The Paradox of Choice

by | March 2, 2020 | Buying Experiences

It’s Friday morning. I have a light day for work ; I likely WON’T be customer facing and WILL be sitting in front of my computer setting appointments, returning phone calls and following up on a week’s worth of meetings. I’ve been to the gym, showered, mused at the thought of shaving while, instead, opting toward my commitment to laziness and letting the signature Schildhouse Stubble carry on into a feeble beard. Screaming and laughing toddlers outside my door, I have maybe five minutes to make a choice on what the day’s armor will be. Closet opens…Fuck…

As previously mentioned, I am fairly new to the selvedge game. I want to make sure I am committing the right amount of time and wears to each of my denim projects. I’m obsessive and I need to make sure I’m giving the right amount of attention to each one before spring hits and my number of jeans wearing days begins to dwindle for the long, humid Ohio summer ahead.

Maybe this is an obvious decision for some. Maybe I’m over thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t have lost my damn mind five months ago and realized to get into this lifestyle, I didn’t need to buy eight pairs of selvedge denim jeans. I’ve lost all hope and I haven’t even had a cup of coffee yet.

DECISION FATIGUE

It’s said the average person makes 35,000 decisions every day. What to eat for breakfast? What shirt to wear? Which door to go through? Where to go for lunch?

A simple way to free up mental RAM is to cut down on the number of decisions you need to make. Some of the most successful people have already figured this out. They simply wear the same thing each and every day.

Don’t believe me? In HBO’s 2017 documentary series, Defiant Ones, Dre mentions he wears the same shoes every day: Nike’s Air Force 1. Barack Obama wears only gray or blue suits. Steve Jobs became famous for a black turtleneck, jeans, and New Balance sneakers. Feel free to fact check me.

I can already see the comments, “but, Grant, this is a denim and leather blog and blah…blah…blah.” Ah, yes, but this isn’t the subject matter, this is the preamble that lends context to my story. So buckle the fuck up, because here we go.


The Paradox of choice can lead to decision fatigue.
The paradox of choice can contribute to decision fatigue.

CUSTOMS!

So here we go. This, I should point out, is no way a review on SoSo products or quality (this will come in a later post). This is purely an observational personal account of one experience in the growing market that is Custom Selvedge. Picture it: December 26th, I have gift card money burning a hole in my hand from relatives that don’t know what else to get me. Zero Complaints, because I know exactly what I’m doing on Boxing day…I’m hitting the custom lab on the SoSo website. There was a great sale. I’m pretty pumped. I love bespoke clothing and accessories. I love having something no one has. I love…Jeebus F. Cribbs…look at all the options.

Fabric and cut I expected and to a point maybe thread and patch color, however I was not prepared to make so many decisions. Fifty fabric choices. 24 different possible customizations. Buttons. Rivets. Selvedge ID location. Embroidery on the fifth pocket. Belt loops. Pocket bags. Double, single or triple stitched and oh how many colors do you want for stitching. Some customizations with as many as 25 different options! This list should be overwhelming to read. If you have the smallest amount OCD and a perfectionist, especially when it comes to aesthetics and design, this process could almost feel like a curse. I was spoiled for choice.

First world Problems. I know. Trust me I hear it and I want to kick my own ass. But here’s the thing. It almost spoiled the fun for me. So many options left me wondering if I made the wrong choices; debating this color with that rivet or this pocket bag or that (a detail that would only matter to me). It was all so cool and exciting and yet somehow overwhelming.

There was, what I am sure was unintended by the SoSo Brothers, a self-inflicted stress in the decision making process. It was a weird and unexpected effect. I walked away from my computer twice. Built and rebuilt my custom jeans countless times. I thought to myself, “a 3D visualizer would help.” I cursed the whole process because I (full ownership) had stressed myself out. I literally woke up the following morning obsessing about the details (again, I own this, I’m a freak of nature).

On Boxing Day I made 35,137 decisions and was exhausted for it. Who cares? Would I go through the process again? Probably; I have my eye on some heavier fabric in their catalogue and the guys are absolute legends at SoSo. Customer service and customer care are top notch and in my book that keeps me as a customer…even if I did have to pour a healthy measure of Woodford to calm the nerves.

In the end, when I held the finished product in my hands, I was so happy with the way they turned out. So maybe the paradox of choice doesn’t fucking matter. I am currently wearing a pair and smirking because no one has this pair of jeans. This pair is mine. Unique. Custom. Paradoxical.

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About the Author

Grant Schildhouse

Grant Schildhouse

Grant, our Editor in Chief, is a denim enthusiast and writer; The Arcuate is his attempt to combine these loves in one place. He wants to tell some of the stories behind those who make and wear denim with a passion. His journey into the world of denim continues, and he hopes you'll co-journey with him, allowing him to be your fireside storyteller.