Monday, 10 January 2011

Tied in knots

So, it's been New Year Sales time and I've found, as always, more luck in the menswear departments than my wife has found in clothing for females. I have a number of theories as to why this might be; first, much as I hate stereotyping, the shopping experience tends to be aimed more at women than men - so the good stuff sells out more quickly. Second men have less variety in their clothing, often - so if someone has a load of shirts to offload they're going to apply to most of us (and of course the common sizes vanish very quickly).

Flickr: cambiodefractal
Which is why I've done a lot of shopping online - and there's nothing better for price comparison than shopping in this way. And it's this time of year that the cost of so-called 'designer' items really starts to hit home.

I was looking in particular at ties this year. Some of mine are fine in person but when I'm presenting they can look a bit funereal under lights. And I'd just love to find the answer to a few questions, highlighted by ties but they apply to a lot of items:

1. Are people really crazy enough to pay over £100 for a tie because it has the right label on it? Actually let's just tick "yes" for that and carry on.

2. Is there any sort of standard for tie manufacture? Some of my older ones went flimsy quite quickly and look terrible when knotted. And a tie that looks bad when you knot it is pretty useless. Instead of telling me on a website that a tie is designed by a particular individual, or that it's hand made, wouldn't it be good if someone could tell me whether it's reinforced adequately, how well stitched it is and whether the little loop you tuck the back into is going to fall off after the second time you wear it, like a Van Heusen I bought last year?

3. My favourite bugbear - what exactly do you mean, "designer" goods - whether ties, scarves or otherwise? If you can prove to me that nobody actually designed the other stuff then fine, but I strongly suspect everything's been designed by someone at some point. After that we just get back to point 1.

Personally I'm going to continue getting stuff I think looks good and which matches my outfits, and the hell with the name on the back.

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