Money and Wardrobe

Russell Street

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A great topic was started with this
I don't really care where he gets his money from, but that's a pretty mediocre middle market shop. An associate at a Bulge Bracket won't be able to afford going bespoke, nor will most directors/younger managing directors. Banking isn't what it used to be, but even before the 2008 crisis Rubinacci would've been out of reach. Anyway, I'm glad he's enjoying his money. There are worse things he could've spent it on, and I'm certainly not going to judge him or anyone else on how they spend their money.
It's no secret that the online fora are flush with people making lavish clothing purchases.
I'll lead with a confessional. I'm of roughly average income at best. I grew up with a Brooks Brothers and J. Press father and a lower-end department store mother.
All bespoke items I have are from one tailor, and he is quite affordable. The most expensive suit was under $1300. I feel this is a good value, given the quality and fit and command over the design. Were we talking $3k+, I'd be out of the game or lucky to splurge once every few years.
Shoes, a few pairs of $300 to $350 Allen Edmonds is the pinnacle of my footwear, and I'm just not entranced by finer things. I can see spending $600 on something really nice, but this would be stretching by far. $90 MTM shirts are about the tops for me as well, and that's few and far between.
I do live a fairly spartan life, and well-made, well-fitting clothing is a thing that I feel improves my life. A newer car or bigger TV, I can't say that about. I certainly can't imagine taking on debt or actually pushing off some normal expense for pricey clothing.
I don't know where this thread will go. Actually, I do recall my pre-graduate brother spending seemingly all of his income to perpetuate a Ralph Lauren wardrobe. I found that silly even then.
 

Journeyman

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I'm glad that someone has created a spin-off, stand-alone thread for this discussion.

I might as well quote my own post from the above-mentioned discussion in the "Disagreeable Menswear Posts" thread:

http://www.dressedwell.net/forum/th...nswear-post-of-the-day.763/page-53#post-70036

Without wishing to get into a verbal stoush with you, I do think that you underestimate just how willing people can be to spend money on the things that they wish to spend money on.
Maybe Foo's wife is wealthy and so he's leveraging her money to get his bespoke wardrobe, and maybe his family are quite well off, too. I don't know.
However, I do know that there are people who make stunningly short-term, myopic decisions in pursuit of their desires and that this can quite often include clothing.
The above sentence probably describes 50% or more of StyleForum members. Really, how else can you explain the vast amount that some people spend on shoes and clothes? I've got a lot of stuff, but I am a rank amateur compared to some of those people - they're picking up pairs of John Lobb Paris, St Crispins, Gaziano & Girling shoes ever few months, in between getting a couple of $3000 MTO suits, and then for good measure they'll pick up a Patek Philippe white gold watch and maybe an Audemars Piguet for good measure. That really happens, and it's not just one person. There are lots of people on SF like that. Either that means that there are lots of people on SF earning $300k or more, or there are lots of people who are living right up to or beyond their means, at least in the short-to-medium term, so as to fulfil their sartorial wishes.

I think that we also touched on this topic a month or two back in another thread, where there was a bit of a discussion about how people have always been competitive and have wanted to "one up" their neighbour. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, StyleForum and so on have just expanded the audience. Nowadays, there are many, many people to show off to, and there are also many, many more places that you can see what other people have (and you don't), so that you can covet what your (virtual) neighbour has and plan your future acquisitions.

I'd guess that a lot of people spending money on SF are younger professionals who, although they might be married, don't yet have kids and probably also don't have a mortgage so they don't have the costs associated with those things.

However, illogical spending certainly isn't limited to places like SF. Look at any car forum (or probably any general discussion forum that younger men frequent) and you'll see posts about "what car should I get?", where someone who's just got a full-time job and has no credit history and no savings is asking about what model of VW Golf/Merc/BMW/sports car they should buy or lease.

