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Items you splurge on / your clothes spending habits

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    Items you splurge on / your clothes spending habits

    The post on iconic alternatives got me thinking about this. I had clicked that and found myself looking at the Sunspel Riviera Polo. It's a $120 polo, but it looks great. But... it's $120. That site was talking about alternatives to the shirt with some being as cheap as $15.
    If I wear to look at graph of 'buy a lot of cheaper clothes' vs 'fewer more expensive clothes', I'd definitely veer towards the fewer/expensive side. Now most of my clothes are from Bonobos; I wouldn't call them expensive, but they aren't cheap either. When I go outside of that comfort zone, I tend to go for the more expensive things that fit better and hopefully would last longer. For example on that Sunspel polo, I found myself trying to rationalize buying it with the thought being it'd last a lot longer than other polos, and it'd look a lot better too. I've noticed a lot of people talking about Old Navy and JCF as good options, but personally I've found those to not be worth the money even at their price points. I feel like they are messed up after even a couple of washes. Even my Bonobos polos that I paid $65 for probably won't last that long. No idea if I'll buy that polo, but honestly next time I do need to buy one, I might take the plunge and get that.
    With this approach I definitely don't buy a lot of clothes as I prefer spending the same money on clothes that (should) last longer. I guess if I had $500 to spend, I rather come away with like 4 items that will look great versus 12 that will ok and be donated in a year or two.
    What are your habits?

    #2
    In general, I don't "invest" in clothes. Styles, fits, and needs change semi-frequently for me to consider purchasing at high costs. That's why I like this site/forums seeing a variety of methods to ensure a well put together look without going broke. I tend to ensure I wait for good value in terms of sales on items. Some items, I just cannot fathom paying a lot of money for (to each their own) out of my own cost benefit thoughts: shoes, polo shirts like above I couldn't justify, accessories like belts/ties, etc.

    For me,
    High priced items: suits, outer wear, watches, sunglasses
    Medium priced items: trousers, dress shirts, shoes
    Medium/low priced items: sweaters, casual wear, jeans
    Low priced items: belts, ties, socks, under clothing

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      #3
      I prefer to splurge on items like shoes, watches, or jackets because those are things that can last a really really long time if you maintain them properly. From my experience things like t-shirts and polo's wear out regardless of how much I spend. Yes higher quality ones last longer, but inevitably they stretch out, get holes, get stains, get lost, ext. At the end of the day though paying more money can get you higher quality items, but there are seriously diminishing returns. I think at some point you have to face that fact that beyond certain price ranges you can't really rationalize certain items in a lifespan to price ratio type of way, but if you really like them and enjoy owning them they can still be worth buying (to you). I own 8 watches and 9 pairs of dress shoes, there is absolutely no cost per wear analysis or financial justification for owning that many of these items. However, I really like owning them and really enjoy having the options and variety so to me they are all well worth the price I paid.
      Last edited by Me27; March 27, 2017, 02:32 PM.

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        #4
        Dress shoes like ae and boots like redwing, wolverines, Truman, and viberg.

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          #5
          I spend more on work clothing and less on my casual clothing. When I love what I am wearing to work, I feel I do a better job. If I am wearing an older dress shirt that is a little boxy, I feel like crap. Does my work suffer? I have no idea but when I feel better I feel like I produce better work.

          Spending more though has allowed me to decrease the quantity I buy because I want to wear my quality items more often.

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            #6
            I'm only willing to splurge significantly for items that could have longevity. The boots I'm wearing cost 10 times as much as the jeans I'm wearing with them. The jeans are a bit over a year old and I'll be surprised if they last more than another year before wearing through somewhere. The boots are about a year old as well, but should last me a decade or more and can be resoled. My favorite jacket is leather and cost several hundred dollars, but should also last me for a decade pretty easily if I don't get fat. Most of my stuff is much cheaper (e.g. I aim for ~$35 per shirt), because realistically most items of clothing are not going to last me a decade. They'll stain, or fade, or get torn.

