January 26, 2009  ·  culture  ·  style  ·  tech

In Praise of High Maintenance

While there are certainly aspects of your life to which you don't want the term "high maintenance" applied, sometimes the quirks of owning something special that force you to periodically stop and care for it can create a welcome reminder to pause and appreciate the object. It won't let you take it for granted, the way you would something that never demands your attention. Here are a few cases in point.

1. Cashmere Blend Suits
As one would expect, mixing cashmere into wool results in suiting fabrics that have a wonderful luster, weight, and drape. On the other hand, if you own a wool/cashmere suit with a cashmere content beyond 5%, you can expect to spend a lot of time vainly attempting to get the trousers to hold a crease. You'll put the suit on immediately before your event and take it straight off after, airing it out overnight before gingerly returning it to the wardrobe. You'll live in abject terror of moths. Is it all worth it? Yes, it really, really is. Not every day, but now and then.

2. Automatic Watches
If you don't wear your automatic watch every day and swing your arms about with sufficient vigor, you have a choice of either manually winding it up or buying an autowinder in which you can store it under glass like some sort of moon rock in between its regularly scheduled robotic gyrations. Sooner or later it will probably need to be shipped off to Europe for service. But the constant attention makes for constant reminders that you're dealing with something special, and while you rest it in your palm to wind it for the thousandth time you'll still admire the smooth sweep of the second hand. If you bought a good one, so will your kid, and your kid's kid.

3. Old Italian Cars
Old cars require a lot of service. And we all know FIAT stands for "Fix It Again, Tony." So predictably, old Italian cars tend to spend more time in the shop than on the road. But for an investment of only a couple grand, you can pick up an '80s-era Alfa Romeo, and we think the pleasures of living with the automotive equivalent of Sophia Loren more than compensate for the periodic breakdown. At least you can stand there and ogle it while you're waiting for the tow truck to arrive.

Left to right: Hickey Freeman. Maurice Lacroix Pontos. Alfa-Romeo Spider.

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