I have, in all seriousness, known people on a starting salary of $45k gross per year who have borrowed money to buy a car that costs about as much as their nett annual salary. That's crazy, absolutely crazy, as the car will depreciate significantly over the next five years and so at the end of the loan period they'll have an asset that's worth less than half of what they paid for it whilst at the same time having paid an extra 50% of the cost of the car in interest on an unsecured loan.

A lot of people nowadays - and not only young people - seem to think that they shouldn't have to save up for anything. They want it now, and they're prepared to borrow money and then pay that money back with interest so as to indulge in their wish fulfilment. I've largely given up on looking at Tumblr and Instagram and I don't pay much attention to Facebook, either, as it's full of people showing off and, given what I know about people, I'm willing to bet that quite a lot of them are showing off while paying for everything with their credit cards.
 

Rambo

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You guys want me to move the discussion out from that thread into this one?
 

Zé Ferreira

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I appreciate this thread. I fell deeply into SF after first finding it, and made those classic newcomer mistakes needing to later flip misized crap on the BS. Mostly raw denim. Also fell into Aldens, but have been able to remove myself pretty well.

I almost always semi-obsessively fall into interests; currently I'm back to guitars, but I've also played guitar now for 13 years or so. And often times I will spend semi-frivolously.

But in the sheer amounts some of these people are talking about, it's insane.

I also save up for any/all purchases and have never bought any of my crap on credit for more than a month, solely to get use out of my 1 credit card and to build that credit up. A personal requirement is to ALWAYS have money in the bank to pay it all off at an instant.

Now, don't ask me about my student debt. The mere fact I've had to use that for school makes me upset.
 

Pauly Chase

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We can all agree that SF is somewhat responsible for taking a chunk out of our back accounts. In my early days of SF, I have made some bad choices and wasted a lot of money buying myself into oblivion.

I have come to an realization lately that the clothes and shoes I buy are completely meaningless in the sense that no one else really cares. I wear them to be narcissistic and over-indulgent rather than for the sole purpose of good appearance. The most expensive piece of clothing I own is a Rick leather and everything else I own is sub-$300. A well executed fit delivers a much stronger message to the surroundings rather than some "one in the world commissioned Neapolitan piece" (all those bad examples on SF).

However I do not regret spending time gaining knowledge regarding to construction/artistry/fabric/materials. I am the to go person in my circle of friends who others come to when purchasing clothing/shoes/accessories. Nowadays if its not something I necessarily want/need/don't have, I control the urge and not buy.
 

Journeyman

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However I do not regret spending time gaining knowledge regarding to construction/artistry/fabric/materials.

Certainly, you really need to buy and wear some things to know what they're like, how they feel/breathe/wear/adjust to your body and so on. I'm sure that there are some "armchair generals" out there who like to blabber on about what's good in Napoli and whatnot even though they've only read about it on the internet but in such cases, actual experience counts for a lot more.

However, I do think that unfortunately places like SF encourage, in some people at least, an unfortunate propensity to jump in and spend, spend, spend without thinking too much about why they're spending money and what they're spending it on. In other words, they go too far, too fast, and end up with a wardrobe full of stuff that they don't often wear.

Much better to slow down, acquire things gradually, get a feel for what you like, what suits you, what fits you well and so on, and then accumulate more, rather than leaping in and buying a whole lot of stuff from all over the place very quickly.
 

Pauly Chase

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Certainly, you really need to buy and wear some things to know what they're like, how they feel/breathe/wear/adjust to your body and so on. I'm sure that there are some "armchair generals" out there who like to blabber on about what's good in Napoli and whatnot even though they've only read about it on the internet but in such cases, actual experience counts for a lot more.

However, I do think that unfortunately places like SF encourage, in some people at least, an unfortunate propensity to jump in and spend, spend, spend without thinking too much about why they're spending money and what they're spending it on. In other words, they go too far, too fast, and end up with a wardrobe full of stuff that they don't often wear.

