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Be patient with wardrobe building

20 August 2010

Last week a friend commented on my blue silk Hermès tie. It is a navy three-fold decorated with a faint pattern of little Hs: very practical, very versatile, a perennial favourite. Having had it for a few years, I was surprised that it drew comment. It is neither the newest nor the most luxurious accessory I own and I have therefore long since ceased to think about it.

But there was a period when I saved up for weeks to buy it. It was in my mind both the epitome of style and of investment. It would be a luxury that could be worn every day.

Its versatility has certainly been proved, but it no longer seems like a luxury. I am in the fortunate position now that such items seem like friends rather than treasures, the result of slow but steady accumulation of bespoke clothes and handmade accessories.

So the comment led to me to the refection that it is worth being patient with wardrobe building. Invest in the pieces that you think are worth it and, as long as the next purchase comes before you wear the old one out, you will gradually create a great collection.

Suits can be particularly frustrating in this regard. Although they’re expensive, it can feel like you are wearing through the trousers faster than they are replaced, let alone upgraded. Trust me, things will get easier. Particularly because upgrading an item usually means increasing its longevity, meaning greater overlap between pieces and quicker accumulation.

Shoes are more satisfying. Looked after well, they will last years and years. No more than two good pairs a year are required to start building a great collection. And some accessories, certainly jewellery, will never wear out. An investment in a good watch, for example.

It seemed like an age before I had enough bespoke shirts to wear one every day. Now I feel like I need to remind myself daily of the privilege of wearing them. Be patient with your investments and the luxurious will gradually become ordinary. It’s a much nicer feeling than it sounds.