            I'm willing to pay a bit more for fit as well. I'll probably buy a pair of dark denim from Bonobos soonish (to replace the ones I'm wearing) because the fit is really good.

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              #7
              i dont splurge on any items, but i over buy specific items. for example, shoes. i have tons of them. I still want more.

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                #8
                Just curious if any of our older or more established members have shoes over 10 years? I hear this argument a lot when people recommend AES etc but to me shoes are a disposable type good. They take almost more wear and tear than any other in our wardrobe. I know you can recraft and all but 10 years is a lot of abuse on shoes.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                  Just curious if any of our older or more established members have shoes over 10 years? I hear this argument a lot when people recommend AES etc but to me shoes are a disposable type good. They take almost more wear and tear than any other in our wardrobe. I know you can recraft and all but 10 years is a lot of abuse on shoes.
                  My first pair of AEs were hand me downs from my father. They were over 20 years old and probably older than me. He had them resoled dozens of times, polished them frequently and kept shoe trees in them. They still looked great when he gave them to me. So yeah, quality shoes can last a really long time if properly cared for.

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                    #10
                    Casual clothing and shoes I'm cheap as long as it fits well. Old navy, target, lands end. ON stuff lasts as long as I care for it to. Do I want a t-shirt that lasts 10 years? Not really. As long as it looks good, I'd rather pay 20% of the price and have it last 4 years.

                    There are staples I'd pay more for. I assume my AE Park aves will last the rest of my life with how little I wear them. Same with a good charcoal suit. I have a couple other AEs that i think are worth the money. However I wear my cheaper dress shoes more often, particularly in winter in New england - not wearing my AEs through salt and slush. My $40 brown bostonian bike toes get worn way more than any other shoe I own.

                    I'd pay more for better fit to a point. I bought BR travelers, although I ended up returning them because I didn't like the fit, I'd be fine paying 80 to 100 for denim that gets worn often that looks better.

                    I also thrift, which has ruined my outlook a bit. Once you pick up a few nice items for $5 it makes it real hard to pay 50. And I always feel like if I hold out longer I'll eventually thrift that item I've been wanting....

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                      Just curious if any of our older or more established members have shoes over 10 years? I hear this argument a lot when people recommend AES etc but to me shoes are a disposable type good. They take almost more wear and tear than any other in our wardrobe. I know you can recraft and all but 10 years is a lot of abuse on shoes.
                      I'm not at 10 years yet, but I bought my first AEs 7 years ago. They still look more or less new, save for a resole or two, but they aren't worn a ton (walnut Strands, like most, and a dark brown pair of Park Aves). My most worn pair, bourbon AE McAllisters, I got recrafted after 2 years of rough use, being worn in rain/snow/daily NYC grime (and frankly over-use, if I'm honest with myself) and they came back good as new... actually probably better, in terms of the bourbon color I got on the recraft vs. original (they were firsts, but got splotchy real quick). While recrafting isn't cheap by any means, I liked that it was still my shoe when it came back, and I didn't have to break them in from scratch again. That might not be something everyone needs, but personally I think it's worth it.

                      For the overall thread, I'd say I'm borderline non-dappered in a lot of what I buy, but I do still aim for relative value and a "less is more" approach in terms of buying fewer expensive / quality things that I love wearing vs. buying tons of cheaper / lesser quality items that I don't love. In this regard, custom suiting/sportcoats (for example) makes a lot of sense to me as I get a lot out of them vs. OTR. YMMV. This push has been in part because I did a closet-clearing donation kick over the last year and saw things I didn't even remember buying, much less wearing, and also because my NYC apartment inherently needs my wardrobe to be smaller and more focused.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                        Just curious if any of our older or more established members have shoes over 10 years? I hear this argument a lot when people recommend AES etc but to me shoes are a disposable type good. They take almost more wear and tear than any other in our wardrobe. I know you can recraft and all but 10 years is a lot of abuse on shoes.
                        Even without resoling, a well-made pair of shoes with durable soles can last a very long time. I had a pair of Doc Martens last me from high school past college graduation and they got a lot of wear. Probably 6 years of frequent use in the fall/winter before I donated them and they still looked pretty good. The soles were showing some wear, but not bad, and the uppers looked quite good after a fresh cleaning/polish. They only got donated because I finally stopped wearing them after I bought a different pair of boots.

