Discussing AskMefi question content.. November 10, 2010 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Yet another "what should I do about this.." inquiry. This question was posted on AskMefi and I find that the subject is mind blowing enough that I want to discuss it..

But discussing it inside the AskMefi thread would be a derail, wouldn't it? Can the link you need for the Blue come from AskMefi? (I confess, the blue confuses me so I'm not a regular user)

and it's my understanding that only questions/concerns/requests about Metafilter actually belong here in MetaTalk..

So.. where can I encourage discussion about a AskMefi question without derailing?
posted by royalsong to Etiquette/Policy at 1:16 PM (250 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Finally, a place I can post "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! THIS IS AN EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLAR SUIT! C'MON!!!"
posted by carsonb at 1:19 PM on November 10, 2010 [71 favorites]


What do you want to talk about? While MeTa is available for discussion and questions that aren't okay in the thread, you can also email the OP and ask them questions directly. Opening a MeTa just to dish on the OP isn't really that kosher and I'm left not knowing exactly what you want to discuss?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:20 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come ON, Michael!
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:22 PM on November 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


And to more directly address this post,

So.. where can I encourage discussion about a AskMefi question without derailing?

I think the answer to this is 'your own blog' or something like that, at least for the type of discussion it reads like you want to have.
posted by carsonb at 1:22 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just wanted to say both that IANAL and that IANYL.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:24 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we talk about what happened on Raising Hope last night?
posted by nomadicink at 1:24 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't Toronto where they've got those guys rowing a canoe full of Armani and Perry Ellis?
posted by crapmatic at 1:25 PM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


No, I don't want to dish on the OP. Regardless of my opinions of his decisions, i realize there is no place for that on this community. That's why my question was directed at what I should do in this kind of situation and not: this is what I want to say about this thread.

What I did was to discuss was more along the lines of: Is paying that much for a suit normal? I know, personally, I find it outrageous but there has been more then one times where I thought something was way out there and it was actually the norm. If that is normal, why is it so much and why do people willingly pay that much for a suit. If it's not normal, why would any outfit cost that much unless, like someone said in the thread: It was made of golden thread.

I just wanted to know if I was a totally clueless sheltered girl and this was normal and what everyone else thought.

posted by royalsong at 1:26 PM on November 10, 2010


I've made a huge mistake.
posted by bondcliff at 1:26 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]




Him?
posted by supercres at 1:29 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Have any of you´╗┐ people ever even seen a chicken?
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:29 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I know, personally, I find it outrageous but there has been more then one times where I thought something was way out there and it was actually the norm. If that is normal, why is it so much and why do people willingly pay that much for a suit. If it's not normal, why would any outfit cost that much unless, like someone said in the thread: It was made of golden thread.

That's actually a good AskMe question. You probably have to hold off for day or two, so it's not seen as attack or dismissal of the original post.
posted by nomadicink at 1:30 PM on November 10, 2010


Paying more than say $1,000 for a suit that is not made to measure or bespoke is not normal.
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:31 PM on November 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


What I did was to discuss was more along the lines of: Is paying that much for a suit normal?

I don't know what your definition of "normal" is. Since you can get a made-to-measure suit done for less, it's maybe weird to spend that on something off the rack. But obviously some people do so, since plenty of sellers have off-the-rack suits in that price range, e.g. Brooks Brothers.
posted by enn at 1:32 PM on November 10, 2010


lol and I guess.. from what people are commenting.. that I asked a silly question? Or..

See! I'm not sure. :( I'm sorry if I trampled over something.
posted by royalsong at 1:32 PM on November 10, 2010


Bees? Beads!?
posted by studentbaker at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah that is a totally okay AskMe question, it's not chatty and it is answerable. Something along the lines of "I was reading this question and speaking as someone who has never paid more than $500 for a suit I was wondering..." something like that.

That said, yeah, wait a while. The OP is getting some pushback in the AskMe thread and it might not be good to start up a parallel thread where people can give them a hard time.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2010


Now that this MeTa is here, I readily admit that I wouldn't have posted an answer if I didn't have that brilliant AD montage to link to as part of the answer's postscript. (Same montage as kbanas above.) The parallels are just too much. I want to stick candy to the OP's back.

If that makes me a bad AskMe user... well, you can all go to hell. C'mon!

posted by supercres at 1:33 PM on November 10, 2010


Yeah, I don't like seeing MeTa used as a forum for mocking the clothing choices of other users. If you are genuinely curious about how much suits can cost, bespoke or otherwise, you can always ask on AskMe or just spend 10 minutes googling.
posted by modernnomad at 1:34 PM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Kucka-kocha-kucha-kaw!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:39 PM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


I love this attitude of, "I failed to pay attention to some random shit that was going on in my environment, and so shit happened, and now by golly somebody else, not careless old me, is responsible and they are going to pay, dammit." Oh wait... did I say I loved it? How uncharacteristically remiss of me. I don't know what I was thinking. It's probably brain damage from that time the dentist gave me intravenous valium when I had my wisdom teeth out. I should have sued that bastard.
posted by Decani at 1:41 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The construction company already offered to reimburse the guy, they're just talking about details. I'd expect the usual "Americans and all their lawsuits, blabity blah" but this guy's in Canada so I'll just chalk it up to people being polite and decent there.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:45 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh. On second thought I can see how it would make a decent askMefi post. Although, I'm glad you said to wait.

It just seemed to be a little thing to post in his question, possibly seen as an attack against him, and a derail. I could have discussed it somewhere else (my non-exsistant-blog/with friends) but I value the hive mind's opinion and judgment especially since it originated here on Metafilter.

My friends have grown tired of me linking MeFi to them.
posted by royalsong at 1:48 PM on November 10, 2010


It's as Ann as the nose on plain's face.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:52 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm just going to leave this here...
posted by Loto at 1:52 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I Am Not Your Analrapist.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:02 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Looks like plaintiff

*puts on sunglasses*

got taken to the cleaners.
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Mister F!
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:08 PM on November 10, 2010


In the game Costume Quest, there is a point at which your trick-or-treating character has to dress up in a french fry costume and "lure" kids back to the fry van so they can buy some. As you're walking around town, you meet a kid in a banana costume. His name is Gob. When you try to lure him, he says, "Yeah, like the guy in the $600 banana suit wants to be seen with someone in a $20 french fry suit... C'MON!"

Then, when you hit him with your candy pail, he shouts, "OH COME ON!"

That is but one of the many reasons you should buy this game.
posted by Errant at 2:11 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I once paid a lot for a suit. I don't think it was $1800 but it wasn't far off. It was off-the-shelf because I needed it in a hurry I was all for buying the cheaper one, but my wife (a notorious cheapskate) insisted.

It's a very very nice suit and if I ever have to walk down the red carpet at a movie premiere again, I'll wear it again. I don't regret it a bit.
posted by unSane at 2:29 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


What kind of suit jacket would someone wear in public, that doesn't go with basic black pants?
posted by nomisxid at 2:31 PM on November 10, 2010


Salesman: Are you being served, sir?
Shopper: No, actually, and I'd like to buy a suit.
Salesman: I can help you with that. What's your budget?
Shopper: I've only got two thousand dollars.
Salesman: I see.
Shopper: Will that be enough?
Salesman: We may have some older stock in that range, yes.
Shopper: Splendid.
Salesman: What size are you?
Shopper: I'm a 40 chest, a 32 inseam and a 34 waist.
Salesman: Hmm. I don't know. I'll have to check the storeroom.
Shopper: I'll wait.

Five minutes later. Salesman returns with a shiny purple and orange houndstooth monstrosity with enormous lapels and flared trousers. It is covered in dust.

Salesman: You're in luck! We do appear to have a suit in your size!
Shopper: Is that it?
Salesman: This is it.
Shopper: Yikes!
Salesman: They really don't make them like this anymore.
Shopper: I can see why.
Salesman: No, sir, I mean to say that its quality is superior to today's garments.
Shopper: Is that so?
Salesman: Oh, quite, sir. Why, just look at this hand-stitching!
Shopper: Is that...nylon it's made out of?
Salesman: No sir, only the finest in rayon art silks.
Shopper: Rayon? Isn't that dreadfully flammable?
Salesman: Oh, heavens, yes! That's why it's so rare nowadays, you see.
Shopper: Rare?
Salesman: Indeed, sir. They've all burnt up, or been torn irreparably--Rayon's also quite prone to tearing, you see. Why, this may well be the last of its kind!
Shopper: I--
Salesman: Well, it's the last we've got, and I can't say I've seen any others around, have you?
Shopper: No, I should say not.
Salesman: Quite right. So, you see, it is quite a rare and valuable garment indeed.
Shopper: Valuable?
Salesman: Oh, don't worry, sir, it is well within your budget at just... what did you say your budget was, sir?
Shopper: Two thousand.
Salesman: Yes, of course. This is well under at a mere $1400.
Shopper: $1400!?
Salesman: Quite a bargain for an item of such scarcity, sir.
Shopper: ...
Salesman: Imagine, wearing a piece of history! And museum-quality, to boot! Mint condition!
Shopper: Yes, well...
Salesman: And just think of the resale value!
Shopper: Resale val--
Salesman: Resale value! Why, this garment is sure to double--nay, triple in value by the month!
Shopper: I don't know...
Salesman: Quite the investment! Imagine, a suit you can't wait to outgrow!
Shopper: But--
Salesman: A fortune, sir.
Shopper: Well, I do like the colour.
Salesman: Wonderful, sir; I'll just ring it in.
Shopper: Yes...Thank you.
Salesman: Oh, and the vest is just $400 extra.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:32 PM on November 10, 2010 [27 favorites]


Why the fuck is it anyone's moral right to judge other people based on what they choose willingly to pay for any damn thing at all? Shades of Mac/PC flamewars where the PC team keeps spouting off about how stupid people must be to spend more than they would have to on an apple computer when after all they could just build one themselves out of better components for less. Or whatever.

Who cares what someone else is spending on a suit?

And $1000 is by no means any kind of threshold between off the rack and bespoke anyway. $1000 suits are pretty darn common, off the rack. Don't like it? Don't buy one. Go to Men's Wearhouse and get the knockoff. And then feel all smugly better than the guy in an Armani in the next office over because you got a perfectly good suit for `1/5 the price, with a free belt and 2 free shirts thrown in to boot. You crafty, handsome devil you.

Damn. As someone who never wears anything but jeans and boots, I don't go all crazy on people who wear expensive boots.

Envy is not pretty.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:41 PM on November 10, 2010 [25 favorites]


I got a three-piece grey pinstriped wool suit at Salvy for $5. It fits me perfectly and is in great condition. No experience in my life thus far can compare.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:44 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's also important to remember that this guy's in Canada, so it's $1800 Canadian, which is like $30 U.S.

Actually, it's like $1797 U.S. Nevermind.
posted by The World Famous at 2:50 PM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


I own a $700 suit that I wear semi-annually (not bi-annually) and it's just OK. Depending if you want a designer label and where you shop, buying a $1800 suit isn't that unbelievable.

If a $5 thrifts-tore suit fits you, great, but not everyone can or wants to do that. (e.g. I'm 6'5" and I'm not going to find any suits that fit me in a thrift store without spending a few months looking)

Now, I also agree that for $1800 the guy probably got soaked and could have got a better suit for less money at a decent tailor or by spending a week in Vietnam for $1400 and getting the same suit for a $400 there.

But it's not crazy on the face of it.
posted by GuyZero at 2:51 PM on November 10, 2010


If a $5 thrifts-tore suit fits you, great, but not everyone can or wants to do that. (e.g. I'm 6'5" and I'm not going to find any suits that fit me in a thrift store without spending a few months looking)

I should mention that this was the result of about a year and a half of looking. Also I did not mean this fact to be an endorsement of any position w/r/t suit purchasing. At the time I was unemployed and broke so it was pretty nice to find.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:57 PM on November 10, 2010


Envy is not pretty.

Indeed, but I'm not seeing envy. Disbelief, perhaps--pity, even. Maybe some outrage with regard to poor people in rags while $1800 suits are being bought and sold.

And $1000 is by no means any kind of threshold between off the rack and bespoke anyway. $1000 suits are pretty darn common, off the rack. Don't like it? Don't buy one. Go to Men's Wearhouse and get the knockoff. And then feel all smugly better than the guy in an Armani in the next office over because you got a perfectly good suit for `1/5 the price, with a free belt and 2 free shirts thrown in to boot. You crafty, handsome devil you.

Between those two hypothetical characters, I highly doubt the smugness would be balanced so.

(Wait, Mr. Thrifty is smug now? I thought he was envious!)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:00 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


My brother- and sister-in-law bought me a suit that cost $3000.00 as a wedding gift. It is far and away the nicest article of clothing and it is AWESOME!

It was one of the more inexpensive suits I tried on that day.
posted by dolface at 3:03 PM on November 10, 2010


The improved Canadian dollar has made shopping online a lot more palatable than when it was something like USD$0.67, but I do miss the jokes.
posted by Zozo at 3:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


d'oh! "It is far and away the nicest article of clothing I have ever owned and ..."
posted by dolface at 3:05 PM on November 10, 2010


Screwed up thing is thats the guys cheapest suit, thats why he wears it to weddings and construction sites.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:07 PM on November 10, 2010

I was shopping for a suit the other day
And walked into the department store
I stepped on the elevator and told the girl
"Dry goods floor"

When I got off I saw a salesman was coming to me
He said "Now, what can I do for you"
I said "Well go in there and show me all the sport's clothes
Like you're supposed to"

He said, "Well, sure, come on in buddy
Dig these fabrics we got laid out on the shelf"
He said "Pick yourself out one
Try it on, stand in the mirror and dig yourself"

Ohhhhhh...That suit's pure herringbone
Ohhhhhh...Yeah, that's a suit I'd like to own
Ohhhhhh...Buddy, that suit is you
Ohhhhhh...Yeah, I believe it too

I see for the business man you feature the natural shoulder
That retail, wholesale indeed
It's got the custom cuffs and the walking short
He said "And I'm gonna let you have at a steal"

And for the playboy you have the latest in tweed
With the cut-away flap over twice
It's a box-back, two button western model
He said, "Now ain't that nice"

Ohhhhhh...Them buttons are solid gold
Ohhhhhh...You made a deal, sold
Ohhhhhh...That collar's pure camel hair
Ohhhhhh...Well, you can just set it down right in that chair

Now you go back there and you get that paper and let me sign on the dotted line
And I'll make sure I get all my payments in right on time
Hey wait a minute buddy, let me go back there and do a little checking on you
Then the man come back, he said "I'm sorry my man but your credit didn't go through"
Why, what you mean

Ohhhhhh...Ain't this a shame
Ohhhhhh...My heart's in pain
Ohhhhhh...Pure, pure herringbone
Ohhhhhh...That's a suit you'll never own
Oh, Lord have mercy
posted by Grangousier at 3:25 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


(Shopping For Clothes, by The Coasters. Also The Flying Pickets.)
posted by Grangousier at 3:26 PM on November 10, 2010


This one gets the clavdivs(IMNYIA) x-mas key chain award for 18th century porch parsing and sheer rumpled causality.
posted by clavdivs at 3:29 PM on November 10, 2010


To me this is nothing more than one of those questions that reveals, yes we are all different; we all have different experiences;we all have different priorities; and we all spend our money differently. Some people think Target is bargain basement, others middle of the road. For some people Macy's is a middle of the road department store and to others it's super duper luxury expensive. For people in those two groups, you might not be aware of Barney's, Bergdorf's, Louis in Boston or other high-end department stores or if they ventured inside their heads would explode.

