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Is expensive clothing really necessary anymore?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mrri77, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What Chris is saying re Kiton is correct across the board. Even their "direct" competitors like Borrelli and Attolini do not come close to making a jacket that is so comfortible to wear.

    My guess is that they do better profit wise on the shirts and ties than on the suits. I think that the cloth that they use is so expensive to begin with that it is hard to make a huge profit even at the prices they charge.
     
  2. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    I think that the cloth that they use is so expensive to begin with that it is hard to make a huge profit even at the prices they charge.
    The cloths they use - cashmere, 150s, 180s, etc - can be had by a savvy individual at about 1/4 to 1/5 the Kiton retail prices. And since they buy wholesale, the prices they receive are lower than those quoted. I've no idea what the breakdown of their cost structure is, but there is probably space for some profit. I agree it will not be huge. Better than a bespoke tailor will make off each suit, I think, and worse than something like Hugo Boss.
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    I don't think that expensive clothes have ever been "necessary". However, they are desirable when they offer a better product in terms of durability, fit, or appearance. Once I find a proper fit and good appearance, I don't find it necessary to keep looking further upscale. Oxxford makes a great garment, but it doesn't fit me off the rack like Zegna or Burberry, so I'm not drawn to the brand.

    That doesn't mean I won't take a chance here and there, since I know fit will vary between models, but the bottom line for me is - does it fit well and look good? As long as I stay (somewhat) slender and keep good posture, the differences won't be obvious to the casual observer.
     
  4. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The cloths they use - cashmere, 150s, 180s, etc - can be had by a savvy individual at about 1/4 to 1/5 the Kiton retail prices. And since they buy wholesale, the prices they receive are lower than those quoted. I've no idea what the breakdown of their cost structure is, but there is probably space for some profit. I agree it will not be huge. Better than a bespoke tailor will make off each suit, I think, and worse than something like Hugo Boss.
    Yes and no. You can get similar cashmeres and worsteds for those prices, but you have to compromise somewhere. Kiton forces you to compromise by having high prices. More "bargain" outlets will either have slightly lower quality, or more likely, less options or both. I do not know if they use the best 150s or 180s, but their cashmeres are the best I have seen in their class (super lightweight worsted). I agree with your sentiments about profit margin, and honestly, these kinds of cloths are not really my bag. I do think, however, that some of the priceing complaints re Kiton are about off. Yes, they are overpriced, but so is everything in the high end retail market. Apples to apples, however, I would bet that they are no more, and probably less than Brioni, Attolini, Borrelli and maybe even Oxxford (once you get into Oxxfords top end fabrics). The problem with Kiton is that they only have a top end while the others start at s100's and so do the prices. At least I think this is a problem, I imagine Kiton sees it as a strategy.
     
  5. whoopee

    whoopee Senior member

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    I am talking about the "Millionaire Cashmere" I know they use and a survey of high-count worsteds excluding the marked up big merchants and that stodgy (in a good way) one at the top of the heap. They seem of equal quality - that is, very good. What you do get with Kiton, especially with their cashmeres, are designs that are specified by them and simply aren't otherwise available, owing more to economic rather than creative difficulties. I certainly see how that could justify their higher cost.

    Take the following with a pillar of salt, given I do not shop very often. The jump from 100s or 120s to 150s really isn't that great for cloths. It's generally about double the price - roughly +$100-150/metre for me. Even accounting for a larger size and the higher price (unlikely that high), that's about $600 more for 150s (luxury) over 100s (basic for RTW these days - I know men who refuse this stuff now, when ten years ago they wet themselves over it's caress). It seems to me that the markup is a lot higher than that. The added cost could be justified by the greater difficulty in tailoring slippier cloths, which means that the more talented makers, being in lower supply, are better paid; more waste in mishaps; and the greater amount of time it takes to tailor the cloths. But for their partially machine-driven production, it matters less than for a handmake shop.

    I'm not trying to bash Kiton, btw. They make really nice clothes, but don't appeal to me. I could've saved a lot of time and bandwith by just QFE this: "Yes, they are overpriced, but so is everything in the high end retail market".
     
  6. Ivan Kipling

    Ivan Kipling Senior member

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    I'm not trying to bash Kiton, btw. They make really nice clothes, but don't appeal to me. I could've saved a lot of time and bandwith by just QFE this: "Yes, they are overpriced, but so is everything in the high end retail market".

    Kiton does not appeal to me, either. Neither does Brioni. As for being overpriced, I'm not in any position, to comment. I will say this: I have yet to see any man's garment that can compare to what Balenciaga and Saint Laurent did for women, in haute couture. I'm talking tailored jackets, here . . . and trousers. Coats, as well. They are the finest, most brilliantly crafted pieces that I have ever seen. YSL'S Rive Gauche, was incredible, too.
     
  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm not trying to bash Kiton, btw. They make really nice clothes, but don't appeal to me. I could've saved a lot of time and bandwith by just QFE this: "Yes, they are overpriced, but so is everything in the high end retail market".


    I didn't think that you were. I was just trying to point out that they are no more or less overpriced than anything else in their section of the clothing market.
     
  8. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    I think they can make a nice impact if put together well. Typically handmade clothes in my experience have nicer silhouettes and last longer and perhaps most importantly wear more comfortably.

    Also, off the rack rarely fits anyone well in my experience. More money gets you the made to measure option for a better fit.

    Also, in my experience more expensive clothes utilize better fabrics that even if finer like Super 120s and 150s have better durability and better appearance. Styling also tends to be more classic and last longer (years).

