A couple of little tidbits before we dive into the subject of this particular blog post.
I would love it very much, if you had actually read my book, The Cold Forever, if you'd give me a review on Amazon and Goodreads. That would be beautiful. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?
Also, I have a podcast, that I do with a friend, on the topic of Art. We pick a subject that we might know nothing about, and do some research, then we try to talk it out. We've done season 1, and are in the midst of season 2 now. They are available on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, YouTube and Impoverished Geek. The name is The Art Shmart Podcast. If you'd like to learn more about the big world of art, but don't enjoy the stuffy atmosphere of a typical lecture class, give us a shot!
And now... How to be stylish, on a budget.
What do I mean by that, exactly? Well I mean dressing like a grownup without breaking the bank, of course. But a little history first.
For most of my life, I'd worked at places where dressing up wasn't required. The only time I had to wear any kind of "uniform" was when I worked for an Animal Clinic. I wore scrubs, cause it's easier to clean off the blood from those. Every other job was business casual at most. I now work at a place where, at times, I may get a little dirty. Though I am a designer by trade, that is not the extent of my responsibilities. I roll up my sleeves and get down with prototyping, installations and construction.
So, as you would imagine, wearing a 3-piece suit is not something that was ever on my radar. Of course, there are times when I need to wear something nice. When I'm meeting a client, for example. Or if there's some kind of an event I have to attend. But generally speaking, it's T-shirt, jeans and a hoody. Nothing to write home about.
Well, a few years ago, I got tired of that. There are people, who on a daily basis have to wear a suit, or at least a shirt and a tie, to work. I don't operate in those circles, obviously. But I've always liked clothes. I enjoy fashion. Men's style. That sort of thing.
So as I said, I got tired of the T-shirt and jeans look. During the cold winter months, that year, I made a little experiment. I started to dress up for work. Nothing fancy. A shirt, tie and slacks.
The transformation I felt was nothing short of shocking. Visually, I looked different, sure, but internally, I actually felt different. I was more sure of myself. More confident. I didn't slouch as much at my desk. I acted differently around clients. And in return, I noticed a change in the people around me. The co-workers gave me compliments, as did my bosses. The clients seemed to have a slightly different attitude toward me. They seemed more relaxed. Like, as if I knew what I was doing. You don't always think a slob knows what he's doing, as far as first impressions go.
Yes, all of that was nice of course, but I am not a rich man. And these clothes I did not posses. So how could I afford it all? Well that's where the fun stuff comes in. I did that experiment until spring came. Then it got warm and I didn't want to wear shirts and slacks anymore. It was getting hot.
A few years went by and it was now spring of 2015. I recall a Sunday night, when I was preparing for the next day, when the thought occurred to me again. Why not start the experiment again, only this time, keep going with it.
I reviewed the clothes that I had left from my original experiment. The clothes that I'd purchased at the local Salvation Army store. 5 shirts, plus several ties, ran me somewhere between $35 - $40. Well that Salvation Army store was now long gone. My new option was the Goodwill Store, where I'd scored again, with a few shirts and a tie. But that's really a crapshoot, if you ask me. Yeah it's cheap, but you never know what you're going to get. And I won't buy pants there. I just won't. Nor socks.
So the hunt was on for affordable, stylish items. I had the shirts covered, but now I need a few more ties, socks and anything else I deemed fashionably appropriate for work.
So to Amazon.com I went.
Amazon.com is perfect for a man on a budget that is seeking to introduce some style into his wardrobe. A set of 5 ties for under $15. 12 pairs of fancy socks, for $33. A coat for $36. Baggy Chukka Boots for $50. A sports coat for $33.
Are these big time designer brand names? No. Of course not. They're cheap knock offs, mostly made in China. But that doesn't matter. Unless you have money, this is one of the best ways to stay on budget and attain at least some level of style.
And I don't know about you, but I feel great when I dress well. I feel successful. I feel confident and sure. I'm going to continue this experiment until that time comes when I get sick of it. I hope that it doesn't come soon.