On Craftmanship - ‘Well-made’ is term thrown about fairly haphazardly these days. It’s an easy line for critics when reviewing a new garment — but if something doesn’t appear well-made on the shelf, it should never have been made in the first place. A garment should never be described as well-made unless it has been worn hard a few times. Clothes, both formal and casual, need to be put through the ringer to really show their character.Evaluating the quality of a garment is a lot like evaluating an athlete. You can look at the measurable statistics (non-fused, 22 stitches per inch, full canvas, 40-time, bench press, etc) but that only tells part of the story.
Wednesday was national signing day, a day where college football teams stack their talent for the next 3-5 years. In recruiting, coaches don’t simply look at the ESPN or Rivals ranking — they go meet the kid, talk to their parents, and evaluate their potential to grow into greatness. Obviously there has to be some baseline for qualification, but it’s only the start.
Same for clothes. The stats — the lists you’ll read on blogs like ‘top 10 things to look for in a new suit’ — only tell part of the story. What makes the difference in the character of a garment is the foundation. The design needs to fit and the factory needs to show pedigree, resilience, and love.
Get caught up in the measurables, and you’ll end up with Jamarcus Russell in your closet — a very expensive, very large, and very useless item, waiting to be cut and sent to good will. Spend the time to look for value, and you could end up with a Greg Olsen — the #31 pick in the same draft. And he’s playing in the super bowl at 30, aged like a fine wine, or, better yet, a well-worn shirt, slightly frayed at the edges, but with a lot left to give.