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Entries in budget (4)

Tuesday
Dec152015

Quality over quantity.

This is a topic I feel pretty strongly about. Just because your closet is filled to the brim, does not mean you're doing it right. The way I look at it, clothes should be purchased in one of two categories:

  1. Staples
  2. Trends

Staples are the items you'll wear frequently. You'd like them to last you a long time, and they need to look fresh for as long as they last you. Examples of staples are jeans, shoes, suits, white tees, sweaters, peacoats, watches, or belts, to name a few. What you wear with these pieces or how you wear them may change, but these items will always be around.

These are the pieces you should see as an investment. You should be spending appropriate amounts of monies on these purchases. You wouldn't buy underwear from the dollar store because you don't want to chafe in your nethers. So don't buy a suit from H&M because you don't want to look like a chump. Don't go denim shopping at forever Target. Don't buy gym shoes at sketchers.

Spend the money for quality, and it'll payoff in the long run.

Trends on the other hand, will most likely only be used for a finite window of time -- usually a few months or so until the trend has passed or morphed into something else. These are the high-fashion influenced items like infinity scarves, elongated shirts, bracelets, drapey jackets, ripped denim. These things won't be around forever, so they do not require as much of an investment.

I'm not saying you should buy these things; I'm saying you shouldn't be buying the most expensive versions of them. Accept them for what they are: fads, trends, short-lived ideas, and then spend accordingly. These are the items you should be buying at H&M, Zara, TopShop, PacSun. They will most likely be short lived, so spend the amount of money for something you don't mind losing it's value within the year.

The key is to mix quality basics, with trendy cheap finds.

Spend your money where it counts.

 

- james

 

Monday
Feb022015

diy tailoring

As you already know, I'm a firm believer in tailoring your clothes to find the perfect fit. I'm also a firm believer in not spending all of my money. These DIY tips are my jam. Thanks Men's Fashion Basics

All you need is a sewing machine, some cotton thread and a handful of fabrics to practise sewing in a straight line on.

Of course, the machine is going to set you back an initial outlay at first, but once you realise the extent of alterations you can do with just a basic understanding, it will more than pay for itself in the long run.

Most instruction manuals are really straight forward and easy to understand when it comes to setting it up, and once you’ve practised a bit you would be surprised how quickly your skill level evolves. I’d recommend picking up some spare needles (you’ll break a couple, trust me), some pins to take the clothing in and a picker to unpick any mistakes that you make.

Here are just a few of the alterations that I’ve started doing myself after owning a sewing machine for only a couple of weeks…

Change The Buttons

One of the easiest alterations to make, and it doesn’t even involve a sewing machine!

About.com have produced an excellent guide for beginners, entitled ‘how to sew on a flat button’, whilst you should also remember that the existing holes left from the old button provide guidance as to where your needle should be going.

So, read up on the above and then try it out on some of the old pieces you don’t wear any more (shirts, jackets, chinos, polos – the list is endless). You will be pleasantly surprised at how that old work shirt can be instantly transformed with something as simple as contrasting coloured or higher quality buttons.

I personally like swapping the buttons on my jackets for lighter shades in the summer – just another step in developing a truly seasonal wardrobe. However, many of you will want to alter the often cheap, bright white plastic buttons you find on many high street pieces (we are looking at you, Topman chinos), which will instantly make them appear more expensive and subtly separate yours from the mass-produced crowd.

Taking In A Shirt

Here you have two options: putting in darts or taking it in at the side seams. Personally, I like both methods but feel that a dart works better with a shirt made from a lighter material such as broadcloth or linen, not an Oxford cloth or flannel.

My preferred method is to turn the shirt inside out, put it on and then have a friend – that you trust – pin two darts into the back of the shirt. You then use your sewing machine to sew along the line the pins form. When you are happy with your work, simple steam the darts closed with an iron.

For an even easier way of taking in a shirt look no further than this threadbanger video:

Hemming Trousers

Again, this is super easy to do and there are plenty of videos online that will take you through the process, step by step.

Why not breathe new life into old jeans, trousers or chinos by taking them up to ankle height and treating them as your new go-to spring/summer trousers? Wear them sockless with loafers, of course.

Fabrics For Pocket Squares

The great thing about creating your own pocket square is that you can pick the EXACT fabric, colour and pattern you want, usually for a pretty low cost, from any fabric shop. Then simply follow this great guide by Eight-In-Hand for putting it together.

I tend to make mine from old shirts that have started to fray or wear in awkward places.

 

Final Word

So there you have it, a few alteration tips that you can start doing yourself for a lot cheaper than a tailor. Like I said, the sewing machine will set you back initially but once you look at it as an investment and see the amount of money that you’re saving, you’ll reap the rewards.

If you become passionate about it then it could potentially lead to you making your own clothing; I’m currently toying with the idea of making a waistcoat. Aside from the savings, it also gives your clothing an individual stamp – a stamp that you’ve done yourself. Which is sort of what style is all about.

 

- james

Tuesday
Jun172014

5 steps to build a wardrobe on a budget.

yes, we all want to have the freshest wardrobe. yes, we all want to look like we're dressed to the nines whenever we leave the house. and yes, doing so can be extremely pricey and unrealistic at times. so here are some tips for building your wadrobe on a budget.

 

1. 

Thrift Hard. Know the good thrift shops in your area, and visit them with some regularity. You won't always find a gem every single time you go, so it's important to go often.

2. 

Fit it Well. Find a solid tailor in your area and build a relationship. Returning to the same tailor will help them get a feel for the way you like your clothes to fit, and will help them deliver consistently high qulity work. Combining thrift store clothes with a tailored fit will make the clothes look like they were made for your body, creating a quality look at a bargain price. For those of you in utah, I recommend Hollady Furs in Provo.


3. 

Learn the basics. Some common knowledge on sewing buttons, fixing tears and holes can help your clothes last longer. You can also customize your clothing a little with new buttons, new thread colors, and other small changes. The difference is in the details.


4. 

Maintain. It's one thing to get the right pieces of clothing, but it's another thing to make sure it lasts. Dry clean the clothes that need to be dry cleaned. Hang dry those things that you don't want to shrink. Polish your shoes. condition your leather goods. brush your suits and suedes. the list goes on. Keep it nice and i'll stay looking nice.


5. 

stay connected. find clothing manufacturers you like, and stay connected to their promotion schedules. This enables you to find quality clothing brand new for better prices. Most retailers have a some pretty regularly scheduled sales events that can be found with a simple google search (Nordstrom for example), knowing when these occur will help you plan your purchases. 

- james

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Aug132013

back to school on a budget.

With the new school season about to start, you've definitely thought about improving your wardrobe a bit to kick the semester off the right way. Now if you're anything like me, you've thought about doing so while spending as little money as possible. The good news is this task can be accomplished with just a little bit of searching. For example, check out this basic back-to-school outfit I was able to put together for $100.

Levi's 511 Slim Fit jeans - rigid dragon -   $58.00   $48.00 click here.

Gap Inc. horizontal stripe modern oxford -   $39.95   $23.99   click here.

UO skull icon sock -   $8.00   $5.99   click here.

UO CVO sneaker -   $29.00   click here.

At this point, there really aren't any excuses to look anything less than dapper on your first day of the semester. Do you homework, find new threads, and have a great semester.

- James