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WBaker

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One upside of quarantine has been a mental shake of the etch-a-sketch with familiarity to my wardrobe. Having worn Ts, GellerxLulu workout shorts and slip on Nike's for a couple months now I'm able to go through my wardrobe with a strangers frame of reference. Someone on this forum, if you remember who remind me, said the thought process for ditching clothes is: if you would jump at the chance to get the cash you spent back in exchange for the item you should probably sell it for whatever you can get. I've been using quarantine to do just that, whittling down the fringes of my closet.

My twist on that advice would be, if a garment makes you feel like similar items in your wardrobe will always be a second choice then it's time to cull. Example: I'm totally in love with my white 5 zip (try to wait until the honeymoon phase is over, but sometimes when you know you known). I have it hanging on a frame hook on my wall and I give it a once over every time I walk by, I'm just a shred if sanity away from telling it goodnight when I head to bed. Obvious move is now I'll probably sell my other 5 zip, cause I'll never want to wear it more than my white one and their usefulness heavily overlaps. More nuanced choices will be parting with a few jackets that fall in the same warmth and ocassion category, this is tough to discern. I ask myself to think of scenarios where I'd be giddy about sporting the 5 zip, then I think about what I'd wear if I didn't have this jacket. A few of those jackets (slightly luxurious, stuff I don't want to sweat a ton in, stuff I wouldn't wear if I was sleeping out or had those kind of plans where the night could get wild) can go up for sale. If I find a jacket thats similar in most regards sitting in my closest and go "but this one I'd wear camping or not be distraught if lost in a hotel room" then it's saved itself from the purge. (A whole other topic is how this theme were discussing doesn't mean treasuring an item, sometimes having garments you're okay with losing or messing up is what's most in service of contentedness.)

If I'm disciplined I'll use the money for more essential things, if not I'll think of ways I'd like to wear my favorite garments but can't due to some limitation of garments/colors/materials. One thought was I didn't have a knit thin enough to wear under a leather, fixed that by recently picking up a long sleeve shirt knit that I know will work perfectly. So in a way I think saying contedness means buying nothing and making yourself only love what you have is not my ideal. Contentedness can be picking up new pieces that will be breathing new potential into your favorite garments.

Another example of acquisition fitting the spirit of contedness can be found in my slowly expanding posse of side zips. I find having a few pairs shoes is really important to them lasting a long time, seems like a day or two's rest does a lot to exponentially increase a shoes lifespan (maybe something to do with sweat and salts breaking down the leather more aggresivly if worn every day?). So I love me a side zip: easy to put on (I will skip wearing my sneakers and hightops just to avoid stopping to lace up), looks cool with every pair of pants I own, I know my exact size for maximum comfort, finally they're more than durable enough. I've strayed from the light and tried combat boots, explored new brands, tried to buy the cheap version of what I want (if I haven't learned not to do this by now I'm hopeless) all to minimal success. I've had the classic black side zips since like 2012, they've been resoled 4 times, they look well loved but still totally wearable. With that track record and frequency of use I know if I buy a new color or material it will pan out long term. Actually some of my bigger clothing regrets and a serious lack of contedness has come from trying to downsize my side zip collection or from trying to add more variety to my footwear. They just work for me in every way, and I believe I'm finally in a zen place with that, wanting for very little deviation. Since this thread is nothing without pictures, here's my current side zip line up,

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Top to Bottom left to right:
Brown Suede Campus Boots, Square Toe Reverse Hide Boots, White Painted Canvas Side Zip, Caramel with Painted Gold Heels Side Zip, Black Side Zip (4x resole) , Brown Side Zip (4x resole)
 
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whorishconsumer

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I have a pretty bad habit of disposing of clothing the minute it doesn't meet the mental model I have in place at that time. I'm fairly mercurial, so this is a dangerous practice. As such, I only have a few items which I have possessed long enough to identify as having provided sustained contentedness.

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I purchased these Saint Laurent D10 Raw Black Denims in the Spring of 2017. These and a pair of SLP Chelsea boots more or less signaled my entry into high fashion and were the pinnacle of a year-and-a-half-long quest to elevate my style beyond a legacy of tight raw denim, T-shirts, and poorly-considered odds and ends obtained from Urban Outfitters, Buffalo Exchange and online clearance sales.

(It was during this quest, incidentally, that I started being much more active in this forum, having been driven here around 2010 after superdenim diehards saw fit to put down their craft beers and table saws and raise their pitchforks against me.)

