So when I see something I actually like, I get excited. I think maybe things will change and there'll be lot's of awesome and affordable things for me to wear and I will look awesome always. Happy Ending. But then, ultimately, I am disappointed. There is always a spanner in the works, always some hurdle or hitch that stops the joy coming. Rage builds, repress to function.
When I look for clothes, I go through this process on a small level, and I never end up buying ANYTHING. Below are the most common reasons I have for raging out when trying to buy stuff for myself. By sharing with you today, I'm hoping we can work through this together, as friends, because I'm certain that these feelings are not exclusively mine. Think of it as a guided group therapy session. You trust me, right?
In many ways, this can be the worse problem, but I feel this issue affects some more than others. I have a very strong idea of what I want, and a reasonably well established idea of what clothes are "me" and what are not. If what is "you" is not what's popular, then you you're going to have a rough time. If however, there is a brand [or number of brands] that stock things that you think suit your look, you are probably going to find this is the less of the bugbears I put forward here. Also, those without a strong idea of what they're are looking for wont' know this problem, but give it time. When you get there, you will. No one is safe.
Example: Once I wanted to get a dark red suit shirt to go with a black suit I already had for a function back when I worked in insurance [shudder]. I looked absolutely everywhere, Myer, DJ's, Roger David, Tarocash, YD, Politix, Jack London, independent boutiques, the list goes on. I searched consistently for a month, and I could not find one place where I could find a red shirt, let alone one I liked. Red was "out" that season. Is this not basic? How is a qualifier like 'red' so damning? It drove me to madness that no-where in the greater Sydney area stocked a red suit shirt, and that the scope that season was narrow as to only include 4 of the basic colours taught to all children.
To hammer the point home, below I have screenshot-ed the entire search results of the politix online store for 'red' and 'shirt'. Notice something going on here?
Fun fact: the insurance function was lame, but I looked okay in the end. Let it go, VonVinyl.
Look, I would love to hold the illusion that I, your writer, live in some kind of extravagant fashion life. That I I have a fucking mad wardrobe full of awesome swanky things, and am constantly purchasing new fineries for myself, as I wear a new outfit home everyday, stand in front of the mirror, and laugh. Like some kind of Cruella DeVil with testicles.
It's a half truth at best.
I like to think I look good, but I'm lucky if I can buy a new piece of clothing in a year, apart from some kmart basics, op shop finds, and factory warehouse purchases. My budget for fashion is very low, especially for a guy who is so invested in it. I simply don't have the pennies. I know I'm not the only guy who feels this way, menswear's not cheap.
Case Study: Australian label named Danin Dilemma, sold exclusively through Mayday Market. This season is not my fav, but you can get the idea, and they do some simple stuff I appreciate. Below is an example of a basic, but interesting tee shirt with some length, seaming and neckline variations.
Wrong. This shirt retails at $89 plus postage. Now I won't go into the ins and outs of fashion pricing, it's a complicated topic underpinned with lame things like economics and morality. The point here is, how can I justify the purchase of this shirt when I can get about six basic Bonds tees for the same amount that would fulfill the same purpose? I don't have disposable income to do it. It breaks my heart.
Good news, if you're committed, there are ways around it without having to miss rent or miss out on booze money (thank heavens). As I mentioned before factory warehouses are totally a thing (Clear It is one I frequent), and some Op shops (or 'thift stores' for the overseas readers) can be a good resource. One near me stocks unworn designer stuff frequently, and costs the same of the standard equivalent in retail stores. Find a good one, then hunt and gather.
Who would have thought that you'd learn something reading this? I certainly didn't.
Another great way to save money can be to buy things online, Amazon and Ebay open up avenues to Chinese and Korean retailers that sell clothing very cheaply. Sure, the fabric is not great quality, and sure, you don't know how many child workers cried into it while it was being made by their tiny crippled hands (wash it before you wear it), but the clothing is affordable, and some of it really cool.
The problem here is that, nine times in ten, it will not fit you. A number of things contribute to this. For those of us in western countries, our body shapes are generally different to the body shapes in the Asian nations where a lot of this clothing is made. No, it's not just race. Climate, diet, lifestyle and culture are all factors here. The result is that western body types are generally larger, so a number of companies advise western buyers to purchase a size much larger than they normally would. The sad truth is that this is not a great solution. Western people are not simply bigger, but also have different proportions A large sized asian body is not the same proportions as a smaller western body type. Problems start to arise very quickly in the fit, especially for taller thinner customers. Also, in all fashion, clothing styles tend to distort the further up the size scale you go, meaning large sizes move away from the designers original plan.
Or, if you are like me, you are probably nowhere near the average body shape clothing is designed for. For example, I have the arms of an orangutan, so much longer than the statistical norm that they drag behind me when I walk. Few shirts accommodate for men with orangutan arms' or similar qualities which include (but are not limited too) 'rugby neck', 'zoot suit shoulders', and 'flamingo pelvis'. Since ebay has no change room, you run a serious risk in purchasing. No try before you buy. The only comfort is either the great bargain you just got, or the fact that you lost little if the fit is poor.
Gosh, look at the word count. I should stop here, or I'll end up ranting 'till the night closes in. I hope you found that useful to you, I certainly feel better getting it out. You're a good listener. There are lots of reasons dudes don't end up buying what they want, if you want to share in the comments below, or message me privately through the contact page or via facebook, do that. Hello Turncoats, I'm listening.
Signal boost, if anyone is going to the RAW showcase in Sydney on 19th, I'll be there swanning around trying to look important. Come say hi, it would be nice to meet you. RAW exhibits local artists, fashion designers, models, makeup artists, musos and performers. I'm there to support a good friend of mine, Peter Roads, who'll reading some of his amazing words on the night. Find info on the event here.
Maybe I'll see you then, you can buy me a beer.