Friday, November 11, 2005

Professional Issues: Male Fashion on a Budget

So, as anyone who knows me in "meatspace" can attest, I have a tendancy to gain and lose weight fairly quickly (in the last year, I've probably been everywhere from 180-225, and back). During lawschool, this did not present much of a problem because my morning clothing decisions were generally A) Go to class? Bullshit, I'm eating pop-tarts and playing XBox today. (Hence the weight bouncing). B) Which hoodie goes with these ratty jeans?

Now that I'm back in the realjobisphere, working for one of the few 'old-school' judges here in the 'burg, I have to actually look 'professional'. For the longest time, I've felt uncomfortable wearing a shirt and tie, let alone a suit. As the years go by and my college peers become more and more succesful (especially for a bunch of liberal arts hippies...), the various Carleton weddings have taken on a semi-surreal 'costume-day' aspect. I know everyone there, it just seems like they are all trying to dress like adults. Very jarring. At the last one, there was a conversation of at least 45 minutes devoted to who had the best 'tie-dimple'. And we were only mostly joking.

In any event, for my job, I have to wear coat and tie every day. Nothing ridiculous there, especially since I'm, you know, a semi-lawyer. But here is the problem: My clothes seldom fit just right. My changing proportions (somehow, my neck expands and contracts by about 1.5 inches at a pop) mean that if that the arms are too short or too long, or the chest is too tight or too loose, or...etc. This may seem like a trivial matter, but it also makes it hard for me to buy clothes. I have to remember if it is puffy-Pooh or relatively slender-Pooh in the store on a given day, and adjust sizing decisions appropriately. If this seems trivial, well of course it is. That doesn't mean I don't spend too much time in contemplation of the matter.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I hate shopping. I get the 1000 mile-mall-crawl stare after 15 minutes, so finding the perfect 'look' is often secondary to getting out as fast as possible


Frankie said...


Since you're a weight yo-yo-er, I would suggest buying your shirts at Marshalls/TJMaxx/FIlene's Basement. That way you're not paying top dollar for your duds, so you can buy more of a selection to suit your spectrum of fluffy and thin builds. Buy your undies and socks there too - cheap out on those things, and splurge on the suits and've got to have a sharp suit and shoes, baby!

Consignment shops are another great place to score fabulous suits, shirts, and ties for dirt cheap. You just have to make sure you buy classic cuts so you don't look dated.

Oh, and enlist a female friend to go shopping with you. She can teach you how to be thrifty, but still look like a million bucks.

Frankie said...

Or a guy friend who knows how to dress...didn't mean to be sexist there!