I don't have the equivalent of an $1800 suit, but I know that in those stores, that's not uncommon. So people should really check the "whooooaaaaaaaaa $1800 suits and it's not handmade by the world's best tailor" responses (a male friend bought a suit at Barney's ---way marked down--like over 50% markdown--and rest assured they do provide tailoring without charge for all suits). I'm sure for some people an $1800 suit is at the lower end of the fine/luxury suits spectrum. There is a difference in fabric and details (for example Chanel's women's suits include weights in the hems of the skirts and jackets so that they will "sit" properly and not blow up in the wind. Is it worth the X$? That's for each person to answer for themselves. But you know, some people like nice clothes, and if they have the discretionary income, I don't think that makes them any more superficial than someone who'd drop $2k on a laptop or some other pricey, but kinda unnecessary item, that wouldn't raise an eyebrow here. There are certain things that Metafilter not so much doesn't do well, but is very judgemental about, and this is one of them.

Now whether or not the OP should be compensated? That I'm not really sure about.
posted by kaybdc at 3:32 PM on November 10, 2010 [14 favorites]


If the metal spike was sticking up through the floor and he stepped on it and punctured his foot, would all those assholes blaming the victim still be saying "well, you STEPPED on it, watch where the fuck you're going!" Yeah, I don't think so. I think it's reasonable to think that you shouldn't have to watch out for metal spikes when you're entering or exiting a building. What if a blind guy ripped his expensive suit on the spike, should he have been more careful with his walking stick...that clumsy putz should have been checking the sides of the doorway for metal spikes! I mean, come on, who doesn't check doorways for metal spikes when they're entering a building?

Also, why does anyone care how much money this guy wants to spend on a suit? Really, why do you care?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:35 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


The tears aren't comin'!
posted by dzaz at 3:38 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why the fuck is it anyone's moral right to judge other people based on what they choose willingly to pay for any damn thing at all? Shades of Mac/PC flamewars where the PC team keeps spouting off about how stupid people must be to spend more than they would have to on an apple computer when after all they could just build one themselves out of better components for less. Or whatever.

fourcheesemac: I actually agree with your position but you seem to have a bit of a nasty streak lately -- so much so that your comments have stood out to me and I don't typically notice user names that much. You also essentially told a poser in the hip-hop MeTa thread to shut up and then erroneously attributed it to New Zealand's 'shitty schools.' Surely there are better ways of making your point while still having strongly held opinions.
posted by proj at 3:38 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Maybe some outrage with regard to poor people in rags while $1800 suits are being bought and sold.

Just like all the outrage at all the poor people without cars when you're driving one that probably cost more than $1800. Or the outrage at all the Macs people bought and sold while the poor people are doomed to a internetless existence. Also, how can people go out to eat at a nice restaurant when they're are people who are starving. The nerve!

Or how about people spend their money on what they want to spend it on without others chastising them for it.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:42 PM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Also, why does anyone care how much money this guy wants to spend on a suit? Really, why do you care?

Because he asked us what compensation was fair?

I found that aspect of the question pretty frustrating. He asked us, but doesn't seem to want to hear any answer besides "the full price of the suit, including the vest." Because he can't wear the vest or jacket without the pants etc etc. It sounds like he just wants reassurance that his original thinking was right?

Come to think of it, not so different from most Relationshipfilter.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:43 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Disbelief, perhaps--pity, even. Maybe some outrage with regard to poor people in rags while $1800 suits are being bought and sold.

Oh yeah, right. Because everyone who wears cheap suits is otherwise a righteous dude contributing mightily to the clothing of the naked and the feeding of the hungry by virtue of wearing a cheap suit. That expensive suit actually probably feeds and clothes more people in Pakistan or Cambodia or wherever the fabric is actually made than a cheap suit. This is spurious. There is no moral dimension to the price of your clothes, at least not this level of morality.

And of course it's envy, masquerading as "disbelief" and "pity." I might as well disbelieve some people would spend money on a Caribbean vacation. God, how dare they when there are poor people in the Caribbean who never get to take a New York vacation! And flying first class to boot? The pigs! Come back here in coach with the riffraff and be authentically real! (I am actually writing this from coach class on a trans-US flight right now).

It's usually envy, anyway, that lies behind sneering moral judgments of what other people have, *not* at the expense of anyone else (unlike, say, hoarding food in a famine, they will definitely make more suits if you ask and pay).

The one suit I own, which I wear about twice a year for some reason or other, is a fine Italian merino wool, off the rack but delicious quality, and it listed at $999, although I bought it for a good deal less as the store was closing ($450 if you must know, which is a lot for me to pay for clothes, but given that this suit will last 10+ year the way I wear it, and given its quality, and as long as I don't get fat, it ends up being a trivial amount of money to pay for a decade-long solution to a problem I don't like to spend any mental energy dealing with (what to wear).

And that was 4 years ago, at least. I am certain you can walk into many stores in New York and find suits on the rack, being purchased by guys who work for a (good) living, for $1800. You can walk into an art gallery and find dreck selling for $5000 a painting too. And someone will pay it and the artist will have her rent for the next couple of months and the landlord will hire a super and the super will put his kids through school so they too can wear a fancy suit one day.

Capitalism baby, but it sure beats everyone wearing the same thing, and no one having any hope for anything better.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:47 PM on November 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


I still think it's foolhardy for anyone to buy an $1800 suit made out of a unique fabric, because if you (rather than someone else's faulty equipment) damage the suit, you're fucked out of the whole suit; if you buy a suit made out of a readily matchable fabric, you can have one piece replaced for far less than the cost of an original suit.

That said, that guy is certainly entitled to be reimbursed for the value of the suit that was damaged by the faulty equipment, and if the store verifies that the fabric is irreplaceable, I can't imagine the insurers quibbling about it (perhaps less some depreciation, perhaps they won't bother about it).

The thing that I thought was weird about the AskMe was the way that the OP doled out info in dribs and drabs. If he had started by saying "I tore the pants of my suit on faulty equipment, the people who put in the equipment have acknowledged fault in the matter, the store where I bought the suit verifies that the fabric to match the pants is no longer available anywhere, shouldn't I be able to claim the cost of the suit based on my receipts?" the answer would be "Yes, obviously, stick to your guns with their insurer."
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:51 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


BCSE
posted by clavdivs at 3:51 PM on November 10, 2010


I found that aspect of the question pretty frustrating. He asked us, but doesn't seem to want to hear any answer besides "the full price of the suit, including the vest." Because he can't wear the vest or jacket without the pants etc etc. It sounds like he just wants reassurance that his original thinking was right?

That's basically my read of it.

My feedback to the guy, were I to give it, is that this is the reason you buy a tailored suit. I don't wear suits, but my father worse them daily and he never bought a suit with less than 2 pairs of pants, sometimes 3. Because then when one pair of pants goes, hey, you don't have a useless suit jacket sitting there.

As for the vest, give it to some hipster. Those guys fucking live in vests.
posted by GuyZero at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


This MetaTalk post is embarrassing. If you're seriously questioning whether $1800 is too much to spend on a nice suit, you really need to step your game up.
posted by dhammond at 3:52 PM on November 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


Oh and that one $1000 suit I own (paid $450)?

Whenever I wear it, I look really good. There is a difference between a cheap suit and a good one, in the fabric, the tailoring, the durability, the comfort. When I got well off enough to afford my one good suit, I discovered what a difference a really good suit makes to how you look and feel, on those very rare occasions when I have to wear a suit at all. 362 days a year I wear jeans, sweatshirts, cowboy boots, and feed caps, even to give talks or meet with administrators at my school (it's my schtick, y'know?). Perhaps 3 days a year -- a wedding, a funeral, a really major event -- I put on my black Italian suit.

I'd have happily paid $1000 for the privilege if I made what I make now a few years back when I bought it. That's right. I paid $450 for this suit, but I'd pay $1000 to have its duplicate when it wears out.

Does that make me immoral?
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:53 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq, did you make that dialogue up from scratch? Because I can't read it without hearing Stephen Fry as the sanctimonious salesman and Hugh Laurie as the dippy customer.
posted by colfax at 3:57 PM on November 10, 2010


Anyone who pays $1800 for a suit is doing it wrong. Good suits – designer suits, fitted suits – can be had for much less. That's ridiculous. If you paid even half that much for a suit, you either don't know a good tailor or don't know how to find one.
posted by koeselitz at 4:00 PM on November 10, 2010


Maybe he's a pioneer of la SAPE canadienne.
posted by Abiezer at 4:04 PM on November 10, 2010


And there is no such thing as a unique, one-of-a-kind suit. There is so much ridiculous bluster about suits and their price that it's insane. Any suit can be duplicated, and probably has been. Anyone who says otherwise is either trying to sell you something for four times its actual value or trying to justify to themselves the fact that they spent the cost of a good used car on an item of clothing. I'm telling you, there's almost as much bullshit spread about good suits as there is about high-end audio equipment.
posted by koeselitz at 4:05 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Indeed, but I'm not seeing envy. Disbelief, perhaps--pity, even. Maybe some outrage with regard to poor people in rags while $1800 suits are being bought and sold.

Because you've never spent money that could have gone to the poor on anything you didn't absolutely need. And, naturally, all people who can afford to spend $1800 on a suit are selfish pricks who never donate a single penny or minute of their time. Judge not, dude.
posted by katillathehun at 4:13 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


This MetaTalk post is embarrassing. If you're seriously questioning whether $1800 is too much to spend on a nice suit, you really need to step your game up.

..I guess I am embarrassing then.

I realize that people buy expensive clothing. But I thought expensive: ~$450 for a really nice suit. Not nearly two thousand dollars.

$1,800 suits seem to me to be bought by CEOs and really successful lawyers and people who live in mansions and have more money then I can ever dream about..

I just didn't know if your average office worker who makes under six figures would spend that much on one article of clothing. Especially since he needs at least 4 others as well.
posted by royalsong at 4:17 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just didn't know if your average office worker who makes under six figures would spend that much on one article of clothing. Especially since he needs at least 4 others as well.

No, your average office worker wouldn't and probably couldn't. But a suit of that cost is not unheard of, especially if it's bespoke. To answer your original question.
posted by katillathehun at 4:21 PM on November 10, 2010


royalsong: I just wanted to know if I was a totally clueless sheltered girl and this was normal and what everyone else thought.

Yes, you are, and no it isn't outside the range of normal, or even on the high end of what is fairly common.

It's a lot of money to me, too, but not even close to the "top."
posted by paisley henosis at 4:25 PM on November 10, 2010


I want to be clear that there is a difference for me between being ridiculously wastefully extravagant and just buying high quality stuff appropriate to your social context (and in this case, your professional context). Dropping $100K on a birthday party for a kid is ostentatious and meant to inspire envy. Maybe dropping $5000 on a suit is similar. There is some sort of threshold where conspicuous consumption becomes morally offensive, of course, just by virtue of its message, and even if it doesn't have any direct costs for the less fortunate (or even benefits them, as I suggested above).

But not $1800, or $1000. At that level, you get what you pay for. That is just not a lot of money for a quality suit that will last many years. That's like springing for a Lexus instead of a Tercel. Meant to impress, but not obscenely overpriced for what it is, and a value if you need or want a high performance, high quality, aesthetically beautiful machine.

Step up your game is right, boys. If you can't afford $1000 for a suit, you probably work in a profession where you don't need to wear a nice suit at all.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:26 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised by how defensive people are over the amount of money they spend on their suits.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:28 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


But I thought expensive: ~$450 for a really nice suit.

Yeah, you need to recalibrate.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:30 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I suspect a lot of it stems from the fact that a large swath of MeFi's users are of similar socioeconomic status and have similar views on what constitutes conspicuous consumption (combined with a liberal sensibility that eschews excessive spending on certain goods [read: not Apple products]). When someone from outside that bracket or someone with dissimilar views appears, it feels so anathema to the normal "feel" of the site, that people are honestly shocked. However, as many have pointed out here, lots of people spend lots of money on things that they think are "worth it" that other users do not (I'm thinking of the post about the very expensive wooden blocks here). There will never be perfect agreement as to what these items are, but when an item that is far from the mainstream consensus appears, users will feel the need to react.
posted by proj at 4:31 PM on November 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised by how defensive people are over the amount of money they spend on their suits.

Well, the implications flying by here seem to be rushing back and forth between "You're an embarrassing slob!" and "You wasteful asshole!" so, yeah.
posted by katillathehun at 4:31 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, and comments like "step up your game" are about as helpful as the comments about buying expensive suits while people wear rags. Everyone took their hyperbole pills this morning, it would seem.
posted by proj at 4:32 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wait, if you make 75,000 bucks a year, and you buy 5 $1000 suits every 5 years, which is how long a really good suit, well taken care of, will keep looking good, you're spending around 3% of your total income on your uniform. If you work in a job where looking sharp helps you get ahead, you can easily improve your income by 3% per year by cultivating a very professional image, impressing clients or bosses, feeling confident in your clothes, etc. Like I said, if you need to wear a quality suit 5 days a week, the odds are good that you work in a profession where you can afford one, and that doesn't mean you live in a mansion or belong to a country club.

People spend much more than that on cars, on professional dues, on vacation travel, on meals out, on media. We're talking about something that is virtually an essential work tool of the professional male information laborer (and women too, just a different and more complex calculation).

Years ago, I had to choose between buying a standard $500 transmission and a $900 heavy duty water-cooled model for my work truck. I was really broke at the time, and $400 seemed like a lot of money to save. My very smart boss at the time said to me, "it's not the $900 that's a lot of money, it's the first $500 you're going to spend anyway and then have to spend many times over when your transmission needs to be replaced again in 5 years.

Never forgot that.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:34 PM on November 10, 2010 [10 favorites]


Sorry, you're not spending 3%, you're spending less than 2% if you make 75K and drop a grand a year on a suit.

