Manolo says, thus far, this has been the very good week for the Manolo. Yesterday, the Manolo’s good friend Linda Grant launched her blog, The Thoughtful Dresser. Today, the Manolo can announce the return to the internet of his friend John D. Erickson, at the weekly blog called The Materialist, which will be the site devoted to the careful study of men’s clothing.
Here is the excerpt from the very smart piece about how big clothing manufacturers have caught onto the power of details.
One of my favorite obsessive-compulsive tendencies has been thrown into a tizzy over the past year or two. It used to be so revealing. I’d be able to tell who made your shirt, or at the very least to what quality level it was made, with a quick glance at the buttonholes. With one glance at your sleeve cuffs, I could also tell the ages of your children and the name of your psychologist. The cut of your suit jacket could have been done by anyone, but the marginal differences in details told me it’s Oxxford! Or those sleeve buttonholes, they told me your checking account balance, and it was like seeing straight through to your soul.
But these days I’m reading everyone wrong. Now manufacturers from the really best ones to the merely mediocre ones know about the right details and have the machinery to make them. For example, can you believe that for a few seconds last week I actually thought my friend Max had outdone himself (once again!) and was wearing an expensive sport shirt by a small producer in Italy, when in fact it was a J. CREW SHIRT that I had watched him purchase–recommended he purchase!–only three weeks prior? I know, it’s awful. But there it was, with a subtly colorful stripe, single-needle side seams, honest-to-God gussets, and buttons that looked like they cost a full Euro or two, wholesale. And it fit him well, that’s the worst part. Made in the People’s Republic of China, it was, retail price something like 70 bucks. A shirt with those tell-all details used to cost at bare minimum $150 just a few years ago. What happened?
It seems to me that interest in men’s clothing has reached a point that manufacturers are racing to include details previously only seen at the highest end of quality. That’s good, of course, because it means more of us get to enjoy the little details at more reasonable prices, even if we don’t really know why they’re there.
But, as they say, you must go and read the whole piece, indeed, the whole blog, you will learn much.