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This pilgrim's progress was recorded dutifully in a ledger of sins and graces, tracing, by ledger's end, 245 distinct clothing purchases – some 40% of which were returned, sold or donated – amounting to $15k in expenditure. In a year and a half: I had traveled to the heart of Normcore, acquiring multiple pairs of chinos, blue and white button downs, APC denim, repro Ts and Norse Projects sweatshirts and realizing a long-held dream of owning multiple pairs of Common Projects. I had dabbled in Japanese street style, with cropped easy pants, Nanamica and Descente Allterrain outerwear and Hender Scheme loafers, (that did not fit, despite my greatest wish and effort). This led effortlessly into an abundance of Uniqlo U, a line that had just launched, followed by a brief affair with main-stable Lemaire. Finally, nearing my apotheosis and as a synthesis of all that had preceded, I arrived upon a fixation with ami Alexandre Mattiussi, which delivered an unfortunate turn when I found myself in attendance at the 2017 inauguration wearing said designer's signature beanie.

By the Spring of 2017 I had tired of OCBDs and was growing increasingly wary of loose-fitting pants. Equipped with the precedent of having made high-dollar single-item purchases, I found myself setting sights on Hedi Slimane's impossibly skinny silhouettes. I found these D10s on sale at Vitkac for the not-very-sale price of $380.

Upon initial wear I found the fit slightly looser and higher in the rise than I had anticipated. But after a soak and further wear, they quickly became the best-fitting pair of pants I have ever owned. The combination of elastane content and the slightly-higher rise that distinguishes this model comparative to most skinny jeans proved to be the secret ingredient yielding that Goldilocks fit: I could wear these jeans as easily sans belt as with, a feat I had to that point not found with any other pair of pants and have not found since. While comfortably situated in the top block, the legs maintained the skin-tight appearance that is Hedi's hallmark but were loose enough that I did not need to invest effort in pulling on or taking off. And the inseam post-soak was of a perfect length when paired with SLP chelseas, striking a balance between the excesses of stacked fabric with which the Internet was obsessed and the cropped silhouette that has become Hedi's more recent focus.

These are from Hedi's last season with Saint Laurent and they have the black chain to commemorate. Much to my dismay, Saint Laurent declined to produce another pair of D10s in this exact material and fit following his departure, and to date I have not found another extant pair in the right size, making them a unicorn. I have had them darned or patched three times in as many years. One specialist I consulted after the first mend had worn through presaged that any further repair wouldn't last a week. That was close to two years ago.

In the run-up to COVID-related lockdown I scrambled to get some tailoring in, including a third mend of my D10s. On the day the lockdown was announced for NYC I found myself rushing to Stanton Tailors to retrieve them before it was too late. Alas, they remained incarcerated for some three months.

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We are now reunited, but after three months COVID diet and COVID hobbies – namely another re-evaluation of my wardrobe – have delivered me to fuller-fitting trousers. While my D10s seem to no longer hold the same exalted position in my closet, they will nonetheless remain dear to me as the best-fitting, most well-worn pants owned to date.

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The initial entry on my ledger of purchases from this period of self discovery is this Oliver Spencer coat I purchased on January 11th, 2016 during the Mr. Porter sale. This was the first coat longer than a peacoat I ever owned and certainly the most tailored in appearance. Purchase price was $258.

In 4.5 years of ownership, I have gone through many stages of regard for this coat. Upon initial acquisition I was excited, as is to be expected. The coat was novel for the aforementioned reasons and serving of an aesthetic I had not as of yet considered for myself, despite exposure to magazines like Monocle and blogs like Inventory and despite having shared a dinner table with Ryan Willms while attending Pitti several years prior: the casual urbanite whose handsome attire attends their busy metropolitan existence in drearier climes. It is neither the yawn-inducing pallor of khakis and OCBDS nor the overwrought constriction of evening attire, and it's definitely not Express For Men circa 2002. It's appropriately-proportioned flannels and tweeds and suedes. Of course, I had none of those, but the compliments I nonetheless received when wearing this coat helped bolster my admiration for it. I liked to turn the collar up against the imaginary harshness of Austin weather.

But, given time and consideration, my regard shifted. Having since seen a New York winter and having acquired two other coats by Alexandre Mattiussi – one 100% virgin wool, the other a heavy blend – the looser knit and lighter weight of this coat seemed a bit anemic. Also, in truth, even if the pattern was more of a mottled salt-and-pepper than a tweed, wasn't outerwear to that effect played out? It certainly didn't pair well with grey slacks: that was just too much grey. And the collar never really wanted to stay erect, unless I was willing to button the coat all the way up, which I found constricting and which violated DWW's dictum that one should always wear their coat open to the elements. And what of Oliver Spencer as a brand? Mid-tier British workwear with production since outsourced, undoubtedly post-acquisition by some investment group.