In what universe is $75K an upper class twit?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:37 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Try the Mac/PC analogy on for size.

People get so morally outraged that someone would pay $999 for a computer "worth" only $600 if you just spec out the comparable Dell model.

A laptop lasts 2 or 3 years for most people.

So you spend $400 more to buy one you love. Let's say it lasts two years. Is it worth $20 a month to you to love your computer more than just like it? Does it lead to you working an extra hour a week productively, or saving an hour a week in time you'd waste trying to figure out how to do something more cheaply? An hour a week, week in week out, at $10/hour (which is very low for most office workers for whom a laptop is a key productivity tool), and you're recovering at least double the extra amount you put into that first, slightly more expensive laptop. It's not only not costing you more, it's costing you less (same way of thinking about TCO in general; a week in the shop and the savings are gone too for many of us; every hour wasted trying to make something work that isn't quite perfect is wasted money when you work for yourself, especially).

For me, the threshold of "extravagant" comes at the point when the extra cost doesn't buy you better quality, or you don't need the better quality, or it won't help you make more money or do more or better work than you would otherwise have done.

And like I said, I barely ever wear a suit. I expect mine to last 20 years, I just have to stay skinny enough to keep it looking good on me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:48 PM on November 10, 2010


In what modern, urban, western universe is $75K an upper class twit?

That depends on how long that twit has been in the workforce and what city he lives in. For example, a mid-20s single guy in Louisville making $75k a year fresh out of school with no student loan debt could totally be an upper-class twit - particularly if he grew up upper-class and is accustomed to upper-class living (which, if the hypothetical twit is willing to drop a grand on a suit, is likely).
posted by The World Famous at 4:50 PM on November 10, 2010


fourcheesemac, I can't help but wonder . . . who are you arguing with right now?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:52 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


You!

I don't know, maybe the several people who are still implying that only a rich person would think $1000 was a fair price to pay for a suit. Because it just isn't true.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:53 PM on November 10, 2010


Well, in New York, where 1000 dollar suits are worn on the subway by many men who don't have drivers or cars, $75K is middle class even for a single young person. After taxes, it's about $45K (NYC has its own tax). After paying $2K a month in rent -- quite normal in NYC -- it's about 20K left. Spring for a $1000 suit, and youve got about $19K in discretionary income for the year, which in New York means you're not eating out very often, and not taking any vacations that involve flights or hotels.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:56 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think you're pretty much talking to yourself right now.
posted by proj at 4:56 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


It suits him.
posted by gman at 4:59 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I wonder if there isn't another dimension to the annoyance that I assume some people feel about this question: here is someone who can afford to buy a $1,800 suit, unlike most of us. My problem with this wasn't "Who would spend that much money on a suit?" (although not spending it on a bespoke suit seemed like a poor decision) or "This guy doesn't deserve to get a major fraction of $1,800 from a construction company" (damaged due to their mistake is damaged). It was "I am a little bit annoyed at having to give advice -- free advice -- to someone who is able to spend $1,800 on a suit for his job and almost certainly makes 3 times what I do and the fact of the wealth disparity is front and center in the question."

Here's how I dealt with it: I stayed out of the AskMe thread. It didn't break the guidelines, and I got some decent information about what to do if I ever end up becoming really rich from others.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 4:59 PM on November 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


It wasn't the price that struck me as ridiculous so much as the assertion that it was a wholly unique fabric that could never possibly be duplicated. This, to me, suggests that it's the kind of limited-edition manufacturer-logo-emblazoned tacky-ass shit that D&G and Vuitton have done in the past, in which case the only thing worth noting is that it's pretty silly to pay nearly 2k to be a walking billboard.
posted by elizardbits at 5:04 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is it really that cheap to get a custom run of a specific fabric? I would only imagine that doing that would cost more than getting a new suit.

Also, where are all of the good bespoke tailors that can make suits in the $1000ish range? I do not know, and would like to.
posted by that girl at 5:15 PM on November 10, 2010


This, to me, suggests that it's the kind of limited-edition manufacturer-logo-emblazoned tacky-ass shit that D&G and Vuitton have done in the past, in which case the only thing worth noting is that it's pretty silly to pay nearly 2k to be a walking billboard.

I think you may be reading too much into it.
posted by rhizome at 5:19 PM on November 10, 2010


There are certain things that Metafilter not so much doesn't do well, but is very judgemental about, and this is one of them.

QFT. Look, I wouldn't spend that much on one outfit, and I personally would feel a bit opportunistic if I charged the construction company for the price of the whole suit.

But I didn't answer the question because my saying so wouldn't help the OP out; there's already too much finger-pointing going on in that thread.

And I really do want to say that just as every poor person is not some noble humanitarian working for the good of mankind, every person with a little bit of money is not a soulless, "Screw you, I've got mine!" reprobate, either.

There's really been a lot of ugly rhetoric in the last few weeks about "The rich," which as far as I can tell includes anyone making a penny more than whoever the Mefite commenting happens to be. It's wrong and harmful to make assumptions about people's characters based solely on their incomes, no matter how large or small.
posted by misha at 5:37 PM on November 10, 2010 [13 favorites]


Man I'm so glad this was posted so I could tagline that post.

Metafilter: woven on the thighs of a virgin.

kaybdc writes "To me this is nothing more than one of those questions that reveals, yes we are all different; we all have different experiences;we all have different priorities; and we all spend our money differently. Some people think Target is bargain basement, others middle of the road. For some people Macy's is a middle of the road department store and to others it's super duper luxury expensive. For people in those two groups, you might not be aware of Barney's, Bergdorf's, Louis in Boston or other high-end department stores or if they ventured inside their heads would explode. "

I have sitting on my desk right now a 9" torpedo level that I paid nearly $100 for. And 'tis a thing of beauty I tell you what.
posted by Mitheral at 5:44 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find myself wondering if you can buy suit insurance the same way you can buy car insurance.
posted by davejay at 5:44 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, where are all of the good bespoke tailors that can make suits in the $1000ish range? I do not know, and would like to.

Hong Kong.

The article is old, but the prices haven't risen that much. Airfare not included.
posted by gingerest at 5:47 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have sitting on my desk right now a 9" torpedo level that I paid nearly $100 for. And 'tis a thing of beauty I tell you what.

I have a set of encyclopedias that aren't even current that I paid about that much for. They are lovely. Everyone's got their thing.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:48 PM on November 10, 2010


I once got called a yuppie for posting a question about maintaining an expensive handbag by someone who had once asked if it was okay to wear a pricey wristwatch in third-world country.
posted by katillathehun at 5:50 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I posted the reweaving suggestion in the AskMe thread, which is probably what any intelligent insurance adjuster is going to propose, in such a circumstance, given the cost/utility/replacement parameters. And really, a rewoven repair, not on or near any stress seam, would be more than adequate for returning this suit to service, and would probably be the best way of delivering the original buyer's interests in owning the suit, in the first place. It was, after all, something the original buyer/poster liked well enough to pay $1800 to own and wear, only a short time ago.

"Is it really that cheap to get a custom run of a specific fabric?"
posted by that girl at 8:15 PM on November 10

Suiting fabrics are rarely made in very short runs. That's because of set-up costs on the air jet looms used to produce such fabrics, and because loom time is often sold out 2 or 3 seasons ahead of production. To get short runs of typical suiting fabrics, you have to outbid the market prices for loom time, weaving thread, and post processing (tank treatments, anti-wrinkle, hand improvement, etc.). It's never cheap.

I will say that, in my experience of suiting fabrics, a fabric that sustains an L shaped tear, quickly, from a single incident with a randomly sharp piece of environmental metal, is probably not of the very highest quality. Likely, the fabric tore directly along first the warp, and then the weft, producing the "L" shaped tear described by the AskMe OP, which would indicate that both warp and weft threads were of minimal tensile strength, as in polyester/wool blend lightweight ("all season") anti-wrinkle suitings. Heavier, 100% wool suiting fabrics tend to get smaller, "puncture" style tears in such circumstances, due to the inclusion of longer, stronger wool fibers in both the warp and weft, which "pull" around the puncturing metal, rather than tear for several inches, under moderate force. I say this, not to suggest that the suit in question is not of the highest quality, but simply to say that if the buyer was buying a lightweight, all season suit, the fabric choices were necessarily limited to synthetic blends, of lighter weight, more prone to such damage.

A lot goes into the construction of good suits, besides fabric, but in this case, for the damage described in the AskMe, fabric characteristics rule. Tailoring labor, and other construction costs (findings (aka linings, fusibles, waistbands, pocketing, beads, buttons, piping, etc.), can assume much higher percentages of cost in a fully tailored suit, than the 3 to 4 yards of shell fabric picked by the bespoke client, or, in this case, the store buyer who bought the goods on retail spec.

"Also, where are all of the good bespoke tailors that can make suits in the $1000ish range? I do not know, and would like to."
posted by that girl at 8:15 PM on November 10

Google is your very good friend.
posted by paulsc at 6:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [24 favorites]


I nearly paid $1400 for a wedding dress. Which I was going to wear once. And it was 100% polyester. $1800 for a good suit doesn't seem remotely out of line to me.
posted by KathrynT at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


I think you may be reading too much into it.

...isn't that the whole point of this place? i feel betrayed.
posted by elizardbits at 6:28 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


'tailor made' for 1800$ alex.
posted by clavdivs at 6:29 PM on November 10, 2010


$1800 for a good suit doesn't seem remotely out of line to me.

Me neither. Most of the time I'm happy to get around in pairs of $20 business trousers from Bangkok, and shirts that cost about the same (also from Bangkok) but that's because I generally don't need to meet with external parties & I look businesslike enough for internal meetings.

However, when I do meet with external clients, out comes the [insert designer brand name] suit which cost me not-much-change from $1000. And that was about the middle range for the big department store where I bought it. It feels nice to wear, looks neat & will probably still give me at least another couple of years of intermittent wearing.

Plenty of people work in professions where looking snazzy for meetings is important, and an $1800 suit isn't necessarily a sign of a rich person burning money - it could just as easily be a big-ticket purchase that's a reluctant but seemingly necessary investment in one's career.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:46 PM on November 10, 2010


It's sad that people spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education when there are people who can't even read
posted by Ad hominem at 6:50 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


paulsc: Google is your very good friend.

Google may provide suggestions for bespoke tailors, but how do I know if they are any good or not? I am sure there are many out there of varying quality. What do I even need to be searching for on Google to find a good suit maker? I despair when people tell me to Use Google, because in most cases I already have and find myself mired in Choice because I don't have the knowledge to be able to choose between 50 things that all look about the same to me.

Likewise I may be able to get a good bespoke suit in Hong Kong, but that also requires quite the time/money cost of getting to and from Hong Kong. The 2 days (and $1000+ dollars) you spend in transit make it somewhat less of a good value. And I still need to know who to go to.
posted by that girl at 6:59 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


To answer royalsong's question, I don't think $1800 is an astoundingly high price for a good suit, even if it is just off-the-rack. $450 might buy you an off-the-rack suit at a mall chain store, but by no means would that be considered a high end suit.

I only spent about $350 on each of my suits because I don't need to wear them on a daily or even monthly basis, and I don't want to spend more than necessary on something that I might only wear four or five times before getting too fat to fit in it. I didn't want to go any lower than that, as I found the suits at lower price points tended to be made from really cheap and cheap-looking synthetic fabrics in unflattering, boxy cuts. Keep in mind that you're not just paying for the cost of the fabric and materials used to make the suit (gold thread?), you're also paying for the designers and the pattern makers who have the style sense and technical know-how to make that fabric look good wrapped around a human body.

And I'd like to add that the world of suits is much kinder to men than women. Women's suits are almost always an order of magnitude crappier than men's suits at the same price. The fabrics, the cuts, the ridiculous "feminine" details, uggghh!!! It took me weeks to find the last suit I bought, weeks of rifling through racks of horrid off-black polyester, 70's style width lapels, ruffles, poofy shoulders, 3/4 length sleeves, random pockets, cropped jackets, colored piping, attached belts, ugggghhhh!!! Is it so much to ask that I want my suits to look serious, not "cute" or "sassy"? Whereas a man would walk into any suit store (seems to be no such thing for women), ask for a fairly conservative navy or charcoal suit, and have armloads to choose from. Yes, I'm bitter.

If you'd like to know more about the workmanship that goes into making a really nice suit, I highly recommend reading English Cut. It's a blog written by a Savile Row tailor with a contagious passion for his craft.
posted by keep it under cover at 7:20 PM on November 10, 2010


that girl, you can get a fine bespoke suit from Duchess Clothier for considerably less than $1800. Without going to Hong Kong. If, as your name suggests, you are a female-bodied person who wants a gentleman's suit, they are the awesomest for this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:25 PM on November 10, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hong Kong tailors also frequently come to larger US cities (and maybe CN too, I don't know) to take measurements for bespoke suits.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:26 PM on November 10, 2010


A vest? Are men wearing suits with vests these days? Isn't that sort of Alex P. Keaton? Is it 1988 in Canada?

Really, I work around lots of guys in suits. I don't see any vests.
posted by 26.2 at 7:30 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Google may provide suggestions for bespoke tailors, but how do I know if they are any good or not? I am sure there are many out there of varying quality.

. . .

Likewise I may be able to get a good bespoke suit in Hong Kong, but that also requires quite the time/money cost of getting to and from Hong Kong.

I have a great Hong Kong tailor who travels to several U.S. cities twice a year to take measurements and orders. Every suit of his that I've seen or worn has been perfectly tailored and of the highest quality. I can give you his contact info if you're interested. He e-mails me whenever he's planning a trip and might be in my city. I can just forward you his e-mail if you want.
posted by The World Famous at 7:33 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Still have a suit jacket from Nordstoms rack, before Nordie was a chain, when the rack was just that, a rack in the basement. Navy blue, the pants lasted a few years, but it's solid NAVY, found a decent matching slacks a couple times. Got an address for that building? Bwahh...
posted by sammyo at 7:51 PM on November 10, 2010


fourcheesemac: “Step up your game is right, boys. If you can't afford $1000 for a suit, you probably work in a profession where you don't need to wear a nice suit at all.”

I agree that it's good to look good. And I agree that there are some professions where that price for a suit is common. But I still think $1000 is too much for a suit. How much did you pay for yours again? Oh, but it was on sale. Thing is, that's how people should buy suits, I think: intelligently. Even if they can afford to waste more than it's worth.
posted by koeselitz at 7:58 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are men wearing suits with vests these days?

