There's a lot of good info in this article, but there's also a lot more beyond it. For example, it mentions (accurately) that the fineness of cotton and wool fibers is an indicator of its quality, but the fiber length is a greater indicator of quality. Unfortunately, cotton and wool products are frequently marketed according to their fiber diameters (e.g., "800 thread count bed sheets" and "Super 100s" wools for suits), but you will never see the fiber length listed. You need to either be able to feel the fabric to assess its fiber length (something that I was never really able to do well) or rely on the recommendation of someone else who can. It's like saying that a network link has 10Gb bandwidth but failing to mention its 100ms minimum latency.
Another item that they mention that is frequently misunderstood is that there are different types of fabrics, especially wools. Just because a specific type of wool such as merino is mentioned doesn't mean that it's good quality. There is both junk merino and excellent merino. Just because it came from a merino sheep doesn't mean it's great. The same goes for cashmere, alapaca, angora, mohair, camel, etc. It's like saying that it's an SSD rather than a 7200rpm HDD. The former is almost certainly better, but there are still a wide range of SSD characteristics to be evaluated.
Yet another item is that while it is true that expensive clothes are not necessarily high quality clothes, it is almost always the case that high quality clothes are expensive. Or rather, they're expensive upfront but often turn out to be more economical over the life of the garment. In either case, they will be more pleasant to wear than a lower quality alternative.
And the Last item, since I could go on indefinitely about this, is that garment quality should be assessed on three axes -- quality of materials, quality of construction, and fit. If the first is lacking, the garment's material will pill, rip, fray, or just plain wear out too fast. If the second if lacking, it will fall apart too soon. If the last is lacking, it will be uncomfortable and look bad on you. The trick is, of course, to find garments which have all three.
Good ol' Vimes "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice strikes again:
> At the time of Men at Arms, Samuel Vimes earned thirty-eight dollars a month as a Captain of the Watch, plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots, the sort that would last years and years, cost fifty dollars. This was beyond his pocket and the most he could hope for was an affordable pair of boots costing ten dollars, which might with luck last a year or so before he would need to resort to makeshift cardboard insoles so as to prolong the moment of shelling out another ten dollars.
> Therefore over a period of ten years, he might have paid out a hundred dollars on boots, twice as much as the man who could afford fifty dollars up front ten years before. And he would still have wet feet.
> Without any special rancour, Vimes stretched this theory to explain why Sybil Ramkin lived twice as comfortably as he did by spending about half as much every month.
(though in a way modern society have made things worse as, as you note, "better" is usually more expensive but more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better, and it's often hard for the uninitiated to know if they're paying for quality, for brand, or for getting fleeced).
E.g. with shoes with leather soles, you can just pry them off and tack on a new sole; with an expensive couch with good framing, you can just reupholster the thing; etc.
Likewise, clothes considered higher-quality are usually made of materials that can "absorb" re-stitching; while clothes made of "expensive" but not "high-quality" materials (e.g. modern sports fabrics) will tear and then there's nothing you can really do; any patch sewn onto them would fall back off the first time they're put through the wash.
However, finding the sweet spot is rarely 100x the cheap version it’s more like 2-10x. The risk is not just normal use some times things get lost etc.
Same for my 100€ winter jacket, sits and looks great still after 10 years. It's def not lovingly handcrafted but a level up from fast fashion anyway.
Shoe trees can vastly prolong the lifespan of a pair of shoes.
Regular foot sweat should be long since evaporated away with just an overnight stay in the shoe closet unless perhaps you live in an un-airconditioned house in a swamp.
I wear the same pair of leather shoes every day and in the end it's the soles that wear out, not the leather. They aren't even fancy shoes, just run of the mill Dockers.
And there are still plenty of independent shops kicking about. Most places offering lock smith services also offer shoe repair.
This is because much of the wear on your shoes does not come from steps and hitting the ground. It comes from sweat and moisture inside the shoe, and the inside of your shoe takes a REALLY long time to dry out fully.
If you wanted to extend of life of a shoe without rotating pairs you can also buy a shoe drying rack. This is what a lot of people in construction do with extensive work boots.
For the price of 2 Allen Edmonds bought retail, I could have 7 pairs of their timeless shoes, rotate them regularly, and never buy shoes again.
In reality, I have 4. 2 brown and 2 black, and that’s more than enough. My Dad has the same, and is still wearing his from the 80s on a daily basis.
I also have a 30 year old Omega watch. Every five years that goes back to Omega, it’s away for about a month and costs £2-300 each time.
My experience is that while lifetime and cost are often correlated, they aren't always, the ratio is often a curve, and the curve is different for every product. My $10 Casio watch has outlasted some nicer watches costing more than $100. But I once made the mistake of buying a $40 pair of shoes, and they were unwearable within a few months.
