When Jerry Seinfeld delivered a stand-up set on Fallon last month, he riffed on our shared propensity for materialism saying: "All things on Earth only exist in different stages of becoming garbage." Complex's recent cover co-star was right, but obviously wasn't talking about fire jawns or pretty much anything with a potential resale value equal or higher than around what you paid. I'm sure Jerry knows a thing or two about that, considering he has more cars than clothes and also happens to be an unabashed sneaker enthusiast.
Last year during tax season, I gave TurboTax the middle finger and decided to do the grown-up thing: I got an accountant, one that specializes in weird forms for people who freelance and/or have creative jobs with different kinds of tax breaks that most people have no idea exist. When she informed me I could expense some of what I spent on clothes since it's directly correlated to my job, I gasped so hard my head turned into a black hole and almost sucked the entirety of East Williamsburg into an unending vortex of deformed spacetime.
In the aftermath of the near singularity, I decided to go ahead and document my wanton spending habits for 2014, not just for tax purposes, but also to see how much of my money was going to Trés Bien, Gentry, Dover Street Market and Nike. After much dreading, I sacked up yesterday and tallied up the total amount of cash that I had dropped on gear: $9,984.68.
I had estimated it would probably be around $9,500 and while the final number was a bit galling, it was acceptable. I know I'm not alone in spending that much of my discretionary income on things I wear, mostly because I have done a great job of building a circle of friends who are utter enablers and are just as bad about shopping as I am. And, I mean, that sum is nowhere near Buzz Bissinger bad.
A lot of this may sound apologetic, but overall I'm totally comfortable with my spending habits.
Even though I don't get Anna Wintour's $200,000 clothing allowance, I am fortunate enough to get things floated to me every now and then, which I really appreciate, but nine times out of ten I tend to pay for things I want. Menswear editors, they're just like us! Granted, I do enjoy some discounts thanks to longstanding relationships, and years of instacopping has given my body spider-sense for when an ill sale is coming up. I pretty much never pay retail though I acknowledge that's also probably because I am Asian and it takes a lot of fortitude to get me to do so.
A lot of this may sound apologetic, but overall I'm totally comfortable with my spending habits. I probably comb through my closet at least once or twice a month and resell or give away things I no longer wear, which helps fund (and make room for) future purchases. If you've ever seen one of my postings on Grailed or eBay, you'll probably know because it reads like a Four Pins post.
Will I spend less in 2015? Undoubtedly. In addition to being an eye opener, tracking my purchases made me realize that getting what you actually want is better than settling for something that's close, but not quite. I've spent a lot trying to get the look for less, especially on plain white sneakers, but finally pulling the trigger on a pair of Common Projects Achilles felt a lot like killing Goliath. I'm never gonna let this pair go. Once I took that plunge, I sold a bunch of other stuff to help buy two other pairs (sample sales help). A good portion of this year's spending went to building a solid wardrobe of things I don't get tired of, like topcoats, trousers and higher-end white tees. Now that I'm staring down the barrel of age 30 in less than a year, I've warmed up to the idea of a uniform.
As a recovering "emotion dresser," I'm used to dressing according to feeling, not function. Now, it feels like my closet's in a place where I can throw almost anything in it together and it wouldn't look terribad. It's all kind of cathartic.
Like Rae Sremmurd says, "I make my own money, so I spend it how I like," though I do have to check the price. After combing through this past year's swag expenditures, which you can view and comment on, I've managed to compile this list of seven purchases I don't regret making and three I never should have fucking made in the first place.