Yup.
posted by neroli at 8:01 PM on November 10, 2010


(If you want my tailor's contact info, drop me a MeFiMail. He was in NYC today.)
posted by The World Famous at 8:04 PM on November 10, 2010


Thanks, Sidhedevil and The World Famous. I have to admit that I am more interested in getting suits for sexy dressing of my fiance (who has, I admit, minimal occasions on which to wear a suit) than for myself. Men in well-fitting suits are very nice to look at!

For myself, I would like to find a dressmaker who would be able to take a too-small-for me kimono and turn it into an awesome dress or gown. Finding good dressmakers (in Zurich or Japan) seems even harder than finding good bespoke tailors. But maybe that'd make a better ask.me question.
posted by that girl at 8:04 PM on November 10, 2010


UbuRoivas: “However, when I do meet with external clients, out comes the [insert designer brand name] suit which cost me not-much-change from $1000. And that was about the middle range for the big department store where I bought it.”

See, that's the first reason people get totally robbed when they buy suits – everybody seems to think it's a good idea to buy a suit at a big department store. It's no wonder people pay way too much for clothes. Highway robbery, I'm telling you. It's absolutely a crime; I've shopped around for suits in several here in the States, at least, and their prices are far and away at least twice what you'd get from a good tailor or a good small shop, if not three times as much. You probably could've gotten that suit for $500.
posted by koeselitz at 8:07 PM on November 10, 2010


Men in well-fitting suits are very nice to look at!

Sigh. Agreed. And I love three-piece suits. I'll probably continue to love them after they've fallen back out of fashion again.
posted by katillathehun at 8:07 PM on November 10, 2010


"... I despair when people tell me to Use Google, because in most cases I already have and find myself mired in Choice because I don't have the knowledge to be able to choose between 50 things that all look about the same to me. ..."
posted by that girl at 9:59 PM on November 10

First of all, my suggestion that Google might be your best friend was meant to gently suggest that AskMe has covered tailoring questions, in depth, many times, and that a bit of research time on your part, could pay off for you, pretty quickly, just in Ask archives.

Second, my suggestion about Google was also a gentle reminder that, if you don't know the difference between good quality and lesser quality, any difference in price between goods of greater and lesser quality may well be lost on you. In other words, if you don't understand what a full floating, blindstitched horsehair chest piece does in a men's suit coat, save yourself $1500+ per garment, and be happy with 2 suits featuring the more common fused synthetic construction common in 90% of men's suits today, unless you have the budget to buy on name and recommendation only. (That is, your name and recommendation to the top tailors, who work 2 to 3 years bookings ahead, and generally only take on new clients by referral, after some research on their part, regarding the client's background. A good tailor is generally more selective in his choice of clients than a bank's lending committee is in it's choice of same). And for God's sake, if you do understand the difference, follow through with cleaners who do, too, and use hanger and closet systems that preserve your bespoke clothing between wearings.

Lastly, my suggestion about Google was meant to convey that, today, there are many ways of having custom/semi-custom clothing produced, in terms of the mix of services/materials/labor/shipping/tax you pay. If you have reliable measurements in hand, and are of average and symmetric physic, you can e-mail you measurements to a tailor on the other side of the world, select fabrics from his Web site pictures, pay a rush fee, and be wearing a custom suit within in a week, just about anywhere but the South Pole. If you have one dropped shoulder, and a negative waist drop, and want patterns adjusted to your body, you'll have to get together with a tailor skilled in taking measurements, and making pattern adjustments, and that will add time and cost. If you also want to feel fabric in your hand, and on a drape dummy, you'll need to visit at least a showroom with samples, if not a make operation, and that will likely further limit your options and cost you more in time and money, with likely a better quality result. Etc., etc. for every conceivable mix of tailoring services/make labor/goods/tax you can think of in the manufacture and delivery of tailored clothing in the modern world.

But you know, Google really is the front door to understanding much of this, for yourself, unless you want to spend a few years at the Fashion Institute, or in Milan, or London..:-)
posted by paulsc at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


Of course, you could have said all that the first time.
posted by unSane at 8:11 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wonder if there isn't another dimension to the annoyance that I assume some people feel about this question: here is someone who can afford to buy a $1,800 suit, unlike most of us.

I read it differently: I think one of the reasons that people are put off by it is that the poster can't exactly afford an $1,800 suit, but somehow he bought/had one anyhow. The sort of person who can afford $1,800 suits doesn't throw around the price of his suit like that, and wouldn't ask what he should be telling the construction company -- the hesitation is because the poster is from the land where an $1,800 suit is special.

I know I'm projecting too, but I think that's an important part of the question, and why it's not just a matter of principle but him actually struggling to ask for the price of the suit.

(And yes, you need a suit to be made from the same dye lot, or else the subtle difference will be jarring; and yes, reweaving is how you fix this.)
posted by mendel at 8:12 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


That was quite a bit more informative, paulsc! Thanks for the explanations. Even a suggestion to look in the AskMe archives or that there are things that may or may not matter to a person not entirely-well-versed in the suit universe can be helpful in providing some sort of focus.

Even knowing what things to look for or to search for can be useful, a couple keywords or a good website to read to pull together some terms that would appear to be more or less important.
posted by that girl at 8:30 PM on November 10, 2010


You probably could've gotten that suit for $500.

Actually, I'm pretty sure I got it on special because that's just how I shop for clothes. It might have been around $700.

But otherwise, yeah. The department stores are pretty bad value but they've got the psychology worked out - you don't wanna get the cheapest rubbish, nor do you want to pay $2-3K (they have this stuff in stock) so you end up somewhere around $1K. The pricey ones are there just to trick you into thinking that people do actually spend that much, so you feel like a cheapskate unless you go for the middle option.

Depending on where you live, Thailand, HK & the like are really awesome. You can easily recoup the cost of your ticket just by popping over for a long weekend & buying all your gear for a year or two in one hit, and that's just in clothes. you might help destroy the planet in the process, but on the upside you can eat some great food.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:43 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


First of all, my suggestion that Google might be your best friend was meant to gently suggest that AskMe has covered tailoring questions, in depth, many times, and that a bit of research time on your part, could pay off for you, pretty quickly, just in Ask archives.

I see. It did an awful job.


Second, my suggestion about Google was also a gentle reminder that, if you don't know the difference between good quality and lesser quality, any difference in price between goods of greater and lesser quality may well be lost on you.

What? Your suggestion about Google was meant to communicate that if the person doesn't know about quality differences, pricing differences might be lost on said person? Were you writing between the lines in grey font?


Lastly, my suggestion about Google was meant to convey that, today, there are many ways of having custom/semi-custom clothing produced, in terms of the mix of services/materials/labor/shipping/tax you pay.

...Okay.
In the future, you may want to actually type out the words you mean to convey. That's one of the primary tenets of communication.


But you know, Google really is the front door to understanding much of this, for yourself, unless you want to spend a few years at the Fashion Institute, or in Milan, or London..:-)

I'm trying to recall previous smugness levels of that intensity on Metafilter, but I'm having trouble. Look, man, Google's got THE ENTIRE INTERNET behind it. And if the choice is really either Google or years of formal study, you're disproving your own point. I've heard lines like these on forums/discussion groups for well over a decade now--"use the search function! I learned everything I know from this site!"*

*Over the course of the last five years, using a variety of internal and external links to content buried inside long threads and discussons that may or may not be readily found using any logical search terms, and that are not centrally documented or vetted in any way that would lead an outside reader to confirm validity in contradictory statements, given that they grew organically out of often unrelated or tangential discussion topics and were never consolidated. Also, I will not link to any single resource because I can't find a good one off the top of my head (which likely means you can't either, not that I'm going to admit that.) Good luck.
posted by Phyltre at 9:03 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


i was at work last week and ripped the pocket out of a 6 dollar pair of walmart sweatpants on a protruding doorknob - i was thinking of how much i should make my employer pay for them, but concluded that they'd just tell me it was my fault for being such a clumsy ass and to watch where the hell i was going

so i just bought a couple of more pairs

sometimes the injustice of life is insufferable
posted by pyramid termite at 9:33 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


i was at work last week and ripped the pocket out of a 6 dollar pair of walmart sweatpants on a protruding doorknob - i was thinking of how much i should make my employer pay for them, but concluded that they'd just tell me it was my fault for being such a clumsy ass and to watch where the hell i was going

A doorknob is something that you find on that thing that they call a door. Almost all doors have them. A "very sharp protruding piece of metal sticking out from the door frame" is something that is not expected at the entrance to a doorway. What was your point again?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:57 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


She calls it a mayonegg.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:10 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point of a suit is to be a...suit. Separate pieces of a suit that do not equal a whole suit are a different thing and worth less, even though they can in fact still be worn as garments.

Look, it's totally okay not to answer if your overwhelming reaction is less about familiarity with what would be considered fair compensation for damaged expensive garments and more like: "Holy shit, that's a lot of money for a suit." "How can you look someone straight in the eye and ask for $1800?" "Don't you feel like a total tool?" "You should expend a lot of energy finding someone to repair it perfectly and then THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS YOU CAN WASTE MONEY like that."

/buys all her suits at off-price stores
posted by desuetude at 10:38 PM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Step up your game is right, boys. If you can't afford $1000 for a suit, you probably work in a profession where you don't need to wear a nice suit at all.

As someone who works in a profession where I don't need to wear a nice suit at all, I take umbrage at the implication that proley-types like myself can neither afford nor appreciate garments that are not purchased three to a bag.

UMBRAGE!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:42 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


tailors also frequently come to larger US cities (and maybe CN too, I don't know)

Yes, if anyone still cares, those peripatetic tailors do include Canada on their rounds. My dad's had suits fitted in Montreal by one of those guys.
posted by tangerine at 10:56 PM on November 10, 2010


Men in well-fitting suits are very nice to look at!

Suits encapsulate a socially conservative mindset such that the sheer thought of wearing one makes me feel the need to jump out of my own skin. It is so unfair that girls have more options. It is so sad that mainstream society is still so cognitively shallow and narrowminded about appearances and attire.
posted by polymodus at 11:10 PM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Men wearing other well-fitting things can be equally nice to look at! I do not require suits! Liking one thing does not preclude the liking of other things.
posted by that girl at 11:32 PM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]



I think you're pretty much talking to yourself right now.

Snide, much? Would that explain the several direct responses, and 10 or so favorites, that ensued in response to my "talking to myself" in the subsequent 12 hours?

Douche. It's French for "shower."
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:54 AM on November 11, 2010


I'm just glad I work in the tech industry -- where I apparently make enough money to be considered an "upper-class douche" but get to wear jeans every day. Good times!
posted by cj_ at 4:57 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


But ooh, can we talk about wedding dresses now?
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:59 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also I just want to say I bought my first suit in my entire 36 years on this earth just last summer, for a wedding. I paid a lot for it because the wedding was important to me. The wedding itself was a bit of a bore, but I hit up some dive bars after the reception without changing clothes, and HOLY SHIT does a guy in a nice suit get some attention from the ladies. It's not even funny. If I realized how this worked 15 years ago I would have been going to bars every night in full regalia pretending to be "coming from a wedding" or a special agent in the FBI, or whatever excuse worked.

Do men actually look better in a suit or is it just the promise that they are successful/rich?
posted by cj_ at 5:07 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I went out this evening and had a very pleasant chat with Marcus Miller.

Yeah, I did.
posted by Wolof at 5:26 AM on November 11, 2010


Snide, much? Would that explain the several direct responses, and 10 or so favorites, that ensued in response to my "talking to myself" in the subsequent 12 hours?

You calling someone else snide is very rich indeed.
posted by proj at 5:49 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is so unfair that girls have more options.

You're kidding, right?

Because our business wear options suck hard. The prices are high. The quality is low. Our suits come with things like asymmetric colors and contrasting piping. And don't even get me started on the size ranges. (Hint to retailers - over half of US women wear over a size 14. Hows about putting clothing into the stores for larger women.)
posted by 26.2 at 5:49 AM on November 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


Do men actually look better in a suit or is it just the promise that they are successful/rich?

Nah, people look better in well-made clothing.
posted by desuetude at 6:06 AM on November 11, 2010


Snide, much? Would that explain the several direct responses, and 10 or so favorites, that ensued in response to my "talking to myself" in the subsequent 12 hours?

Douche. It's French for "shower."


I hate this thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:16 AM on November 11, 2010 [7 favorites]



Do men actually look better in a suit or is it just the promise that they are successful/rich?


Consider the suit.

Most western Men's clothing has origin in warfare or that civilized form of war, sport. We all wear Tennis shoes without playing tennis, and so the militaristic or hunting qualities of the suit have become an echo - but they're still there effecting how one looks in a suit.. A proper suit emphasis, streamlines and smooths masculine body shapes without binding or constricting them. A suit is subtle and learning why one suit works and the other doesn't teaches practice and an attention to detail. How it hangs, how it fits, where does it constrict movement, how is the weave woven and why. The best single thing you could learn about clothing is fit, and suits are a great way to learn about fit because it's a garment that's completely and totally dependent on fit. Go a little too big and it's a sack, too small and you've ruined the idea that suit streamlines and smooths a man's silhouette. Not that material isn't important, cheap fabrics have a plastic shine and don't fall right (again, ruining the streamline effect) and wrinkle like crazy - and things like weight, a wool suit on a summer's day would be hell - but since a suit must fit equally well all over the body, a body that might be broad in some places is skinny in others, rounded on top or square on the bottom, fit is the number one factor in whether or not a suit works. And a proper fit requires a visit to a tailor regardless of the suit's cost. This is the game, as Ubu said, that department stores play. Since it cost so much, it must be ready to wear off the rack and the I don't have to worry about it. This is a trap I've fallen into more then once (I'm looking at you, recently re-branded Brooks Brothers.). I've got broad fucking shoulders and a bit of a gut but long legs that run thin for my frame - if I buy a suit big enough to cover my chest then the rest of the me just swims in bunching, robe-like fabric. Knowing your personal measurement is the best way to get quality clothes on the cheap.

Where was I? Oh yes. I'll never forget the wizard-spell like power that happened when I started wearing suits in public in my early 20s and suddenly people thought I was in control and knew shit and my opinions mattered. It was spooky. Since suits not only make a man look good but are also tied up into cultural norms of what men "should" look like and power and money and taste - a good suit beats an invisibility cloak any day.


Because our business wear options suck hard. The prices are high. The quality is low. Our suits come with things like asymmetric colors and contrasting piping. And don't even get me started on the size ranges. (Hint to retailers - over half of US women wear over a size 14. Hows about putting clothing into the stores for larger women.)


Oh god yes. Wasn't the concept of the Chanel business suit supposed to stop women from having to buy new wardrobes every 2 years? Lady friend of mine was going into business and trying to find something "Joan Crawford would wear to the boardroom" but everything she found, even in the pricier stores just made her look like "Margaret Thatcher or Betty Boop."
posted by The Whelk at 6:32 AM on November 11, 2010 [17 favorites]


Ha ha, I think we may have the same tailor, The World Famous.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:34 AM on November 11, 2010


Are men wearing suits with vests these days?

