Monday, April 5, 2010

On Being Broke

Good afternoon to everyone of all gender identities and presentations!
So my Monday post is arriving later than usual today, and I apologize (as I'm sure you were waiting with bated breath) but seriously folks, I do have an actual job that I have to occasionally attend to.
Right-o then, on with the words! As the title of this post suggests, I had a miserable realization of just how broke I am. And yes, obviously this is part of being young and single. I get it, mother. But there are some days when you just want to buy that 100 dollar pair of two-tone blue boat shoes from Sperry Top-Sider because they are just SO fabulous, and definitely the summer shoe that you NEED (well, WANT, at least). And yet, sigh, you cannot. It is just simply, not in the books for you. And certainly not in the books for your Boy at Sea...

And so for today's lesson in fashion (don't worry, I know I'm the only one who takes my fashion advice) I am going to discuss some of the helpful tips I've found when it comes to stocking your wardrobe for reasonable prices.
Alright for starters, accept the fact that while Zachary Quinto looks grungy and gorgeous in this picture, this is an EXPENSIVE look. The fitted leather jacket, the knit cap, etc. Money was paid, souls were sold.And while Brad Pitt is WEARING this suit (also notice the gray goatee, eep!) he is also, yup, BRAD. PITT. Therefore he can wear a suit that probably cost as much as my private college education and was hand stitched by Jesus with the hair of angels.So, let's ignore these stylish bastards and focus on what we have to work with then, eh? Great. Now, just for you, my dedicated readers, I decided to stop hiding behind the pictures that I find on the 'nets, and chose instead to bring out my own camera and put my own wardrobe on display. Let's get to it then shall we?

The Boy at Sea's essential guide to making the most of your style and your money:
1. Shoes. Be frugal, be willing to hunt. The two pairs of shoes I have included here have been staples for my outfits. The first, the black and white Adidas, I came across in a lost-and-found bin on my campus, I have had them for 3 years now. While they have certainly seen better days, and are a bit more old-school, they are also almost exactly like the Adidas Sambas that every well-dressed male-presenting person is wearing now to dress down a suit or pair with really any outfit. And if you missed it before, mine were FREE and have lasted forEVER.The second pair in the picture, the simple black penny-loafers, I found at Target for I believe twenty dollars. They are exactly my size (which is small for men's shoes) and while they are easy shoes to pair with any classed up outfit because they are black and have a rounded toe, at least you know you have a guaranteed dress-shoe. Just remember to always hunt! A good pair of shoes is certainly worth the investment of a large sum, but if you can find them cheap, do it! Just MAKE SURE they are the right size, nothing says "tool" like walking with a limp in those stylish kicks because of the giant blister on your heel!

2. Certain things are always worth the investment. As I mentioned above, shoes can definitely fall into this category, because a well made pair of leather dress shoes will last a lifetime. But there are also other articles essential to the male-biased wardrobe that are worth spending the money on. Suits, sport coats, suit jackets etc, are definitely those items. This gray, two-button, notched lapel sport coat was found at H&M. It is wonderfully versatile, detailed, and since it wasn't found second-hand I was able to make sure I got an almost perfect fit off the rack. A tailor could still tighten it up for me, but "as is" it is brilliant, too. H&M is a great place to buy these pieces also, because they are reasonably priced and H&M pretty much specializes in selling fitted, lean and clean suits, coats, pants, and shirts at awesome prices. That jacket ran me $40 and I can dress it up with a shirt and tie, or down with a nice plaid shirt or fitted T. On that note it is also worth investing in a couple of dress shirts from some place like H&M or J Crew. Still at reasonable prices and their shirts fit well (and remember I'm no super skinny queer) and come in a variety of basic and more bold colors.

3. Hit up the Salvation Army and make it more retro...or more newsboy from 1899. Seriously though, make the local Salvo your best friend and be willing to commit the time to foraging through the racks. But I guarantee you will find some amazing gems in time. For instance, the following:
The jacket is a bright green Members Only number that was found when scrounging at a Sals in my hometown. The shirt is Merona, also found at a local Sals where I went to college, and the tie is unknown in it's maker, but is a killer super skinny guy that was found when a traveling vintage store came to my campus (the tie was actually purchased as a birthday gift for me, by the every lovely JP, the author of A Whole Bunch of Things). So I would say, that this entire outfit ended up putting me back a whole $15. That's a win, you studs. Trust. Furthermore, here's this:Shirt, a hand-me-down from a roommate (has a great muted, colorful large plaid pattern). Suspenders $10 from some large department store (Macy's or the like) and hat $30 from Urban Outfitters. So, while this outfit did not come from Salvo's and did cost more than the previous outfit (mainly because of that damn uber trendy hat) it is certainly still an affordable look, and a fun one at that. So bravo, get to selling the papers to pay it off...4. Gifts that keep on giving! A trick that I have begun to take advantage! When someone offers to get you a little something it is definitely time to take advantage of it by asking for a little something that will add to your current wardrobe and the current season. Basically this is the time to try and get some accessories. It can be difficult for someone to buy you shirts or pants or shoes because those are items that need your specific eye and body frame at the moment of the purchase. But ho! Wait! Accessories, such as ties, ascots, scarves, hats, watches etc can be easy to ask for, cheap or expensive (depending on the buyer's budget), and will allow your friendly purchaser to find you something you will love, and they will be proud of. Just make sure they either know you very well, or know what is fashionable. So here is my table of assorted gifts and wonderful accessories:Counterclockwise: A gray, blue, yellow and white plaid scarf. It actually just showed up in my room one day, but we'll say it was a gift form the Gods of Gay Garb. It is warm, not too long, and is wonderful as a buffer on bitter days with a wool coat, or just loosely knotted at the neck with a thin cardigan on cool spring/fall days. Next, and my latest obsession: pocket squares! Two lovely silk pieces from an amazing Italian men's clothing store here in Cambridge that were purchased for me by the (as always) amazing JP. The bright purple will go well with a muted dress shirt and the icy green and white checked one will have to be cautiously paired with a solid color. Then there is the wonderful vintage skinny tie again (thanks JP for indulging your BaS!). And lastly the black and gold vintage ascot that my dad bought for me as a holiday gift. Silk and with absolutely fine black tassels at the end it is an amazing find for sure. The bold pattern does make it tougher to pair with a suit, or a dress shirt, but it is doable (keep the rest of the outfit simple) and when it's done right, an accessory like that will bring the entire ensemble together. It will give you the head-turning affect that I'm guessing you're going for if you've managed to make it this far in my ramblings of everything fashionable (or not) and queer (oh yes).

Alright, my favorites. Thanks again for joining me. I'll ring off now, and proceed to work on the Easter ham that is in the fridge.

So happy bargain hunting and always remember to keep the gendered masses guessing!

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