We routinely speak with our friends and fellow menswear enthusiasts in other parts of the world to get their insight into the retail aspect of clothing in their region. This can be anywhere from Hong Kong to Australia, to Spain to the Caribbean.
Recently we’ve been speaking with sources in Trinidad and it seems that there is a large gap between the good and the bad on the market. Either its a heavy dose of crap or else its high end couture, which leaves no middle ground. the dilemma is where do men in the middle shop if they want quality pieces that will last with dropping a mortgage payment, or are they reduced to wearing less than bespoken for items in the effort to save money only to turn around and have to purchase those same items again a few months down the road. Its a quandary.
To put it in perspective our resource in Trinidad went on a research mission returned the following prices on some staple items. The original price is quoted in US dollars. The Trinidad and Tobago dollar (TTD) is currently trading at 6.2 times the US dollar. We’ve multiplied the US equivalent by the current currency rate to come up with the total equivalent in US dollars. On first glance the original price is not out of the ordinary. It’s when the value is converted to TTD that you realize the US equivalent is astronomical in some instances.
Chinos – $35 X 6.2 = $217 USD
Low End Shirts – $64 X 6.2 = 396 USD
High End Shirts – $134 upward X 6.2 = $830 USD
Low End Suits – $64 X 6.2 = $396 USD
High End Suits – $323 and up X 6.2 = $2002 USD
Low End Shoes – $48 X 6.2 = $297 USD
So what is a middle class income earner to do if they don’t want to buy crap but can’t afford the best of the best? As we’ve always preached a house is built from the ground up and so is the same for your wardrobe. We recommend putting the most money you can afford into quality footwear. The best suit in the world is no longer the best suit in the world if it is draped over the worst shoes in the world. Most men skimp on shoes and therefore end up buying several more pair a year than they should. If they bought quality shoes in a Goodyear construction they could have them last years over.
After shoes we recommend buying quality outerwear. Fortunately a bad shirt can be covered up with a good jacket and a bad jacket can be covered up with a nice top coat, rain coat, etc. If your shirt doesn’t fit quite that well or its of lesser quality then a good jacket can make up for it. After acquiring quality outerwear then you can invest in high quality shirting.
Besides investing in the actual product we highly recommend saving money or at least budgeting for good tailoring. This is a common oversight for many men. Wearing a lesser quality shirt that is tailored well will put to shame a higher quality shirt that is not tailored well. Same with trousers, jackets, and well anything else you wear. buy the best shoes, outerwear, and shirts you can afford, then spend the rest on tailoring.
About our Style Editor: Grant Harris, MBA ● Image & Style Consultant
Grant Harris is Owner & Chief Style Consultant at Image Granted, LLC; a Washington, DC based Image Consulting Company dedicated to solving the complex image, style & fashion issues of today’s professional man. Mr. Harris provides private & corporate wardrobe consultations, closet organization, personal shopping & other value-based services for men in need of practical & affordable style advice.
A 2006 Virginia Military Institute (VMI) graduate with a BA in Psychology, Grant quickly earned an MBA in Organizational Development and Psychology in 2007 from the American InterContinental University (AIU). Mr. Harris has appeared in several media outlets including TIME Magazine, CNN Newsroom, and The Wall Street Journal.
Grant was born and raised in the DC metro area. Having acquired many stamps in his passport Grant is passionate about international travel, reading everything he can get his hands on, and satisfying his healthy obsession with socks. You can follow Image Granted on Twitter & Facebook. Contact Grant about his styling and/or speaking services email@example.com or 703.554.9184.
Well-Dressed: Providing Grooming and Style tips for Black Men. TheBlackManCan believes that you should never judge a book by its cover, however a books cover can be just as important as its content.