Updated: Sep 3, 2019
Believe it or not, I sometimes struggle with not having the right clothes to reflect my personal style. Some of the garments which I wish to be in my wardrobe are simply not there yet since I have developed a very different taste from a year ago.
What follows is a situation that you may find familiar — I have suits that I don't even wear that often hanging there in my closet. Now, this would occasionally resort to giving the garments to someone who can make better use of them, or perhaps even selling them instead.
But oftentimes this is not the case. Certain suits are simply difficult to give away, say your first bespoke suit which you have developed an emotional attachment to for its symbolism, and this is perfectly normal.
Today, I want to take it from here and share with you some thoughts I have on this matter, in particular tackling this issue from a sustainability point of view as well. Hopefully, you'll find this useful.
Let's start from the very beginning, shall we?
When I first started off wearing 'tailored' suits, my primary concern wasn't craftsmanship. I had no idea what it means to have a jacket fully-canvassed, let alone having pick-stitching for the lapels.
My sole focus was on whether or not I would be able to customize the cloth and the interlining. To some extent, I was looking for a Made-To-Measure (MTM) service rather than a full-bespoke experience.
Of course, the result of the suit was quite disastrous, as showcased above. Not only is the garment is too fashion-forward (in a negative sense), but also the jacket is so poorly constructed that I doubt I would ever put that on again.
With that said, I would say this first suit is still somewhat essential.
True, it's undeniable that the money wasted on that suit could be spent on something which has a greater value, or at least on accessories that I would treasure for a longer amount of time. However, this doesn't mean it has no benefits at all.
The truth is, if I had not commissioned that suit at the first place, I wouldn't have known what are the details that I should be looking for when it comes to getting a bespoke garment.
Thus, when it comes to an environmental viewpoint, this can be seen as the initial cost one needs to evolve into something 'greener' — the step that everyone wishes they could have avoided, but also one that helps for progressing to the later stages.
And conceivably, if the cloth you have chosen also contains eco-friendly properties, such as being bio-degradable, then all the better.
This brings us to the second scenario which, again, you may have experienced it in first-person.
For some of us, when we first entered the world of tailoring, we were so intrigued by the variety of fabric options we could choose from that we ended up selecting something very bold and loud.
My obvious personal example would be my rusty red three-piece suit, made by the Hongkongese tailor Tai Pan Row.
Sure, it's definitely a piece that could stand out a lot when I am in the public. On the other hand, it's also a piece that I would get instantly recognized when I wear it in front of the same audience.
On top of that, because personal taste is also something that could change (or evolve) very rapidly, the suit became something that I got fewer and fewer wears over time.
Nonetheless, I must say this isn't a very satisfying conclusion for two reasons.
First, as much as the choice of cloth is somewhat flamboyant, the construction and the level of craftsmanship of the suit is still on the great side, especially considering the level of attention to the handwork.
Second, going back to the point about personal taste changing over time — there is always the possibility that you want to bring back some vibrancy (or patterns depending on your situation) to your outfits and have a little bit of fun. After all, not all of us are prophets and it's not that easy to predict how our personal style would evolve.
All of this makes it seem counter-intuitive to just dispose the garment when we could actually hold onto it for a while, and then work something around it at a later time.
Moreover, even if you were to give the suit to someone else (and let’s say unless they have an identical physique to yours), chances are because the piece is not made to fit them, they are also likely to get rid of it when they progress to the later stages of their sartorial journey. So this is not so eco-friendly in essence.
Anyhow, returning to this specific suit. I have recently acquired some other pieces which compliment the shade of the three-piece suit beautifully.
Apart from the olive trouser from Natalino that I've worn the jacket with at last Pitti and the forest green tie from Drake's that you could see from the picture above, I am also fond of pairing the jacket with other dark-colored trousers, like a charcoal-grey flannel one.
Now, you may be questioning that if the only way you could better utilize these bold color suits is by further expanding the number of garments you have in the wardrobe, then this doesn't sound that environmental-friendly after all.
Although there might be some truth to this, the reality is that you are most likely going to commission or purchase something else down the road anyway, regardless it would be a go-to business suit or a bright corduroy jacket.
Clearly, it then appears to be a better solution to add items that allow you to bridge the gap between this specific suit and everything else you already have in your closet, under the circumstances that these new garments would be lasting to a similar extent.
Regardless, I look forward to hearing what you think about this. Bye for now.
Photography by The Suitstainable Man Team, except picture 4-5 which is by Matthew Poon