March 27, 2014
Hello, thrifty friends! I apologize for the radio silence you’ve been experiencing over here on T&S, I try my best to post as consistently as possible to quench your thrifty appetite as best I can, but lately I have been a little busy with some work related stuff.
As the ever devoted husband he is, Mike offered to do a guest post to relieve my non-posting anxiety. What a sweetheart! Here’s his take on being a thrifty guy doing thrifty guy things- enjoy!
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I know what you’re thinking – Steph talks about Mike all the time, how he’s a really great guy, super hilarious and dashing, so on and so forth, but can he really write? Well guess what folks, I’m not just some piece of arm candy that Steph totes around like one of her high-fashioned hand bags; I can write good too! In fact, I am such a great writer that Steph has refrained from letting me guest post on Thrift and Style all of these years for fear that the deluge of traffic would crash her site (or at least that’s what she’s told me). But after wearing her down for so long, then waiting until she fell asleep and stealing her computer, I am finally able to make my voice heard here on T&S.
Now that I’ve got the spotlight, I’d like to talk a bit about men’s fashion as it relates to thrifting, which is to say, is practically nonexistent. You see, the thing that you need to understand about men is that when we find a good article of clothing, we wear it until it falls apart, and THEN we donate it. The only other times men’s clothing gets donated is if it doesn’t fit or after a funeral when the widow cleans out her spouse’s closet. So that leaves excessively worn, excessively huge, or excessively dead guy fashions, which are great for costume parties, but not much else. Sure, you hipsters have a great selection of ironic t-shirts – “Fairfax Youth Bowling Regional Champs 1982”, or fifteen identical “Xerox Corporate Teambuilding Retreat” polo shirts. But thrifting truly stylish men’s fashion is prohibitively difficult, which means you have to get creative.
Thus far, I have really only had success with thrifted pieces in wearing them under some other piece of clothing so that only a hint of the thrifted piece shows. For example, those excessively huge button-downs go great under a nice sweater where only the collar pokes through just enough to get a flavor of the pattern, but not enough to notice the awkward bulgy folds of empty fabric that once concealed someone else’s flappy saddle-bags. If you’re really adventurous, you can try your hand at tailoring the pieces down to size, but I am not very adept with the sewing machine and my wife is too busy making her own creations to attend to mine. And paying someone else to do it makes it just as expensive as buying something that fits you correctly the first time. So thrift stores aren’t ideal for guys, but being thrifty doesn’t mean you have to only shop at thrift stores; there are plenty of great deals to be had elsewhere.
For example, I love-love-loved the department store, Syms before they went out of business. If you’re not familiar, they were the sister store of Filene’s Basement and both went out of business in 2011. Syms had a great selection of “last year’s fashion lines” at crazy low prices and their tagline was “An educated consumer is our best customer.” I guess it’s saying something that they went out of business…
So now I have to hunt down my deals where I can find them, but you always have to be wary of the tricksters. The following stores are total baloney: Men’s Wearhouse, Joseph A. Banks, and any other store that offers you deals like “Buy 1 get 45 free!” which sounds like a stellar deal until you look at the price of one unit and it costs the same as 46 units or more. So you end up paying the same amount for the “in-store” brand that you could have just paid for a name brand elsewhere.
But good deals are there to be had. I have ordered shirts from Paul Frederick before and loved them. And they always advertise deals for shirts for $20, which is ridiculously low considering you get to custom order it. I’ve also heard good things about Charles Tyrwhitt but I have yet to order anything from them. Lastly, another place that I’ve never tried but have heard is the total bomb-diggity is Suit Supply. Warning: their website has naked chicks on it, but that’s how you know it’s legit right? If you have any recommendations on other hot spots for men’s clothing at hot prices, let me know. I’m sure Steph would appreciate it as well since she’s the one that has to look at me all the time.
Ok, so maybe I don’t have the same thrifty skillset for fashion that my wife does, but darn it I’m trying! Perhaps I should just give up and let Steph dress me from now on. I’ll just be an adult baby. That’s a thing, right?
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Thanks again to my
adult baby husband for taking the time to write up this very informative, excessively awesome post on a guide to thrifty men’s fashion. You da best, boo! I will (hopefully) be back to our regular scheduled programming of style for the ladies, of the thrifty variety, sometime next week.