How Much Should Your Clothes Cost?
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,635,570 (+0.09%)       Melbourne $990,779 (-0.14%)       Brisbane $1,002,534 (+0.89%)       Adelaide $899,189 (+1.63%)       Perth $853,385 (-0.01%)       Hobart $727,599 (-0.08%)       Darwin $665,330 (-2.24%)       Canberra $1,030,329 (+2.00%)       National $1,054,780 (+0.44%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $758,114 (+0.56%)       Melbourne $494,774 (+0.21%)       Brisbane $562,776 (+0.42%)       Adelaide $448,109 (+2.19%)       Perth $451,267 (-0.77%)       Hobart $504,603 (-1.31%)       Darwin $357,621 (+2.79%)       Canberra $496,414 (-0.41%)       National $532,600 (+0.26%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,429 (+70)       Melbourne 14,915 (+41)       Brisbane 7,933 (-18)       Adelaide 2,089 (-116)       Perth 5,787 (-101)       Hobart 1,241 (+4)       Darwin 244 (-2)       Canberra 988 (+18)       National 43,626 (-104)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,586 (+58)       Melbourne 8,221 (+87)       Brisbane 1,635 (+21)       Adelaide 372 (-9)       Perth 1,517 (-36)       Hobart 198 (-10)       Darwin 404 (-2)       Canberra 1,028 (+31)       National 21,961 (+140)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $820 (+$3)       Melbourne $600 (-$5)       Brisbane $650 ($0)       Adelaide $600 ($0)       Perth $680 ($0)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $750 ($0)       Canberra $680 (+$10)       National $676 (+$1)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $760 (-$10)       Melbourne $595 (-$5)       Brisbane $640 (-$3)       Adelaide $500 (+$5)       Perth $620 ($0)       Hobart $450 ($0)       Darwin $540 (-$10)       Canberra $550 (-$10)       National $596 (-$5)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,832 (+125)       Melbourne 6,113 (+155)       Brisbane 4,426 (+39)       Adelaide 1,506 (+63)       Perth 2,727 (+138)       Hobart 431 (+13)       Darwin 95 (-3)       Canberra 602 (+6)       National 21,732 (+536)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,046 (+377)       Melbourne 6,071 (+301)       Brisbane 2,272 (+28)       Adelaide 373 (+1)       Perth 740 (-4)       Hobart 143 (+14)       Darwin 136 (+6)       Canberra 746 (+30)       National 20,527 (+753)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.61% (↑)        Melbourne 3.15% (↓)       Brisbane 3.37% (↓)       Adelaide 3.47% (↓)     Perth 4.14% (↑)      Hobart 3.93% (↑)      Darwin 5.86% (↑)        Canberra 3.43% (↓)       National 3.33% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 5.21% (↓)       Melbourne 6.25% (↓)       Brisbane 5.91% (↓)       Adelaide 5.80% (↓)     Perth 7.14% (↑)      Hobart 4.64% (↑)        Darwin 7.85% (↓)       Canberra 5.76% (↓)       National 5.81% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND         Sydney 28.9 (↓)     Melbourne 30.3 (↑)        Brisbane 30.8 (↓)       Adelaide 25.4 (↓)     Perth 36.1 (↑)      Hobart 37.8 (↑)      Darwin 35.1 (↑)        Canberra 28.5 (↓)     National 31.6 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND         Sydney 29.6 (↓)       Melbourne 30.2 (↓)     Brisbane 29.6 (↑)        Adelaide 25.4 (↓)     Perth 38.3 (↑)      Hobart 30.1 (↑)        Darwin 46.7 (↓)       Canberra 38.0 (↓)     National 33.5 (↑)            
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How Much Should Your Clothes Cost?

As the cost of living skyrockets, many shoppers are paying extra-close attention to the price of everything from denim to cashmere. We break down what it’s reasonable to pay for four quiet, high-quality menswear staples that will last.

By TODD PLUMMER
Fri, Jan 20, 2023 9:06amGrey Clock 5 min

WITH INFLATION at record highs and a possible recession looming, shoppers are scrutinizing clothing price-tags hard right now. Few will welcome what they’re about to see, said Margaret Bishop, a supply-chain expert who teaches at three top fashion schools in New York. “The cost of raw materials, labor and transport, and logistics have all risen…and I don’t see how we could avoid higher retail prices in 2023,” she said.

