If you follow gentleman’s Gazette on a regular basis, you know that we always encourage you to invest in quality items because quality items get better with age versus cheap items deteriorate over time.
Also, we encourage you to look at the cost per wear of an item, not just the upfront cost, because most of the time, a quality item is less expensive in the long run. That being said, not every costly thing has to be new, sometimes you can find quality items that used to be expensive but you buy them used that way you can enjoy the quality benefits without having to go all-in on the money.
Most quality leather bags will likely run you around $1,000 or more simply because of the high-end leather. Ideally, you want it to be leather lined without having the extra weight.
I’ve received lots of compliments from my leather weekender because it has a beautiful leather, it’s a classic brown tone which is nothing special. However, it is chrome tanned in Italy and has a nice pull-up effect. What that means is if I pull on the leather, it creates a different effect. Also if I scratch it, I see a scratch mark but then if I rub on it with my finger, it secretes some oils, and the scratch mark is hardly ever visible. This kind of leather creates a beautiful patina over time that is lived in and unique to you and the experiences you had with your bag.
I can use it when I travel over the weekend or just as a carry-on, or as a bag that I bring to go to the gym. Because of the leather, this kind of bag will be unique. No one else will have one like you, and it’s just much more stylish and elegant than a nylon bag or a canvas bag. It will also last longer and therefore, the cost per wear is low.
Quality OTC Socks
At $40, it is relatively expensive, and if you go with materials like silk or cashmere, you go out to 75 or $100- $120. Apparently, you can buy a pair of socks for $1 less, the problem is, especially over the calf socks, is that they always slide down. On top of that, the material is cheap, the seams are thick, the socks are uncomfortable, and you have to wear them all day.
It’s probably no surprise you that I’m wearing $40.00 socks from Fort Belvedere because I designed them myself and was sick and tired of socks that would slide down, so I came up with a design of high-quality yarns with socks that stayed up with the right elastics. On top of that, I wanted two-tone colors because they make it much easier to combine the socks with your outfits and your shoes.
At the same time quality socks that are more expensive come in different sizes. For example, Fort Belvedere offers four sizes, so you get exactly the right fit for your foot. Because we use a very expensive high-quality long staple cotton yarns, they will last longer, and the cost per wear is as low or lower than a cheaper pair of socks.
A Classic Overcoat
Yes, you can find overcoats for less than 200 dollars but a quality overcoat from natural materials such as wool, or cashmere, will run you at least a thousand dollars or more. Not only does it keep you warm during the cold months of the year, but it’s also very stylish. You can wear it on top with a suit, a jacket, or just your regular sweater. If you buy a classic overcoat such as a duffle coat in Ulster, or maybe a paletot, you’ll get something you can wear for years to come.
In my opinion, the best value is a hundred percent wool overcoat out of a heavy wool. If money is no object for you, go with a cashmere blend which is softer, usually not as heavy, and it wears out more quickly. If you can just invest in one overcoat, I suggest going with a navy or dark blue overcoat, a paletot which is very simple with a peak lapel that is double-breasted because the extra layers keep you warm. If you’re on a budget, overcoats are a great item to buy second-hand because they don’t fit as snugly because of the heavy fabric, they drape better, and they’re just more forgiving than a suit would be.
Mainly, all the overcoats in my collection are vintage, and I was able to get quality pieces at very low price. It ranges from a vintage Chester Barrie paletot overcoat with a velvet collar to a British warm or just a Casentino style double-breasted navy overcoat that I have found at Bobby from Boston.
Usually price point wise, you have to invest between hundred fifty dollars, if you want to go with peccary leather, we’re talking more about three hundred plus dollars. First of all, your gloves should fit tightly, and it should be made of a soft glove leather that stretches with the movements of your hands. You also want quirks between the fingers because it increases the range of movement and makes it more comfortable. To learn more about the glove leathers, please check out our glove leather guide here. You want them to be finally sewn either by hand or by machine, and you want something that just gets better with age. For example, lamb Nappa is soft and very sweet, but it will wear out more quickly than peccary leather which is made to last.
For example, I’ve had a pair of peccary gloves for over 10 years. I would wear them outside in the winter, they got all wet, but I could wash them and dry them, and they’ve developed a patina over the years. They’re too big and don’t fit me well that’s why I decided to create my own but overall, the leather is top-notch, and that’s how a peccary glove will age over time.
