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Author Topic: Buying a Uniform, How much is too much to pay?  (Read 7298 times)
qoSagh
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« on: 10 11, 2006, 07:48: PM »

I got this idea while reading one of the e-mail lists I subscribe to. When buying a uniform from someone else, how much is to much to pay? One customer posted about a $400 difference in price. Is quality and durability as important as we have always thought? Is the amount of actual use even a factor? I know for me, when I started out, we did 6-8 conventions a year, and a few members did some public events but not many. Would the expensive uniform have been worth it for me? Now there are few if any conventions i n my area and I usually only travel for 1 or maybe 2 a year. If I were buying that uniform now, I would be even less inclined to spend allot of money. I would rather have a uniform that cost less (if it didn't sacrifice looks) that I maintained well, then to have one that cost more that I rarely used. Anyone else want to weigh in?
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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« Reply #1 on: 10 12, 2006, 09:17: PM »

Anyone want to weigh in? Need you ask?  Wink

Anyway, it is probably somewhat of a subjective question. I recently helped a new member buy an "Off the Rack" uniform made by a friend. The person who made the armour had been trying to sell it for a couple of years, so I think that the price came down a little, but she sold the basic uniform including Spine, Tunic (With attached gorget and shoulder yoke), and gauntlets for about $150.

This was a really good price in my opinion, and it was fortunate that the new member was able to fit into it without difficulty. Also he had been prepared to pay $600-$700 based on common site pricing. However, it is something of a "Starter" uniform, sacrificing a little style for comfort and ease of wear. Also he is a professional, so the money was not as much of an issue as it might be for some.

I am (As was mentioned in another thread), having a new suit made for me specifically. Because it will be custom, the fit should be good, and I am willing to spend a little more to have a serviceable uniform for years to come. I do not know the final price yet, but I am anticipating (Including a very heavy duty honor sash), probably close to the $600 mark.

I am willing to pay this, because I have a vested interest in finally having a more traditional uniform to wear, and I do not expect to have to replace it for a long time. For someone who was not sure of their level of interest I might discourage paying that much. Especially since there are other accessories to think about as well. All of which I already own.

So in short, (Uh-huh), I think that there are several things that someone needs to consider when thinking about purchasing a uniform and how much to spend:

1) How often will it be used? As the meycha points out, something that will only be used once or fairly infrequently may not be something that it makes sense to spend a lot of money on if it is a sacrifice to do so.

2) How soon is the uniform needed? (Remember, saving $50 a month for a year would allow a nicer, better uniform, so if it can wait...Well you get the idea).

3) How much can one afford to spend? This is a hobby. For myself, I have enough ego that I like hearing people tell me that they dig my "Costume", and I love having my picture taken, so I am willing perhaps to spend a little more than I can realistically afford. But as stated it is a hobby, and it would not be wise for anyone to prioritize such a purchase over real world obligations.

4) What is your own time worth? I hear people talking all the time about making stuff themselves. This is great, and I have enormous respect for those who have the time, interest and skills required to do so well. So if it is worth the time and effort to make it yourself, then that will likely be a better solution. If on the other hand, the expense in time, materials and effort would outweigh that of having something made for you then the answer is clear.

5) What are you getting for the money? Are you getting ready to plop down $100 bucks for a tunic? Not a bad price really, but there are many other elements involved in getting a completed uniform. And I have seen tunics go for as much as $400 without any accessories, including Shoulders, or Spine. So it is good to know what you will need and what you are actually getting.

6) Shop around. Although less common perhaps than in the past, there are still a few quartermasters out there doing their thing. Some are cheaper than others. And in some cases the difference in quality may be evident.

7) Expensive does not always mean better. This goes with number 6 to some degree, in that there is always someone willing to take advantage of another person, or who feels that their own time is worth more than you may feel it is worth. Just because it is expensive does not guarantee that it will be good quality or look/wear the way you want it to.

Cool Convenience verses practicality. Where is the uniform being made? Will you be able to try it on before you pay the final payment? Online resources are great, but you do tend to sacrifice custom measurements, tailoring, and opportunities for feedback during the build when something is being sent from a distance. And there is the added cost of Shipping, Insurance etc involved.

