There was a time when my mother and father advised that a pair of shoes would or should roughly cost a weeks wages and a suit, a months salary.
Of course today, that’s not always the case… some people earn so much that all the crocodile in the world couldn’t fashion a pair of clogs that would scratch the surface and even the finest Vicuña spun with gold thread rolled on a virgins thigh wouldn’t make a suit that would even dent some bank balances or in this theory a months salary or interest from investments.
It’s fair to say it remains an exception rather than the normal and looking around as I do when I have five minutes … I see people who haven’t spent any where near a days wages on their footwear and perhaps a trifle more on their suits. Please don’t misunderstand me, I’m not a snob and I try not to judge people by their attire… it’s what’s inside that really counts and good manners!
Some people are really on the breadline and there have been times in my own life when the ‘wolf has been a tad too near to the door’….. and a new pair of shoes is not up there on the list of priorities.
That said there are lots of people earning small fortunes, who look like they might have splashed out all of an hours wage on a pair of dusty curled up shoes that won’t last the week, never mind until next pay day…and the suit ?
Though it’s just as upsetting to see a £500 pair of shoes that have never seen wax polish and a piece of selvyt (a duster to keep it real but the former works much better) and a suit that looks like it has been slept in . Perhaps… some people, who like most, don’t have a valet , have simply forgotten to change the fuse on their trouser press?
The same person getting into their new BMW, which strangely enough is polished to within an inch of its life and the rubber on the four corners is not worn down at all and has cost enough to provide enough pairs of shoes that would even make Imelda Marcus green with envy.
What puzzles me is that, however near the wolf might be to the door, shoe polish is cheap enough and lasts quite a long time even for avid shoe patina artists.
Time… which I’ve harped on about before is the new ‘millionaire’ status , but for most of us with our shoulders to the wheel and strapped for time, polishing your shoes and keeping suits pressed is actually quite therapeutic.
If you have ever owned a luxury or classic car and spent hours polishing it or paid for a specialist valeter to do so… it’s a satisfying feeling to admire it outside the pub on a Sunday afternoon whilst enjoying a cheeky pint.
For me it’s kind of the same thing to sit with legs crossed whilst enjoying the deep shine and Patina on a 20 plus years old pair of shoes, as well as the pint of course, and to enjoy all three… well that’s ‘living the dream’.
The long and short of it is , that if you buy considered investment items of footwear and clothing, and take the time and pride to look after them or pay someone else to, it says something about you.
Whilst I am a Yorkshireman, I do like value for money. Shoes that cost ‘the earth’ 28 years ago are still going strong along with a 30 years old overcoat that still looks and feels wonderful.
The point is when you don’t look after your shoes or clothing… what it says about you is perhaps this… It sends out a message that you don’t have enough time or enough shekels to keep on top of things… the wrong message to a prospective employer or partner?
‘Old money’ can often be the exception, and I’ve made for a few titled chaps with ‘houses’ and grounds the size of a small county who simply couldn’t give a stuff , and buy when things have literally worn out and are threadbare, though they recognise above all , that investment in the right clothing and shoes will inevitably be more cost effective than the throw away variety.
Talking of ‘old money’, reminded me of a lovely story to leave you with.
A pal from my home town of Huddersfield told me about his grandfather, who was a millionaire way back at the turn of the last century and owned a sizeable part of the what, being from Huddersfield, I refer to as ‘The Field’. He owned land which the railway crossed , that ferried goods and raw and finished materials back and forth to Leeds , Liverpool and Manchester. He was spotted not only catching a train but travelling second class!
“Eh up Mr S… why are you travelling second class Sir?”asked one of his employees catching the same train.
“Cos ther’ int a third lad”…. was his curt reply!
Until next time