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In a previous life when I wore suits to work on a frequent basis, I got interested in this topic and spent way too much time learning about it. I now have a closet full of quality clothes that I wear much less frequently, but, for whatever it's worth, they'll last me the rest of my life.

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.

> 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.

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).

I don't really believe this anymore. Basically because of this theory my last pair of boots want the nicest I could find, high quality materials, hand made construction, almost $500, thinking it was an investment and I'd never have to go shoe shopping again. Well, I've had to repair them once already, and frankly with how cheap boots are at Walmart I don't think anymore I'll ever break even. Nice boots, though, and a pleasure to wear.

I believe the common wisdom isn't that high-quality things necessarily are any slower to wear out; but rather that when they do wear out, they do so in non-critical ways, with specially-designated easily-replaceable sacrificial parts wearing out to protect the whole.

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.

Extremes are bad at both ends. Really cheap shoes don’t last 2 months. Some cheap clothes don’t last the first 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.

I think there's a middle ground. I bought 110€ winter shoes 11-12 years ago and they've worked fine (with one resoling) this far -- now I've worn through the inner material and will probably have to find a new pair.

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.

So in short: Vimes' "Boots" Theory of Economic Injustice is incomplete without taking the Pareto Principle into consideration as well

Many (most?) types of expensive things are thought to be "more durable" because their users take much more care of them (because they are expensive!) than of their cheap equivalent.

Do you wear them daily? Even boots from Alden or Viberg should be rotated with at least one other pair.

Yeah, any leather shoes will wear out much faster if you don't let them sit and dry out after wearing.

Shoe trees can vastly prolong the lifespan of a pair of shoes.

Are you stomping through mud puddles daily with your 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.

That's a great failure mode as you can simply get them re-soled.

Theoretically, but the couple of times I've checked it would cost pretty much the same or more to re-sole my shoes as it would be to buy a brand new pair. It's pretty hard to find anybody who even does that anymore, and their clients are people with extremely expensive imported dress shoes.

Not sure where you are but in the UK Timpsons are absolutely everywhere (although the quality and pricing of repairs seems pretty hit and miss - some stores are excellent, others less so).

And there are still plenty of independent shops kicking about. Most places offering lock smith services also offer shoe repair.

Huh. So you are saying if I have 2 pairs of identical shoes, A and B, if I wear A for T months, then B for T months, by alternating every day I should get >2T months out?

You absolutely get > 2T out. Potentially up to 4T.

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.

I have so many pairs of shoes now that I only wear some of them a few times a year. I only ever buy ones that I’ll have forever on deep discount (picked up a couple pair of Allen Edmonds for $100 each recently).

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.

The top of the line Allen Edmonds dress shoes (forget the model right now) are really high quality uppers. You can re-sole them many times.

Yes, it allows the materials to dry out and prevents microscopic damage from hydrolysis or mould et al.

This is an old wive's tale.

Why not find a company with a lifetime warranty? My dailies are https://www.goruck.com/macv-1/ and they offer to lifetime-fix-or-replace anything you manage to break or wear out. This brand may be a bit too "military" for you but I'm sure there are other manufacturers out there that actually stand behind their products, no?

I think about this a lot when shopping. If I see non-perishables on sale for 20-30% off, I'll stock up on 6 months' worth and almost be able to guarantee I'll see them on sale again before I run out. Someone who doesn't have that much float wouldn't be able to do so, and so would be stuck paying 20% more than me for everything forever. So much of economics is chicken-and-egg.

If you have the storage space this is definitely the way to go. I have a good habit of stocking up on whatever Costco has on sale this week that I'll actually use and the savings definitely add up.

I think there is a flaw in that story. I’ve a few pairs of high quality shoes and yes they do last well and look good but they still need maintenance. I send them back to the manufacturer for a resole when needed, they come back refurbished but it’s cost about 1/3 the price of buying a new pair.

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.

The story is a simplification, and that's its flaw, like most stories.

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.

Then on top of that there's market inefficacy. You can readily buy high quality shoes that are normally $200+ for under $100 if you don't mind them being boots and only available in black, coyote tan and sage green.

