I would have no problem being head to toe Gucci or Tom Ford 24/7, but my life is a real one and not an HBO wardrobe department. So, the decision is where do you spend your hard-earned cash? You may only get one clothes purchase in a month, so it’s kind of important that your purchase doesn’t end up being a waste of resources. I thought a good way of thinking it out was by using and abusing several sporting clichés and analogies that we are regularly battered with. So here goes;
A new clothes purchase is like a new signing. You have to ask yourself if the item you are looking at improves your clothes collection or gives you an increased potential for dressing well. If it doesn’t improve on your collection of clothes or give you a new angle, leave it well alone. It should also be a harmonious presence in your dressing room and work well with your existing team members and make them better. Michael Jordan famously said “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships!” Same applies to your clothes. They should work together to have you looking good.
Buy what you can afford. Unless you are privy to unlimited oil or media tycoon money then you have to shop according to a budget. It is always possible to break the bank for what will be a stellar performer, but that has to be an exception if you are sticking to household fiscal fair-play rules. Have a figure in your head…say 80 quid for your shop. Can you get decent Saturday night jeans for that…maybe just, but not the “special one”. You can get a better bang for your buck on the shirt position though. Worth considering.
Your best time to get in new clothes is during the transfer window/free agency/college draft. To you and I in the less glamorous world this is “the sales”. This is when those out of reach pieces become tantalisingly attainable. When the online sales begin I often feel like a goalie on his debut with Ronaldo lining up a free kick. Whether that is a half price pair of denims or a luxurious coat it becomes very tempting and the tendency is to panic. Discipline and mental fortitude is key here though. You keep your thinking clear and restock your squad/roster with new talent/threads and all of a sudden you have sartorial choices to make when getting dressed and a strong bench.
Your big ticket items (thinking good footwear and coats/jackets here) are best bought in the sales. You should be sent straight out on gardening leave for spending serious cash here in early June or before December 25th. Hold your fire and you will get great value later on. By all means do some scouting and build a wish list, but keep the plastic in your wallet.
Get the basics right and sports teams are generally quite effective. The “spine” of the team must be strong. Same applies to you and your wardrobe. If your foundations are sound, so you have the jeans, white tee, blue shirt, brogues etc etc, then you are able to expand the ambition and range of your wardrobe. The spine of your wardrobe should be in place. If it is not then this is the first area to attend to. You need to earn the “right to go wide”, run the no-huddle offence or tiki-taka your way around the shops and websites by having a few fundamentals (see “My Essentials” list to your left) in place. If they are not in place, then buy them.
Stamina or a “good engine” are vital in your clothes. This means your clothes should be durable and offer a good return per wear. Sustainable Style generally gives good value. They should not be looking set for a testimonial after a few wears. When spending on clothes think what kind of return it will give you. A 150euro jacket worn 30 times over the course of 2 years comes out at 5euro a wear. Not bad for something that keeps you warm, dry and stylish (this being the most important of course). This jacket should get you about the park and hopefully a few beers later in the week too. Get buys in that will give you 100% for a few seasons. Not many of us need the luxury item that performs twice a year.
Flexibility is key in sport these days. Flexibility means that the shirt you are considering will work with your chinos visiting the in-laws or a Friday night sipping on an IPA with your good denims. You get extra value from clothes that can perform a few different roles. They may not be the Michael Jordan or the Ronaldo of your wardrobe, but they are still very much essential.