There are a few things I’ll spend a little more money on to guarantee quality:
- Dress shoes. Because they have to be stylish and comfortable (and, ideally, durable).
- Bed. I’ve always slept like a rock, but a few years ago I sprang for a Sleep Number mattress and foundation to guarantee a couple decades’ worth of good sleep.
- Skin care. Strictly a Philosophy guy when it comes to taking care of my mug. (I’ll dabble in drugstore treats like Queen Helene masks, but never in place of the essentials.)
When it comes to clothing, I love a good brand name as much as anyone, but I tend to splurge on only a few special pieces. I may have spent $200+ on a pair of Paige Premium Denim jeans* back in 2011, but the vast majority of my jeans are from Uniqlo ($50 and less!), or brands like Diesel or Lucky that were picked up at deep discounts.
* They not only fit and felt amazing, but also are a reliable memento of my first visits to New York City.
What I’m trying to get at is: Who buys $300 sweat pants?
Now, I understand that an increase in price is often commensurate with an increase in quality. You’ll pay more for a 600-thread-count sheet than a 120-thread-count one, for example.**
** Consumer Reports says anything above 400 doesn’t actually improve the feel of the sheet, though.
But like 1,200-thread-count sheets, there’s a tipping point at which the quest for quality becomes overkill.
Champion partnered with New York designer Todd Snyder to revamp its classic sportswear pieces like hoodies, T-shirts and sweats. Collaborations like this are becoming more common, and often give the basic brand a “prestige push.” (I own a pair of Jack Purcell sneakers that John Varvatos designed for Converse, for example, and Target has paired up with brands like Missoni, Liberty of London and Peter Pilotto.)
The regular Champion sweats, above left, sell for less than $40. The Todd Snyder for Champion sweats, above right, sell for $150. I’m not denying that the Todd Snyder ones look more stylish, including the athletic-inspired waist tie and exposed seaming. And maybe they’re super comfortable, which is what you’d prefer when you’re lounging around all day. But $150 is a lot to spend on sweats.
That’s still not $295, though, which is what Todd Snyder’s “French terry” sweat pants used to retail for. (Also, they’re made of wool, which doesn’t sound enjoyable.) Notice I said “used to”; they now list for $100 cheaper—and they’re sold out (so someone is buying in to the concept).
It started me digging to see: How much would someone sell sweat pants for?
The “winner” turned out to be Dolce & Gabbana, whose sweats, above left, sold for $445. In descending-price order, I also found a Michael Kors pair for $145. Lululemon’s “Post Gravity Pants,” in the middle above, went for $88, but are off the company website now. And American Giant—the company whose sweats are becoming legendary for U.S.-made quality—sells its heavyweight sweats, at above right, for $69.
Meanwhile, on Planet Affordable for Me, I ended up … not buying anything, actually. It’ll soon be 110 degrees every day and 80 degrees at night, so I need anti-sweat pants for the next few months. But when it’s time to search again, I’ll probably end up at Uniqlo, where the standard sweats at right were going for $29.90.
|WHAT SAM WORE: 3-26-14|
|The shirt: Cotton button-down, from Banana Repubic.|
|The tie: Silk tie by Tommy Hilfiger, from Nordstrom.|
|The pants: Slim-fit cargo khakis, from Uniqlo.|
|The shoes: Tumble loafers by J Brand Shoes.|