Gentleman’s Guide: 5 Tips for Thrifting

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Many men look to achieve a dapper style with the smallest impact to their wallets. I’m here to inform you that this can be done through thrift and consignment shops! Check out these tips on how to make the best of your time and resources as you shop.

TIP 1: Single vent, side vents and no vents!
When looking at suits and blazers make sure you have vents. Wearing a suit or blazer without vents is a bit dated and not in line with modern style. Also you generally cannot add vents because there is not enough material to create them.

TIP 2: Lapel pins are back!
Make sure you stop by the display case and look at lapel pins because they have taken on a new life. This adds a super unique look to your ensemble and generally only costs under five bucks!

One thing people forget is that the clothes are mostly all second hand so you really need to try them on. Why, you ask? First, older or vintage items are not true to our current sizing system so the size that you wear now may not match up with the size in your garment. Second, a previous owner may have had the garment tailored and it may not fit the way the item says it should. So, stop by the fitting room to be sure!

TIP 4: Avoid last minute shopping for an entire outfit.
Do not make this mistake! If you are in the shop at 3 PM, the event is at 7 PM and you have just started shopping, you are about to be disappointed. It is extremely hard to find an entire outfit in a couple of hours (even for the best thrifter).  An outfit for most people usually comes together over time and from many places or from pieces they already own from previous thrift and consignment visits. It looks easy but there are many hours put in to create an entire look.

TIP 5: Ask for recommendations for shops!
When in doubt, just ask someone who goes thrift shopping where to go. Really good thrift shoppers can point you in the right direction.  All stores are not created equal! Faithful thrifters often enjoy taking group trips to shops and seeing who can come out with the best deal or find the most unique item.

I hope these tips get you really excited about hitting the thrift and consignment shops and finding a unique look at just a fraction of the cost. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt!

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Your Easter Suit

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

As we are getting closer to Easter, many men take this opportunity to purchase a new suit for Sunday Easter service. This is a really good time to purchase a suit because many retailers understand that many people will be purchasing suits and you can get a really good deal on your purchase. Done correctly, you can add a quality suit (or suits) to your wardrobe at a really good price. Done incorrectly, you can be stuck with a disaster hanging in your closest that you will never wear again. So, I will share 4 quick tips to get you going in the right direction.

      1.      Do not shop at the last minute!
Shopping the week of or even the day before Easter is a huge mistake. When you shop at the last minute you will be left with everything no one else wanted or the options will be so slim that you may not find what you are looking for. Another problem with last minute shopping is that you won’t have time to invest into getting quality tailoring done on your new suit. I understand the store has an in-house tailor but you don’t know this person’s work (and of course you want to have someone who you are familiar with tailor your suit). In house tailors upcharge during this time of year for their service. Also consider the fact that if the tailor is pushing out many suits in a short amount of time, who is to say they will do a good job since they are rushing to do yours and a ton of others before Easter Sunday? I stress… DON’T WAIT until the last minute!

      2.       Just a little color can go a long way.
If you live in the south then you know what I mean by this. Traditionally in the South (many years ago) men would wear bright color suits at Easter. Easter would signify the transition into Spring and thus it translated into the color of the suits. Over time bright, primary or pastel colored suits dominated the southern black churches. A poorly constructed suit or choice in material can make a suit look tacky or cheap. Of course, being dapper is always the goal! Tone down the bold colors to just the shirt, ties or pocket square. If you want to wear a bold suit make sure you are purchasing a quality suit from a reputable suit maker or retailer. Like with anything we wear, clean and precise tailoring can neaten the entire look.

3.        Step up with the right shoe.
We cannot deal with the suit and not talk shoes. For example, the worst thing you can do to a new car is have bald, worn out tires. It completely ruins the ride. This is what a pair of bad shoes does to a good suit. Many times we have the tendency to cheap out here and honestly this is where you want to invest well. I have written about shoes previously, so you can read in detail about what type of shoes to buy. I urge men all over and especially in the south to STAY AWAY FROM FAKE CROCODILE SHOES.

      4.      Think beyond Easter.
Your investment should take you well past Easter. It should also be appropriate for many other occasions. Aim for a look that can be easily translated to work, evening, dressed down and so forth. For example, you should be able to pair the blazer with jeans or coordinate the shoes with another suit. The key is to be unique yet versatile at the same time.

I hope this helps you make your Easter look as dapper and stylish as possible. Until next time!