Precious Metal Cuff Links
Price-wise, it can range all the way from 300 dollars up to $25,000. So why should you invest in a pair of cufflinks? It’s one of those few jewelry items for men apart from a ring that looks very dapper, elegant, and classic. Most modern cufflinks these days are made in China, the not made out of precious metal, they look cheap, gaudy, and they’re quite loud. On the other hand, classic cufflinks, for example, knots or some with precious or semi-precious stones as well as cloisonné enamel cufflinks are made by real artisans and craftsmen that put all their knowledge into it, and because it is made of a precious metal, it will last you for a lifetime, and you can even hand it down to your children and grandchildren.
If you invest in a piece like Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, or Tiffany, you also pay for the brand name and their experience. How much you should invest in a pair of cufflinks is of course entirely up to you but just a comparison; on the one hand, you have a pair of Tiffany cufflinks in 18 karat gold, they’re hollow, they’re not solid, and they cost $2,700, on the other hand, we have a pair of monkey fist knot Fort Belvedere cufflinks, the shape was hand-carved and it’s an actual rope knot and you can see how it’s beautiful and twisted, they’re also solid and therefore much heavier than the gold cufflinks from Tiffany’s.
I think both of them can be worn for a lifetime and because the plating is so thick, it won’t rub. The Fort Belvedere cufflinks only costs $325 so whether it’s worth it to spend more than $2,000 for a gold version of a brand name is again up to you but what I am trying to explain to you is that you can find quality items that will last, and you don’t always have to go with a top dollar amount to get it.
They’re just an excellent addition to a classic gentleman’s wardrobe, and it’s not something a lot of other people will wear. The problem is, it’s challenging to find classic shapes in delicate materials such as sterling silver or gold on the market today. Either you have to go custom and spend several thousand dollars on the ring, or you go vintage, but it costs a lot of time, you often find lots of crappy rings.
Personally, all the rings in my collection right now are vintage, they range from sterling silver, all the way to solid 18 karat gold and everything in between. Because so tricky to find new ones we’re currently working on them so stay tuned. In the meantime, have a look at our signet ring guide.
Montblanc Meisterstück Fountain Pen
Of course, there are lots of other great manufacturers of fountain pens. Italian ones such as Omas, maybe Parker, or you name it. However, the Montblanc Meisterstück pen has been around for a very long time. It’s a very classic status symbol for many, but it’s also a perfect item that will not wear out prematurely. It has a nice gold nib, and it writes very beautifully. At one point in time, I owned over a hundred Montblanc fountain pens because I was a collector and fountain pens are actually what got me into men’s clothing.
Today, I reduced my collection a lot, and I only have three Montblanc fountain pens; one is a meisterstuck 149 which is their biggest flagship model, and it has a 3b nib which is quite broad, and I use it for signatures, another one has just a b nib, and I use it to write or take notes and then have a vintage piece which is very old, it was made out of celluloid, it had a solid brass telescope mechanism inside versus the modern meisterstuck fountain pens are made out of resin and inside is like a plastic lever mechanism.
That being said, the old fountain pen doesn’t work so well anymore because the seal is not tight because they used to have cork inside. The new ones seal very well, and they probably will last you for a lifetime. Interestingly over the time, the price has steadily increased to now almost a thousand dollars. When I started, they cost about half, but even then, you could find them used on eBay the problem is, there are lots of fakes out there especially for Montblanc, so I suggest you only buy from trusted sources.
Goodyear Welted Shoes
Which style you want heavily depends on what kind of lifestyle you live. A Goodyear welted pair of shoes is usually made from a higher-quality leather than a glued pair of shoes. It also has a more classic last that will stand the test of time and it can be resold which is less expensive than buying a new pair. Now price wise, you can spend under two hundred dollars or three thousand dollars on a pair of Goodyear shoes, of course, the difference is the quality of the leather, the patina, or the hand coloring, the finish, also the bottom and at the details are gonna be much more intricate on higher-end shoes.
More expensive shoes will probably have a hand-stitched good year welt, they’ll have a nice waist, and a lot more time went into your construction of that shoe. Of course, if you spend two thousand dollars or more, you also can get a custom Goodyear welted shoe, and that’s just an incredible experience because it is perfectly suited to your foot and your foot alone.
Is it worth spending $3,000 over two hundred dollars? I think it’s a very personal choice, but if you have a foot that works with most lasts of higher-end companies and they usually come in different widths and different shapes, you find something that works for you, it’s a much better value to go that route. That being said, it will never be as comfortable as a bespoke shoe.