Yup.



Vests have made a big comeback in 10 years, going from Only Me to Everyone. I blame the 60s revival - I'm just hoping it goes on long enough so we can have vests in different colors like Edwardian dandies. Break from the black that binds you!

And as I said before, as soon as the young men of the current bright-plastic-megatoon fashion trend discover paisley and Carnaby road fashions all bets are off.
posted by The Whelk at 6:43 AM on November 11, 2010


You calling someone else snide is very rich indeed.

I guess that's why can afford a nice suit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:55 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd like to buy a vowel.
posted by morganannie at 6:56 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


You also essentially told a poser in the hip-hop MeTa thread to shut up and then erroneously attributed it to New Zealand's 'shitty schools.'

Just caught this proj, nice to know I'm being stalked by a fellow douche.

Although I would like posers to shut up, I think you mean "poster." And that comment was ironic, in response to a deleted diatribe against American rap as racist promulgation of stereotypes of African American culture. My point was that a Kiwi railing against American culture's "racism" has some nerve.

As do you.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:58 AM on November 11, 2010


Also...
(from the original thread):
I'm just mentioning it here because I've received memails and comments from people who don't believe that I can't just 'find pants to replace them'.
posted by stealabove at 5:54 PM on November 10 [+] [!]

People really do this sort of thing? I see Jessamyn commented in the post to fight over MeMail or not at all but...I'm just shocked that someone would memail the guy to tell him how stupid he is over these irreplaceable pants. If he says they are irreplaceable, why won't people just believe him? I mean, who cares?

And why isn't there a link to this MeTa in the Ask post? Isn't that procedure around these parts?
posted by morganannie at 6:59 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


fourcheesemac, do you need a hug? I'll give you a hug.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:03 AM on November 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


And why isn't there a link to this MeTa in the Ask post?

I'm beginning to doubt there should even be a link to this MeTa on MetaTalk.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:04 AM on November 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


fourcheesemac: If you'll quote the rest of the comment I made, I said "I actually agree with your position but you seem to have a bit of a nasty streak lately -- so much so that your comments have stood out to me and I don't typically notice user names that much." Clearly the mark of a stalking douche. I also said "[s]urely there are better ways of making your point while still having strongly held opinions." Note: everyone needs a hug, including you. The issues here appear to have hit a nerve with you and you are not conducting yourself in a way that makes you look very great. Take a step back and realize you don't have to call people 'stalking douches' or jump immediately to hyperbole in your arguments -- as I'm sure you realize in your professional life.
posted by proj at 7:08 AM on November 11, 2010


Because our business wear options suck hard. The prices are high. The quality is low. Our suits come with things like asymmetric colors and contrasting piping. And don't even get me started on the size ranges. (Hint to retailers - over half of US women wear over a size 14. Hows about putting clothing into the stores for larger women.)

Hey, I'm all for asymmetric colors and contrasting piping if it works to make the suit interesting and flattering, but that stuff can't compensate for crap fabric, badly-constructed linings, and no seam allowances for tailoring.

I would sacrifice a small appendage for affordable suits which are tailored in anticipation of the average human woman who wears that size. Cut that vanity sizing shit out. I have a small frame, though I'm not unusually thin; I do not need room to store part of another person in my suit jacket.
posted by desuetude at 7:13 AM on November 11, 2010


> you seem to have a bit of a nasty streak lately

Lately?
posted by languagehat at 7:13 AM on November 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


My point was that a Kiwi railing against American culture's "racism" has some nerve.

Care to elaborate?
posted by chinston at 8:02 AM on November 11, 2010


You may want to read all of the Kiwi's comments first.
posted by chinston at 8:03 AM on November 11, 2010


And take it to the thread where it belongs.
posted by unSane at 8:08 AM on November 11, 2010


If you are very busy and wealthy, then I don't think that $1800 is at all unreasonable.
posted by empath at 8:14 AM on November 11, 2010


And why isn't there a link to this MeTa in the Ask post? Isn't that procedure around these parts?

Because this thread is only just barely about that thread.

Just caught this proj, nice to know I'm being stalked by a fellow douche.

The two of you, take the rest of this conversation out of here. Your exchange does not need to continue in MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:45 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is so unfair that girls have more options.

Oh, god, no. If you're straight up and down, you have an easy time for it. Many women have hips and waists and boobs and these are not well designed for tailoring. If I worked in a job that required me to wear smart clothing daily, I would have a choice between wearing off the shelf stuff that would fit the bust and hang off my shoulders and waist and be made from a fabric that I find unpleasant against the skin, or paying to get something tailored or made. Bravissimo do make shirts designed to accommodate larger busts but they run twice as expensive as a regular store shirt. Oh, and I have 33" long inside legs, which many manufacturers do not think to make, so if the jacket fits, the pants will not, and if there's a skirt it would cling or come up short or at least make me feel a bit exposed. Oh yeah, and my feet are size US 11 so I should probably think about where I'm going to buy suit shoes too.

I'm glad I work in an industry where one is not expected to wear a suit to interview and can just look reasonably smart. I have enough trouble in the summer when I want to wear something that keeps me cool without making me look like a) a fat twelve-year old b) a Hooters waitress c) like I have borrowed clothing from a child.

Point is, though - although I have the feeling men have an easier time getting things to fit, this guy might have had it tailored because he is an awkward size. And there are issues like dye lot and fading to consider - believe it or not there is a lot of variation between shades of black, even in new clothing, and in the weight and feel of fabric.
posted by mippy at 9:01 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


As desuetude points out, maybe it's not even that easy for more petite women.
posted by mippy at 9:02 AM on November 11, 2010


My main issue with that question was the fact that he just wanted one answer and only marked as best answer ones that were what he already wanted. There was basically no point in even asking the question if he was already set on asking for full price of the suit. I didn't answer, because I had nothing helpful to contribute, but I did notice this. The "you paid too much for that suit" thing was just derail to a question that was clearly pointless.
posted by elpea at 9:17 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and buying a suit is just as hard for a small woman, I'd say. There is exactly one store I've been to where the suits fit off the rack (and not really, because I have to have the pants tailored), and that is Banana Republic, which is a little expensive considering I only wear a suit maybe 10 times a year (job interviews) and live off student loans.
posted by elpea at 9:20 AM on November 11, 2010


As desuetude points out, maybe it's not even that easy for more petite women.

Complaining about it doesn't get me much sympathy in a crowd, but you would not believe the size and cut of some of the allegedly-size-4 suits I've tried on. I stopped asking for help in nice department stores, because I'm tired of getting condescendingly-delivered suggestions to try the junior's department. Now, I usually pass for a bit younger than my 36 years, but I sure as hell do not have the shape of a 17-year-old, plus the "suits" in the junior's department are generally made of cheap stretchy imitations of "grownup" suit fabric.
posted by desuetude at 9:22 AM on November 11, 2010


My main issue with that question was the fact that he just wanted one answer and only marked as best answer ones that were what he already wanted. There was basically no point in even asking the question if he was already set on asking for full price of the suit.

Man, it's Judgy McJudgeJudge day apparently. I'm assuming that he was happy to learn that it was not only OK but probably his best response to ask for the full amount. I got the impression that that was what he wanted to do but he felt a bit uncomfortable because the company had asked him to be the judge of what was 'fair'.
posted by unSane at 9:26 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well, you see, the stores here that cater/cut for teenagers (Topshop, New Look etc.) don't tend to sell proper business suits. Maybe Oasis who at least are familiar with the concept of wool-blend. At least you can have things taken up, though, I suppose...
posted by mippy at 9:37 AM on November 11, 2010


do you need a hug? I'll give you a hug.

IT BETTER BE A FRONT HUG BECAUSE YOU'D BETTER BE SAVING YOUR SIDEHUGS FOR ME.

I realize I'm running this joke deep into the ground, but I like it and shakes too much not to.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:44 AM on November 11, 2010


Last night, for some strange reason, I found myself at the grand opening of a new Gucci store and you know what? I doubt there was a single suit being worn there that cost less than $1500. Hell, the suits sold in the store averaged $2200. Needless to say, I looked slightly out of place in jeans and a corduroy jacket from Sears.

The cocktails were weak.
posted by Loto at 9:51 AM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


paulsc writes "Second, my suggestion about Google was also a gentle reminder that, if you don't know the difference between good quality and lesser quality, any difference in price between goods of greater and lesser quality may well be lost on you."

Or it may not. A suit is a tool for many people; just because a user can't tell the difference between a dollar store wrench and a snap-on version doesn't mean the snap-on version isn't going to work better. The same should apply to suits.

elpea writes "My main issue with that question was the fact that he just wanted one answer and only marked as best answer ones that were what he already wanted. There was basically no point in even asking the question if he was already set on asking for full price of the suit. I didn't answer, because I had nothing helpful to contribute, but I did notice this. The 'you paid too much for that suit' thing was just derail to a question that was clearly pointless."

The whole problem with Best Answer is it is marked by the person who, by definition, doesn't know the answer to the question. Now if the question is about something with a real answer (IE: what is 4+3) then yay! the best answer is obvious. But if it's about something fuzzier than every person who gives an answer that doesn't agree with the best answer can feel GRAR too a greater or lesser degree that the Best Answer marking is obviously wrong and how can the OP be so boneheaded.
posted by Mitheral at 9:59 AM on November 11, 2010


IT BETTER BE A FRONT HUG BECAUSE YOU'D BETTER BE SAVING YOUR SIDEHUGS FOR ME.

Right now I'm hard at work developing the ultimate in awkward hugs: The backhug.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:00 AM on November 11, 2010


This is somehow related to that conversation of how "I'm middle class even though I make $500,000." I hate these conversations. Everybody wants to think their decisions are normal. People who are against gay marriage want to think their way of thinking is normal and not bigoted. People who have an indoor pool want to think they're normal. People who eat Cheerios 3 times a day want to think they're normal. People who have nothing in the bank want to think they're normal.

Everybody wants to think they're normal.

I wouldn't wear an $1800 suit to a dirty office but I wouldn't spend $1800 on suits and I wouldn't spend $100 on a handbag. But I think that's normal. I'm sure I'll get 30 MeMails about how spending $700 on a good handbag is an investment and I'm a cheapskate who doesn't respect herself and needs a manicure and highlights.
posted by anniecat at 10:07 AM on November 11, 2010 [7 favorites]


Hah. I used to sneer at manicures and highlights! They rule!

(I still sneer at $100 bags though.)
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:15 AM on November 11, 2010


It seems to be because they are both fashionable AND made of real leather. You can get cheaper purses with one characteristic or the other, but I've rarely seen them with both.
posted by maryr at 10:24 AM on November 11, 2010


I wouldn't even touch a $100 handbag.

*holds up the $30 Kohl's bag she bought three years ago*

it's really a $50 bag though because it was on sale!

(I'm ignoring that everything is always on "sale" in Kohls.)
posted by royalsong at 10:28 AM on November 11, 2010


TJ Maxx, man. Best place to buy pretty leather purses.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:30 AM on November 11, 2010


You know, a slight problem with TJ Maxx and Kohl's and other discount chains is that the products that are sold there were often never intended to be sold in normal retail outlets due to unpopular colors, styles, or lowered quality (this isn't true of all their merchandise, by any means, though). The same is true of many outlet stores. But, including the "retail price" tag artificially inflates the value and often gives a good starting point for the impression that you're getting a "deal."
posted by proj at 10:36 AM on November 11, 2010


I just moved into the bag appreciation. It really is something like porn. At least that's what my addiction to looking at cute boots online felt like.

Suits are not only signifiers, they are very forgiving of the unsightly bulges. Almost anyone looks about 70% more in shape in a suit if they stand up straight. I wear a skirt jacket combo almost every day, not so matchy.
posted by readery at 10:36 AM on November 11, 2010

It is so unfair that girls have more options. It is so sad that mainstream society is still so cognitively shallow and narrowminded about appearances and attire.
I agree with you on the point about mainstream society there, but I swear I would trade with you in a second on that first comment.

What you get with men's clothing is that, for any situation, there is only one "correct" choice (or at least, very few to pick from). What you get with women's clothing is that there are a lot more choices, but none of them are "correct". You can (and usually are) be both "too sexy" and "too frumpy", "too masculine" and "too feminine", "too casual" and "overdressed"...

I agree that it sucks to have only one narrow stripe of "right", but it's no picnic having a wider strip of "almost, never actually right" either.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:56 AM on November 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


I have a purse I spent $85 on 15 years ago. That's basically $120 today. You know what? It still looks frickin great, it's my only purse (well, I have another, but it's a diaper bag, and even then, it's not really a diaper bag, it's a County Comm Bailout Bag, but I use it as a diaper bag, and this is officially a run-on parenthetical now), and I expect it to last for easily another 15 years. That's slightly more than $3/year, which hardly seems like an extravagant price for a handbag. I wish I could buy clothes that lasted like that.
posted by KathrynT at 11:01 AM on November 11, 2010 [6 favorites]


That is a bad-ass diaper bag.
posted by Mister_A at 11:08 AM on November 11, 2010


Everybody wants to think they're normal.

But then there's the complicating fact that everybody also wants to be a special snowflake. Humans are complicated.
posted by kingbenny at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


When I was just starting my career as an HR professional, I took a job at a luxury goods department store, in the corporate offices. I watched all of the higher paid executives show up in expensive suits every day, in envy. While I was entitled to a generous discount, I didn't use it much. But when I did, I used it to buy good quality pieces that I hoped would last me for many years. And they did. I also learned about fashion and how to buy (invest, really) clothes that will last through many years of wear and through many years of ever changing fads. This was 20 years ago, and I still have some of the clothes I saved up to buy with my discount.

So for someone to spend over $1k on a suit that they plan to wear a few times over many years, is a smart investment.
posted by sundrop at 11:38 AM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


The backhug.

I would like to volunteer for testing for this. I can touch my arms behind my back with right arm over the shoulder and left hand around the side, but not vice versa. Pics available if needed.
posted by SpiffyRob at 11:45 AM on November 11, 2010


Not everyone on MeFi is a twenty-something web designer who works in t-shirts and jeans.

I'm by no means wealthy. I own exactly one suit, which I bought in England (not at a department store) about 12 years ago for a little over $1000. I get compliments on it all the time, even though it's a simple dark grey suit, because it hangs like well-tailored clothes should. It's had all manner of things spilled on it, but it still looks perfect.
posted by mkultra at 11:46 AM on November 11, 2010


I would like to volunteer for testing for this.

DOORWAY meetup?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:00 PM on November 11, 2010


That is a bad-ass diaper bag.