Much better to slow down, acquire things gradually, get a feel for what you like, what suits you, what fits you well and so on, and then accumulate more, rather than leaping in and buying a whole lot of stuff from all over the place very quickly.

I learned that the hard way, but I was able to stop before I got myself into too deep.

In a way, SF has became too much of a market place rather than it's intended purpose, which was a community of discussion. That is one of the reasons I am here at DW. The lack of B&S, but the continue discussion of actual clothing, obviously the poking fun at IS/Foo/theFuhrer doesn't hurt either.

Consumerism regardless of the types of purchases, in a sense, is a method we use to feed our own egos and reward our limbic systems. Too little, we feel unsatisfied, but too much, it becomes an addiction that can have dire consequences. The rise of popularity of the internet boards such as this one, despite its infancy, provides us with an excuse to make purchases we normally would not. To the eye of the general population, there is not that much aesthetic difference between decent Cole Hanns and John Lobbs, but we justify these expensive purchases by appeasing our own inner consciousness. Are Lobbs' quality and construction much better than Cole Hanns, definitely. However one can argue, why spend 1.5k on one pair when you can buy 10 pairs of Cole Hanns over a 10 year period.
 

Zé Ferreira

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Lobbs are completely beyond my personal moral code. No shoe is worth that much.

I can say that diving in had helped me establish a personal baseline for what I'm willing to spend on X-item. I'm not even a "small timer" by SF-standards, but through patience and selective buying, I have assembled a wardrobe I enjoy and feel meets the middle point of personal value and clique approval.

I know that I enjoy EP and WvG. For shoes Aldens are a wonderful luxury, but would break my bank new. I've discovered that ebay can be amazing for suits, and thanks to Rambo Rambo I have completely updated my work shirts every summer for 2 years via CT's summer sale (for less than $150 a summer)

I wish EPs prices would stop steadily climbing. I can only splurge on their baseline items.

But this has also made me appreciate sales and 2nd hand stuff off the BS even more.
 

Journeyman

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Well, Lobbs generally do look better than Cole Haan shoes (the occasional, odd model from JLP aside like the horrid sneaker hybrids that they did a while back).

The thing that really interests me about SF is the way that some people's spending escalates so quickly. When they join, they're usually taken aback by the cost of a pair of Loake shoes for $3-400, but within 6-12 months, they're talking about Edward Green and Gaziano & Girling for $1000+ and St Crispin for $1600.

However, one thing that I do appreciate about SF is the way that the forum can help to steer people away from "name brand" clothes and shoes to brands that offer better quality or value-for-money. If SF can steer some people away from LV and Gucci and towards smaller, high quality businesses such as Vanda, then that's a good thing.
 

robertito

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Well, Lobbs generally do look better than Cole Haan shoes (the occasional, odd model from JLP aside like the horrid sneaker hybrids that they did a while back).

The thing that really interests me about SF is the way that some people's spending escalates so quickly. When they join, they're usually taken aback by the cost of a pair of Loake shoes for $3-400, but within 6-12 months, they're talking about Edward Green and Gaziano & Girling for $1000+ and St Crispin for $1600.

However, one thing that I do appreciate about SF is the way that the forum can help to steer people away from "name brand" clothes and shoes to brands that offer better quality or value-for-money. If SF can steer some people away from LV and Gucci and towards smaller, high quality businesses such as Vanda, then that's a good thing.

I think that it is similar to being in drugs. once you are into it, you only see one way. If you go to watches or car fora is exactly the same.
But in all fora there several levels and you need to know which one is the one you belong: bespoke lovers, brand whores, bargain hunters, etc...
I agree that thanks to SF I learnt about high qualities business like Vanda as you say. I don't like using the word artisans (reminds me of partisan) as I think that there is a over abuse of the word but I appreciate things made by hand and why to have to pay more for them.
 

Pauly Chase

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Wasnt't Spoo that way. A couple of SW&D posters as well. Can't think of their names.