You can get iron rangers for around 180 every couple months. That’s probably the best deal around

My closet is filled with Iron Rangers, 1000 miles, AEs, and handmade Mocs. All purchased at steep discounts or second hand stores. All look better than the day I bought them years later.

My oldest pair of shoes are going on 11 years, and look even better than the rest after one re-sole.

You shouldn’t send the watch back for refinishing. Worn ones are more valuable.

-It’s not just refinishing of the case, but rather cleaning and lubing the movement; you don’t want the innards to grind themselves to pieces.

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.

What is the injustice here?

The fact that poor people spend more money on things than rich people, once you include replacing them when they wear out.

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)

I see an interesting form of this that isn't exclusive to the poor: daycare.

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.

In the US. Over here daycare is paid by taxes, free for everyone regardless of income or employment status, and in the city you'll likely have the daycare within a couple of blocks so no extra car needed either. Yes you'll get a cold more often thanks to all the germs, but sick days don't eat to your salary or holidays (also sick time on holidays gets reimbursed!) so no monetary loss.

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.

Thanks for sharing and helping reduce my ignorance on the subject. I'll be honest, any social service we have in Canada, I just assume the US has it worse.

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.

Sorry if I was unclear, my report was from an European standpoint. I just assumed you're from the US, probably based on the yearly cost you mentioned.

Ohh okay. From Canada. Free if you don't make much money. I thought you were initializing with "I'm in the US".

Poor people don't pay what rich people pay for daycare because they daisy chain together some combination of under the table daycare and relatives.

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.

Some basic philosophical disagreements revolve around this. One mans injustice is another's evolutionary survival of the fittest where patience, planning, and low time preference are strongly rewarded by the system. One mans injustice is lack of equality of opportunity, another's is lack of equality of outcome.

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 John Wayne quote is a slightly different thing. I don't think its particularly controversial to suggest that stupidity should not be rewarded as well as the absence of that stupidity (calling it punishment may turn some people off, even if it means the same thing).

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"

It should be noted the book called it the "theory of socioeconomic unfairness", not "injustice".

The rich get richer and the poor only get poorer. It's the principle as old as the bible, and the Vimes part simply puts it into very accessible terms that everyone can identify with.

> the poor only get poorer

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.

Perhaps that in theory it's more expensive to be poor?

> 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.

Poor people are forced to spend more on everything. Finance is a great example. In the USA, banks find poor people unprofitable. To remedy this, they created two institutions:

* 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.

Ever wonder if cheap commodity exporting countries might play this as a form of covert economic aggression?

It's an interesting thought but I think there's little basis to believe there is a concerted effort here, as the average consumer is very aware that the quality of, say, a screwdriver from China, is very different from that of a German made one.

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.

It's not a concerted effort, but over the course of forty or more years it may seem like a trade surplus built on disposable goods is somehow a strategic move?

But times are changing, now it’s also possible to buy great screwdriver from China and inferior from Germany.

Sure, but buying a random German screwdriver gets you a better one, comparing to a random Chinese one.

Even if China produces an absolute number of good screwdrivers, tge deluge of crap ones dwarfs it.

It's possible, but the "natural" explanation (capitalism driving costs down/race to the bottom) is just as plausible and much simpler

So selling things people want = aggression now?

Why is everything viewed in term of us vs them?

Everything isn't us and them, but bear in mind we're not talking about things people want here, we're talking about things people need.

oh! man! I'm loving this thread -- there's no question that economic policy is designed as an adversarial game for leverage, especially on the world stage. Taking a step back and seeing how the world has (de)evolved in the past 30 years I'm wondering if selling people what they think they want isn't the best way to bring a society to its knees? edit: and making it just ever so much more breakable to where it's usable but definitely won't last forever..

I think a rough proxy for fabric quality is the mill a textile comes from. Speaking in very general terms mills in Italy and Japan produce some good textiles (and not so good ones), but because they are expensive countries they tend to be on the higher end. Some east coast denim mills tend to be good too.

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.