Full Size Glock Fits In The Hidden Pocket Just Fine!
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:09 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy shit on the Bailout Bag.
posted by unSane at 12:19 PM on November 11, 2010


Not everyone on MeFi is a twenty-something web designer who works in t-shirts and jeans.

No, some of us are twenty-something scientists who work in t-shirts and jeans. Others are twenty-something baristas who work in t-shirts and jeans. Others are twenty-something programmers who work in t-shirts and jeans. Others are twenty-something writers who work in t-shirts and jeans.

Really, a lot of jobs are pretty casual.
posted by maryr at 12:48 PM on November 11, 2010


Full Size Glock Fits In The Hidden Pocket Just Fine!

Currently it contains something FAR MORE DANGEROUS than a full-size glock.

OK, that's a joke. the baby is only four days old, he doesn't produce anything that offensive yet. But yes, it is a bad-ass diaper bag; the end pockets fit water bottles (essential for the nursing mom), the side pockets fit baby bottles or sippy cups, it holds my cell phone and my keys and has a special isolation pocket for a binky. Plus unlike every actual diaper bag I've ever owned, the zipper is warrantied and the fabric won't completely self-destruct in the wash. And it was thirty bucks and doesn't have fucking teddy bears all over it.
posted by KathrynT at 1:01 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Our third child is due to be born at the end of December and I am going to insist on a Bailout Bag for Christmas. So awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 1:01 PM on November 11, 2010


So did he have a huge rip in the booty and had to walk around like that all day? Because if so, that is hilllarrrriiiouuusss with his $1800k suit!
posted by stormpooper at 1:11 PM on November 11, 2010


maryr: "Really, a lot of jobs are pretty casual."

You completely missed the point.
posted by mkultra at 1:11 PM on November 11, 2010


Someday, when my wife isn't looking, I'm going to buy a Curta mechanical caculator off of eBay. This will cost as much as the OP's nice suit (if I'm lucky) and will have even less utility except for the warm feeling you get from possessing PURE MECHANICAL AWESOMENESS!

I don't wear suits regularly and wouldn't spend that much on a suit, but I have my own little obsessions and I'm sure that most of us, if money were no object, would make a few purchases that would cause the rest of us to say "Seriously? You bought that?". So, I'm not judging the guy.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 1:20 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


$1800k suit!

Yeah, like the guy in the 1.8 million dollar suit would post a question about it on AskMetafilter. C'mon!
posted by The World Famous at 1:42 PM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Of course, now I am reminded of one of my students. Who was all depressed because she couldn't figure out how to explain to her aunt what was shocking about spending Rs100,000 (roughly US$1500 at the time) on a handbag, and that this being the discounted price (half off, even) didn't make it any better.

I still feel slightly sick every time I think about that.
posted by bardophile at 1:43 PM on November 11, 2010


Back in the day, my husband bought a violin for the price of a small house. He was showing it off to my mum and told her it was made in 1818. So my mum said...



..."All that money, and you bought it used?"

ba-doom-chik; true story, though
posted by angiep at 2:22 PM on November 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


keep it under cover, I had a very similar experience. It's really hard to find a non-frippery-laden female suit. Until you enter Theory. Oh my god, their suits are so fucking plain and un-bedazzled. After spending two weeks looking for a non-Barbie-wear suit, I was actually grateful that Theory magnanimously permitted me to give them a month's rent for a suit. A plain, sensible, well-made, professional suit.

In conclusion, check out Theory for a total lack of random bullshit.

And, elpea, my smaller lady friends have had a lot of luck shopping petite suits from J Crew.
posted by prefpara at 2:50 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its Never Lurgi writes "This will cost as much as the OP's nice suit (if I'm lucky) and will have even less utility except for the warm feeling you get from possessing PURE MECHANICAL AWESOMENESS!"

I'm tempted to buy a Curta just so I can whip it out as a calculator substitute when some nut complains about the noise from my Model M.
posted by Mitheral at 2:57 PM on November 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think that an $1800 suit is an everyday purchase, but yes, it's "normal". Maybe reading the Financial Times "How to Spend It" magazine or GQ or looking at The Sartorialist will help the poster in a quest to learn more about mens haberdashery.
My husband's a chef, and I don't think he owns a suit that cost less than $1500. And he sure doesn't wear them to work.

Why does it matter? How much other people pay for things isn't my business.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:17 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


[running....panting...am I too late?]

What? People wear suits?
posted by Namlit at 4:20 PM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes.
posted by stoneweaver at 5:29 PM on November 11, 2010


No, some of us are twenty-something scientists who work in t-shirts and jeans. Others are twenty-something baristas who work in t-shirts and jeans. Others are twenty-something programmers who work in t-shirts and jeans. Others are twenty-something writers who work in t-shirts and jeans.


And some of us are old and crotchety. Damn kids, get off of my lawn!
posted by 26.2 at 5:51 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"... A suit is a tool for many people; just because a user can't tell the difference between a dollar store wrench and a snap-on version doesn't mean the snap-on version isn't going to work better. The same should apply to suits. ..."
posted by Mitheral at 12:59 PM on November 11

Sorry, Mitheral, but that attitude, that whole value system (of the interchangeability of tools, parts, machines, precision to support interchangeability, etc.), very much does not apply to top quality men's tailored wear. I'll try to explain a bit about the why of it all, in a short post to this thread, without coming off as elitist, or in explicit support of the culture that supports both such consumption, and such incredible workmanship, and such tradition of craft, none of which are readily understood, in my experience, by the Metafilter community. If I succeed, fine, perhaps some information is passed along to this community, that otherwise might never be, and if I fail, in tone or content, I'll stand such hits as come my way.

I know a lot about the machines that roll lapels in horsehair canvas front men's coats by parallel row blindstitching, that were described in the link I posted above contrasting horsehair canvas front construction vs. less expensive fusible interlining constructions, because I used to sell and service them. They are indeed sold only in pairs, with serial numbers like 570A and 570B, to designate the "handedness" ("A" being the machine in the pair that does left lapels and B being the machine in the pair that does the right lapel). They used to cost $80,000 a pair, as the link article mentioned, but today, are well north of $120,000 a pair, depending on exchange rates, and are delivered, generally, 6 months or so after purchase. They are hand built, still, by a small family owned company in Munich, called, after the family, Strobel Speizalmachinen. The Strobel folk, and their employees, are very nice people, still supplying a range of highly specialized machines, parts, and needles based entirely on blind stitching, or, as some call it, invisible stitching, out of a small multi-story complex of buildings not far from the Munich Hauptbahnhof, as they have for many, many years. While they aim to use, whenever possible, the latest manufacturing and metallurgical methods, and contract some production operations such as gross casting and heat treatment, more than 90% of their product content is still produced, in small lots, often entirely by hand made piece after piece (against optical comparator quality standard models), due to small product volume, and incredibly high mechanical tolerance requirements.

When a Strobel machine has done its job properly, you can not find how the garment seam is made, by visual inspection - there is no trace of stitching, above the near-microscopic level, because all the thread in an individual stitch is generally hidden inside the fabric plys being stitched. Altogether, in the whole world, there are well less than 900 pairs of KA-ED system Strobel machines, outputting, at most, about 30,000 garments a day. Another 40,000 or so garments of equivalent quality are made by hand, by about 1000 highly skilled artisans, using simpler hand operated blindstitch machines (usually also made by Strobel), and a tremendous amount of hand skill that takes many years to train. That's it, in terms of total production capability, for this particular operation, in all the world, for top quality horsehair canvas front garments. 70,000 or so garments per day of this construction quality (on this 1 operation), times 265 average working days a year = about 19,000,000 such garments a year, in a world of about 7,000,000,000 people, of whom about 3,500,000,000 might be potential clients. At best, something like 1 out of 184 men on earth could get a garment of the quality that includes this particular construction method, per year.

And frankly, the world birth rate is vastly outstripping the rate of growth of artisan skill in tailoring. Top quality men's tailoring is, and has been for decades, a "pinnacle" craft, available only to the cap echelon of the human pyramid, rationed not only by price, but by availability of the top tailors and the their resources, by a closed referral system. Fine tailored men's clothing is a specialty interest, and an expensive one, by nature, but it is not a fraudulent system of production, at all. It is simply a give and take super-culture, populated on the one side by artisans capable of immense craft, and on the other, those willing to support those artisans, through enjoyment of their products. At the top, men's tailoring may never be "mass market" commodity, if only for the continuing ability of the top echelon of humanity to demand more.

This, despite the willingness of some well known men's manufacturers to laud visible hand work, such as handmade buttonholes. You can't slap hand made buttonholes on a mass market garment, tell your sales force about the buttonholes, and fool anyone but the rubes. Even a long time mass maker of men's suits with a top reputation needs to keep a number of hand operations in place to deal with the variations of fabrics, fit, construction and customer expectation, if visible handwork is not to appear just paint on a unwearable zebra beneath.

Returning now to the discussion of apparent scarcity in the world of top tailoring resource that I began earlier, the top level of clients for finely tailored men's garments would never be satisfied with only a single new suit per year, anymore than the most glamorous women in the world could possibly be satisfied with a single new dress per year. Cut it back to real practicalities of dress and purpose, and you probably get the average top tier tailored men's client commissioning 5 business suits a year, 1 top coat every other year, a tuxedo every other year, a dinner jacket every year, and a formal morning coat or tail suit once every 5 years. Realistically, perhaps 5,000,000 out of the world's 3,500,000,000 men are served every year, by Savile Row, and all its lesser brethren about the world, working in such methods and constructions. For Savile Row, itself, the number of clients must be well under 1,000,000, since some of their time goes into creating, (gasp!) even tailored pajamas, robes, and swim wear for some valued clients.

That means a top tailor is generally catering to the top 0.1% of the populace of the planet. At that level of rarity, price/cost pretty much falls away as a consideration. It's a super-culture where tailors are valued for the workmanship, detail and service they can provide, and clients are valued for their ability to appreciate what is being provided, as much as for their ability to pay.

As an example, I highly recommend that every man, once in his life, get measured for clothing, by a skilled tailor, if only to learn how to stand for measurement. Standing for measurement is something of learned skill, as any good tailor can tell you, and no man does it well the first time. On the other hand, men who wear top quality tailored clothing not only do it well, they inform their tailor by posture, pose, and comment during measure, of their unique requirements for fit. As an example, will you stand for measure shod, or in stockings? Makes a big difference if your legs are not perfectly symmetrical, or you wear lifts, and you want your pants to "break" perfectly. Makes a difference if you slouch habitually, as Churchill did, or puff out your chest for pictures, as Harry Truman always did. Top tailors need not only consider your measure, but your posture, and your attitudes, in fitting you.

And the best need never ask if you "dress right or left," as they will have noted the relevant anatomical facts, from the backs of their hands, gently and without comment, whilst taking accurate inseam measures, for both left and right legs... A good man can hide small sins from his cleric (and perhaps even God), can hide his drinking from his wife, his gambling from his accountant, his arthritis from his doctor, but never even thinks he can mislead his tailor.
posted by paulsc at 6:12 PM on November 11, 2010 [42 favorites]


So, that's entirely irrelevant unless the OP's $1800 suit was made with a Strobel machine is what you're trying to say, right?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:05 PM on November 11, 2010


If he hadn't mentioned the cost of the suit, no one would have thought it was the least bit ridiculous for him to ask for the full cost of the suit, and no one would have given him any attitude. What an embarrassing display of petty class envy by Metafilter.
posted by Dasein at 7:08 PM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


"So, that's entirely irrelevant unless the OP's $1800 suit was made with a Strobel machine is what you're trying to say, right?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:05 PM on November 11

Nah. I was just trying to say that whatever someone paid for a suit is a lot less important than whether he/she could stand to measure, and knew the difference in offer, and if able to appreciate the difference, could in posture and attitude, command still better, and still, yet, find willing service, in a minority culture interested in Quality (even, yes, with a capital Q.).
posted by paulsc at 7:14 PM on November 11, 2010


now i want a new suit
lawyer joke #2 number two

posted by clavdivs at 7:33 PM on November 11, 2010


paulsc - only joking around. That's fascinating, what you've told us - thanks!

(although I think you misread mitheral's original comment. I thought the original point was that there *is* a difference in quality, even if the owner is somehow too ignorant to realise it, like how a proper tradesman's tool is better than a wal-mart lookalike, even if the user can't tell the difference)
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:38 PM on November 11, 2010


"... I thought the original point was that there *is* a difference in quality, even if the owner is somehow too ignorant to realise it, like how a proper tradesman's tool is better than a wal-mart lookalike, even if the user can't tell the difference ..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:38 PM on November 11

I can only hope that, somehow, I've described some real difference in the man who stood for measure, wearing the pants that resulted, and an equally "good" man standing in WalMartwear. In the first case, what should have resulted at the limit was homage and comment on the man himself, but would be meaningless without the man, standing in his resulting pants. The WalMartwear, on the other hand, at its best, entirely hides the man, against lawsuits for indecency, and prying eyes.

And so, I hope, very much, that no person, comparing the two, could possibly be that indifferent to the purpose(s) of cloth and craft.
posted by paulsc at 7:57 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it the same result if I feel a bit like kicking in the yarbles the overprivileged assholes who have the secret handshakes, peerages or bar association connections to get entry into this hyper-exclusive world?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:08 PM on November 11, 2010


Oh, bullshit, Ubu. Almost anyone can get into that club if they want to badly enough and pursue it to the exclusion of everything else. The fact is you didn't want to badly enough, which makes you a decent human being. Why be envious of people who belong to a club you don't actually want to join? Let them have their hand-tailored pyjamas. Really.
posted by unSane at 8:12 PM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure they can afford a pair of those yarble-kick-proof pants anyway.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:18 PM on November 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fair enough. On the bright side I was reminded of this exchange:

Danny: Has he just been busted?

I: No.

Danny: Then why's he wearing that old suit?

Withnail: Old suit? This suit was cut by Hawke's of Saville row. Just because the best tailoring you've ever seen is above you fucking appendix doesn't mean anything.

Danny: Don't get uptight with me man. Because if you do I'll have to give you a dose of medicine and if I spike you you'll know you've been spoken to.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:20 PM on November 11, 2010


That's very interesting paulsc (man I just love learning about specialized equipment and How it's Made is one of my favourite shows) but like UbuRoivas says I not sure it addresses my statement.

You said (and I quote a bit more this time): "if you don't know the difference between good quality and lesser quality, any difference in price between goods of greater and lesser quality may well be lost on you. In other words, if you don't understand what a full floating, blindstitched horsehair chest piece does in a men's suit coat, save yourself $1500+ per garment, and be happy with 2 suits featuring the more common fused synthetic construction common in 90% of men's suits today, unless you have the budget to buy on name and recommendation only."