Another example is that high-end suits with high thread count are supposedly less durable than less expensive suits, because the finer, more comfortable fabric is also thinner and wears more quickly.
My oldest pair of shoes are going on 11 years, and look even better than the rest after one re-sole.
That being said, my everyday Omega (a PlanetOcean diver) has gone for 11 years without a service and still keeps excellent time; once timekeeping deteriorates, I’ll have it cleaned, lubed and adjusted at my local watchmaker’s.
Oh, and the case will be refinished over my dead body; it has more or less literally gone to war with me, got banged up a bit, lived to tell the tale and is still ticking.
Or do you think that it's just that the poor people are held down?
(Cue stories about people working their way out of poverty and thus proving the poverty trap isn't a real thing)
My wife has the luxury of not having to work so we have never used daycare. That's tens of thousands of dollars, hundreds of hours driving, not getting sick all the time, not needing a second car, the list goes on not to mention the immeasurable cost of missing out on the absolute best hours of your child's life.
You'll miss out on a lot of the time with your kid, but on the other hand they get to socialize a lot more from a very young age already. Some parents also burn out at home after a while, but that of course depends on the person.
I realize this went quite offtopic, sorry about that.
I believe we have cheap or free subsidized daycare too but it's generally terrible. There's also 12 month waiting lists where I live. My colleagues all pay tens of thousands.
There's obviously trade-offs to that approach but my point is that upper middle class patterns of behavior shouldn't be projected up and down the economic ladder.
Upper middle class people call a plumber. Poor people call a plumber that owes them a favor.. Etc, etc. and so on and so fourth. It's a whole different economy and a lot of the patterns surrounding the crap in life that saps your money are totally different.
There's a quote often falsely attributed to John Wayne "Life is hard; it’s harder when you’re stupid". Some folks see that as good, some as bad. A classic argument of individualism vs collectivism. Obviously the individual is better off if individual stupidity is not punished and obviously the civilization is better off, especially in the long run, if stupidity is punished, so opinions on punishment usually simplify down to an argument about individualism vs collectivism.
The Vimes example is about the fact that being poor to start with is more expensive in its own right.
Vimes does not make a stupid decision not to buy the expensive boots, they are simply more than he can afford in any reasonable period.
There is another saying "making your first million is hard, making your second million is inevitable"
This is demonstrably, dramatically false.
"The headline could be "The number of people in extreme poverty fell by 130,000 since yesterday” and they wouldn’t have this headline once, but every single day since 1990, since, on average, there were 130,000 people fewer in extreme poverty every day." https://ourworldindata.org/a-history-of-global-living-condit...
Both the quality and duration of life for "the poor" have increased dramatically over the last decades and centuries. https://ourworldindata.org/life-expectancy-globally
For a "real-time" visualization, see https://worldpoverty.io/index.html
We aren't doing as well as we'd like to be, but the world is making dramatic progress.
* ChexSystems, a credit reporting service for bank accounts
* Payday loans, a predatory lending system which takes 4-8% of a person's paycheck to cash it instantly instead of waiting a couple of days.
ChexSystems is designed to identify poor people and ban them from the banking system so that they have to give their round of flesh to shylocks in order to buy food and pay rent. This is one of the more egregious attacks on the poor in the USA, but there are tens of thousands of them to be honest.
I think it's just an unintended consequence of a race to the bottom in cheap, disposable manufacturing. Even then, I'm unsure if on an aggregate level the progress in materials engineering and overall manufacturing processes does not eventually offset this focus on cheapness, resulting on better value than the more expensive alternative.
Even if China produces an absolute number of good screwdrivers, tge deluge of crap ones dwarfs it.
Why is everything viewed in term of us vs them?
Stitching done in Portugal is pretty good too. Of course, you can find good cheap tailors in underdeveloped countries too.
Buying quality forces you to be more conservative: that which you buy needs to look in-place (if not in-style) for many many years. You can’t buy al courant and hope it will look stylish five or ten years down the road.
If by stitching you mean construction quality, you can certainly find that in many places. For suits, England and Italy are famous for it though both places do have lesser-quality vendors who will happily trade on their country's reputations and take your money. I had most of my business clothing custom-made in Hong Kong where the tailors learned from the Brits but are still much less expensive. You have to be careful there, though, because there are lots of guys who prey on the tourist who has heard that cheap custom suits can be had in HK but isn't able to assess quality.
++ on buying conservatively-styled clothes. I'm in my 40s and still wear the suits I bought in my 20s and hope I'll still fit into them in my 60s.
