Thursday, January 26, 2012
While we were discussing clothing acquisition yesterday, I realized that a twenty-first century interpretation of Mr. Waugh's budget allocations could suffice to build a well-rounded wardrobe for the five day a week suit-wearing man over a period of five years, independent of his budget. And by that I mean that, as I have written several times in the past, a man can do a lot worse than to make himself a list of what he needs each year and compare that to his budget to determine how much he can spend on each item. It is a process that is just as effective for thrifted clothing as it is for hand-made bespoke stuff.
The objective of a clothing budget ought to be to stock the closet so that it offers reasonable variety and enough of a rotation so that the contents do not wear out prematurely. Further, most of us live in temperate areas where a selection of clothing is required for both warm weather and cold so the quantity of suits and odd jackets should be adequate for each season.
Once the budget has been in place for half a decade, it should produce a wardrobe consisting of at least:
-Six cold weather suits
-Six warm weather suits
-Six pair of shoes
-One raincoat with zip-in lining
-Two odd jackets and trousers for each season
Acquiring this list means purchasing three items of tailored clothing and a pair of shoes each year. In one of the years there will be an extra pair of shoes. In two others, an extra suit or odd jacket. In those years, no dress shirts are purchased in order to keep expenses roughly level. In the other two years, the budget is filled out with half a dozen shirts.
Allocating funds to each item is fairly simple. Take the annual budget and divide by five. Spend that amount on each suit, odd jacket and trousers, pair of shoes (that might be a tad high on the shoes but most men need to spend more than they do on their footwear) or the year's shirts and neckties.
Few of us will approach the late Baron de Rede's shoe collection in the photo but with a little planning we can all have well rounded wardrobes.