Which if what the wearer knows about suits was all that matters would be perfectly reasonable advice. But just like, to anthropomorphize a bit, a bolt head is going to know the difference between a stamped, recycled tin can, $0.99 wrench and CroMoly forged $40 wrench the people the suit's owner interacts with may be able to tell the difference. And because a suit's basic purpose1 is to impress other people if I buy a suit for that purpose it will do it's job better if it is more impressive even if I don't know it is more impressive or I don't know why it is more impressive. And that'll apply even if I luck out and buy it from goodwill for $5.

[1] Yes I know a suit has other benefits like protection from the elements and making the wearer feel more professional and thereby projecting that professionalism. Change that "a suit's basic purpose" to "one of a suit's significant purposes" if you want to split hairs.
posted by Mitheral at 8:38 PM on November 11, 2010


"Oh, god, no. If you're straight up and down, you have an easy time for it. Many women have hips and waists and boobs and these are not well designed for tailoring. If I worked in a job that required me to wear smart clothing daily, I would have a choice between wearing off the shelf stuff that would fit the bust and hang off my shoulders and waist and be made from a fabric that I find unpleasant against the skin, or paying to get something tailored or made."
posted by mippy at 12:01 PM on November 11

I'm going to take mippy's comment as a jumping off point for a short response (possibly a rant), regarding the benefits/problems of tailoring, when it comes to the female figure, from one man's perspective, and it is very simple, although very old:

You don't tailor a woman, you drape her.

No amount of expensive construction, or fabric, or layers of undergarment, much hide a woman's body, or gait, from the practiced eye. A man stands to measure, but a woman walks and turns into fit.

Perhaps it is a tautology, but a woman moves in her movement. Any dressing artifice that hides her movement, or changes it, or calls unwarranted attention to her movement, doesn't serve her. Boobs may start late in her step, but do hers "finish" late? Hips often start first, but God knows when they might finish. Knees? Elbows? Hands? Feet?

Good luck, and bring your video camera, designers and tailors.

In times past, women understood that clothing designers had to find their bones, as a starting point. As late as the 1930's, a lot of women would stand, in fittings, for a fair amount of poking about their hip, chest, shoulders, elbows, and knees. Your average flapper of the 1920's might have been willing to try on 10 slinky dresses, to achieve that "swing that don't mean a thing." Not now. Brides want final dresses in 2 salon visits and 1 or 2 alteration fittings. No poking. No fingers. No walking.

Ridiculous.

No one in the modern world, except at a few couture houses that still drape individual models for particular dresses, drapes real women, any more. No wonder so many women's clothes are crap.

When was the last time you, as a real woman, tried on 10 different dresses, of differing weight and drape, to see what swung with your swing? When was the last time you admitted a knowing finger to your hip joint, your bust and the back of your knee, before you expected a dress recommendation, much less a foundation garment fitting?

Until women get back to demanding drape, and understanding their own physiques, and sharing that information seamlessly with skilled fitters, as cloth lays over them, we're all doomed to Lady Gaga...
posted by paulsc at 8:39 PM on November 11, 2010 [13 favorites]


It is so unfair that girls have more options.

So I was talking to a friend of mine, a professor, who was cleaning out her closet. She came upon (what she said was) a really nice suit she had rarely worn, and spoke reluctantly of how she was going to have to donate it. "But why?" I asked, "since you say it's a really nice suit." I was informed that it was 15 years out of date, and she just could never wear it again; it was much too dated.

What, really? My husband is still wearing a suit he got 15 years ago. Why should a women's suit be different? So she explained to me what stylistic elements had made it a very nice suit when she bought it, but made it out of date now. (Kinda went over my head. I'm not to big on that sort of thing. I was convinced, though, that at least she wasn't just tossing it for no reason.)

Huh.

I'm so glad that MY work uniform was boots, jeans and a henley or polo embroidered with my business logo. Sometimes breeches, if it was really, really hot. Having to navigate not just fashion, but what's fashionable NOW as compared to when I might have bought (whatever) would probably drive me insane.
posted by galadriel at 8:48 PM on November 11, 2010


" ... But just like, to anthropomorphize a bit, a bolt head is going to know the difference between a stamped, recycled tin can, $0.99 wrench and CroMoly forged $40 wrench the people the suit's owner interacts with may be able to tell the difference. ..."
posted by Mitheral at 11:38 PM on November 11

Mitheral, I understand the larger point that I think you are trying to make, but let me just also say that I understand that a Grade 1 bolt head will understand the difference between the $0.99 wrench, and the CroMoly socket, about 1 foot pound after the bolt head shears. And the Grade 8 bolt head will take the torque of both, and settle down on its job, and never complain.

But neither bolt will have ever looked better, or worse, in human terms, for having stood to measure, or failed in the attempt. Men do, my friend. Else, Savile Row would starve.
posted by paulsc at 8:51 PM on November 11, 2010


Excuse what is probably my horribley imprecise language (I know squat about suits): Are you saying that a person needs to know how to wear an expensive suit in order for that suit to look good or at least better than a cheaper suit worn by the same person?
posted by Mitheral at 9:04 PM on November 11, 2010


"Excuse what is probably my horribley imprecise language (I know squat about suits): Are you saying that a person needs to know how to wear an expensive suit in order for that suit to look good or at least better than a cheaper suit worn by the same person?
posted by Mitheral at 12:04 AM on November 12

I am saying a lot more than that, Mitheral. I'm saying that man wanting a bespoke suit has to be willing to stand to measure, to reveal himself, to suggest his greater self, to admit his minimum self, in order to order such a suit, rightly. I'm saying that 3/32" in the contour of inseam can be anticipated, and provided for, by a skilled artisan. I am saying that if a man can't stand for measure (out of character, or education, or shame), he damned sure can't buy the right off-the-rack suit, simply because he won't try on the 100+ model suits in his size, from various manufacturers, in the 30+ men's stores he'd have to visit to do so (given the various marketing agreements that exist in American men's wear), even if his measure is that of the model.

I'm saying the guy who is looking for $199 suit is screwed unless he's genuinely an uncaring Grade 1 bolt, in which case, I wish him, and his, genuinely, mazel tov. I understand there are lots of people who couldn't care less what they look like at the best moments, or any moments of their life. I'm not here to shame them, or suggest they look better.

But if they don't, I'll know. And I don't think you should expect me, or the rest of the tailored clothing world to ignore that, or to agree that something obvious, isn't.
posted by paulsc at 9:22 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


To people who love expensive suits - yes. It is immediately obvious, and there's something somewhat jarring about it. It highlights a certain lack of subtlety in a person, which is something clothing should never do. Whereas a slightly less expensive suit - well, you don't expect quite the same thing from the wearer. That's not a judgment one way or the other on the person in the suit, but a reflection on the expectations an observer brings to a situation.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:22 PM on November 11, 2010


Dasein, I really don't think it's all petty class envy.

I think you've got:
- the people who think it's greedy to ask for the full price,
- the people who think he made a poor purchase decision (fans of bespoke or two pairs of pants),
- the people who think he could get those pants rewoven / replaced,
- the people who have class envy.

There's probably a few more categories, but I wouldn't attribute all of it to class envy.
posted by 26.2 at 9:35 PM on November 11, 2010


"Is it the same result if I feel a bit like kicking in the yarbles the overprivileged assholes who have the secret handshakes, peerages or bar association connections to get entry into this hyper-exclusive world?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:08 PM on November 11

I'm responding to this comment simply to ask, why would you want to 'kick in the yarbles' of any 'overprivileged assholes who have the secret handshakes, peerages or bar association connections to get entry into this hyper-exclusive world?'

The people you'd kick are going to have to measure you. They're going to have to advise you regarding suitings. They're you're only real resource for make details, when ordering your suit(s). They'll have connections with people who will have deeply checked your credit. You'll be competing with the world's most prominent men for cutting time and goods, on their recommendation, or lack thereof. Etc., etc.

What could you possibly gain, in terms of couture, culture, or social standing by "kicking in the yarbles" of such dedicated people?
posted by paulsc at 9:44 PM on November 11, 2010


I also don't see why $1800 would amount to class envy, considering metafilter's skew towards (what seems to me to be) a professional, middle class demographic probably averaging 30yo+. For that demographic, $1800 is probably no more than 1-2 weeks' income after tax, so it's hardly an outlandish purchase.

The rarified world that paulsc is talking about sounds more like it's about "class" (as opposed to just having a bit of cash to throw around) but increasingly it's just reminding me of audiophile or gastronomic or wine appreciation snobbery - or refinement, depending on how you prefer to look at it; the kind of realm where the cogniscenti truly care about the final 20% in quality that costs you the additional 80% in price or effort (seeking, finding, or learning to appreciate) & which prevents you from ever returning to the regular products on the other side of the Pareto divide.

On preview: no, I've got nothing against the tailors. In fact, I don't have anything against their clients either, but that's who I was talking about. It's the similar kind of resentment one might feel towards somebody who can just buy a supercar off the shelf without thinking twice about it, but like unSane pointed out, that lifestyle actually is available to most people who care enough in the first place to seek it out, so why be envious of people who made different choices & have different values to you?

*shudders at memories of enrolling in Finance-Law*
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on November 11, 2010


"... It's the similar kind of resentment one might feel towards somebody who can just buy a supercar off the shelf without thinking twice about it, but like unSane pointed out, that lifestyle actually is available to most people who care enough in the first place to seek it out, so why be envious of people who made different choices & have different values to you? ..."
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:52 AM on November 12

I won't say "that's the beauty of fine men's tailoring" UbuRoivas, but you know, a man worthy of such a suit, has to be willing to stand to measure. As even Spanish bullfighters will tell you, the worst fright of their careers is to be measured for a "suit of lights."

13 year old boys, regardless of religion, rarely appear, themselves, unbidden, on Savile Row, unless holding their father's hands. You can't just buy the world's best tailoring.

You need a good physique. You need some appreciation for the craft. You need to deserve to be clothed, such.
posted by paulsc at 10:03 PM on November 11, 2010


paulsc writes "he damned sure can't buy the right off-the-rack suit, simply because he won't try on the 100+ model suits in his size, from various manufacturers, in the 30+ men's stores he'd have to visit to do so (given the various marketing agreements that exist in American men's wear), even if his measure is that of the model."

How the heck do you all get anything done if you have to spend a couple hundred hours trying stuff on every time you need to buy a new suit?
posted by Mitheral at 10:07 PM on November 11, 2010


"... How the heck do you all get anything done if you have to spend a couple hundred hours trying stuff on every time you need to buy a new suit? ..."
posted by Mitheral at 1:07 AM on November 12

Geez, Mitheral, I thought I was being entirely transparent.

I see my tailor. I stand to measure. He chuckles, I don't. I never lie, if he asks any questions, but mostly, he doesn't, any more. A week later, I have my new suit, or tux, and count myself well served.
posted by paulsc at 10:11 PM on November 11, 2010


How the heck do you all get anything done if you have to spend a couple hundred hours trying stuff on every time you need to buy a new suit?

Even if you can't buy a suit made for you, you can still have the suit you buy off the rack tailored to fit. It requires a bit of understanding of what makes a rack suit suitable for tailoring, but it's far from impossible.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:13 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Perhaps I'm missing something here - you speak of this "willingness to stand to measure" as if it's some kind of frightening ordeal. Is there anything more to it than standing for a while (15 minutes? half an hour?) maybe in a pose or two, while the tailor measures you? Because I've certainly done that (eg for theatrical costumes, or pieces made up in India & Thailand) and I'm not sure what the big deal is. Do they do it naked on Savile Row or something? In front of a live studio audience?

You need a good physique.

Somehow I doubt that's even remotely the case for many of the clients; probably the majority. Unless high-end tailoring has its own definition of a good physique, that's less Linford Christie, more Rumpole of the Bailey.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:14 PM on November 11, 2010


"Perhaps I'm missing something here - you speak of this "willingness to stand to measure" as if it's some kind of frightening ordeal. Is there anything more to it than standing for a while (15 minutes? half an hour?) maybe in a pose or two, while the tailor measures you?... "
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:14 AM on November 12

Well, yes. A theatrical "tailor" is mostly interested in keeping you from bursting out of your costume in the middle of Act III, or inadvertently mooning the audience.

In Savile Row, they think of your comfort, and how you will sit, and how you will stand, and how you will turn, and if you will ever need to kneel, or pray, for the good of nations, if not yourself, in public.

Am I being far too shaded, here?

You need a good physique.

Somehow I doubt that's even remotely the case for many of the clients; probably the majority. Unless high-end tailoring has its own definition of a good physique, that's less Linford Christie, more Rumpole of the Bailey.


I guess, then it would shock you if I suggested that Prince William goes through a few more seasonal fittings now, than his dapper father.

Never mind then. I couldn't bring myself to suggest such, and I was ever wrong to even think it.
posted by paulsc at 10:25 PM on November 11, 2010


"Even if you can't buy a suit made for you, you can still have the suit you buy off the rack tailored altered, maybe to fit.
posted by stoneweaver at 1:13 AM on November 12

FTFY, like a rack suit with sleeves too long.
posted by paulsc at 10:29 PM on November 11, 2010


Uh, so Charlie's too embarassed to see his tailor much now, because of a paunch or something? Or is this all a set of elaborate seaside postcard euphemisms? I've gotta say, if you're trolling, your riddles are very entertaining. Please keep it up; but I need to toodle-oo off now...
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:41 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


"... Uh, so Charlie's too embarassed to see his tailor much now, because of a paunch or something? ..."

Or, because of a deficit of millions of pounds/dollars/euros in his current account, be Charlie a bank officer, or government man, or corporate fellow. "Standing to measure" involves, first, simply standing.

If the guilt of the world is weighing you down, a good tailor will certainly see that you are not standing, and reckon it, not only in your future ability to pay, but in the damage that staying with your custom might mean to his future bookings with reputable society. However, ideally, if he measured you correctly at first meeting, you'd never put him that far in considerations...

I hope you understand.
posted by paulsc at 10:52 PM on November 11, 2010


Well of course it's only "maybe to fit." There are tailors who can do a fair to decent job altering a suit. Will it be the same quality and fit as a made to measure or bespoke suit? Of course not. But it's eminently possible for most men to meet their needs by buying the right suit off the rack and taking it to the right tailor to have it altered. That seems to be the question that was being asked above, which I supplied an answer to. The vast majority of people will never even see a suit of the quality you're discussing in real life and wouldn't know the difference if they did. Having a serviceable suit altered will improve it greatly, if done by a skilled person.
posted by stoneweaver at 10:58 PM on November 11, 2010


"... There are tailors who can do a fair to decent job altering a suit. Will it be the same quality and fit as a made to measure or bespoke suit? Of course not. ..."
posted by stoneweaver at 1:58 AM on November 12

I couldn't agree more. Whenever it is good enough for you to marry your bride, or bury your father, in a manufactured standard suit that is merely decently altered, I think you should, without remorse, and enjoy the money saved. And I hope, without reserve, that when you do, you don't know the difference, particularly if you can afford the difference, and couldn't care less.

