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The myth of declining quality

Frog in Suit

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I realize you said "all things equal," but for what it's worth, there are durable fine worsteds. This famous post from JefferyD comes to mind. The suit is from Despos.




I once commissioned a suit made from 8/ 9oz wool gabardine. Don't like the way the fabric hangs, so I'm reluctant to purchase another suit made from a fine, lightweight cloth. But a friend who has a lot of experience with bespoke tailoring recently recommended Harrison's Super fabrics to me.
Quite. I admit I have no experience with really light cloths. My lightest suit must be a Porter & Harding Glorious Twelfth, reference 25336 made in 2013 (11 oz; I do not find it on their web site, probably replaced by 25560 which looks very similar). I also have a Fresco 16 oz which wears very light (being very porous for lack of a better term). Interestingly, I have another P & H Glorious Twelfth 25307, same "official" weight, from another tailor, made in 1988 (replaced by 25507?) which feels quite a bit heavier.
Is it because of the way it is made, has the weight of the cloth changed so much between 1988 and 2013???? I just have no idea but the latter feels more like a Spring / Autumn suit and the first one is more summer-like.
I may add that, over the years, I have consistently pushed my tailor towards heavier weights than what he would spontaneously have suggested. Also, I live in Europe where we do not get the same muggy heat as one does in most of the States.
 

Phileas Fogg

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This reminds me also of people who look at air travel in the 1960s and swoon about how much nicer it looked. Well a) it was probably less safe and b) you can still fly first class and experience that kind of thing. Don’t want to pay for first class? Well in the 1960s you probably didn’t have a choice to fly economy, you either were in the jet set or daydreaming about one day having the experience to fly.
My primary concern when flying, besides safety of course, is leaving and arriving on time and getting my bags. Any semblance of luxury evaporates when going through the TSA cattle line and the subsequent humiliation of feeling like you’ve just arrived to the penitentiary.
 

Phileas Fogg

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Actually that's not true - it's gone far beyond blemishes. The materials in AE shoes are not the same as they were a decade+ ago, and they are not as durable as they historically have been. I can go into specific details if you'd like but the AE shoe today is not the same quality it was in the mid 2000's, which was not the same quality it was previous to that.

And you're correct that Cole Haan is not the same company it once was, however that's because it went down the road that AE and almost every other "American" manufacturer has or is traveling - cutting cost by cutting quality until there is no more quality left to cut, which eventually forces them into other categories of footwear that are less expensive to make and can still bring the company the profits they were previously accustomed to.
I should have prefaced it by saying I haven’t bought AE in over 10 years.
 

smittycl

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I should have prefaced it by saying I haven’t bought AE in over 10 years.
I still have several pair of Strands from years ago that have held up well even after at least one recrafting each. I picked up a pair of Liverpool Chelsea boots around four years ago I think but they didn’t hold up and I sent Goodwill.
 

smittycl

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My primary concern when flying, besides safety of course, is leaving and arriving on time and getting my bags. Any semblance of luxury evaporates when going through the TSA cattle line and the subsequent humiliation of feeling like you’ve just arrived to the penitentiary.
On the 8th Day, God, just after inventing GoreTex, made TSA Pre.
 

dieworkwear

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Quite. I admit I have no experience with really light cloths. My lightest suit must be a Porter & Harding Glorious Twelfth, reference 25336 made in 2013 (11 oz; I do not find it on their web site, probably replaced by 25560 which looks very similar). I also have a Fresco 16 oz which wears very light (being very porous for lack of a better term). Interestingly, I have another P & H Glorious Twelfth 25307, same "official" weight, from another tailor, made in 1988 (replaced by 25507?) which feels quite a bit heavier.
Is it because of the way it is made, has the weight of the cloth changed so much between 1988 and 2013???? I just have no idea but the latter feels more like a Spring / Autumn suit and the first one is more summer-like.
I may add that, over the years, I have consistently pushed my tailor towards heavier weights than what he would spontaneously have suggested. Also, I live in Europe where we do not get the same muggy heat as one does in most of the States.
I also prefer heavier fabrics, mostly because of how they hang. They also seem more forgiving of a tailor's mistakes. For this wool gab suit in an 8/9oz cloth, I had to go on for something like four or five fittings.

On the advice of my friend, I've been thinking about giving lightweight fabrics another try. He recommended them for summer. Harrison's Indigo book seems nice, in this regard.
 

Frog in Suit

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I also prefer heavier fabrics, mostly because of how they hang. They also seem more forgiving of a tailor's mistakes. For this wool gab suit in an 8/9oz cloth, I had to go on for something like four or five fittings.

On the advice of my friend, I've been thinking about giving lightweight fabrics another try. He recommended them for summer. Harrison's Indigo book seems nice, in this regard.
Agree. Most, if not all, of my suits have had four fittings, one went to five, I seem to remember. Another thing about heavier cloths is they mould to your body, especially tweeds after being rained on a few times...I am not rich and SR prices being what they have become, i probably will not get any more clothes, alas.
 

smittycl

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the funny thing is I’ve never bothered to sign up for it because 9/10 times I get it anyway when I check in online. I don’t know what’s up with that.
The airlines can give it to you apparently. It’s only $85 and good for five years. Even better is CBP Global Traveler. Works as Pre and gets you back through Customs fast after international flights.
 
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smittycl

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I’m not sure I can give up food for 5 years! The feds exact a heavy toll for such conveniences. :crackup:
I corrected my typo! Was shopping with wifey in Georgetown and typing while she tried stuff on. :-D
 

smittycl

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and you were hungry.
Quite true! Hit a nice Spanish Tapas place for Allahmbra Roja beer, Albarino for wifey, and some snacks.

For your Significant Others: J. McLaughlin's women's line for SS/21 is mostly all natural fabrics. Lots of suede, linen and such with no synthetics. She got an amazing suede jacket, linen sweater, and linen shorts. This store can skew old lady sometimes but they scored this season.

 

zippyh

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Just me perceiving the decline in their quality over the years, seeing some of the low-end stuff made in DomRep, and their own website commenting on the "fine imported materials" which I view with great suspicion. I think they are likely just another American company with corporate overlords who demand cost cutting to maximize profit.

I mean, I could be, and quite often am, completely wrong.

EDIT: their Cordovan shoes also use the "Fine imported materials " descriptor. I've always thought that companies trumpet Made in USA. Seems strange that AE would not mention Horween if that's who they source materials from, right?
Maybe it's because Horween gets their raw material for cordovan from Canada due to horse slaughtering being outlawed in the US.
 

smittycl

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Maybe it's because Horween gets their raw material for cordovan from Canada due to horse slaughtering being outlawed in the US.
I'm sure there are many details and nuances I am unaware of. I still feel they are being a bit intentionally opaque. I do wish them success of course. I still buy their shoes for my son.

They had a long time deal with the military PX system that seems to have ended. We used to get Strands for $200. The PX system has Wal-Mart-like arm twisting skills and I think AE finally cried foul. Rolex also did back in 2000 much to my dismay.
 

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