The old platitude "good things come to those who wait" is usually the refuge of the pedant in the face of the anxious. But when it comes to clothing, there's a little bit of substance to it. Fast fashion is just that, fast. It's also cheap, unrewarding, and the clothes just don't have any guts. Things of quality take time to make, and thus time to receive.
Anyone who has ever had anything made for them, whether that is a necktie or a hand-pegged pair of Cleverley’s shoes, knows what I'm talking about here. The moments leading up to placing the order fly by. I am convinced that the rush of flipping through cloth books, having measurements taken, and the handshake that consummates almost any face-to-face order is one of the greatest highs in the world. It is not just getting a garment, but an entire experience.
While the second hand speeds up on the way to the tailor's shop, the time after the handshake seems to last eons. No item ever seems to be finished quickly enough. I once ordered a few factory-made shirts online and was antsy by the week's end, checking my mail two or three times a day, upset that international mail couldn't move any faster. I had them within three weeks and realized the ridiculousness of my agitation.
Suits can take six, eight, ten, or more weeks easily, and if you're dealing with a traveling tailor you can find yourself waiting a year or two to take delivery of the final product. Six months between fittings will do that. England's shoe-makers are notorious for taking a year or more, not least because each pair has to sit on the last for a not inconsiderable time to refine its shape, but we keep coming back again and gain for the unbeatable quality.
I am convinced though that there's something productive about all the calendar-checking that goes on amongst the stylish men of this world, waiting for their latest commissions to fall into their laps. It's a pretty simple observation really. We appreciate what we have.
A man cannot just walk down to the corner and pick up a new coat. He has to wait. When he does finally receive a commission, it has been thought about, tweaked a bit here and there, and represents far more than an investment of money. It is an investment of the time of the customer, the effort of craftsmen, and the creative effort between the two. In other words, it has guts.