    Caveat Emptor: Many trendy brands like Armani, Prada, Gucci, Theory are very expensive but not well made, only fit skinny guys, and use often poor fabrics, often with a high poly-fabric content.

    Silver lining: there are several brands that offer good value for the money. If you need to spend less then you can still look great.
     
  9. Tomasso

    Tomasso Senior member

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    Armani, Prada, Gucci, Theory are very expensive but not well made, only fit skinny guys

    AF, I've been noticing that you regularly take shots at the skinny guys. If any of them go missing, I'll know who to look for.[​IMG]
     
  10. Stazy

    Stazy Senior member

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    AF, I've been noticing that you regularly take shots at the skinny guys. If any of them go missing, I'll know who to look for.[​IMG]

    That's why I keep my location secret [​IMG]

    Now, to answer the original question. The main reason I buy expensive clothes is because I know that not very many people will have the identical garmet.

    I'm also learning to appreciate the better fit, quality, and fabrics of expensive clothing.
     
  11. Despos

    Despos Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    My basic question is if all these expensive, highly marketed clothes can truly improve the average man's appearance in relation to their cost? I have encountered several men recently dressed in all the ubiquitous luxury brands (kiton, borrelli, zegna, oxxford, etc.), and the majority of them, while sartorially impeccable, were still very underwhelming visually. On paper, these outfits should have been sartorial homeruns, but they adapted to the ordinariness of their wearers.

    Beyond finding the most flattering silhouette, some men drop the ball accessorising the suits they wear.
    I know men who wear a 4,000 suit and are stuck in the 80's with their neckwear. Wearing those bold, loud colors and patterns. Scuffed shoes and ill fitting shirts. Some wear less than flattering suit colors. These all distract, confuse and distort the image seen.
    Look at some cars. They look great in one color and not so great in others. Add some nice wheels, low profile tires, some tint on the windows and the car is transformed.
    Expensive clothing on its own is no guarantee of personal style or of looking your best. Dressing well is a discipline that takes a little basic knowledge and some know how to execute. How much you spend on your clothes isn't as important as the styles you choose and how you choose to wear them.
     
  12. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    LOL. It's because I'm envious of the extra choices the skinny guys have. As a 36" waist I am out of the game. [​IMG]
     
  13. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    I notice the a lot in Atlanta as well. Many times I see an old beat up belt and scuffed shoes paired with a Zegna or Brioni suit. Looks terrible...

    Well said.
     
  14. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Armani, Gucci, and Prada does not make stuff for "skinny guys" since their smallest sizes tend to be something like a 38 or the rare 36.
     
  15. Dragon

    Dragon Senior member

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    Exactly...very good point.

    Kiton starts at s150s? Attolini s150s (in the same range of quality) cost about the same as Kiton. I`m not sure if Borrelli offers that type of material, but if they did I imagine the price range would be similar as well.

    I think this is the first major mistake most men make when choosing their clothes. It seems a lot men buy by brand name/reputation rather than what is best for themselves. For example, a large, muscular and chubby built man going crazy over his new Isaia suit.

    While it seems many pay attention to the fit of the jacket, I think it`s important not to forget about the fit/tailoring of the shirt and pants as well.

    Pairing expensive jackets with cheap accessories is another big mistake in my opinion. I can`t understand why someone would pair a $1 (or whatever) pocket square with a $100 tie and a suit that costs over $1000.
     
  16. Dragon

    Dragon Senior member

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    I have no idea what their smallest size is, but I have worn size 34 Gucci for years.
     
  17. Material Boy

    Material Boy Senior member

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    I am trying to answer the question of whether or not expensive clothing is really necessary. My answer is it depends. If one is about to embark on a career in investment banking, wearing name brands or designer clothing is absolutely required. On the other hand, if one works at an engineering firms, the answer is probably not. Since most of the top level managers at these firms dress like a slob.

    The bottom line is whether or not one can distinguish the differences between the expensive clothing and those that are in-expensive. If one can't tell the differences, then don't pay for the difference. I have friends that really can't tell the differences between my Kiton shirts and those Alfani shirts (Macys), if that is the case, stick with Alfani.

    Keep in mind that clothing, like pretty much everything else I can think of (i.e. watches, cars) is abounded by the law of diminish return. Example: a $5000 Rolex is not going to be twice as good as a $2500 Omega watch, a $120,000 MB S600 will not be twice as good as a $60,000 Lexus LS 430 or 6 times better than a Honda Accord. Marketing accounts for a large portion of the extra $, as mentioned by other forum members. Another big factor is the economies of scales (i.e. volumn).
     
  18. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    I have no idea what their smallest size is, but I have worn size 34 Gucci for years.
    Only the Asian Gucci stores tend to carry the 34 or Euro44 for suits, jackets, etc. Otherwise, they never have any of those sizes.
     
  19. Camiceria

    Camiceria Member

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    Style obviously isn't something you can buy and, I think, is first of all in the overall look, cleanliness and cut of the clothes.

    But as you learn along the way of your sartorial journey prices simply DO rise as you are looking for more and more fantastic sartorial details that are obviously only recognised by few and than only from upclose.
     
  20. A Y

    A Y Senior member

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    Kiton starts at s150s? Attolini s150s (in the same range of quality) cost about the same as Kiton. I`m not sure if Borrelli offers that type of material, but if they did I imagine the price range would be similar as well.

    They're all very close. I think Attolini may actually be slightly more expensive than Kiton for the US at least. Borrelli has high-numbered wools, and the prices are comparable to Kiton for comparable cloths.

    --Andre
     

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