I walked out of a store on Friday after having just spent $750 on a suit. Your reaction will either be: a) That’s peanuts, we know that a really great suit should cost you about $2000, or b) Holy hell, that’s a lot.
If you’re in category B, this article is for you because it’s certainly how I felt. If you’re in category A, your values are clearly different than mine.
I fall in category B for a specific reason: my view is that clothing truly performs a functional service. It keeps us warm and allows us to not impose our nudity on others. No stranger genuinely wants to see your junk, except for the curious ones.
With this mentality, I’ve spent large portions of my life wearing either free or cheap t-shirts, old jeans, and crummy hoodies and walking around in them with reckless abandon. Perhaps these fashion choices delayed some relationships in university, but I’ve gotten by spending a minimal amount on clothing.
In fact, in 2017, I spent $437 on clothes, mostly dress shirts, dress pants, replacement underwear, undershirts, and socks. It’s not peanuts, but it’s also not extreme. If anything, 90% of the expense was all tied to work-related attire.
So when I walked into that suit store and dropped $750, it was a big deal. It was almost double what I spent on clothes the entirety of last year and it was the third most expensive thing I’ve ever bought after my car and my MacBook.
And I hate to say it: I think it was worth it.
Suits can be an investment.
I know. I can’t believe I’m saying this since it’s the go to excuse for any obscene purchase.
Fact of the matter is: a garment can be an investment, especially if it is adaptable and will last you a long time over frequent uses across many years. A pair of shoes you’ll wear with only that one outfit? Not so much.
Since starting my new job, suits were the attire. I knew this going into the job and it was only a matter of time when my old cheap suits purchased from my student days were going to start to fray.
The fact of the matter is: some jobs require you to look a certain way. To invest in your clothes is to invest in your career. Impressions and perceptions count in the workplace, no matter how unfortunate that is. You could technically argue your outfit helped you get your job. You dressed up, smiled, and interviewed well, but the outfit helped.
So that’s what I hope this suit does: it continues to help. Help me climb the corporate ladder, change jobs, or just look dapper at weddings. In either case, if it all works out, this could be the last suit I ever need before I FIRE. But I know that’s unlikely because I like chips, cheese, and beer all too much.
Until then, this one suit will serve as an investment. And just to be a narcissist today, I do think I look good in it.