For the better part of my life my disposable income has gone towards furthering my material wealth. In high school, I was fond of Abercrombie & Fitch hoodies. In college, I was very focused on amassing Abercrombie & Fitch hoodies. After I graduated and moved to New York, it became painfully clear that I would remain an observer of the fashion industry if I did not begin to look the part. It's true, you could spot me in mesh gym shorts and sorority formal T-shirts during my first days at Parsons and several other fairly ridiculous "casual" outfits that I care not to recall.
My clothes at the time were a smattering of what industry types refer to as "fast fashion" or "disposable clothing" and leftovers from somebody else's glory days. Of course, the retail landscape was far different even just those short five years ago. I suppose the appeal of cheap and easy was that my meager maitre d' wages would go much further than at some fancy department store. Month after month I'd empty my coffers in trade for a few well-priced pieces that looked alright, but that I'd no doubt be rid of within the year. Before long, my closet was a mess of snagged cardigans, flimsy off-color trench coats and fraying button-ups. Not exactly the kind of wardrobe one would imagine of a quick-witted editor, successful designer or, dare I say it, pretentious blogger.
I guess it was around that time that I decided to stop blowing money on piles of friendly-priced clothing and shift my financial (light) weight to pieces that I knew would last. More expensive? Undoubtedly so, but if you're smart, you find pieces with value that warrant the spend. Over the years, the cheaper pieces of my wardrobe fell to make room for the better manufactured, so called investment pieces. That's not to say you need to break the bank for your everyday oxfords, T-shirts and jeans, but it's worth it when shopping for outerwear, suits, a sweater here and there, etc.
Many times, I get flack for dropping money on high-ticket items from friends and family. And yes, I'll admit, at times the sticker shock is not justified and I'm just that weird guy with taste beyond his means. But alongside the dark green overcoat with coyote fur trim I recently bought sits the vicuna coat that my great grandfather Dominic gave to his son. Inside are the original tags, embroidery, monogram and far more history than a cheap peacoat you buy in October and toss come April. Were there cheaper options for my great grandfather? Probably, but the money spent then is still paying off about 75 years later.
There's safety in saving and purchasing something you know will last and something you know you'll be able to wear time and time again. How much you spend is up to you, maybe it's a couple hundred bucks, just above a grand or maybe you're some Hermès bro and are shelling out tens of thousands. Whatever your number is, I'd counsel you to go after the pieces that last, even if it means forgoing a few retail therapy session in between. Maybe it's a well-crafted leather jacket, a finely sewn navy blazer. Will my kids be running around their high school in a coyote fur collar coat? Probably not, but somewhere down the line I'll pass these things down and until then, I'll get my money's worth.