Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Sartorial Pet Peeve | Labels
Confession: I have a vintage Lacoste sweater with the little alligator that I’m quite fond of. It’s a plain navy v-neck. It’s not in the greatest of shape and could probably stand to be replaced. That got me thinking. When wearing a traditional article of clothing, why would you want a visible label of it’s manufacturer? To demonstrate how much you paid for it of course. Upon review, that seems somewhat ungentlemanly to me.
In fact, I often resist buying clothes made by Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Nautica or anyone who tends to prominently display their embroidered logo or some other obvious indicator of the brand. A gentleman should take pride in his appearance. He should wear clothes that fit his body and the occasion. But whether he had them custom tailored at Brooks Brothers or bought them off the J.C. Penny clearance rack is his business.
I understand the marketing strategy and how it benefits the manufacturer to make it obvious and advertise the appeal of his wares. But ask yourself this. If you happened to look good, would you rather have an admirer of your clothing say to himself: “I can see that he shops at Polo.” or “I wonder what his secret is.” It just seems to subtract from the benefits of dressing well and provides short cuts to style.
If the objective is observing the quality of goods and value purchasing, then there are more refined methods for determining what something is worth relative to it’s cost. It’s better to analyze thread count, stitching, button material, and weight than by inspecting a half inch patch of embroidery.
A gentleman can make a lot of different statements with his clothing: I’m on the cutting edge of fashion. I’m strait laced and serious. I’m laid back, individualistic, traditional, hip, old school, fancy, etc. But I don’t think, "I spent $X on a knit polo" should be one of them. There’s too narrow an audience that would appreciate that information. Some people might be put off by how high it is, others by how low.