“Life expectancy” of your clothing?

greekonomist

New Member
58
I have heard of people buying up to 6 trousers for staple bespoke suits, like grey and navy, to prolong the use of their suit jackets. Lots of variation in appearance can be achieved by shirts and tie combination when wearing a suit. Those who get bored need not apply.
I've never understood that practice. But then, I've never worn out a pair of suit trousers ahead of the jacket.
+1 I leave my jacket on during the day so in practice it wears out at about the same time as the pants. Elbows usually go first.
6 trousers seems excessive. However, always wearing one's coat does not imply that both coat and trousers will wear evenly. The seat of the trousers may wear and become shiny over time, particularly if one often sits on leather chairs. It seems to me that the seat of the trousers would see the greatest of wear. More so than any area of the coat, unless one habitually leans on one's elbows.

My grandfather always bespoke an extra pair of trousers, or at least an extra length of cloth, to keep for emergency repairs or the making of a new pair of trousers if necessary. My father, similarly, tries to get an extra pair of trousers when he can. I had always thought this wise.
 
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yachtie

Advanced Member
2,748
6 trousers seems excessive. However, always wearing one's coat does not imply that both coat and trousers will wear evenly. The seat of the trousers may wear and become shiny over time, particularly if one often sits on leather chairs. It seems to me that the seat of the trousers would see the greatest of wear. More so than any area of the coat, unless one habitually leans on one's elbows.

My grandfather always bespoke an extra pair of trousers, or at least an extra length of cloth, to keep for emergency repairs or the making of a new pair of trousers if necessary. My father, similarly, tries to get an extra pair of trousers when he can. I had always thought this wise.
One to one works for me, YMMV. Keeping extra cloth is generally a good idea.
 

Concordia

Advanced Member
2,647
United States
Massachusetts
Newton
I've very occasionally ordered a second pair of trousers. Realistically, none of them were necessary. In fact, the first suit that I've actually worn out is chafing under the arms, where the scye is very tight. (8/9oz tropical worsted) There are two tiny moth holes in the trousers; I figure that an invisible weave will buy me one more season. But I digress.

Rationale for 2pr: I may find myself travelling and wearing a suit on 2 consecutive days. Trousers don't actually wear out through this, but they don't look so hot, either. Jackets one can always steam. When a trouser crease is lost, however, it's not so easy to put back.

Also, there are times when I will forego the better fit of braces if I sense that I will be removing my jacket a lot-- e.g., a long meeting with friendly clients. In that case, I'd want a copy with a belt.

Finally, there is the issue of dry cleaning, especially with summer suits. Trousers take a beating, and featherweight trousers in the summer especially so. They wrinkle, they get sweated in, and they collect grime just because you tend not to wear topcoats to protect them from the elements. To my eye, they generally deteriorate faster than jackets. No big deal, except that one possible measure for the lifespan of a suit is # of dry cleanings. Clean a summer suit twice a year in July and September, and it will last half as long as one that you have done only at the end of the season.
 
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Alexander Kabbaz

Tech and Business Advice Guru
6,675
United States
New York
East Hampton
Do you actually count?
Quite a few of "my" shirts are shirts we have made to test new fabric weaving technologies, new yarn numbers, and special weaves. For those shirts we do keep records. They don't necessarily get worn between each laundering and sometimes go through every laundering cycle (wash-dry-iron) we run for a certain period of time.

And then there are the "I've had this since 1985 and wear it about once a month" kind. ;-)
 

Omega

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
259
Great Britain
England
City
It seems to me I confused you (sorry): I agree when you have so many items you do not wear them out. I also agree that if you have many items then you vary them all the time and they don’t bore you much.
However, your body shape changes with time – some put on weight, some lose it, even if you don’t change weight your body shape changes with age (the recommended weight is different for different age groups). Also, fashion and your taste change too – some clothing looks good on 20 years old men, but not particularly good on 40 or 50 years old. So, you need to retire some items.
The question – how long do you use it before retiring it? I found a topic that also discusses how long your clothing lasts though does not show well the break-up http://www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?t=45802&highlight=how+old+your+wardrobe
Thank you,
 

Will

Honors Member
3,983
United States
Ca
San francisco
I am very careful not to change weight and that's true of everyone I know who bespeaks his clothes. Even if a man is immune to the cost, they take too long to replace and often the cloth is no longer available.

I did retire three pair of cordovan shoes after about thirty years but generally I rarely replace clothing (other than neckties where the fashionable width varies) due to age. It's usually something like a cigar ash burning a hole in my shirt, or my cat's claws destroying the shoulder of a suit. Life happens.
 

a tailor

Honors Member
3,255
my father had a customer who was an engineer. he had to go out in the field and would destroy trousers. his suits were made with 4 to 5 trousers each.