The best tailors will not miss your hypothetical, and always grudging custom.
posted by paulsc at 11:14 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Looks like it's time to fall back and punt.

Lets say I come into an inheritance that will cover the cost of acquiring one good suit. Knowing jack squat about suits I mefimail the only guy I know who does know something about suits and say "paulsc I wish to hire you to be my personal shopper in the my quest to acquire a good suit and all the costs will be paid by my looney dead uncle." "Just tell me where to go, who to see, how much to pay and my uncle's estate will make it happen like Riker on the bridge."

1) Is it possible for you or someone with your knowledge to lead me on this quest? Is it still possible if I endevour to remain as ignorant about suits as I am now.

2) Is what ever I end up with going to look no better than something altered off the rack from the local mens wear store even if my uncle spends two or three orders of magnitude more money on the suit when I wear it? Will someone with your knowledge be able to tell just by looking that I know nothing about the suit I'm wearing when I wear it?
posted by Mitheral at 11:23 PM on November 11, 2010


"Looks like it's time to fall back and punt."

"1) Is it possible for you or someone with your knowledge to lead me on this quest? Is it still possible if I endevour to remain as ignorant about suits as I am now.

Unfair question pair Mitheral, as I think you already know. If I were to agree to help you, I'd only be able to do so by being perfectly honest with you, if not completely forthcoming, as every good tailor is. You'd learn a lot, in my company, and I would learn a lot in your company. I hope it would be, always, a pleasant exchange. For the best tailors, and clients, such exchanges are always informative, and usually, pleasant.

After a while, if you could, you'd stand to measure for a man (probably not me) who could later cut cloth to your particular need. If you decided you couldn't (or didn't want to) stand to measure, I could introduce you to others, who could help you better, with clothes that never require such personal inspection.

In the end, I suspect you'd get the best suit you could stand to have, and your resulting relative appearance to the rest of the world would depend, mostly, on their own sophistication, and your own ability to stand their gaze, and a mirror's reflection, in your new suit.

"2) Is what ever I end up with going to look no better than something altered off the rack from the local mens wear store even if my uncle spends two or three orders of magnitude more money on the suit when I wear it? Will someone with your knowledge be able to tell just by looking that I know nothing about the suit I'm wearing when I wear it?"

To be fair, if you're lucky enough to be a model size and proportion, and find a suit of superior make and features on the rack in your exact size, you might look very GQ, at a fraction of bespoke cost. But are you sure about your sleeve length, compared to model size? Is your seat that of the model? How about your fly rise? Precision in bespoke clothing is usually measured in sixteenths of an inch, if not less. Off the rack? Getting to a half inch accuracy on main measures is usually considered "good enough."

Big difference, of course, in final fit.

Could I tell the difference?

Wanna try me, for real money?
posted by paulsc at 11:45 PM on November 11, 2010


paulsc writes "Wanna try me, for real money?"

Nope; I can't even figure out which side of this bet, either can tell or can't tell, you'd take.
posted by Mitheral at 12:14 AM on November 12, 2010


If you're seriously desperate to be suckered into this bespoke caper, you really ought to go for footwear. Properly fitting shoes will add about a decade to the useable life of your cruciate ligaments, and women notice quality shoes even if you're dressed in a burlap sack and haven't brushed your teeth since new year's. Plus, you won't have to throw away your fancy pants when they become suddenly unwearable when you put on 1/16th of an inch - for example, from a cauliflower & chickpea curry & two too many beers. Just make sure you know the difference between a 187 hole & a 134 hole brogue, or else the waiters at the country club might look at you askance.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:52 AM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never notice quality shoes. I DO wish I had the money to get shoes custom made for me, though, it would be far less frustrating. Clothes can be taken in or altered easily enough in many cases but shoes cannot.
posted by mippy at 5:09 AM on November 12, 2010


bespoke caper

Having had precisely one bespoke suit made, for my wedding, I can tell you it's no caper. I looked way better in that suit than anything off the rack. If I had the money, every suit and shirt I wore would be bespoke, and I would feel great just walking around. A great suit is like a great pair of shoes - you appreciate it with every step.
posted by Dasein at 6:40 AM on November 12, 2010


can we talk about the aforementioned cauliflower & chickpea curry now, because that sounds good. UbuRovias, didn't you (well your partner) just have a baby. WTF are you doing on MetaTalk discussing bespoke suits. Has the lack of sleep gotten to you already? Remember Jasper is too young to favorite you.
posted by kaybdc at 6:44 AM on November 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I allow myself one comment as a reward, every time I change a nappy.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:44 AM on November 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Everytime UbuRoivas makes a comment, a baby has a fresh diaper... (sorry couldn't resist given that it is just about time that time of year for the It's a Wonderful Life marathons to begin).
posted by kaybdc at 1:01 PM on November 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Whelk,

That is an interesting anecdote, but I guess doesn't answer my basic question. Look, I am a t-shirt, jeans, and Converse guy. But I took a step outside my comfort zone recently, prompted by the social pressure of a wedding, and saw a whole other universe. One where instead of being invisible, I was the center of attention without even trying. Wearing a suit makes a *huge* difference, at least in the social context I am used to.

I want to know what's going on there. Why would women (and men, for that matter, to be frank) who would normally not give me the time of day want my attention so badly all of a sudden? Do I actually look objectively better and that's the driving factor? Or perhaps there a promise of wealth/power? Or is it just outside the norm in a way that gets bored drunks interested? Maybe they were secretly contemptuous rather than smitten. I'll buy any those as explanations. But there's something happening there. Suits.. do something. I don't understand what it is but it feels pretty great to be clad in this uniform. I will spend more on my next set of digs to be sure, because it felt good. I just need an excuse. Time to start pressuring my friends to get married.
posted by cj_ at 12:20 AM on November 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I find paulsc's comments comedy gold.

And I still have no idea what "stand to measure" means, but apparently only the most elite of the elite can stand to do it or something. It sounds very difficult and grueling.
posted by marble at 2:15 AM on November 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


A good suit streamlines and emphasis a man's masculine attributes without binding or constricting them, tapering waists, hiding guts, broadening shoulders... suits make men look more manly, and all that that implies. If you're in a social context where people just don't wear suits very often, you could very well be sending a stronger Look! I am stylish and successful enough! message then you intended.

Also, if this happened at a wedding? Unattached people can get kinda blunt at weddings.
posted by The Whelk at 8:14 AM on November 13, 2010


When was the last time you, as a real woman, tried on 10 different dresses, of differing weight and drape, to see what swung with your swing?

Uh, last Wednesday evening at [discount store known for designer merchandise].

Until women get back to demanding drape, and understanding their own physiques, and sharing that information seamlessly with skilled fitters, as cloth lays over them, we're all doomed to Lady Gaga...

There's no real interest in providing fittings for middle-class working women, even if I "demand" it. I'd have to accommodate the practitioner's schedule.

I know, I should commit to the drape for the good of womankind! Oh goodness, why would I not eschew my personal and professional commitment to my actual profession for hours during the middle of the workday in order to try on clothing!

P.S. I'm pretty sure Lady Gaga's interest in couture and costume has her demanding drape.
posted by desuetude at 9:27 AM on November 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I am eagerly awaiting a giant, link-laden haberdashery FPP.
posted by benzenedream at 1:00 PM on November 14, 2010

When was the last time you, as a real woman, tried on 10 different dresses, of differing weight and drape, to see what swung with your swing?
I'm trying to remember the last time I, as a real woman, was in a store that offered 10 different dresses, of differing weight and drape, that I could try on in the first place.
posted by Karmakaze at 8:54 AM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


A laptop lasts 2 or 3 years for most people.

Wait, seriously? What the hell are people doing to their laptops? The Macbook I've dropped repeatedly, spilled food on, and carried everywhere with me is working just fine after six years.
posted by kittyprecious at 9:10 AM on November 15, 2010


Wait, seriously? What the hell are people doing to their laptops?

Buying Dell.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


"... I know, I should commit to the drape for the good of womankind! Oh goodness, why would I not eschew my personal and professional commitment to my actual profession for hours during the middle of the workday in order to try on clothing!

P.S. I'm pretty sure Lady Gaga's interest in couture and costume has her demanding drape."

posted by desuetude at 9:27 AM on November 13

desuetude, I no more wish to suggest that your clothing purchase process should be, or need be, more arduous than any comparable men's purchase process, than I wish to suggest that there is only a single worthwhile process for making clothing. In fact, a man buying Savile Row does invest many hours initially, in measure, fittings, choice of suitings, development of his wardrobe, etc. As his inventory of good clothing grows, his taste develops, and his relationship with his tailor grows, his personal development and growth always still guides the process of creating his new clothing, but it can be a much more effective, and even streamlined process. And yet that man would be foolish to ignore rack sized Levis for his clothing when visiting rock concerts, or prospective gold mines, where Levi Strauss denim pants, or at least, denim pants of similar construction, are de rigueur.

As an example, I've been working with the same tailor in Bremen, GA, USA, for more than 27 years now. In the beginning, he insisted on fittings for each new suit I ordered. As we've worked together, and he has come to know me, and I him, fittings are far less important, to the point now, that unless I were asking for entirely new style, or garments (like a tailored shooting suit of Harris tweed), an actual intermim fitting for me, for a suit, or pair of slacks, would be something of an embarrassment, to one or the other of us. Either I would have gained or lost a lot of weight, or my tailor would have lost my patterns, would be the only kind of event that would call us, mutually, into new fittings, after our usual order re-measure.

I am now the man I am; likewise, he is the tailor I've chosen. And yet, he's never made me a pair of jeans, or a sweat suit, nor would he expect to do so, or would I expect to approach him for same.

I suspect a similar, if somewhat looser, relationship eventually develops between the people providing bespoke women's clothing and their clients, outside the couture world. The process has not changed, that much, in the last 200 years, except that the world of women's clothing has collapsed, much, much faster than the world of men's clothing, in terms of custom alternatives, since the Second World War.

What has changed, and only in the last 70 years, (since shortly before America's entrance into the Second World War) is the idea that most women should effectively wear tailored clothing, meaning, generally, a similucrum of the two piece men's suit with military embellishments, that was the basis of men's wear through much of the next 20 years. Those initial women's mass produced "tailored" garments were dramatically different than their predecessor garments, of even a few years before, and they were meant to be. Women, dressed liked men, in garments constructed much like men's garments were constructed, were needed to act like men, for much of the rest of the 20th century.

In the '40's, women wearing skirted "suits" on both sides of the ocean, helped to schedule ocean convoys, sent orders commanding the commitment of whole Armies, and the deaths of tens of thousands of troops, as often as they ordered pens and parachutes, in back water supply jobs. And some women, in forward jobs like the WASPS, not only wore tailored jackets, but tailored pants, to ferry new Air Corps planes to waiting airmen.

It wasn't a subtly made point, and it hasn't been, since. Since 1940, for women, tailored clothing = rank = power.

Time, long since, in my mind, to change, again, all that.

After all, in the greatest of Greek temples, Athena's clothing, such as we still know it, knows no dart, or busted seam. Until Elizabethan times, in the West, shell and lining drape about women, in all of history, and again after Elizabeth's death, except as women are pulled into men's pursuits; and yet, today, (mostly, I think, based on WWII style and role power defiinitions) we still constrain women in men's models of fit and tailoring, to a lately unacknowledged, yet still unflattering, degree.

Men's bodies are not women's, nor vice versa. A culture that insists on dressing both alike, in order to recognize roles, is not only dysfunctional, but uncomfortable, and even, at a very basic level, dishonest for most.
posted by paulsc at 6:53 PM on November 18, 2010


[blink]

What a shame that social mores now permit women to earn an independent living. And in the same jobs as men! It's really fucking up the tradition of properly gendered garments.

Ah, the olden days, when men did the work, AND went to the extra trouble of writing the definition of femininity for the women.
posted by desuetude at 8:34 PM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like to imagine listening to paulsc's comments being read in Sir John Gielgud's voice. Through the horn of a wind-up gramophone. While smoking a good cigar and nursing a Lagavulin. Wearing plus-fours. In a shooting brake.
posted by unSane at 5:36 AM on November 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


To be fair to paulsc, I think he's saying that women were expected to wear "male" clothing in order to be seen as capable of handling jobs that had until then been considered "men's jobs," rather than lamenting the entry of women into the work-force. A kind of subterfuge, if you will, to pretend that they were "man enough" for the job.

To demand that a women should not be considered less capable of doing a job because she wears a flowing dress that fits her body better than a power suit is hardly calling for women to get back into the home.

For what it's worth, women in Pakistan continue to see tailors regularly, whether they are homemakers or office workers. I've always found it fascinating that female office workers in the US wear significantly less "feminine" clothes than female office workers in Pakistan (generalization alert!), without it seeming to get in the way of how they are viewed professionally.
posted by bardophile at 6:59 AM on November 19, 2010


When women in Pakistan visit the tailors, presumably they're measured by women? Is the actual sewing then done by men? Or do women do that as well?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:28 AM on November 19, 2010


UbuRoivas, I actually don't know of any women who have tailoring shops, although I do know of some women tailors. Most tailors are men, and do the measuring themselves. So no, most women are measured by men.
posted by bardophile at 9:15 AM on November 19, 2010


UbuRoivas: When women in Pakistan visit the tailors, presumably they're measured by women? Is the actual sewing then done by men? Or do women do that as well

What I saw in India was men doing the actual tailoring and the actual sewing, but tailors for women had a woman in the shop who would do the actual measuring, while the man watched over. YMMV, but our host, his wife and their daughters all felt that this was the normal way for these things to go.

In the made-to-measure shops, which were *everywhere* the counter staff was the gender of the clothes, men in the men's department and women in the women's, but the actual tailoring was all done in the same place by the same person or people.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:23 AM on November 19, 2010


What I saw in India was men doing the actual tailoring and the actual sewing, but tailors for women had a woman in the shop who would do the actual measuring, while the man watched over. YMMV, but our host, his wife and their daughters all felt that this was the normal way for these things to go.


That's really interesting, paisley henosis. I've never seen a woman doing the measuring in a tailor's shop in Pakistan. I'll have to ask some of my friends if they have. None of my tailors have ever had women working for/with them.
posted by bardophile at 9:45 AM on November 19, 2010


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