Going Green With Your Wardrobe…

Going Green With Your Wardrobe…


Being the accountant that I am (by day I am an auditor) I often think of the cost of an item of clothing being depreciated over a span of time.  And everything I buy I buy with the intention to use it for years, not months.  The longevity of a garment is one of the strongest arguments for buying quality goods.  Practically speaking: allocating the cost of something over multiple years.  For example, I purchase a nice pair of shoes for $500.  I expect the useful life of said shoes to be 10 years.  The cost per year would be $50, or roughly $1 per week.  Which to me seems reasonable.  Or, you could go through 4 pair of subpar quality shoes at $200 per pair for $800 over 10 years, $80 per year, $1.60 per week.  This is just a hypothetical, but the point should be clear.

But there is yet another argument for purchasing items that you will wear for years, perhaps decades, to come.  That being the oft cliched ‘going green.’  Now, the cliche, thus far, has not crept into the menswear blogosphere’s vocabulary; at least to my knowledge.  Although it has certainly been talked about in other style/fashion centric circles.

What I mean by going green is as follows.  By purchasing the aforementioned shoes that will last you 10 years as opposed to purchasing 4 pair of Cole Haan shoes (which from what I hear you get about two years out of) that will carry you through the same 10 years you have greatly reduced the amount of raw materials you are to expel; leather and rubber primarily.  But then you also have to factor things like electricity to power the factories and fuel for transport and distribution.  Now, I doubt that the 4 pair of shoes will take exactly 4 times the resources of the 1 pair, but it will certainly be some multiple.  The same could be said for suits, ties, belts etc…  So for you environmentally conscious gents out there, perhaps this argument will be some food for thought for the upcoming holiday shopping season.


Justin L Jeffers



    • Interesting comments Justin. One does not need to pay top dollar for quality these days. English shirts and shoes are available online for $50 and $250 so why pay $200 and $800,! Amortize the cost over time . As far as the Green thing is concerned well if if it is not grown , processed and manufactured within 10 Km of Manhattan then it is not Green!

      • Geoff,
        True on the not paying top dollar. But would you mind elaborating on the ‘within 10km of Manhattan’ statement? Are you saying that NYC is the only area that uses the term green? Good to hear from you again, hope you have been well.

  1. Also there is the whole question of frequency of wear . It is all very well tonget something on sale but if you don’t wear it very often or at all then you may as well have payed full price for it!

  2. Thank you for enquiring after my health Justin- yes I have been well if not a little tired as the Christmas rush seems to have started early here in Australia. I am a dentist so of course with Christmas looming many of my patients including some whom I may not have seen during the past year now all decide at once that they have to get their teeth fixed before the Christmas holiday season! As for my somewhat obtuse comments about a 10 km (or miles) radius of Manhattan- let me explain. In the restaurant industry those who are trying to boost their green credentials make a lot of noise about being able to source food grown within a 10 km radius of their establishment – maybe a little hard to do in central Sydney or Manhattan unless one has a cottage garden out the back. I guess I just picked up on your comment about the fuel for transport and distribution and ran with it a bit! Realistically most items of clothing or footwear will require a fair amount of air or sea miles to get from the raw product to the consumer. A good example of this is the superfine merino wool grown here in my local area of New England ( yes there is a New England in Australia as well) which is transported by road to the nearest sea port which is 350 km away and then by ship to Italy where it is processed and made into a suit which is then sent by sea or air back to Sydney or New York. A fair bit of fossil fuel being used in the production of that suit but as you say a quality product will last longer and will not need to be replaced as frequently. Regards, Geoff.

  3. Speaking of quality items at a reasonable price I have just taken delivery of a pair of Herring shoes bought online from Herring shoes UK. They are the Shakespeare II brown suede double buckle monk. An absolute steal at approx. $290. I saw a similar pair of Crocket & Jones recently at a shop in Melbourne for $650 – beautiful shoes but as I was pushed for time did not get to try on a pair or even establish if they had my size in stock. When I went back the next day keen to try on I discovered that the shop did not open on a Sunday! ( quite a common problem in Australia due to high wage demands and penalty rates) Anyway by then I was on a mission for a pair of brown suede double monks so as happens nowadays I sat outside the shop and using my smart phone found the same shoes on the Pediwear UK site. $500 and available in my size. Then remembered Herring shoes UK and found similar shoes (made in Northampton Goodyear welt etc) ordered online on said Sunday and delivered to my door in less than a week. Beautifully boxed with shoehorn, shoe bags, suede spray & polishing cloth. Elegant narrow last with fine chiseled toe in fact reminded me of similar shoes from the Phinias Cole range seen at Paul Stuart last year which I seem to recall were in the $1200 price range.