So as I’m typing this article there are a few things you should know:
1. I’m wearing a pair of brown Salvatore Ferragomo dress shoes.
2. Salvatore Ferragamo dress shoes are hand crafted Italian shoes that run anywhere from $500-$1700 a pair and are sold at the finest boutiques and stores.
3. The pair I’m wearing cost me $4 and I got them at a thrift store.
I know your favorite rappers want you to believe looking good requires you to move up two or three tax brackets. Me personally, I can’t afford a condo on my wrist (and honestly, your favorite rapper probably either) but I like to dress nice to. As a recent college grad whose current situation is more Ramen than Filet Mignon (or #flaming young) I can still put an impressive wardrobe together and not break the bank, and you can too, just peep the technique.
1. Understand why the top brands cost so much and then find alternatives.
Ever wonder why you had to break your pockets when you went and bought that Polo sweater when the knock off was so much cheaper? While branding, reputation and popularity can make prices sky rocket, there are other reasons that bump the prices up. One of the biggest factors is the materials the clothes are made of. Man made materials like polyester and rayon are cheaper and are less durable than natural materials like cotton or wool. Or one brand of jeans may use a more expensive dye to get that rich shade. If you can find a lesser known brand with the same materials, cop that instead and save some bucks.
2. Find a good tailor.
Another reason that makes luxury brands luxury items is the man hours that go into making them. Top brands dedicate much more attention to detail when it comes to sewing and stitching their pieces together. This is why they seem to look so much better than other brands. Find yourself a good tailor and get your clothes customized to fit you perfectly. A $30 pair of jeans with $20 worth of tailoring will look just as good as a $300 pair of True Religions.
3. Thrift Shops and Goodwill
Not everything has to be bought at Macy’s. Thrift stores and Goodwill’s are great places to find stuff for tenths of what you would pay at a department store. Don’t get it twisted. Not everything is musty old clothes from the 70’s that your Grandpa donated. A lot of times stores will ship brand new overstock items that didn’t sell or couldn’t fit in the store to thrift stores as donations for the tax write-offs. One shop here always has Brooks Brothers dress shirts for $3( retail they go for $100). The best thrift stores though are in big cities and affluent neighborhoods where rich folks were something once and throw it away. Remember though, Thrift stores aren’t like department stores, things won’t be neatly labeled and come in multiple sizes, so you’ll have to do some extra digging. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Outlet malls are great places to find deals. Since there usually on the outskirts on major cities they offer better deals than the malls to attract customers as well as travelers. They are also usually bigger than the stores in town and have more stuff and bigger discounts. Gas up the whip and roll with the homies for a quick road trip and save some cash.
In the last couple of years overstock online clothing shops have become the hottest thing for thrifty sartorialists. Like I mentioned about thrift stores, retail stores and companies always have way more product than they can sell, and try and find ways to move it and still make a profit. Sites like www.gilt.com and www.hautelook.com offer various top name brands, usually up to 60-90% off. Here you can find classic labels like Polo and Versace, and new up and comers like Rag & Bone. The catch is they only offer the sales for a limited amount of time, usually about 48 hours, so if you see something you like, you’ll have to jump on it ASAP. If you’re looking for a younger, street look, www.jackthreads.com offers the same kind of deals on brands like LRG, Rocawear and the like.
6. Buy Out of Season
This is the worst option because it requires a lot of patience. But it’s a fact that summer clothes get cheaper when fall hits and winter clothes are cheaper at the start of Spring. Stores have to have room to put out the new stuff for the season and will discount the hell out of the remainder of the clothes from the previous season. Pay attention to your calendars and take advantage.
I’m going be honest. Sometimes you’re not going be able to save. You’re going to be in a store and see something you want, and most likely. It’ll cost a stupid amount of money. I remember one time going to the store on pay day. It was part time and I only had $200. Mind you, I had the money planned out for a week. Then I saw a pair of Rayban’s. No sale, no discount, no homie hook-up. $189.99. I had just enough to buy them and cover the taxes. I don’t suggest you do this regularly, but clothes are an investment. Expensive items are usually quality and will last for years. I bought those shades four years ago. Still have them, still wear them and they still look great. YOLO.
Hopefully I’ve given you the tips to look like a bag of money even if you’ve only got a pocket full of pennies. Remember, it’s not about how much you have in your wallet, it’s how smart you shop. A smart shopper can always look like a rich shopper, and no one needs to know the difference. Keep it classy folks.