Even so, you needn’t get ripped off. If you want quiet, well-made items that will last—and you don’t require a hyped brand name or luxury logo, both of which hike up prices—how much should you expect to shell out? Here, we do the math for four wardrobe staples.

1. Cashmere Sweater

Look to pay: $325 and above

Much of the world’s cashmere comes from Mongolia, but not all cashmere goats’ shags are created equal. An all-important, industry-wide grading system delineates fibers according to length and width. Grade A denotes the finest, longest and most expensive cashmere, which creates the softest and most-durable sweaters. Fast-fashion brands peddling sub-$100 knits tend to use Grade B or C hairs, meaning they’re shorter, scratchier and more liable to pill and break down over time, said Edouard Leret, co-founder of New York cashmere brand Leret Leret.

If you crave a cozy sweater with stamina, Grade A is the way to go. But determining the hair pedigree of a prospective purchase isn’t exactly easy: In the U.S., brands aren’t obligated to list grades on tags—“100% cashmere” is no guarantee you’re getting top-quality fuzz. A good workaround? Look to brands that specify Grade A on their websites, and shop for sweaters in-person so you can feel for softness, a telltale sign. Grade A creations needn’t cost eye-watering, four-figure sums. Some brands manage costs by producing close to the cashmere source. Leret Leret, for instance, manufactures in Mongolia, “which allows us to sell at the price we do,” said Mr. Leret. His playful knits are emblazoned with contemporary artists’ designs and start at $475. Simpler sweaters will be cheaper still. Massachusetts brand Billie Todd is a good benchmark: Its unfussy crew necks, which use Grade A fibers spun at a leading Scottish mill, start at $325.

A soft, subdued cashmere knit

  • Knit in Scotland, it features a ribbed, sag-resistant neck.
  • Solid, ribbed trim at the cuffs and waist refuses to lose shape.
  • Grade-A cashmere—the softest, most-durable variety. Sweater, $325, BillieTodd.com

 

2. Oxford Shirt

Look to pay: $125 (or $175 for made-in-the-U.S.)

“A basic Oxford is pretty simple,” said Atlanta designer Sid Mashburn. What separates a prize button-up from a flimsier, forgettable one are nuances related to construction and finish. Brands make a calculated decision about how much their customer cares about these price-increasing details. For instance, Mr. Mashburn’s shirts are sewn with 22 stitches per inch as opposed to the standard 16. This more time-intensive construction results in a sturdier, more-polished product. Other features to consider: Are the buttons made from cheap plastic or lustrous trocas shell? Is the collar blessed with an inner lining that softens pleasingly over time or is it a cheaper, “fused” collar that remains rigor-mortis-stiff forever?

Mr. Mashburn’s Oxfords, which feature many such nice-to-haves, will set you back $125. He’s able to sell them for this amount—a reasonable sum considering the quality—because they’re sewn in Honduras, where manufacturing costs are lower than in the U.S. and much of Europe.

If you desire a made-in-the-U.S. shirt, prepare to cough up about $50 more. Philip Saul, owner of Boston store Sault New England, produces his shirts a mere 50 miles away in Fall River, Mass. They feature premium details similar to Mr. Mashburn’s but cost $178. “The same workers that make maybe $18 an hour were maybe getting $8 an hour 10 years ago, so it makes sense that quality, made-in-America things should cost more [now],” said Mr. Saul. When manufacturing costs for an item go up $5, he added, “the retail price goes up $10.”

An Oxford shirt with thoughtful details

  • A nicely rolled collar not a forever-stiff ‘fused’ variety.
  • Pearly, trocas-shell buttons as opposed to plastic versions.
  • 22 stitches per inch—sturdier than the standard 16 stitches. Shirt, $125, SidMashburn.com
3. Jeans

Look to pay: $100 for a megabrand, under $300 for an independent maker

All jeans begin with more or less the same quality cotton, but this seemingly simple raw material boasts “one of the most complex. supply chains because it’s so global,” said Ms. Bishop, the professor. Cotton is often grown on one continent and spun on another, before it is transformed into a specific denim via a seemingly infinite choice of washes, blends and finishes—selvedge, vintage, raw, bleached, stretch, you name it. The deluge of jeans styles makes it tricky to determine a universal standard for quality and value, said Aaron Levine, a designer who consults for brands including Aimé Leon Dore and Vince and was formerly senior vice president of men’s and women’s design at Abercrombie & Fitch. The quality of rivets and zippers, and presence of flourishes like embroidery, nudge up the cost, he added.