Looking at the mill for a fabric can be helpful, especially for wools. Mills such as Holland & Sherry and Scabal have built a reputation for quality fabrics though they're generally not household names so they do not yet have the motivation to go down-market to increase their sales (unlike Zegna which has become semi-famous and now makes some lower quality fabrics). That said, you won't find their fabrics except on top-tier off-the-shelf clothes or custom clothes.

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.

Since you mentioned HK, any opinion on Simpson Sin?

I don't know anything about that shop specifically, but from their website, it looks a lot like many of the tourist-focused operations with pictures of all the celebrities for which they've made suits (for free, of course -- you'll have to pay) and promises to have it ready for you in a timeframe too short for the amount of labor necessary for a top-quality suit. And they're relatively new. I haven't had a suit made there in over a decade now, but at the time, WW Chan & Sons, Gordon Yao, and H Baromon were considered quality tailors there and had been in operation for decades. The first two of those make periodic trips to Europe and the US which is nice if you want to make follow-up orders and don't travel frequently to HK.

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.

Taylor Stitch and Mission Workshop makes some of their clothing in Portugal.

I looked at MW, Outliers and Tailor Stitch. Outliers and TS currently don't have patterned shirts (stripes, checks, etc), but at least Outliers shows one piece of carelessness they don't match up the patterns on the yoke with the sleeve. (same with front pocket --things should line up).

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.

outlier (similar to MW) does as well -- their reasoning is that the factories in Portugal are the ones which are able to do the highest quality work at their scale

Love outlier but their prices hurt

Fantastic information. To address your general point that there is some difficulty in assessing quality, it's not simply enough to spend lots of money, I'd recommend to everyone who is interested in stepping up their clothing quality game to find a reputable tailor. This is what I did, and I was lucky enough to do it while traveling in a part of the world with lower cost of living than the US. Because of this, I can order clothes that fit me perfectly and are made of extremely high quality materials for generally only a 20% markup over going to Macy's (for a dress shirt or slacks/trousers for instance), or a fully bespoke three-piece suit for about double the price of going to a Men's Wearhouse.

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.

Did you have your tailor make your clothing from scratch, or did you buy clothes you liked and had the tailor alter them to fit better?

Everything was made from scratch, and it was literally only 20% more than a similar off the shelf shirt at Macy's. I paid $85 at Macy's for a Michael Kors dress shirt which fit me pretty okay. My tailor charges me $110 for a shirt, and it's bespoke. $125 if I want contrast stitching on the top buttonhole and my initials monogrammed on the cuff.

Honestly if you made videos or blog posts that explain how to figure out high-quality clothes, I would immediately subscribe.

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.

> I now have a closet full of quality clothes that I wear much less frequently, but, for whatever it's worth, they'll last me the rest of my life.

> 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.

You gotta check out 'The Suit' by Nicholas Antongiovanni -- I'm not sure your assumption holds about the body being more important, this is something you may reconsider; people struggle with all sorts of body issues and clothing is the one great democratizer in that it gives us an extrinsic way to control our appearance

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

Wow, small world -- I'm also a fan of "The Suit" and have an autographed copy on my bookshelf. It's a more of a philosophical, opinionated take on men's clothing than practical advice on where to buy jeans, but the author is quite knowledgeable.

You can improve body composition without altering external dimensions. That's the steady state you inevitably reach after years of training anyway.

Funny that you should mention that -- I had my first suit made nearly 20 years ago when I was in quite good shape. Being able to still wear that suit has been a significant motivation for me over the years to maintain that shape.

Fit is important, but what about comfort? For example, you can have two shirts with the exact same fit but one can be more comfortable just based on materials used.

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.

Do you have any high-quality clothing stores that you recommend?

What kind of clothes are you looking for? In general, it's hard to find stores where you can walk in and be assured that anything they carry is high quality. Even the high-end department stores such as Saks Fifth Ave. and Neiman Marcus are going to carry a lot of "fashion" brands that are expensive but not necessarily good quality. Some local boutiques (e.g., Louis Boston though it too has declined in recent years) may still provide that, but you typically have to either discover those on your own or have friends who are already in the know. These days, I wear a lot more chinos than suits and I buy most of mine from Bill's Khakis (https://www.billskhakis.com -- no affiliation, of course). They are not cheap, but their fabrics and construction are significantly better than anything you'll find at a mass retailer and they have several different fits, one of which works quite well for me. Another nice thing about them is that their fits are consistent. I have, from time to time, found decent pairs at lower-end retailers such as Uniqlo, but the model that fits me well lasts only for one season and I can never find it again.

