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Getting a new style with a $15 an hour job?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by stephenu38, Nov 6, 2011.

  1. stephenu38

    stephenu38 New Member

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    For all of my life I've worn very casual clothes (i.e. blue jeans, running shoes, and T-shirts).

    I want to change my style. I want to have great casual clothes for casual things (i.e. leather jacket, nice jeans, nice boots/shoes), and great professional clothes for professional things (i.e. tailored suit).

    I have long arms and skinny, so I typically struggle to find off the rack clothes. So I may have to get tailored clothes.

    I also want clothes that will last me a long time, and won't go out of style (i.e. a leather jacket with a regular straight zipper, not the angled zipper that is the current trend.)

    My current job pays $15 an hour. Would you suggest that I start buying things now, or should I save up my money until spring, then buy clothes (since spring doesn't demand as many layers of clothing that winter may demand)?

    Also, what would you suggest that I buy?
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  2. forex

    forex Senior member

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    Welcome, come back when you start making at least $40-50 an hour.
     
  3. stephenu38

    stephenu38 New Member

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    Seriously? Why is that?

     
  4. GoldenTribe

    GoldenTribe Senior member

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    There is no minimum income to care about how you look; I daresay there isn't even a minimum to succeed in looking good.

    If you put enough time into it, you can find some of the nicest brands on the planet for roughly the prices of mall crap. (For instance, my best friend spent more than $600 on a black Theory sport coat recently because he needed it for an occasion in a hurry; I spent a nearly identical amount on SF some months ago to purchase a pure cashmere sport coat from Ralph Lauren Purple Label that would be way out of my price range at a retail store.)

    In general, the less of a hurry you are in to buy a particular item, the better you will be able to do (by learning about your options and then taking some time bargain-hunting). For ideas of what items you need or should pursue, check out the "What Are You Wearing Today" threads or just browse the forum and see what topics/pictures/brands/etc catch your eye.

    FYI, angled zippers are the domain of the biker jacket as opposed to the bomber jacket, but neither is likely to be passé any time soon.

    Also note that in your search for "nice jeans" (just as an example) you are going to run into lots of very different ideas as to the criteria. This forum ("Men's Clothing") will lean in one direction; the Streetwear & Denim forum will lean in another; and I can nearly guarantee that the girls in your life, if this has anything to do with impressing the opposite sex, will disagree with both viewpoints.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  5. Harold falcon

    Harold falcon Senior member

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    Actually if you snoop the buying/selling thread here and ebay you'll be able to find some great deals.
     
  6. Original Intent

    Original Intent Active Member

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    Also subscribe to the PSA sticky. It will occasionally alert you to worthwhile sales from retailers.
     
  7. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    You can also save just by learning about what defines quality. For example, on cut and sew items like shirts or pants, or casual jackets, the quality is found in the materials and the strength of the stitching. While you can, at exponentially increasing price points, get very high end goods, the marginal difference over, for example, a lands end shirt or levis jeans will be fairly small. On the other hand, on items that have to be constructed, like shoes or tailored clothing, both the materials and the assembly differ. A cheap shoe will be built in a very different way than a bespoke one, while that shirt is going to be made almost identically from low to top end, just with different quality materials. When you're talking about those shoes or that tailored jacket, paying more really does get you more. Usually. You have to notice markup too- there are some very high end brands that are quite unpopular on MC because of that factor; it's easy enough to find similar quality goods for a fair bit cheaper.

    You'll also know what to look for when thrifting, which is a great way to find items without spending much.

    As with most other things, knowledge is power. You don't need a lot of money. Hell, the bulk of my personal transition came when I had an income of basically zero as a student. You've already made the biggest jump, which is paying attention to how you present yourself. Once you have that, you're going to make smarter decisions, no matter what price point you're at. And this forum is always here as a resource to help you from making well intentioned stupid ones while figuring out exactly where you need to be.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  8. stephenu38

    stephenu38 New Member

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    Is it common to get tailored jeans? I find it difficult finding jeans that fit me, but I can't justify paying $500 for some branded pair of jeans. Could I get far better quality tailored jeans, without all the logos/branding, for less than $500?