As far as comparing Lobbs to Cole Hanns, I meant to the general avaerage public eye. Heck I have encountered many who thought Mark Nason/Madden/Aldo looked good.

But those small establishments we so love haven't in themselves become mainstream under the SF/SZ/SuFu "name brands".


SF definitely opened my eyes to another world of style. I think I have developed a decent eye for details and have definitely learned about color coordination.

I guess my conflict is am I dressing for myself to boost my own confidence or am I doing it for others to see and how much money is really enough to satisfy the need.
 
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robertito

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Spoo was a brand whore. He still is (although at a different level) We dont Cole Haan in Europe but I remember that when I joined SF Barker and Loake was for me the best in terms of shoes. I used to buy Lottusse and Yankos (old company from Carmina) now I still use them but I see the difference with EG or Lobbs,, not on my feet (they all look very similar as the leather ages very similarly) it is in details like the linings or the soles.
 

LelandJ

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Without Yoox there's no way I'd be able to get anywhere in reach of a satisfying wardrobe. With superstar discount I can get five jackets for the price of one retail. Learning different fabrics, textures, cuts, silhouettes would be impossible at retail or just 20% off. Even with Yoox the learning phase has been difficult and expensive. My main shoe interest is Guidi but they're never on Yoox and difficult to find below $800. Luckily I haven't had much interest in the high end of A1923, $2-3K, or M-moria, $3-4K, per pair which is obviously ridiculous pricing.

I know eventually, hopefully not in the distant future, I won't desire or need to build a wardrobe and only worry about replacing garments as they wear out over many years.
 

Pauly Chase

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Yeah he went from whoring sub $500 brands to whoring several grand brands in rather lightening speed.

Your last sentence is the issue here. Even if I bought Lobbs or EGs or G&Gs, I wouldn't be looking at those details every second and the soles get scratched really quickly. So the question remains, is it really worth that much money to buy these items except illustrating a perceived status symb9l to the rest of the world.
 

Pauly Chase

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Without Yoox there's no way I'd be able to get anywhere in reach of a satisfying wardrobe. With superstar discount I can get five jackets for the price of one retail. Learning different fabrics, textures, cuts, silhouettes would be impossible at retail or just 20% off. Even with Yoox the learning phase has been difficult and expensive. My main shoe interest is Guidi but they're never on Yoox and difficult to find below $800. Luckily I haven't had much interest in the high end of A1923, $2-3K, or M-moria, $3-4K, per pair which is obviously ridiculous pricing.

I know eventually, hopefully not in the distant future, I won't desire or need to build a wardrobe and only worry about replacing garments as they wear out over many years.

I need to figure out where in the hell those fools on SZ are getting their dough from that they can kop endless pieces from CCP/Harnden/etc.
 

LelandJ

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I don't like anything CCP, it's all contemporary ugliness to me. I've wanted Harnden for awhile but luckily the desire's been fading away slowly, not just from the bespoke suit level pricing increase, but they're starting to look a little too try hard for me. I'd much rather indulge in a Geoffrey B Small jacket or suit, but will only consider after I have all the essentials filled out first.

Honestly I'm quite content with Boglioli, LBM 1911, with the occasional CdG and small name Italian or Japanese brands.
 

Monkeyface

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A big part of the problem with keeping up with the joneses is that the joneses on SF are people who work in the clothing business. In the beginning I was really impressed with those guys who wear a new tie every time and have top notch pictures. But when I realized they're just selling ties, it all started to make sense. Those guys are the ones fueling the buy, buy, buy craze. All you need to is click on the link or the AV thread and you can look just like them. It's a never ending cycle of instant gratification, until your money runs out.
 

doghouse

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A big part of the problem with keeping up with the joneses


A lot of psychological studies have been done on where consumer culture took of and how it evolved. In post war suburbs, it was truly keeping up with the Joneses. People wanted to be even with their neighbors, to put it in simple terms. This meant having a washer and dryer, wearing simlar outfits, having a car, etc... The reference was people in your demographic and economic class, and conformity was a big driver. So keeping up with the Joneses was achievable, though people would need to be a little thriftier to make up small differences between modestly better earning neighbors. You lived, socialized, and worked with similar people, and all was good. After the 60's though, with the big social upheavals, society became much much more fragmented, and people had super diverse situations, with women working outside the home making big income disparities in neighborhoods, nascent globalisation bringing new trends, and advertising that crosses demographics it was intended for, and people are trying to keep up with a whole different socioeconmic group, that may be way, way over their head.


