Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Went to N. Michigan Avenue on saturday, with Miriam along for advice, and bought myself a suit. An attractive black, three-button number from Kenneth Cole, close-fitted and clean-cut; the lingo for the cut is "modern European". We went through about a dozen stores, but only two had jackets small enough for me (size 36). Kenneth Cole was the first store we went into, and if only so the day won't be a total wash, we returned there; the suit was actually the very first one I had tried on that day.

Not as unpleasant an experience as it may sound; it was a nice, comfortable day, I had company, the limited choices made for a fairly simple decision, and the suit was very nice and ran under $600.

The other store was Nordstrom. The salesman first had me try on two $700 Hugo Boss numbers, which though nice enough, weren't particularly catchy. The third suit though, was very nice indeed, with slightly shiny fabric that draped well. It turned out to be a $1400 Armani. I politely declined to consider the suit further, and we slipped out of the store soon after.

The shocking thing here is not some suit costs $1400, but that differences, even this high up on the price range, are so noticeable. It just goes to show if you think you won't be able to tell between a $1400 Armani and a $700 Boss, you have never been in an Armani. Or, people who wonder about how the rich can spend all that money have never been rich.

It feels rather indecent though, to wear a suit that costs as much as many people take home in a month; though a suit that is as much as many people take home in two weeks is pretty bad too. I don't think hedonism, or pleasure for pleasure's sake, is wrong (at most it is a minor sin), provided one can legitimately afford it. I don't spend much for clothing particularly, but I do usually dish out extra for fancier food: it makes me happy when the sorpessa is from Venetia, the coffee is certified Kona, the balsamic vinegar is aged 10 years, &c.; I can't think that something that makes me so happy, and for the enjoyment which I am not hurting any one, can be wrong. I don't perhaps feel so embarrassed about spending $20 on a bit of salame; but I do, some, for when I spend $600 on a to be rarely used suit; and I can't imagine, even if I am one day able to, buying and wearing a diamond encrusted Bvlgari watch. There is not fundamental difference between them, only a matter of cost & degree. I know they are not wrong, but somehow, more or less, they don't feel right. Go figure.

As for the shoes? $120 pair of Kenneth Cole lace-up ankle boots, black, shiny, but not too ostentatious; looks just like a pair of oxfords below the hem, except for the 1.5" heels.