It seemed that even the announcement of the Watch couldn’t kill the rumour mill about the Watch as there’s been rampant speculation about just what this device will be, what it will cost and what it will mean for tech consumers worldwide. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, any potential Apple product receives this treatment, but it still shocks me just how people are in potential rather than actual products. Yesterday Apple announced the price range for their range of Watches and they start at the expected price, some US$349 and rocket up to the absolutely crazy price of US$17,000. Needless to say those premium editions are far more premium than most people were expecting and it makes one question what the motives behind those devices are.
For starters smartwatches are still in their nascent stages with numerous companies still vying to find that killer design, app or whatever it is that catapults them to the top of the pile. For me it’s still about aesthetics, something which the Watch certainly doesn’t have, and the only one that’s managed to come close to winning in that regard (in my mind) is the Huawei Watch and I’m even skeptical of that given how the Moto 360 turned out. For others though it’s going to be about the features, something which the current Watch seems to satisfy, however as time goes on those $17,000 Watches are going become decidedly dated and this brings in the quesiton about Apple’s strategy with these premium devices.
There’s no doubt that there’s a healthy dose of margin on the higher end devices, especially considering that the innards on those devices is identical to the ones that cost a fraction of the premium models. So potentially these higher end Watches are being used to subsidise the lower end although honestly I can’t remember a time when Apple has done this with another consumer product, a hefty premium on all hardware (and losses elsewhere) is their modus operandi. Whilst I can see the lower end models fitting well into Apple’s yearly product cycle I can’t say the same for these high end models although I’ll be the first to admit that someone paying that much for an Watch obviously has a different sense of value to me.
The argument has been made that these luxury versions of the Watch won’t be bought for the functionality which I agree with to a point however there are far, far better purchases that can be made to facilitate the same purpose for a similar price. The differentiator between those products and the one Apple is peddling is the functionality and it’s highly unlikely that someone who wants a fashion accessory would pick a $17K Watch over an equivalent Rolex or Patek. In that regard the functionality does matter and these watches are going to be rapidly outpaced by their cheaper brethren just a year down the line. Apple could of course offer an upgrade service although nothing of that nature has been forthcoming and they’re not exactly a company that prides themselves on upgradeable products.
Regardless of what I think though it will be the market that decides how popular these things will be and whether or not Apple can break into the realm of high fashion with their luxury Watches. My personal opinion is they won’t, given the fact that whilst functionality might not be important in a luxury watch it’s Apple’s only differentiator at this point. However I also highly critical of the iPad so I’m not the greatest judge of what should make a product successful so maybe an Watch with a gold case will be enough to sell people on the idea, even if the resulting watch will be replaced by a sleeker brother only 12 months later.
I’m not exactly what you’d call a fashionista, the ebbs and flows of what’s current often pass me by, but I do have my own style which I usually refresh on a yearly basis. More recently this has tended towards my work attire, mostly because I spend a great deal more time in it than I did previously. However the act of shopping for clothes is one I like to avoid as I find it tiresome, especially when trying to find the right sizes to fit my not-so-normal dimensions. Thus I’ve recently turned towards custom services and tailoring in order to get what I want in the sizes that fit me but, if I’m honest, the online world still seems to be light years behind that which I can get from the more traditional fashion outlets.
For instance one of the most frustrating pieces of clothing for me to buy is business shirts. Usually they fall short in one of my three key categories (length, sleeve length and fit in the mid section) so I figured that getting some custom made would be a great way to go. So I decided that I’d last out for a couple shirts from 2 online retailers, Original Stitch and Shirts My Way, to see if I could get something that would tick all 3 categories. I was also going to do a review of them against each other to see which one of the retailers provided the better fit and would thus become my defacto supplier of shirts for the foreseeable future. However upon receiving both shirts I was greeted with the unfortunate reality: they both sucked.
They seemed to get some of the things right, like the neck size and overall shirt length, however they both seemed to be made to fit someone who weighed about 40kg more than I do with the mid section being like a tent. Both of them also had ridiculously billowy sleeves, making my arms appear to be twice as wide as they should be. I kind of expected something like this to happen with Original Stitch, since their measurements aren’t exactly comprehensive, but Shirts My Way also suffered from the same issues even though I followed their guidelines exactly. Comparing this to the things I’ve had fitted or tailored in the past I was extremely disappointed as I was expecting as good or better service.