Some people have an easier time dealing with these pressures naturally, some from learned behavior, some never can resist. My Grandmother is a compulsive shopper. And will never change. But her reference group isn't that high so it's not an issue beyond the whole over consumption thing (which is a totally different conversation). I am personally not inclined to mass consumerism. I will ruminate over purchases for a long time, and only buy very specific things. My clothes probably are more expensive than most peoples here, but I only possess a few items that I really like, and will get rid of things before I get more (there is also some minimalism that is involved here). And if cheaper option works I will go for it without blinking (CT pants ftw!).

It's a huge cultural issue that has been exacerbated by new communication forms, particularly social media. People are subject to consumption forces they never would have been before, and it's a tricky problem to deal with.
 
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E

EFV

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I started with cheap RTW & am still wearing rather cheap RTW, cheap MTM, and of course my own brand (which isn't exactly cheap since I've invested a lot of money into it). The only difference is that I'm more selective now. I can see why people get into the hype of buying more expensive stuff, but until I'm a (dollar) millionaire I'll buy stuff at reasonable prices, like Loake shoes, Luxire shirts and the occasional splurge on a suit/blazer.

Sure, I could buy bespoke, G&G shoes et c, but I prefer saving and reinvesting money into my company.

I think that everyone should do whatever they want with their money, but for me, spending more than 1/20 (sometimes 1/10) of my income on clothing & shoes is usually not an option. Still, I think I don't look that much worse than some guys who spend tens of thousands on clothes.
 

Pauly Chase

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As I am getting older, I have become less and less infatuated with clothes for some reason. Priorities change.
 

Thruth

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Yeah he went from whoring sub $500 brands to whoring several grand brands in rather lightening speed.

Your last sentence is the issue here. Even if I bought Lobbs or EGs or G&Gs, I wouldn't be looking at those details every second and the soles get scratched really quickly. So the question remains, is it really worth that much money to buy these items except illustrating a perceived status symb9l to the rest of the world.

Footwear is important. More important than your suit from a biomechanical point of view. You spend the money on solid shoes that can be resoled/refurbished and they will last a good long while and not screw up your feet. I don't care if we are talking about AE, Alden, EG, St.C, JL et al. Spend the money where it counts. So that is not buying glued-sole shite. And it is not just about Goodyear welting. Meermin is a perfect example of GYW shit that falls apart. So you have to find the right mix of fit, construction and design that works. The more you pay, the more elegant the lasts (not in all cases). But really anyone of us could get by quite well for many years just wearing AE and Alden even if they are still somewhat over-priced, blobby and have some quality control issues.
 

Thruth

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As I am getting older, I have become less and less infatuated with clothes for some reason. Priorities change.

this is good that you have reached this point now. nobody wants to see 50 year-old goth/ninjas. it is bad enough that some former MC stalwarts have become SWD fiends at an "advanced" age
 

doghouse

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this is good that you have reached this point now. nobody wants to see 50 year-old goth/ninjas. it is bad enough that some former MC stalwarts have become SWD fiends at an "advanced" age
Old.jpg
 

Pauly Chase

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I agree with you on footwear. I have an eclectic collection of shoes and I have actually found AE to be the most comfortable especially if I am standing most of the day. I don't have experience with over 1 grand shoes. But in honesty I really can't tell the difference between my $75 AEs and my CJ handgrade besides the obvious aesthetic factor.
 

