the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: andy selsburg’s rules for clothing

Posted by rigorousm on April 6, 2011

So what might some clothing rules look like? This is just a test run, in the spirit of a textile Pollan:

  • You can own well-made shoes and  be a good person, contrary to what Michael Douglas characters would have you believe.
  • For sneakers, imports are fine. They’re the experts. You should have no more pairs of sneakers than there are days of the week.
  • Shoes should fit correctly in the store, and don’t try them on after walking around a lot, as your feet will have swelled up.
  • If you go a year without wearing a pair of jeans, turn them into cutoffs or donate them. And don’t check too deeply on the politics of the organizations to which you’re donating.
  • America may have forgotten how to do a lot of things, but making good jeans is not one of them. Japan started later, but has caught up, and now produces what may be the best in the world. Spending more up front on jeans that will age gracefully should work out to a lower price-per-wear — especially if you can weather a few fit trends.
  • Most stuff on the clearance rack is there for a reason– you don’t have to “rescue” it.
  • Good service from someone who knows you and knows clothes is worth paying for– we were wrong to stray from this way of doing things.
  • A nice-looking dress shirt for under $15 should be cause for anger and alarm rather than celebration, like with the $0.99 cheeseburger. Don’t buy it– the object or the ideology of low-price-over-all.
  • It’s a bad sign if you find yourself feeling anger at prices that seem high. Instead of walking away, take some deep breaths and do some research. You might be paying for more than that “brand essence.” (Some things might just be overpriced, but not all expensive clothing is.)
  • A good shirt should cost more than a good dinner.
  • You don’t need the best of everything.
  • Clothing beyond socks and underwear shouldn’t touch a shopping cart.
  • Repairing something old can be as exhilarating (or at least as satisfying) as buying something new.
  • Seek out brands that have some consciousness beyond style and price — be it organic cotton, good wages, a union shop, natural dyes, things like that.
  • Think of clothing as an official “durable good,” meaning it should last at least three years.
  • Just because you don’t ingest it, that doesn’t mean clothing doesn’t affect your health. Better clothing can lead to better posture.

We need rules because none of this happens naturally.

— Andy Selsberg, “Conscientious Clothing: Visions of Artisanal Underwear,” p. 27. Believer vol. 9., no. 1. Jan 2011.


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