Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Thrift Like a Man

I love taking people thrift shopping - helping them find quality pieces at great prices, witnessing the thrifting spark take hold...it's wonderful!  All of my thrift-guiding clients have been women... till now.  Last night, I had the pleasure of taking a young* man thrift shopping.  (*Young enough to be Next Gen but not so young I could be his mom.)  Eric is a work colleague of mine, a tech guy that has helped me out of more than a few jams.  In fact, he's been so helpful, we let him in on where we keep our secret candy stash.  Inner circle...  He asked if I could help him shop for some updated wardrobe staples, so we met at VV and I hit the men's clothing racks expecting the same success that I find in the ladies'.  Well, long story short, Eric found a grand total of 5 pieces at an average cost per piece of $10Is my disappointment audible?!  Before I muse about the experience, let me show what he DID find...
This mint-condition Michael Kors shirt fit perfectly!
This alone would be worth anywhere from $70 to $170 regular retail...
 
Eric liked the vertical stripes on this dress shirt.  Dressy enough for trousers, casual enough for jeans.
 
The tailoring and pattern on this one made it a nice addition to Eric's selections.
 
Mexx trousers fit nicely and had some stretch so Eric can comfortably climb under people's desks to fix cords 
and do whatever other magic those tech guys do.
Oakley cardi manly sweater.
At lease we can say he has preferred colour palette.

Even though Eric didn't go home with a huge haul of clothing, he was satisfied with the outcome.  He dislikes shopping (??? I don't get it) and wouldn't have had the patience to sort through the racks alone.  Even in regular retail, Eric has troubles finding pieces that fit well so five good pieces were worth it.  He tries to buy good quality labels then wears them till they're dust.  Sound like any men in your life?  That explains the lack of second-hand selection - men tend to hang onto their clothes a lot longer than women.  There's far less attrition and if they're like Eric, if they have one good pair of brown shoes, there's no need for another.  Uh, I cannot relate to this line of thinking.  
 
He already has brown shoes so put these back, 
but it was satisfactory to me to prove that you CAN find a full range of sizes second-hand, including sz 13-14!!

I recommended that Eric try and find a blazer...
Perfect condition but too short in the arms... keep looking Eric!!

Maybe it's just because I've been binge-watching Suits, but I do think both men and women should have professional pieces at the ready and, with thrifted prices, most can afford them.  Eric asked me what difference it makes how you dress.  Well, aside from the fact he obviously he hasn't seen Suits, I think dressing well reflects self-respect.  There's a huge range of "dressing well" so I should clarify that I mean putting some effort into YOU.  I guess tech guys have a sort of instant authority because the rest of us are at their mercy to be able to do our jobs best, so they don't necessarily have to dress to earn respect.  Still, there's a big difference in professional cred between jeans and a t-shirt and this:
http://www.pinterest.com/pin/420945896394191366/ 
As but one example.
This is what I think of as business casual for men.
(You're welcome lady readers)

It was my style-consultant duty to search men's style on Pinterest.  I'm very selfless like that.  It got me thinking about where men can turn to for style inspiration.  There are plenty of great male style bloggers but Eric doesn't read style blogs (except mine??) and he doesn't do Pinterest or social media or read mags like GQ.  My advice then for a young guy like Eric is to just keep an eye out while watching TV or movies or looking at websites or whatever - make some (mental) notes about what kind of guy-style you like then shamelessly copy.  Consider a Pinterest account because that's where you will find all the links you'll ever need for things like:
How to Roll Up Your Sleeves: The Italian
Just right. Too small. Too big.

  • And so much more!  
Keep in mind that style isn't only about what you wear.  Find a good hair salon and get a good cut (and whatever else; take care of your man-business).  Invest in a good belt and wallet (you can find these thrifted) and yes, even a nice man-bag can up your style cred exponentially.  Last but not least, mind your mannersNow I sound like a mom but if nothing else, I would want my two sons to behave like gentlemen, so I think it's fair advice for Eric too.  

Eric had a definite idea of what he did not like...
 
I know I'm right that this Eddie Bauer plaid piece was awesome 
but I couldn't convince Eric that the colours weren't "too wild."
This with a plain white tee would have been nice, right?
Eric, you might come down with a case of Thrifting Regret...
Skinny jeans were way outside Eric's comfort zone, but at least he tried them on.

I learned a lot about thrift shopping with boys.  You men have less selection so that means you have to check in more often, but you can be quick about it!  Just amble past the blazers and button-ups and shoes!  Like the ladies, always try things on, and wash before you wear with some vinegar in the fabric softener section of your washer to neutralize any lingering Old Spice.  Dry clean quality garments and consider tailoring for pieces in excellent condition - it will still work out cheaper than regular retail.  BUT it's not only about the bottom line; more expensive doesn't mean better, and cheaper isn't the only reason to thrift.  There are many local charity thrift shops and the bigger chains like VV and Goodwill support local non-profit partners.  Then there's the whole environmental benefit, conscious consumerism, etc.  All together, these make a compelling argument for thrifting like a man!  Thanks Eric for the shopping fun!  I hope you like your pieces and I DO expect to see them at work! 


2 comments:

  1. This was a great read Nicole. I do agree with him on the Eddie Bauer shirt, but I agree with you on the grey and navy sweater - especially with wonter around the corner.

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  2. Hmm, and I agree with you Nicole, I loved the EB shirt and the sweater...I was a no on the skinny jeans for him as well. Great job on the shirts he did get, all very nice and neutral.

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