Old photos are often fascinating for the stories they tell. This photo is no different. This police archival mug shot was taken at Sydney Central Police Station in 1921, on the day of their committal for their involvement in robbing a bookmaker of his winnings - a sum of over 300 pounds. The members of the quartet were driven to crime by the poverty of their circumstances. These were not major organised crime lords. Yet look at how they are dressed. If a bunch of petty criminals in the same position were called to court today would they be remotely near so well dressed? I strongly doubt it. I hate to imagine what someone in the same circumstances would wear to court today. In those days every man had in his closet a "˜Sunday best' suit he could wear when the occasion demanded. A man would have been embarrassed not to have, and it is highly improbable that they hired their suits for their court appearance. Yet it is likely that a tailored suit in those days cost as much in relative terms as it would today. It is unlikely that they would have managed to buy a decent suit for much less than the modern equivalent of about $1500 AUD. Nor was there the option of purchasing a cheap and nasty polyester glue-job imported from China. The suits they wore would almost certainly have been made in Australia - from Australian wool, of worsted probably milled in Australia as well. Today the average men on the street, whether in Australia, Europe, the UK or the US, would shrink from the prospect of paying that much for a suit. Yet the same man would probably drop $3000+ on a new laptop, a wide screen TV, and more - much more - on a new car or a house. Back in 1921 a computer was not considered a basic necessity. On the other hand however a decent suit was. Today even those who live at the lower end of the income spectrum might own a car and a computer worth many thousands. Back in 1921 the same money went towards getting a proper suit, as you would have been derided for not having one. Today, you see men driving high-end cars dressed in rags - a t-shirt, dirty jeans or shorts. Today, the same man in the high-end car might have to rent a suit for his court appearance - a nasty, polyester glue-job imported from China. So the point I am ultimately driving at is that in the big picture of things - $1500 - 4000 is not really the frightful sum of money some would have us believe. The difference is merely how much we value a suit - not merely in terms of pure monetary value but social and emotional value. Once it was important to present oneself on important occasions in our lives in a manner that was elegant and commanded respect. To do any less would have been an embarrassment. After all do you still use an old computer running Window 95? Do you drive an old Lada? Do you have a tiny black and white television set? Yet in matters of dress, this is more or less what most men settle for these days because a decent suit is "too expensive".