Last winter I had opportunity to rediscover the coat and lay aside my qualms regarding, perhaps in relation to my diminished interest in my ami coats. It's lighter weight in fact better served me during the comparatively-warm weather we experienced and I found it went particularly well with the more tailored clothing I had taken to wearing to work. I like to wear it collar down.

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I found these Engineered Garments Ripstop Fatigue Shorts in January of 2016 at By George in Austin for $52. They were about a size too large for me, but who could pass up a steal like that! I've never held much appreciation for shorts, attributing to them partial responsibility for the all-around unstylishness that is the tyranny of summer weather. While this regard has more or less held, necessity dictates a limiting of cloth during the hot months and year after year I find myself grabbing these over my other (limited) options. Provided endless options, I think I would still prefer these. I have found that the slight looseness of an oversized waist is preferable in appearance to a fitted waist, as shorts I have owned with a fitted waist end up appearing shrunken on me. (I'll forever remember the disdain I received at the local Austin tap room upon arrival of my mid-20s self, by bicycle, wearing a brighter-hued green short with a tailored inseam). These have both drawstring and belt loops by which to control for any potential humiliation, but as I near 35 I find that my waistline is increasingly up to the challenge of supporting them.

What I value most is the worn-in nature of the ripstop. While this is not a strong position, I find that I sometimes have aversion to technical fabrics as they appear too synthetic. While remaining sturdy and bolstered against further wear and abrasion, the ripstop material of these shorts have taken on a patina that imbues them with character. This fading has been in no small part aided by an aggressive cleaning I was obligated to undertake when I inadvertently caked the left leg in cooking grease. Whereas a similar unfortunate occurrence involving a Salisbury steak rendered the assailed clothes ruined, I was unwilling to accept that fate for these shorts and, thankfully, was successful in removing the grease stains after several washes. Incidentally, these shorts are presently available at End.

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Closing things out, I have a longish history with not this precise pair of Bass Weejuns x Mr. Porter Leyton Tasseled Loafers, but a similar model from the same collection. Originally purchasing a pair of Bass x Mr. Porter Logans in January of 2016 during the same Mr. Porter sale that yielded my Oliver Spencer coat, it turned out I had acquired too large a size. By the point of realization the remaining stock was long gone from the site, it having been a single-season capsule. Adding further insult, the pair of the same I had purchased for my father proved similarly large. I reached out to both Mr. Porter and Bass to try to track down any remaining stock but was informed that this was an impossibility.

I had long abandoned any hope of obtaining a pair in the correct size when, in 2018, a few extant pairs appeared during one of the Mr. Porter sales. Alas, none were my size. However, come Mr. Porter's sale February of last year and additional extant pairs were posted in my correct size. I was swift to purchase a pair of the above, at $125. I picked up a correctly-sized pair for my father as well.

What distinguishes these from Bass' standard offering or their short-lived Made in USA line is that they are made using Horween Chromexcel leather. Similar, I believe, to the Made in USA line, they were partly assembled in El Salvador. Despite some seventeen years invested in ogling, and brief direct involvement with selling, menswear, I'm not going to claim to be able to identify craftsmanship. Suffice it to say, the uppers are handsewn, the heel has nails in it. What I love about them is that they're super comfortable.

What initially vexed me about them – indeed part of the reason my original purchase proved so fated – is that Chromexcel stretches seemingly without limit. However, as my true loafing shoes, the fact that they do not in any real way grip my heel, a detail that so many here are consumed by, in fact lends to their comfort. I have primarily taken to wearing them as my neighborhood-errands shoe, as the easiest item in my closet that I can slip over my feet. They already have a hole in the sole and I've had to apply some Barge to keep the ghillie fronds from peeling up, but somehow these details just add to their loved appeal.
 
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XWT

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Well, this thread isn’t the most lively but as a somewhat content person I’ll try to post stuff I own and love from time to time.
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This is a 1.5 inch belt made for me by Scott Willis (Don’t Mourn. Organize!) from natural skirting leather. It’s been treated about monthly with Canadian Beeswax conditionner.

It started off as some sort of rosy beige color, but after something like 120 wears, it love how it turned out.
 
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Reiver

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Well, this thread isn’t the most lively but as a somewhat content person I’ll try to post stuff I own and love from time to time.
View attachment 1624362
This is a 1.5 inch belt made for me by Scott Willis (Don’t Mourn. Organize!) from natural skirting leather. It’s been treated about monthly with Canadian Beeswax conditionner.

It started off as some sort of rosy beige color, but after something like 120 wears, it love how it turned out.
Seeing your belt made me think of my own belt which I love.

Made to order from Crispin Bending using really thick J & FJ Baker oak bark tanned leather. This belt is about 3 years old and was quite uncomfortable at first as it is so sturdy.

Feels like it could last forever.

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