Most of these blogs have been on somewhat challenging subject matters; who really enjoys being told they need to cut down on going out to eat with friends? So as we draw nearer to spring break and the inevitable pre-spring break testing marathon, let’s lighten up the subject matter and talk about fashion. I know it may seem counterintuitive to talk about fashion in a money management blog, but if you think that being fashion-forward means buying all of the latest and trendiest articles then I’m glad you’re here.
I like to look “put together”, but I simply don’t have money in my budget to go shopping regularly. And by regularly, I mean at all outside of necessity. In fact, most of my clothes are more than five years old, some even pushing ten. Yet, somehow, I still manage to catch a compliment every so often on my style. I call it… “Po’ Man Chic”. Po’ Man Chic isn’t necessarily a specific style of clothing, but rather a way of preserving the clothes you like for when they are appropriate, allowing you to stretch out their lifetime for as long as possible. Here’s a few rules that I follow that have led to the creation and development of Po’ Man Chic:
STOP BUYING TRENDY CLOTHES!
Remember how cool and hip v-necks were in the late 2000’s? Or even just a couple years ago when everyone had a snapback? You don’t see either one all that often anymore, but chances are high that you at least know someone who spent $60 on one if you didn’t yourself. When it comes to new trends, they either stick around for a long time or they’re gone when the season changes. Instead of jumping on every fashion bandwagon as soon as it rolls out, just wait and see if it’s worth the money. Besides, no one really likes looking at old pictures and saying, “why did we ever think that was cool?!”
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT RECEIVES COMPLIMENTS!
If you have a few pieces that tend to earn you more compliments than others, don’t wear them too often. Treat your clothes how Jay Leno treats his cars; save the ones that earn doubletakes for a special day. That doesn’t mean go to school rockin sweats every other day. In fact, you probably couldn’t tell me what the people you sit next to in class were wearing just yesterday. The point is, most people don’t pay that much attention. It’s okay to fly under the radar in some “knock-around” clothes. You don’t need to flex hard every day. Instead, wear your flexers with a purpose.
KNOW WHAT TO SPEND ON!
There IS such a thing as investing in clothes! College students need to be prepared for life after school. Often times this means a professional job with a professional dress code. If your closet is loaded with Jordans but not a single set of clothes that you would feel comfortable wearing to an interview, then it’s time to re-prioritize. Dress shoes, a few pairs of slacks and button-ups cost a bit more than usual, but they have a better return on investment. And if there’s one thing we know about investments, it’s to keep a diverse portfolio.
FOLLOW THE WASH INSTRUCTIONS!
Stop just throwing all of your clothes in the washer and dryer together willy nilly! Check the tags for wash instructions. The manufacturers don’t just put instructions on the tag for fun. They WANT you to be able to enjoy their creations for as long as possible. If it’s a fragile piece that you really care about, take the time to hand wash it if you have to. Not only will it last longer, but you’ll probably also be more conscious of where you wear it. Which brings me to my next point…
THINK ABOUT LOCATION!
That brand new white shirt would be a brave choice to wear to the The Salt Lick. I’m not saying always expect the worst case scenario to unfold on your clothes, but how likely are you to escape a full plate of barbeque drip-free? Also, if you know it’s going to rain, don’t wear your nice new shoes. Just use some common sense while you’re getting dressed.
Po’ Man Chic isn’t about keeping up with the latest GQ edition or staying ahead of the fashion curve. It’s about knowing what you have in your own inventory and treating it as if you just bought it. If you feel comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing, do everything you can to make it last.