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Is Brand Loyalty Impossible When Building a Wardrobe?

DrewMill

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I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to find the best shoe brand for me. I've been searching through and starting multiple threads on how different brands compare. The most common answer I've gotten are usually questions about specific products with little to no answers about any brand as a whole. This got me thinking. When building a stylish wardrobe, should brand loyalty be thrown out the window? Is it better to shop piece-by-piece?

Now, I'm not talking about the average guy just looking to stock his closet with clothes to wear. I'm talking about building a quality and stylish wardrobe. Probably the main thing a lot of us are here for. For people like us, is brand loyalty impossible? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!
 

fabricateurialist

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speaking from my own experience, brand "loyalty" (preference is a more appropriate term) comes into play later in the game

What does this mean ?

it depends on how you approach buying and what your priorities are

You can find brands whose overall design/cuts/fits you like but maybe the quality isn't as good, or approach it by segment and look at who makes the best cashmere sweaters for example and then try the brands within that segment. It depends on your priorities.

For most categories, I've started out by looking for RTW brands that fit with the least if any alterations, and I eventually landed on two, one requires absolutely no alterations, while for the other I always have to have the sleeve shortened

for shoes, I've landed on Santoni, they are the most comfortable to me and have remained the only shoe brand I keep buying for about a decade now

TLDR, not knowing what's most important to you between price, design, and quality determines/prevents other people's recommendations, but it is also important in your own decision-making progress
 

TimothyF

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Why is "brand loyalty" even top of mind? For me #1 on my list is finding a good fit, then comes quality, then cost. Maybe "brand prestige" is on my top 10, but loyalty sure as heck ain't anywhere near it.

I hope this doesn't come as a shock to anyone, but all brands exist to make money 😲 And just because a company has been delivering quality products, and it can be a century-old company, you can still receive a bad product, with crappy customer service to boot. And if the brand does this to a wide enough base, then their reputation is trashed.

No offense intended at all, but paying customers thinking about being loyal to a brand is quite beta. I think the only time a company is entitled to any loyalty is when it is paying for it, and not the other way around. Even then it's not absolute (e.g. its employees owe no more loyalty than competent execution of their responsibilities, assuming the paycheck clears)
 

classicalthunde

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I think it comes down to a number of factors:
- do you have an exclusive specific aesthetic
- is there a brand that meets your particular aesthetic
- do they make good stuff
- is it a good value purchase for you

I cook a lot, and my one piece of advice for people who like to cook so avoid buying pan and knife sets - buy what you need from
Who you like to create your own perfect mix. I think the same applies to menswear brand loyalty/preference.

I love new balance for sneakers, Aldens for loafers/derbys/boots, and Crockett and Jones for oxfords. I couldn’t get all of those things that I like through one brand.

What are the odds that someone makes all of the following items that are good quality, that fit you well, and you vibe with the aesthetic: sport coats, dress shirts, casual button downs, polos, chinos, jeans, sweaters, outerwear - and that’s just the classic menswear side of the house.

IMHO mix and match is the way to go
 

Bankers_Stripes

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I have almost zero brand loyalty. Yes my favorite suit makers are Brioni, Tom Ford, and Kiton, but last time I checked, I own 36 suits and out of those 36, it is 23 different brands!

Sometimes I feel like buying Borrelli shirts, sometimes Zilli, sometimes Brioni. With ties I’m all over the place - I have some favorites, like Italo Ferretti but my tie collection is not limited to any one maker.

And with shoes I’m even less loyal - the more the merrier with shoes I say. Sometimes I get John Lobb, sometimes Berluti, other times Scarpe di Bianco, Corthay, or Sutor Mantelassi. Just yesterday I picked up my first pair of Ferragamo Tramezzas, and love them.

I’m very happy that in the past few years since I really started to build my formal wardrobe, I showed very little brand loyalty and instead focused on items I liked from all different brands.
 

DrewMill

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Really fantastic responses. I think "preference" is a better word than loyalty. Maybe uniformity is an even better word. Like "My shirts or shoes are all from one brand. That's just where I shop."

Reading these responses, I see the value in mixing it up. Maybe you're just in a mood for one type of shirt. Maybe you can't get everything you want from one brand.

Thanks so much for the insight.
 

skalogre

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I really feel that loyalty only extends to "they make some specific garment types that fit my body shape and are of acceptable to me quality and value" , honestly. I guess I am loyal in specific garment categories, only?
 

DougDevious

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It is for me.
I can only really buy second-hand on eBay if I want enough volume to justify spending the exorbitant bulk shipping fees from the UK/US to NZ. There's not much good stuff down here in NZ, even in the city, and when there is it's never my size. At least I can always find some good ties for a dollar or two. I probably have more ties than I have shirts, or clothes in general. Whoops!
The ol' scavengers way, slow and steady, piecing things together as I'm able to find them, letting fate decide what finds a new home in my wardrobe, that's the way for me.

Who really cares about brand loyalty anyway? The brand makes clothes to serve you, you don't serve the brand. Especially if you're building a wardrobe, its cheaper and more efficient to get what best works, for the price that works for you, on a piece-by-piece basis.
 

Bankers_Stripes

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It is for me.
I can only really buy second-hand on eBay if I want enough volume to justify spending the exorbitant bulk shipping fees from the UK/US to NZ. There's not much good stuff down here in NZ, even in the city, and when there is it's never my size. At least I can always find some good ties for a dollar or two. I probably have more ties than I have shirts, or clothes in general. Whoops!
The ol' scavengers way, slow and steady, piecing things together as I'm able to find them, letting fate decide what finds a new home in my wardrobe, that's the way for me.