                        This is obviously not a story that indicates that you need to spend hundreds of dollars on shoes for them to last. The point is that shoes can last a long time and therefore a splurge may be enjoyed/deliver value for longer. I spent about 4x as much on these boots as a cheap pair. I expect that I'll get 4x as much enjoyment from them. If I spent 4x as much on my shirts, I'm not confident I'd get anything close to 4x as much enjoyment.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                          Just curious if any of our older or more established members have shoes over 10 years? I hear this argument a lot when people recommend AES etc but to me shoes are a disposable type good. They take almost more wear and tear than any other in our wardrobe. I know you can recraft and all but 10 years is a lot of abuse on shoes.
                          The over ten years claim is a bit vague, it's probably more accurate to measure a shoe's lifespan by number of wears or distance walked in. Depending on the size of your rotation, you might only wear a shoe 5-10x a year, so it's easy to imagine it lasting 10 years (or 50-100 wears). On the other hand if you only have one or two pairs of shoes, I find it unlikely that any shoe can survive thousands and thousands of wears.

                          There are basically two ways to arrive at the conclusion that quality shoes have a longer lifespan than cheap shoes:
                          1) You wear them both every single day, basically beat them both up, and see which one lasts longer
                          2) You take proper care of both, never wear two days in a row, always stored with shoe trees, brushed / conditioned / polished, etc. and see which one lasts longer

                          My guess is that not very many people have tested out 1), because if you're spending a lot of money on quality shoes you likely would take proper care of them. Pure conjecture but I think that if you're neglecting your shoes, then a quality shoe like AE wouldn't last that much longer than a cheap shoe. I've seen examples of people with their beat up red wings that they wore every single day, and the shoes didn't last more than 2 years.

                          In my experience 2) is true, and it's only when you take proper care of your shoes does the benefits of quality shoes really shine. My JCP shoes and AE shoes have gone through roughly the same wear and tear, and have the same care routine, but after two years the AE ones are still going strong and the JCP ones are almost at the end of their usable life. If you view shoes from a purely functional cost perspective, then it's probably cheaper to just buy a $50 pair of JCPs, throw them out after 2 years, and rinse and repeat vs. buying a pair of AEs that can be resoled. But I think for most of us here who have bought quality shoes, it's the fit and the looks that warrant paying more.
                          Instagram: WoofOrWeft

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                            #14
                            Originally posted by hockeysc23 View Post
                            Just curious if any of our older or more established members have shoes over 10 years? I hear this argument a lot when people recommend AES etc but to me shoes are a disposable type good. They take almost more wear and tear than any other in our wardrobe. I know you can recraft and all but 10 years is a lot of abuse on shoes.
                            Not quite at 10 years yet, but I have a pair of AE's that are 9 year old and two pair that are about 6 years old. All of them are holding up really well, and I could easily see getting another 9+ years out of them. In fact I would say my 9 year old AE's seem like they are holding better than a pair of Banana republic shoes I have that are less than two years old. I have enough shoes though at I only wear each pair at most once a week, so that probably helps extend the life.

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                              #15
                              You really have to look at cost per wear. The number of years a pair of shoes lasts depends on how often they are worn. Those of us who like shoes are biased towards justifying our purchases. When you factor in the cost of resoling shoes, I doubt expensive shoes cost less in the long run. My experience with well-made shoes is not very long, but I have many years of experience with cheap shoes. They only have to last a fraction of the time it takes to resole a pair of expensive shoes to be more cost effective.

                              Cost per wear isn't the whole story. Well-made shoes look great even as they get older. I like well-made shoes because they look better. I don't care if I'm spending more per wear.

                              I've splurged on shoes and outerwear. The more formal the clothing, the more I tend to spend.

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