One of the reasons why I blog is because I would like my son to have chance to know how his dad thinks. I’ve no intention to try to force my beliefs on him, cos he will have his own mind to make judgments on what to believe. I just wanna share with him my view on things. If my blogs can get him thinking, that has already served the propose. I will write a series of ‘My views on…’ in coming weeks or months to express my views on different aspects of life. This is the first one.
There are few keys about clothes that I always believe in.
The first key is ‘clean’. I don’t know what occasion would require dirty clothes to be worn. Yes, some occasions have higher tolerance to clothes’ cleanness and tidiness, such as wearing casual clothes at home, i.e. it is where we can pretty much wear whatever we feel like. As long as I’m comfortable to be in it, it is none of other’s business of criticizing me. Of course, certain level of acceptable personal hygenie is important. Otherwise, wearing clean clothes is something important, it is to respect the occasion and to the presence of others.
The second key is ‘fit’. Namely, clothes have to fit the body and the occasion. Clothes that don’t fit the body will never look good or serve the occasion regardless anything else. For certain clothes, like piece of suit, it is just not right to force yourself to wear one that doesn’t fit. If your arms and legs are short, tailor them. Don’t buy stuff off the rack and be too lazy to make sure they fit. If your body changes and can’t tailor the old clothes accordingly, buy new clothes. Also, don’t buy clothes impulsively just to think that you will look good in them after you lose a few pounds. It is a big NO NO! When you lose feel pounds, THEN you go to shop for clothes that fit. Otherwise, you will fill up with a closet of regret and sorrow for not just the clothes that you have never wear, but for ever-staying ‘love handle’ that you have.
The third key is ‘cost effective’, particularly for the tangible side of clothes. To make my point, just use T-shirt as an example. Some T-shirts are sold for $50, and some are sold for over $1000. Logically, I do believe that the expensive one would most likely use better fabric. However, do they use fabric that’s 20 times better? I don’t think so! They are sold for more because of other reasons. The $50 T-shirt not only includes the cost of manufacturing, but also includes profit for wholesalers/retailer. The more expensive T-shirt may be justified to cost twice or 3 times more, but not 10 or 20 times. So, the excessive money you pay are going to the brand and for the retailer’s rent.
Does the brand worth that much? I think brands in general are just puffs! For a piece of tech gadget, I buy more of the brand than those for clothes. When you buy an Apple product, you can see the design, enjoy the quality, see the high QC, and most importantly the enormous amount of R&D and testing after years of enhancement of the products. I don’t see how a T-shirt with a logo has gone through the same kind of process that worth that much money. For crying out loud, going to the billion dollar factory that making those chips in tech gadgets would require you to dress as if you going to a surgery! You don’t see those female workers in Guangdong factories dress like that to make those brand name clothes!
So, those fashion brands image that those handful of people created in Milan, Paris, NYC, and London are just creating mirage to make millions for their own. For a piece of gadget, every new function or appls is really real. They serve real purpose and do help to improve our life by making things easier and providing convenience. For a T-shirt with a chain here, or a piece of leather there doesn’t make a T-shirt into anything else but a T-shirt. I don’t doubt different clothes have their own function. However, when the portions of brand name and fashion seems to charge a lion share in the retail price. A wise consumer should smell the ‘rat’ and make smart choice. I know someone would said that fashion is like a piece of ‘art’, what about some Picasso paintings that were sold for millions? Well, art is fine, fashion as a piece of art is fine too. However, when you put a price tag on a piece of art, that’s when things are getting started. I don’t think art should be expensive, unless you are talking about things with historical value because of it rarity. For a piece of pottery that was for daily usage hundred years ago, the maker of which was aimed to make a piece of workable tool for people to use. Some effort was put on it to decorate it, may be for distinguishing the maker and for some expression of art and beauty. They don’t know that piece of pottery will worth thousands or millions nowadays. On the contrary, the fashion designers know what they are doing and what they will charge for consumers. Yes, it has sense of art in their products, but the price tag speaks louder than anything else. That’s how I see the difference.
Regarding the rental cost part that I mentioned above, that’s not dumb by the retailer to charge us, but it’s dumb for us to pay! We get no value for paying that on a piece of product.
The fourth key is ‘function’. Clothes do perform their functions. Forget about the fancy design of making a jacket into a backpack or else, the key of function ties to the ‘occasion’ that I mentioned above. It is like you wear a raincoat on rainy days., but Pyjama should be wore in bedroom (or some parties if they apply). The rule is to find out what kinds of clothes are required / expected for the occasion if it is not known or clear before you attend it. If answer is not available, it is better to overdressed than underdressed. You can always take off your tie or untug your shirt, but you can’t make a appropriate jacket out of a T-shirt.
I’ve never been an expert in clothing, and I think most folks, unless they are in certain industries or professions, aren’t neither. It is out of my concern in terms of cost and time for maintenance. I can’t speak for the others, especially the other half of human population. I believe that clothes consumption should be on ‘need’ basis rather than on ‘want’ basis. Certainly, that’s a lot of room up for interpretation. Practically, I neither have nor want to allocate my limited physical space to store large amount of clothes. Clothes should be functional and easier for mix and match in order to fit the needs. Winters are getting warmer and shorter. Howe many jackets do we really need? For God sake, our earth is dying because of over-consumption. To be fair, I used previous example again. For many tech-related products, in spite of my love of them, I always believe that we don’t need that make style of mobile phones. That’s why I don’t buy the approach off product release of companies like Nokia, Samsung, etc which release dozens different mobile phones each year. They do create a great problem of recycling those products. For clothes, I’m just appalled by the fashion industry’s non-stop drive of trends to make unnecessary and excessive changes in clothes quarters by quarters, years by years, which is wasting our natural resources and polluting our environment for making those clothes. In addition, I don’t see how those crazy fashions that were not bought by anyone are being recycled anywhere!
Yes, I do understand that millions of people are being supported by the fashion industry. However, I think most of them in the lower ranks are being taking advantage of and I don’t see how they are prospering by being in this industry. I believe that the extra workers in fashion industry would be able to find job to make a living elsewhere.
There is no doubt that wearing something ‘nice’ would make many people feel ‘good’ about themselves. Wearing brand name stuff did boost the self-confidence of some people. My belief is that what really matter is ‘inside’ your body than a piece of fabric. Spending more time and money on your brain and with your heart rather, that would do oneself more long term good than being a slave to stuff behind the mall windows. In short, I don’t and won’t support overspend on clothes, and only believe that we should just buy and maintain what we need.