     
  9. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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    I would read a lot of threads on the forum before making purchases. It's easy to make mistakes in the beginning. Take advantage of stores with good return policies like Brooks Brothers and Lands End. Stay off Ebay unless it's a piece you've tried on in a store.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  10. 7_rocket

    7_rocket Senior member

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    +1 for the buy and sell thread here.
     
  11. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    Go to the thrift thread. Read it all.
     
  12. royal618

    royal618 Senior member

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    What are your body dimensions?
     
  13. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    $500 is way, way too much to spend on jeans, even if you're earning a hell of a lot more than $15 an hour. This is where the learning bit comes into play. Jeans are a cut and sew item. There is very little substantive difference between $40 lees and $400 the goth ninja whatever SW&D seems to love. A few details will be different and the fabric might be treated to look somewhat different (won't be any stronger though).

    The other question is what have you tried and what are you looking for? Odds are that between the 8 million brands making jeans, you could find one or two. Unless you have the world's most unusually shaped ass (unlikely- you're probably pretty average and are looking at the completely wrong things for your body), something's out there.

    Try a pair of Levi's 514, 501, and a pair of Lee regulars and get back to us.
     
  14. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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    If you're skinny like me, you probably want a Levi 511, which will end up just looking slim. I recently bought this one in raw selvedge during their F&F sale.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  15. Rompson

    Rompson Senior member

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    For jeans you might want to look into the Streetwear and Denim subforum. Many good options for jeans well under $500 there. Browse through the pinned threads at the top.
     
  16. Von Franz

    Von Franz Senior member

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    Save up for a good pair of chinos (J. Crew's are decent enough) and a pair of straight-cut raw jeans, like A.P.C.'s "New Standard" fit.
    Next, go to T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, etc, and look for some basic Ralph Lauren oxford shirts, of which there are usually at least a few. Get the plainest ones you can find (pale blue, white, pale pink, etc) and avoid the bolder patterns, to keep them versatile.

    Also, at some point you should swing by Brooks Brothers, RL, or another fairly large shop and determine your sweater size and the types that work for you. When that's been done, you'll be able to find plenty of new, unworn sweaters on eBay at deeply discounted prices.

    In terms of shoes, Sperry and Bass both make inexpensive loafers that are perfectly adequate for more formal occasions until you've saved up for some from Alden or Crockett and Jones. The pricey ones last longer and look especially nice, but nobody outside of the "Fourth Circle of the Internet" will look down on you for wearing the more affordable ones.

    Tretorn Nylites and Sperry Topsiders are great casual shoes.

    Schott leather jackets seem to be the best choice for the price, but if you're paying for any sort of high-quality leather jacket you'll want to try it on first.

    If you have the patience to save up for it, a classic navy blazer is always a good investment. Brooks Brothers makes a nice one.

    -Von Franz
     
  17. Klobber

    Klobber Senior member

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    Patience is a virtue to wardrobe building. There is no minimum wage prerequisite. Everyone here is guilty of spending way too much on a desirable piece, but everyone here is also guilty of purchasing great items at virtual givaways. Just cut out spending too much (relative to MSRP) on the desirable piece, and play that waiting game. Thrift stores and consignments can be a cheaper than eBay way of building a closet.

    Even if I were a multi millionaire, I dont think I would casually waltz into Hermes and clean out the store. I think 90% of the fun is hunting down and getting those nice pieces at good prices - that way it means more to you when you see it in your closet waiting to be worn. Being rich would only change one thing for me - I would not pass up on a wonderful jacket in a one off design if it were at full retail. That would definitely change for me if I had wealth :devil:

    The thrill of the chase is often better than the end product ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  18. stephenu38

    stephenu38 New Member

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    I'm pretty skinny, so I'll look into the 511 jeans. Thanks Liquidus.

     

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