Quality Leather Belts
I know belts are probably not something you might deem expensive because you can find them for $10 but you can also find some for $3,000. In my experience, a quality belt cost upwards of about a hundred and fifty dollars. The difference of course with quality belts is that they all have a high-end leather material on the inside, as well as on the outside, and also on the lining.
Now, most belts today including quality belts are edge painted which means the leather is cut on the edges and then burnished and painted to create a uniform look. The high-quality belts are thinned out at the edges which means you need more leather and then they’re folded and sewn together. It’s just a construction that lasts much longer than an edge-painted construction, and it’s a true hallmark of a quality leather belt. Another detail about the quality belt is its buckle. Most belt buckles on the market today are made of a material called zamak. It’s an alloy made out of the zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper, the problem is, it will age very poorly, and it scratches very easily so, over time, you have to throw your belt away even though the leather might not be worn out but the buckle just looks crappy. A higher-end buckle is a solid brass buckle. Over time, brass develops a patina and because of that, it’s often gold plated, or platinum, or palladium plated, for more formal dress belts that you would wear with a suit. Now the plating and thickness of the buckle can have a huge impact not only on the longevity of the buckle but also on the price.
In my opinion, a solid brass buckle with a nice thick coating either gold or palladium, is probably your best value for the money. If money is of no concern to you, you may want to look into solid 925 sterling silver buckles or solid 14 or 18 karat gold buckles. Now that’s a whole other level, and the buckle itself will be worth more than the entire belt itself. Is it worth it getting, a sterling silver buckle versus a solid brass and pay three or four hundred dollars more? It depends. It’s an actual luxury item, and silver just develops a patina that you won’t see on a plated brass buckle.
I know most people today use cell phones, and they think they are pro cameras, but they’re not. A pro level camera has a large sensor; it allows you to get a razor thin depth of field which means the amount is in sharpness versus the out-of-focus areas; just creates a stunning look and in combination with the increased sharpness and the color rendition, it’s just a very different experience.
Personally, I use DSLR cameras such as the Nikon D850 or a Nikon D500. It has the advantage that it comes with interchangeable lenses, but overall, you need to invest between about five to ten thousand dollars to get a nice DSLR with a range of lenses that allow you to photograph everything you want. In my opinion, it’s worth it because with a business where I use it, but even for just personal use, I would recommend investing in a more upscale camera.
Of course, if you’re rich, you want the very best in quality, you have to go with a medium format digital camera such as a Hasselblad, however, bear in mind that these pictures oftentimes have a hundred megapixels, so you need a whole ecosystems of computers, cards, and everything that work together, so you can develop a workflow and actually get those pictures. It’s more something for a pro photographer, not something for an amateur.
A wallet is something you wear every day, you pull it out when you maybe pay for a business meal, and overall, it develops a nice patina if it’s made of quality leather. A cheap wallet on the other hand just falls apart, and it looks older. In my opinion, a portemonnaie should always be an attractive item that you like wearing, that has a nice touch, a nice feel, and it’s something that lasts. Let’s say you invest $285 in a Fort Belvedere wallet which is made of the highest quality leather there is in Germany, if you break it down to the cost per wear, you probably end up at 5 to 15 cents a day depending on how you treat it and how long it would last you.
Personally, I use my smartphone every day. I do lots of business dealings with it, and because of that, I always buy the top model when it comes out and then I’ll use it for two years. At that point, I can sell it for 200 bucks or pass it on to a relative. For example, just here today I bought the new pixel 2 XL phone; with taxes and everything included, it costs me over a thousand bucks, however, if I can use it for two years and I break it down, it costs me only about a dollar and 40 per day.
Personally, I’d love to buy a modular phone so I could do exactly what I want without creating too much waste because as you know, with the technological advances in the smartphone market, we’ve new things coming out every month almost, and because of that, we have a lot of old phones that are just discarded which is a huge waste and a big ecological problem. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a more eco-friendly option out there, so you have to stick with what it is.
Why do I go with a Google phone rather than iPhone? I’m just not part of the Apple ecosystem, we use a lot of Google products, and it simply works for us. Also, I like the fact that it doesn’t come with any kind of bloatware such as on Samsung, LG’s, or Huawei where security and other updates are necessary, Google phones usually receive them first.