Your comments have been really informative. I have no knowledge of fabrics or clothes, but I can second Bill’s Khakis. I had a pair that lasted many years - looked and felt better than maybe any other pair of pants I’ve owned.

Based on Bill's prices I feel compelled to mention signing up for their email list yields a 30% discount code. That's a $48 discount on one pair of pants.

Any opinion on Outlier dungarees. They are expensive but the quality seems darn good.

I have the slim and strong, they are very solid and worth the investment IMO. Fills two niches for me: part of a one-bag for travel, and a comfortable pant to wear while biking.

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.

I wonder if the slim fit would work for me, I'm in good shape (I have other "slim fit" khakis, but sometimes they're just a bit too ridiculous for someone built like me, with weird proportions).

If you bike or have a bit of a tech-ware thing, Outlier: https://outlier.nyc/


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.


Thanks for this tip! I generally love my few woollen garments but without a good source where to get some everyday wear.

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 got a box of boxers and they're quite nice. I do wash them after every use, which makes sense. Got a bunch of socks too, they're great, especially since I'm prone to sweating in that area. They do start to show some wear after two years, which is exceptional given the abuse I put them through with skateboarding.

I just looked and loow is selling tshirts for $75. My lord.

If they're of fine wool, that's a perfectly reasonable price. I wear exclusively Icebreaker wool t-shirts as undershirts and they're $80 each, and have lasted me for years. One of the incredible things about higher quality textiles (Irish linen, fine wools) is that they tend to get softer and more comfortable with washing, and reach an equilibrium point quickly where they will stay for /years/. I'm wearing an Icebreaker T right now I bought in 2016 that's still in perfect condition and is more comfortable than any T-shirt you've ever put on, I guarantee.

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.

I'm not a connoisseur of fine clothes but I have noticed that out of cheap places to buy clothes Costco seems to have a consistently high hit rate of good value for money, at least in men's clothes. They seem to curate their clothes suppliers pretty well.

That's the business model of Costco across all departments, they don't offer much selection but everything in the store has a local maxima of value for the money.

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.

As far as "cheap, durable" clothes go I have been shocked by the decent quality of certain clothes that Old Navy has been putting out. Specifically their activewear that is made from synthetic blends.

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.

Something positive _has_ happened with Old Navy's quality. I'm the parent of an active teenage boy and have been buying a lot of pants because he's either grown out of them or shredded them beyond patching (seriously, he tore the waistband off a pair climbing-- and probably falling from-- something). Old Navy has gone from disposable to middling quality while Gap and Banana Republic have declined[1]. While I'm on this, the Carhartt sold in big sporting goods stores isn't the same as what's sold in hardware stores, farm stores, and the like. Also, the random brands of pants at Tractor Supply wear harder than their price would suggest. Don't get me started on footwear.


[1] 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.

Also uniqlo has been a hit for me on plain t shirts. Quality has been top notch

But the fit is poor for men. They rarely stock small or 30” waist, or stock too few. They’re great for the middle aged dad look but weak otherwise.

Thousand Mile, made in the U.S., makes great clothing. They started with hiking shorts, then slowly grew their line. Their shorts last forever — I'm talking 5-10 years — and are super comfortable and look nice.https://www.thousandmile.com/

My favorites are Outlier, Taylor Stitch, Alchemy Equipment, and Mission Workshop.

Brooks Brothers

There's a lot of parameters if you will, clothing is the ultimate optimization exercise that includes quality, comfort, cost and fit of course but BB have made it into an art and their textures, colours and the flexibility of the clothes are top notch. I buy their clothes because they offer a high level of versatility and quite frankly they've helped my career in many ways too

Thank you for posting this. I’ve recently become much more interested in how to determine the quality of clothing, and your descriptions of how to think of it are very helpful!

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