The problem could be partially solved by technology as 3D scanning could provide extremely accurate sizing that online stores could then incorporate in order to ensure you got the right fit the first time around. In fact I’d argue that there should be some kind of open standard for this, allowing all the various companies to develop their brand of solutions for it that would be interoperable between different clothing companies. That is something of a pipe dream, I know, but I can’t be the only person who has had this kind of frustration trying to get the right fits from online retailers.
I guess for now I should just stick with the tried and true methods for getting the clothing that I want as the online experience, whilst infinitely more convenient, ultimately delivers a lacklustre product. I’m hopeful that change is coming although it’s going to take time for it to become widespread and I’m sure that there won’t be any standards across the industry for a long time after that. Maybe one day I’ll be able to order the right fits from the comfort of my own home but, unfortunately, that day is not today.
If I’m honest clothes shopping isn’t one of my favourite things to do. Whilst I’m somewhat lucky in that I’m not particularly hard to fit the whole process just seems to take too long and the recovering introvert in me doesn’t enjoy discussing my appearance with the store staff. Still I have something of a passion for suits ever since I discovered the difference between the cheap, polyester suits of my youth and the down right exquisiteness of the full wool suit I bought for my sister in-law’s wedding. However I’m still a financial conservative at heart and whilst I’d love nothing more than to drop a couple thousand on a bespoke suit tailored to perfection I’m quite happy with something cheaper if it’s of quality and fits relatively well.
My previous work suit was a decently priced affair from yd, it’s only downside being that it used the cheaper blended fabric so as it aged it started to show rather obviously. The suit I had had before that was pure wool and only went to retirement due to the fact that I naively bought a single pair of pants for it and finding a matching pair (it was grey) proved notoriously difficult. So I figured it was time to invest in another wool suit, one that would hopefully last me for a couple years and, hopefully, wouldn’t break the bank. After searching around for a while I stumbled ASOS’ range of suits and was quite surprised at their prices.
For comparison the best you can usually do on a full wool suit in a store is going to be around $500~600, usually a little more if you’re going to invest in another pair of pants to go with it. Online you might be able to get away a little cheaper, SuitSupply goes down to about $450 with full tailoring, but getting below that usually means a trip to Vietnam, if you want something of decent quality. ASOS though had a full wool suit for about $270 as well as everything else you’d need to kit out a new work wardrobe. In the end I figured it was worth the risk and for about $470 I was able to get a suit, 2 pairs of pants and 4 shirts delivered to my door in about 5 days.
The results, as the above picture shows, speak for themselves.
First off the construction of their suits is top notch, at least on par with my store bought suits of years past. The fabric has a very subtle diagonal lining on it which makes it look a little more welcoming than a solid black fabric suit tends to. As for sizing their provided guide seems to be spot on as I ordered their long versions and they fit my rather tall frame well. The pants will probably need a bit of tailoring to take them up a bit but I much prefer that to the alternative. The suit jacket also feels like it will need a couple wears to settle in properly as the collar has a rather annoying tendency to flip itself up at the moment.
Probably my one major complaint will be in the variability of the shirts as I bought 4 of their Smart Shirts in the same size but they all fit differently. For instance the charcoal button down collar ones seem to fit perfectly in almost all regards (the sides might need to be taken in a bit) however the herringbone one has almost uncomfortably tight sleeves, especially when you bend your elbows. I had figured that since they were all pretty much the exact same design there wouldn’t be that much variability but unfortunately there is. I haven’t looked up other reviews to see if this is a widespread issue however so it might just be an isolated case.
For the price I have to say I’m quite stunned as whilst I was expecting something that was serviceable I wasn’t expecting something that would exceed the quality of what I can source here locally. There are a few quirks here and there of course however apart from getting something fully tailored this is something that should be expected. It doesn’t approach the quality of my good dinner suit however but the price of admission for that particular garment was almost double of this one. So if you’re looking for a daily suit then you really can’t go past ASOS, especially for the price.