I dunno' those are a few ideas off the top of my head, but the basic message is: "Don't spend it if you don't have it to spend. If it's worth it to you to either have someone else make a uniform, or pay a little extra for higher quality gear then do it. And try to develop a relationship of some sort with the person you intend to buy from."

maj! {Good}...
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qoSagh
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« Reply #2 on: 10 12, 2006, 10:03: PM »

Hobby? Well I suppose so, but having been at this as long as I have, that kind of takes on a new meaning. For a newbie, this is a very valid point, that I hadn't thought of. This goes hand in hand with level of interest, not that I knew I'd still be at this so many years later, but I suppose I would have got my moneys worth of just about anything I had bought by now.

I also have the ego (which as an aside I think is somewhat of a requirement for this) that makes expensive toys worth more. I too am now in the market for a more traditional set of battle armor (well not too traditional) as well as either renovating or recasting my headpiece. Not having the talent at sewing that some others have, I will probably buy my uniform, but I applaud anyone that makes their own.
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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« Reply #3 on: 10 12, 2006, 10:44: PM »

For me it is a hobby, albeit a consuming one. I do a lot of other things too though, so I am not sure that I would call it a life-style or anything. It's not really a sport per se', though some might argue the point... That kinda' leaves hobby... But it is also a very important social aspect of my life, which may boost it up to something "more" than hobby...

As to the advantages of having a "Larger than Life" ego when playing Klingon... I agree 100%!!!

You mention looking into getting a new uniform as well... Have you started "Shopping" yet, or made contact with a source (Or sources)?

maj!

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« Reply #4 on: 10 14, 2006, 10:06: PM »

I have not started shopping seriously yet. The vendor that was initially recommended to me, seems to have erratic delivery issues, from what has been recently posted to the e-mail lists. I have come across one vendor who comes highly recommended and highly priced, which may go hand in hand. Since at this point, I am looking for something that will last for many years to come, this may be the best option.

I guess this is a hobby, but those of us who are into this hobby are nothing if not fanatical about it. I agree that it is not a lifestyle, I think one would have to live this way full time to accomplish that dubious distinction.
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qoSagh qlIStIy
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« Reply #5 on: 07 25, 2007, 01:08: PM »

I never thought about the prize, so far see below what i have spent for the material. (for 2 costums, a dress and a uniform)

- 2m faux fur black longhair -> 10 EUR
- aluminium 3x 450 x 370 x 0,15 mm -> 3.98 EUR
- thread -> 5.00 EUR  (extra strong for the faux leather)
- faux leather 2 colors -> 6,27 and 7.00 EUR
- belt -> 2x 5.00 EUR
- trouser -> 3.00 EUR
- Acetate Taffeta Lining Fabric for below the uniform (wearing comfort) -> 2.54 EUR
- metalic look fabric -> 10 EUR (1/2 m2)

= 57.79 EUR n material only + shipping for around the same, so around 120 EUR for now. I am still missing the applications though.

The most expensive was actually the sewing machine with 167 EUR



Edit: did some rephrasing and capitalisation.
« Last Edit: 07 28, 2007, 12:21: PM by Tedra_deArr » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: 08 10, 2007, 04:29: PM »

Hoch Savan <I salute y'all>

I'm also looking to buy a uniform. I can make/get made most of the civilian stuff, but I'd rather go to a pro for the Defence Force costume. While the "official" source is out of the question, for both monetary and quality reasons, I want something "real" (well, liquid Kevlar and d3o will still have to wait a bit, but there's hope Wink). Can you recommend any good costume makers, via private message if you prefer? USA-based are OK distance-wise, as I plan a trip there next summer.

Dream, grow and LIVE!

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« Reply #7 on: 08 10, 2007, 04:55: PM »

Hightower Crafts offer a complete uniform for £850 - thats the jacket, trousers, gauntlets and even the boots.  I have not seen his uniforms abut a friend has a pair of his made to measure boots and the quality is incredible.  Might be a good source for anyone in the UK.
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