking once about them.

For casual clothes, I am the exact opposite. I am looking for something that looks nice, is of high quality, and is very original. This means I can't just go in to Nordstrom/Saks/Neiman and pick up a shirt of the rack, or even go to some of the bigger boutiques. Usually it involves paying a big premium for items from overseas, be it through my relatives or myself. But I very much like that feeling of having original, quality clothes and so the premium to me is justified.

It's like flying first class. For some people, the big premium is just worth it (or the money is so insignificant to them that it's not even a consideration). I'll go first class for casual clothes, but business class is fine for work clothes.
 

JLibourel

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I suppose that everyone has to find a "sweet spot" in terms of price, value and quality according to one's means and station in life. For example, Allen-Edmonds shoes are often mentioned as being in a "sweet spot." As some forum regulars may be aware, in the past 3 1/2 years I have purchased 32 pairs of A-E shoes, most of them seconds or firsts at seconds prices. (Two pairs were free via the A-E Cobbler's Club program). Now for what I spent, I could have purchased perhaps five pairs of Edward Greens, as some have pointed out. I don't regret taking the path I took. The few Greens or JLP RTW I have seen are a bit nicer than A-E, but the quality differential is not worth the difference in price to me. If I were making 400K a year, and a $700 price differential was a bagatelle, then I might feel differently. And again, if I were fortunate enough to be pulling in $4 million a year, I would probably be inclined to indulge myself with Lobb bespoke or, recently, G&G. The fact remains that the vast majority of people will be unable to descry the niceties that differentiate the JLP bespoke from the A-E seconds that I paid $129 for!

The other major recipient of my sartorial dollars, courtesy of this forum, is W.W. Chan. Again, I feel Chan gives me the most for my money in tailored menswear (at least that I have been able to find). Again, if money were no object, I could go to Giacomo Trabalza (reportedly LA's top tailor) and presumably get a somewhat nicer garment in terms of fit and construction, but the difference is simply not worth the 3X cost differential over Chan (to me anyway), and I couldn't afford Trabalza anyway. If I had the wealth of Arnold Schwarzenegger (a Trabalza client), I would probably feel differently.

However, to many men in my own income bracket, paying $925 for a sport coat (what I just paid for my latest Chan order) would seem crazily extravagant, and I like to think, with the right accessories, I can look pretty damn decent in a cheap ($350) Macy's Alfani suit I bought some years back before I knew better.

So, I don't know if there's a clear-cut answer. A lot of it is probably relative to your station in life, as I suggested at the outset.
 

Soph

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I suggest a 2nd mortgage and lots of credit cards until you get it right.
smile.gif


Originally Posted by aportnoy
#1) Just because you fantasize that you've made all the right sartorial decisions and that you somehow give off some sense of power or authority as a result is just pathetic. You're trying to make yourself feel important and justify your own decisions, it's laughable.
noise.



--- That's why I've sold off over 150 things on ebay. I'm a freaking POWER SELLER thanks to my previous great sartorial judgement.
bigstar[1].gif
 

studio253

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I'm in suits 5 days/week and fly atleast twice/week. I work long hours and spens a lot of time on my feet. I've gone through a lot of shoes and suits. I absolutely love my AE shoes and find them to be an amazing value for the money. I learned my lesson after buying shoes for $150/pair that only lasted 6 months before they were dead. I had this mental block before about spending more than $200 on a pair of shoes.

I had the same mental block when it came to briefcases. I broke a bunch of them before breaking down and buying a great one from Coach that has now lasted me 6 years.

As far as my suits, I just can't buy off the rack. I wear a 54L and 40" waist. I'm 6'3" 265 and it's almost impossible to find things that will fit. I'm also hard on clothes with all my travel so $600-800 off the rack usually only last me 6 months. MTM and bespoke is a much better value for me, when I can afford it. The suits last for years versus months and just look like a million bucks.
 

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