Pauly Chase

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this is good that you have reached this point now. nobody wants to see 50 year-old goth/ninjas. it is bad enough that some former MC stalwarts have become SWD fiends at an "advanced" age

Images of Parker/Manofkent popped in my head.
 

Pauly Chase

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As much as people talk about SF I feel that SZ is much much worse along on this scale. Poorly constructed guidi boots are considered entry level, and ad over 1000 dollars a pop that seems absurd. Those $300-$500 aldens or allen edmonds are just as well constructed and likely will last much longer.
It's like people completely skip the basic stage and just post outfits that range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. One post that stood out was a poster lambasting the general public for not realizing that him and his significant other were wearing tens of thousands of dollars despite looking like they climbed out of the gutter. Where else do people pay enormous sums of money to look homeless?

You meant this? Close to 10 grand worth of clothes.
Screen_Shot_2014_11_14_at_5_32_05_PM.png
 

doghouse

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As much as people talk about SF I feel that SZ is much much worse along on this scale. Poorly constructed guidi boots are considered entry level, and ad over 1000 dollars a pop that seems absurd. Those $300-$500 aldens or allen edmonds are just as well constructed and likely will last much longer.
It's like people completely skip the basic stage and just post outfits that range from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. One post that stood out was a poster lambasting the general public for not realizing that him and his significant other were wearing tens of thousands of dollars despite looking like they climbed out of the gutter. Where else do people pay enormous sums of money to look homeless?

That's just dumb fashion stuff. When you wear classic mens garments, at least there is some sort of correlation between quality and price usually. None of the "designer" T shirt syndrome.
 

Pauly Chase

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I actually chose a benign pic that he posted.

My curiosity is what jobs allow people to dress like that. Obviously he has money to be able to afford all that.
 

Thruth

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We can all agree that SF is somewhat responsible for taking a chunk out of our back accounts. In my early days of SF, I have made some bad choices and wasted a lot of money buying myself into oblivion.

I have come to an realization lately that the clothes and shoes I buy are completely meaningless in the sense that no one else really cares. I wear them to be narcissistic and over-indulgent rather than for the sole purpose of good appearance. The most expensive piece of clothing I own is a Rick leather and everything else I own is sub-$300. A well executed fit delivers a much stronger message to the surroundings rather than some "one in the world commissioned Neapolitan piece" (all those bad examples on SF).

However I do not regret spending time gaining knowledge regarding to construction/artistry/fabric/materials. I am the to go person in my circle of friends who others come to when purchasing clothing/shoes/accessories. Nowadays if its not something I necessarily want/need/don't have, I control the urge and not buy.

Unless you invest a great deal of thought on the front end, making rash decisions is part of the learning process; doesn't matter if it is clothes or cars. The magnitude of that error is what separates the level of foolishness.

Our clothes are meaningless to others other than if done well someone might notice and say "that looks nice" but that is not necessarily narcissistic.

Figuring out what fits well is the trick. But the internet has buggered up people because all it takes to get a good fit now is entering some measurements into a website and bingo, you gets yourself a shirt, an odd jacket a suit or some slacks. Then, you strike an unnatural pose, snap a pic and post it to ask strangers "how does this fit?" Heaven forbid that you might interface with a tailor in person.

It is the knowledge gathered beyond surface learning that puts the breaks on stupid purchases (sometimes). But a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

I've learned some really good shit from the #menswear forums and i believe i am now an advanced dresser. despite the negative connotations, i am dandy or a peacock if you will as i like to think my abilities to combine quality fabrics with timeless elegance puts me head and shoulders above the other fools. here, have a look for yourselves suckahs!

LL
 

LelandJ

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gufasd and Pauly, can you share your SZ names here or in pm if safer?
 

Thruth

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Are you saying that is you? And that the posted image looks good? I'm confused, how is that timeless elegance?

the words are true. the picture is not me but rather the evil antithesis of the words. sorry for the confusion. stick around long enough and you will understand the method of my madness
 
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