Ok, so $15,000 for a ostrich jacket (sigh, Gingham).

First of all it’s not a lot for ostrich-

Paul Manafort’s $15,000 jacket? That’s nothing, says ostrich expert
by Luke O’Neil, The Guardian
Wed 1 Aug 2018

On Tuesday the trial for Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, began in Alexandria, Virginia. Facing a bevy of bank and tax fraud charges, prosecutors attempted to paint a picture of a man who eschewed paying taxes on tens of millions of dollars he made in lobbying work for a pro-Russia politician in Ukraine to fund a lavish lifestyle for himself. Among the expenses detailed in the indictment in February were $849,000 he spent at a clothing store in New York and another $520,000 in Beverly Hills, not to mention, as prosecutors said in an opening statement in court, multi-million dollar homes, fancy cars and antique carpets.

“He got whatever he wanted,” US attorney Uzo Asonye told the jury. Perhaps anticipating that big houses and fast cars wouldn’t persuade jurors that Manafort had engaged in anything beyond normal rich guy behavior – indeed judge TS Ellis III expressed as much, interjecting: “It isn’t a crime to have a lot of money and be profligate in your spending” – Asonye also zeroed in on a few peculiar items among the litany of extravagances. One in particular stood out from the rest: a $15,000 ostrich jacket.

A number of publications tried to uncover the provenance of the jacket in question – a bit of sleuthing from Jezebel posited that the jacket might be Gucci’s ostrich leather biker jacket, which they found retailed for $14,500 back in 2012. Various politicians and celebrities such as Ted Cruz, author Buzz Bissinger and Victoria Beckham, whose Hermès Birkin bag made from ostrich leather costs tens of thousands of dollars, are devotees of ostrich garments themselves, as the Washington Post pointed out.

For the average person, a $15,000 jacket of any kind indeed seems like a wild indulgence. But if you ask people who work in ostrich leather, such as Henry Slaughter – “an appropriate name for this industry,” he joked – the owner of Ostrich Alligator Market in Melbourne, Florida, a few-hours drive across the state from where Trump held a rally last night, Manafort’s jacket sounds, well, a bit underwhelming. He may as well have bought it at a street stall in New York’s Chinatown.

“That’s nothing,” Slaughter said of the price tag, noting that ostrich leather, like the alligator and crocodile skins he regularly works with to produce bags, boots and motorcycle seats, is one of the most expensive in the world.

“An ostrich jacket, if it’s customer made? Fifteen thousand dollars is pretty cheap.”

“Ostrich leather, historically any of what’s called the exotic skins, are going to be expensive: python, ostrich, alligator. You’re automatically paying a premium over pig skin or some cowhide,” he said. “Ostrich never goes out of style.”

When asked how the price of ostrich skin compared to other animals, Slaughter couldn’t say. “When you’re talking to any of us who sell exotic skins, you’re talking to Ferrari dealers,” he said. “If I went in a Ferrari shop I don’t think the salesman has a clue what a Ford Taurus costs.”

Asked whether or not the idea of Manafort wearing such an expensive coat bothered him, as a business owner in the middle of Trump country, Slaughter demurred.

“I’m surprised Manafort got that cheap a jacket, since he lives well. I’d assume he’d spend $50,000.”

Well, there is a discount for slaughtering and skinning your own ostrich which are nasty, dangerous creatures whom I don’t feel a bit bad for given they’re dinosaurs and all. The only reason I want one is for an Iron Chef ‘eggs over easy’ sight gag (you use a pizza tin, oven, and peel).

Nor is Men’s clothing inexpensive. A custom designer suit is worth what you pay for it, a generic custom suit starts at $24,000 in certain fabrics. They are invariably well made and will last the rest of your life unlike Women’s clothing which will never see the inside of a washer, just a garbage can.

Yet another way we repress them.

The truth is there’s a certain vanity circle of Men who think Florsheims are déclassé and uncomfortable and Rolexes a symbol of aspiration to a really good watch like a Patek-Philippe. The rare and valuable ones are almost never made of titanium though they can cost considerably more than $21,000.