Arguably a bigger price determinant: the size of the denim brand. “[Household brands] have such massive economies of scale that they receive price breaks on both raw materials and manufacturing,” said Mr. Levine. Such breaks are seldom extended to smaller brands, he said, which is why jeans from independent labels often cost more than, say, Levi’s or Wranglers.

When assessing a potential purchase, Mr. Levine asks himself: “Does the fabric feel like it’s got guts and integrity? Is the stitching straight and even?” Though he might splurge on tough-to-find vintage jeans, he has hard limits when buying new styles. “[Even] if a pair of new jeans fits me perfectly, I won’t go over $300.”

A solid pair of jeans from a big-name brand

  • Mid-weight denim washed using less water foreco reasons.
  • Precise, even stitching is a sign of quality jeans. Jeans, $98, Everlane.com
4. Leather Belt

Look to pay: $100 max

A great belt can cost $100 or even less. At around that price point, you can get leather of sufficient quality that you see the grain and, when you touch it, “you feel ‘leather’—not plastic or enamel or any finishes,” said Yuki Matsuda, the founder of Los Angeles fashion brands Monitaly and Yuketen. Because it’s rarely complicated to make a belt, raw materials usually account for the bulk of the final price. “Most of [that] goes into the leather. but buckles can incur really wild prices,” said Mr. Matsuda, if they’re a masterfully handcrafted creation rather than a basic brass design.

For some of the best—and best-priced—belts, Mr. Matsuda advises seeking out seasoned, small-scale brands. One such standout: Narragansett Leathers in Damariscotta, Maine, whose owner, Alan McKinnon, has handmade vegetable-tanned, bridle-leather belts since 1969. “When I first started [my most popular models] were $7 and now they are $55, 50 years later,” said Mr. McKinnon.

Can’t make it to a one-man shop in Maine for your new cincher? Visit independent retailers closer to home and peruse their in-house lines. Sault, the Boston retailer, makes agreeably understated belts at a nearby factory; they cost $89 a pop.

A handsome belt featuring first-rate leather and a no-nonsense, stainless-steel buckle

  • Hand-stitching around the buckle is straight and even.
  • English bridle leather with some graininess—not overly smooth. Belt, $89, SaultNE.com
Blue Buys

We asked men in Midtown Manhattan what they’d fork over for a pair of jeans.

“Probably, like, $50. I love to thrift—that’s where I find most of the jeans I like.”

—Dalton Bleckman, 19, student

“Up to $200. It depends on the occasion, what I’m wearing it for. [I’ll] go down to $40-60 but if it’s a name brand I’ll go up.”

—Frank Henderson, 62, works on convertible bonds desk

“100 bucks, 150 maybe. I like Levi’s. I think this pair [I’m wearing] are from Uniqlo. They’re quite cheap: 30-40 euros.”

—Tommaso Noseda, 32, consultant

“120 bucks. I like AG and Diesel. These [ones I’m wearing] are Zara, [they cost] under 60 bucks, probably.”

—Yoni Ron, 37, works in software sales



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A Killer Golf Swing Is a Hot Job Skill Now

Companies are eager to hire strong players who use hybrid work schedules to schmooze clients on the course

By CALLUM BORCHERS
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5 min

Standout golfers who aren’t quite PGA Tour material now have somewhere else to play professionally: Corporate America.

People who can smash 300-yard drives and sink birdie putts are sought-after hires in finance, consulting, sales and other industries, recruiters say. In the hybrid work era, the business golf outing is back in a big way.

Executive recruiter Shawn Cole says he gets so many requests to find ace golfers that he records candidates’ handicaps, an index based on average number of strokes over par, in the information packets he submits to clients. Golf alone can’t get you a plum job, he says—but not playing could cost you one.

“I know a guy that literally flies around the world in a private jet loaded with French wine, and he golfs and lands hundred-million-dollar deals,” Cole says.

Tee times and networking sessions have long gone hand-in-golf-glove. Despite criticism that doing business on the course undermines diversity, equity and inclusion efforts—and the fact that golf clubs haven’t always been open to women and minorities —people who mix golf and work say the outings are one of the last reprieves from 30-minute calendar blocks

Stars like Tiger Woods and Michelle Wie West helped expand participation in the sport. Still, just 22% of golfers are nonwhite and 26% are women, according to the National Golf Foundation.

To lure more people, clubs have relaxed rules against mobile-phone use on the course, embracing white-collar professionals who want to entertain clients on the links without disconnecting from the office. It’s no longer taboo to check email from your cart or take a quick call at the halfway turn.

