Below is an opening extract from an article I recently wrote for aandhmag.com. Follow the link at the bottom to read the complete article.
The modern era etymology of the word ‘value’ makes for a depressing conclusion. In its contemporary day-to-day usage ‘value’ has become synonymous with ‘low-cost’; when one says, ‘that’s good value for money’, too often they mean it was cheap, period. And that is a shame.
Value should mean something very different. If we limit our attitude towards value to a simple cost analysis without the necessary benefit counterbalance – without consideration of quality – we deny ourselves the virtue of true value.
Fortunately, the modern man is showing signs of rediscovering a passion for excellence.
I’m going to deal something of a sartorialist’s low-blow here by evoking Cary Grant’s wisdom in favor of my own argument. That’s a little unfair when arguing the nuances of men’s style since, well, who’s going to argue with him? But he was invariably right; never more so than with the sage advice offered in this pull-out from the 1967/1968 winter edition of GQ:
I’m reminded of a piece of advice my father gave me regarding shoes: it has stood me in good stead whenever my own finances were low. He said it’s better to buy one good pair of shoes than four cheap ones. One pair made of fine leather could outlast four inferior pairs, and, if well cared for, would continue to proclaim your good judgment and taste no matter how old they become.
Watertight – both the shoe and the argument. Yet, since those words were written, there’s been an explosive proliferation of fashion brands and manufacturers, the majority geared towards mass production and responding to short-lived trends.