Who really cares about brand loyalty anyway? The brand makes clothes to serve you, you don't serve the brand. Especially if you're building a wardrobe, its cheaper and more efficient to get what best works, for the price that works for you, on a piece-by-piece basis.
Totally agree with all this. The scavenger way was the best for me as well - slowly and steadily adding items from different brands. Need a solid navy tie? Here’s one from Turnbull & Asser. Need a navy suit? Here’s a beautiful used one from Kiton. Shoes? Black wingtips from Ferragamo. And so on and so on.
 

epsilon22

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I mean, it's a constraint, and you could always optimize within the constraints you've set for yourself. The better question is, of course, why? If you're so OCD about having items from multiple brands and you care about that more than anything else, you can try working within that limitation, I suppose. You just won't get better results than if you weren't limited by it.
 

DougDevious

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Totally agree with all this. The scavenger way was the best for me as well - slowly and steadily adding items from different brands. Need a solid navy tie? Here’s one from Turnbull & Asser. Need a navy suit? Here’s a beautiful used one from Kiton. Shoes? Black wingtips from Ferragamo. And so on and so on.
While we're on the topic, here's what my current wardrobe is gonna look like once I get my stuff back from the tailor:
  • dark green tweed sport coat
  • coffee brown high-waist corduroys
  • dark plum "tweed" suit (yeah its polyester)
  • artichoke green DB suit
  • 2 crew neck sweaters, one bottle green, one burnt orange
  • a dozen or more solid barrel-cuffed shirts, in earth tones, grey, stone-blue, white, blue, and some other patterned ones
  • more ties than you can shake a stick at
  • no dress shoes to speak of other than my grey suede winklepickers
  • dark blue skinny jeans
  • blue mid-rise jeans
  • high-rise pegged jade cords
Green seems to be my lucky color where clothes are concerned, The best stuff I manage to nab is often green. Odd. Not complaining though, Its among my favorite colors.

I think that's a fairly decent jumping-off point, and I think I'll have some pretty nice outfits appropriate for a variety of different occasions, at least from the ankles up.
Obviously, the next step is getting some proper dress shoes, 1 pair brown and 1 pair black, but any other suggestions?
 

JFWR

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I've been spending a lot of time lately trying to find the best shoe brand for me. I've been searching through and starting multiple threads on how different brands compare. The most common answer I've gotten are usually questions about specific products with little to no answers about any brand as a whole. This got me thinking. When building a stylish wardrobe, should brand loyalty be thrown out the window? Is it better to shop piece-by-piece?

Now, I'm not talking about the average guy just looking to stock his closet with clothes to wear. I'm talking about building a quality and stylish wardrobe. Probably the main thing a lot of us are here for. For people like us, is brand loyalty impossible? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

I don't understand why any gentleman would think "brand loyalty" is even something worth considering.

If it is because you really like the style, that's one thing. You can choose a brand because you like what they offer and therefore shop mostly from them. But why would anyone need to be loyal to some company? That's absurd. Loyalty is for God, king, and country (and baseball).
 

JFWR

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It is for me.
I can only really buy second-hand on eBay if I want enough volume to justify spending the exorbitant bulk shipping fees from the UK/US to NZ. There's not much good stuff down here in NZ, even in the city, and when there is it's never my size. At least I can always find some good ties for a dollar or two. I probably have more ties than I have shirts, or clothes in general. Whoops!
The ol' scavengers way, slow and steady, piecing things together as I'm able to find them, letting fate decide what finds a new home in my wardrobe, that's the way for me.

Who really cares about brand loyalty anyway? The brand makes clothes to serve you, you don't serve the brand. Especially if you're building a wardrobe, its cheaper and more efficient to get what best works, for the price that works for you, on a piece-by-piece basis.

I think you are totally right, Doug.

When building a wardrobe, what you should be concerned about are things like "does it look good?" and "does it fit?" and "will I use it?" not whether it has this or that label.

It is nice to aspire to some wardrobe consisting exclusively of Saville Row bespoke suits and the like, but very few of us have the chance to do that, and for that matter, very few of us would pick the right tailor the first time around, anyway.

Plus, you know what I also don't like about brand loyalty? There's lots of good brands out there for different purposes! Why stick to one brand? Almost no brand out there is going to be good for everything you might need, and that's FINE.

Plus, I will point out that it is bourgeois to brand whore. Call me old fashioned, but I really don't want people to know what brand my clothing is. I certainly won't advertise it on my person if I can help it, too.
 

DougDevious

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Plus, I will point out that it is bourgeois to brand whore. Call me old fashioned, but I really don't want people to know what brand my clothing is. I certainly won't advertise it on my person if I can help it, too.
It is, but at the same time, with brands like supreme, gucci, louis vitton, they have, and have marketed to a base I wouldn't describe as "bourgeois". You've heard all that talk about how luxury fashion is often worn and flaunted by lower-middle-class people trying to look rich, right?

But thanks. I mean, I wouldn't want people to know what brand half of my clothing is, but not quite so much out of modesty. Lots of less-than-regarded-for-their-quality brands in there, and some pieces, well, some of them are from AliExpress.
But just to cover my cheapskate ass I will say it's all about taste and how you style it. I do aspire to the aesthetic of higher-end clothing but not so much its price tag, and I will gladly take some backroads and cut-corners to get there quicker. If it all combines well and fits right, you at least won't be without nice-looking stuff to wear, much of it won't even be half-bad anyways, and when you eventually do get nicer, better-quality stuff, they might still have their place.
As much as one might want to min-max their cost-per-wear a lot of pieces, especially seasonal pieces and ones that have a very specific look that doesn't go with everything, aren't going to see a whole lot of use so if a cheaper alternative that looks nearly as good, even just at a glance, is available, it might actually be a lower cost-per-wear option.
 

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