With so much other business conducted virtually, shaking hands on the green and schmoozing over clubhouse beers is now seen as making an extra effort, not slacking off.

Americans played a record 531 million rounds last year. Weekday play has nearly doubled since 2019, with much of the action during business hours , according to research by Stanford University economist Nicholas Bloom .

“It would’ve been scandalous in 2019 to be having multiple meetings a week on the golf course,” Bloom says. “In 2024, if you’re producing results, no one’s going to see anything wrong with it.”

A financial adviser at a major Wall Street bank who competes on the amateur circuit told me he completes 90% of his tasks by 10 a.m. because he manages long-term investment plans that change infrequently. The rest of his workday often involves golfing with clients and prospects. He’s a member of a private club with a multiyear waiting list, and people jump at the chance to join him on a course they normally can’t access.

There is an art to bringing in business this way. He never initiates shoptalk, telling his playing partners the round is about having fun and getting to know each other. They can’t resist asking about investment strategies by the back nine, he says.

Work hard, play hard

Matt Parziale golfed professionally on minor-league tours for several years, but when his dream of making the big time ended, he had to get a regular job. He became a firefighter, like his dad.

A few years later he won one of the biggest amateur tournaments in the country, earning spots in the 2018 Masters and U.S. Open, where he tied for first among non-pros.

The brush with celebrity brought introductions to business types that Parziale, 35 years old, says he wouldn’t have met otherwise. One connection led to a job with a large insurance broker. In 2022 he jumped to Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates in Wellesley, Mass., which recognised his golf game as a tool to help win large accounts.

He rescheduled our interview because he was hosting clients at a private club on Cape Cod, and squeezed me in the next morning, before teeing off with a business group in Newport, R.I.

A short time ago, Parziale couldn’t imagine making a living this way. Now he’s the norm in elite amateur golf circles.

“I look around at the guys at the events I play, and they all have these jobs ,” he says.

His boss, Chief Executive Chip Gibson, says Parziale is good at bringing in business because he puts as much effort into building relationships as honing his game. A golf outing is merely an opportunity to build trust that can eventually lead to a deal, and it’s a misconception that people who golf during work hours don’t work hard, he says.

Barry Allison’s single-digit handicap is an asset in his role as a management consultant at Accenture , where he specialises in travel and hospitality. He splits time between Washington, D.C., and The Villages, Fla., a golf mecca that boasts more than 50 courses.

It can be hard to get to know people in distributed work environments, he says. Go golfing and you’ll learn a lot about someone’s temperament—especially after a bad shot.

“If you see a guy snap a club over his knee, you don’t know what he’s going to snap next,” Allison says.

Special access

On a recent afternoon I was a lunch guest at Brae Burn Country Club, a private enclave outside Boston that was the site of U.S. Golf Association championships won by legends like Walter Hagen and Bobby Jones. I parked in the second lot because the first one was full—on a Wednesday.

My host was Cullen Onstott, managing director of the Onstott Group executive search firm and a former collegiate golfer at Fairfield University. He explained one reason companies prize excellent golfers is they can put well-practiced swings on autopilot and devote most of their attention to chitchat.

It’s hard to talk with potential customers about their needs and interests when you’re hunting for errant shots in the woods. It’s also challenging if you show off.

The first hole at Brae Burn is a 318-yard par 4 that slopes down, enabling big hitters like Onstott to reach the putting green in a single stroke. But to stay close to his playing partners and keep the conversation flowing, he sometimes hits a shorter shot.

Having an “in” at an exclusive club can make you a catch. Bo Burch, an executive recruiter in North Carolina, says clubs in his region tend to attract members according to their business sectors. One might be chock-full of real-estate investors while another has potential buyers of industrial manufacturing equipment.

Burch looks for candidates who are members of clubs that align with his clients’ industries, though he stresses that business acumen comes first when filling positions.

Tami McQueen, a former Division I tennis player and current chief marketing officer at Atlanta investment firm BIP Capital, signed up for private golf lessons this year. She had noticed colleagues were wearing polos with course logos and bringing their clubs to work. She wanted in.

McQueen joined business associates on the golf course for the first time in March at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. She has lowered her handicap to a respectable 26 and says her new skill lends a professional edge.

“To be able to say, ‘I can play with you and we can have those business meetings on the course’ definitely opens a lot more doors,” she says.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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