I don't want to be too critical of the tourist-focused shops. It is certainly possible to get a serviceable suit at one of those places that will hold up to occasional wear and fit as well as an off-the-rack suit that's been tailored for you. It can't be top quality, though, when its total cost is less than the cost of the 3 yards of quality wool required for the suit. There's been something of a spike in demand for those guys in the last 10-20 years and their prices have gone up accordingly. As a rough point of reference, the last good suit I had made there cost 1500USD.
Since most don't show a picture of the back of the shirt, also can't tell if they have split yoke. Most quality shirts will have split yoke, especially dress shirts, though it's mostly unnecessary.
One other tell of whether someone takes pride in their shirting is not using synthetic buttons.
The most interesting thing I've found with wearing better quality clothing is that people notice, but don't realize this is what they're noticing. I get comments about my shirts from clients and when I go out in public random people will stop me to say something. Nobody says something about some technical factor of the clothing itself, but they will say things like "that's a nice shirt" or "wow, that shirt is really blue" (better quality cloth tends to have more consistent and lasting color as well).
This is one of those areas where quality isn't just expensive, it's more that quality only comes with being able to judge with expertise. Like most, I am unlikely to ever become an expert in textiles, so I found that having a reputable tailor do work for you was the best way to dress well without breaking the bank. My clothing lasts longer, looks better, and most importantly it feels better, all for a 20-30% markup over going to the mall.
The blog post that's posted here on HN is short on images & video, which I feel like is really necessary here. A visual aid would be extremely helpful.
> Or rather, they're expensive upfront but often turn out to be more economical over the life of the garment.
Okay, but this is assuming that your body composition does not change and the clothes continue to fit you. Your body is more important to how you look than the clothes you wear, so if you are logical then you place priority on continually improving your body composition.
The most salient factor when buying clothing is how they fit you and your wardrobe. Quality is important insofar as an article of clothing does not distort after a wash (washing properly is also important), but you should expect to discard after a season or two. Buying expensive clothing doesn't make logical or economic sense.
Furthermore, fashion trends being what they are, cheap trendy clothing doesn't make sense either, there are many factors but it's a calculus optimization yet again, how can you get the maximum longevity (including fashion relevance) with the minimum cost?
This hardly takes into account human psychology: let's not pretend humans don't communicate through clothing -- as a species we are able to assign meaning to anything including a plastic bag blowing in the wind. Many times the clothing we choose speaks for us and it's not always saying the most complimentary things
All these things considered, for a man at least, a rotation of 8 high quality suits and related sports jackets and accessories is still the best value even if society has strayed from these mores and those who get it get it, those who don't wear crocs everywhere
For real life examples: some undershirts can be itch inducing but those from Banana Republic don’t have that issue; or compare similar fitting generic workout pants to Lulu Lemon ones.
I've had them for two years now and they've helped up well; recently I wear them less because I think denim is more fashionable and I don't need the performance most of the time.
Wool garments, from a small company set up by a Danish ex Jaeger Corps who was aghast with the quality (or lack thereof) of clothes out there when he returned to civil life.
I don't even remember how I got in touch with them, but I was looking for robust, functional yet stylish clothes I could both wear everyday and do skateboarding with. I just remember buying one for the heck of it early in the company life and be instantly amazed by the fit, quality, and how the t-shirt would cater for sports, casual and professional life. I bought about 10 of those, and then their socks and underwear too. I could put up a day-long skateboarding session with lots of sweating, just hang the thing to dry and it would be fine in an hour, so I could wash them once a week when wearing daily, which is impossible with cotton and has a dramatic effect on lifespan. Very breathable, so nice in summer but also keeps you warm in winter.
The upfront cost seems high for "just a t-shirt" but boy have they endured the trial I've put them through over two years. I definitely recommend following their recommendations for washing and drying.
I'm wondering how it'd work with underwear though, as that's probably something one might to wash after each use regardless of material.
I'm not familiar with Loow's products, but since they're wool and people are saying they are of high quality, I don't think $75 is unreasonable.
Costco gets you the best deal, Walmart and the dollar stores only sell garbage at the lowest possible cost, Amazon sells literally everything and has converted over the years from having the best deals to having the fastest logistics, and then there's whatever niche specialist suppliers are left like digikey for electronics parts etc.
Old Navy's clothing has typically been disposable trash. And most of it still is - generally anything they make out of cotton.
But their Old Navy Active line, specifically their "Breathe ON" fabric, is pretty durable and has really kept me cool throughout this crazy hot summer. They also sell tall and extended sizes which I appreciate. Tall sizes are typically so hard to find. These are not heirloom clothing items, but they've shown little wear over several summers.
This is functional clothing, not anything particularly fashionable. And lest this seem like an viral marketing post, let me restate that most of their lineup is still trash.
 I use one of their credit cards to pay for things and the rewards mean I can buy some of this stuff for cost of shipping or less.