Many of us are told, “the world is your oyster” when we are young. Then life happens, things don't turn out like we thought they would, and we no longer believe that the world is filled with endless opportunity. Sometimes in response, we replace our ambitious hopes and dreams for the future with something more realistic and achievable,we limit our potential, and we forget how to dream big and imagine what life would be like if “the world was our oyster.”
Well, we didn't forget and today, we welcome you to join us on the final chapter of our building versus growing journey, a chapter that will address just how we would build and grow our closets while bound more by our imagination than our checkbooks.
In the first part of our series on building and growing your wardrobe, we recommended the cash strapped shopper to invest in the pieces that will last a lifetime; in the second part of the series, we recommended that the more financially able consumer invest a bit more in their workday attire and start building a weekend wear wardrobe in addition to making investments in pieces that will last a lifetime. So, what more is there to do?
Well, with great spending power comes great choice, but we'd caution you against getting overly excited by these seemingly endless sartorial splendors. In fact, though you may not need to, it's wise to still maintain the skepticism and caution of those with little to spend because even with all of the means to build and grow an expansive wardrobe, at the end of the day, it's not the size of the wardrobe that counts, it's the quality. So, sure, indulge in some super high quality button down shirts, but reference some of our earlier posts so you make sure that you're paying for quality, not for some large brand name company's marketing expense. We'd also absolutely recommend investing in some cashmere sweaters, but buy quality ones made with luxurious fabrics that will age well and treat them well because if you do, you'll get you paid for and understand what all the fuss is about.
Add some spice to your formal attire wardrobe by picking up some handmade ties and remember that a man can almost never not look good in a well cut, well tailored suit. Again, brand names prices don't always reflect quality, so even with suits, pay for quality, but make sure that you are truly getting something of high quality.
And with the money left over, you can fully build out your weekend wear attire and finally see and feel the real differences between an American Apparel tee and a hand dyed Bamboo and Sorona henley or tee. There is a difference and it's not subtle. To quote Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
Finally, outerwear can last you a lifetime, but a lifetime is a long time, so with some extra spending power, investing in high quality coats and jackets of the finest materials is always a smart choice. Herringbone topcoats, camel hair topcoats, waxed cotton jackets, blazers, and the like, will never “expire” or “go bad” regardless of whether or not you do.
However, spending is the easy part. The difficult part is to realize the potential of those investments, or clothes, that you purchase. In other words, spend, but also wear and enjoy so you do not dilute the value of what you buy by not using it or mistreating it in a manner that erodes its value. Or worse, don't let yourself not appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of what your wallet allows you to buy. If you buy premium, enjoy it and experience it.
When investing in quality garments for the lower half of your body, ironically, less is often more. Some of the most beautiful, prized, exclusive, and expensive pieces of clothing are all of these things because they will also literally last you a lifetime. And as far as I checked, we only have one life, so if you find yourself building an army of pants and shorts that will last you 25 lifetimes, step back and ask yourself if they will all see wear in this life. Then again, some people enjoy the brand new look of garments on each and every occasion, and who are we to tell you to not load up on what you love. So, if that's you, by all means, spend.
And even if it's not, spend, but remain cautious and discerning. Remember that all cotton is not created equal. Same goes for wool and silk. Also, look for things like split backed waists, hand sewn waist curtains, and other small details that will enhance maneuverability and comfort.
Finally, when venturing into the weekend wardrobe arena, pick up some high quality shorts (they're worth the price) and throw in a pair of nice washed denim along with those timeless, dry, selvedge jeans. Also, your selvedge khakis come in, and will probably look good in, a number of different colors and fits, so those are natural areas to look to for your wardrobe expansion efforts.
If you're in the position to not really have to worry too much about your budget, you're lucky. So, remember that and above all else, have fun.