Sunday, February 22, 2009

Style on the Cheap

If you're like me, you have very little expendable income that can be spent on looking nice. This factor makes for some innovative solutions when it comes to being stylish. Here are some tips for the vintage style afficionado for looking good while living within your means.

First and foremost is the thrift shop.

While often dirty, loaded with polyester junk and usually low class, the thrift shop will yield some excellent finds every once in a while for good prices. Just be sure you know what you're looking for and carefully examine the entire garment for damage; after all, it is pre-worn clothing. Just a warning, with this bad economy thrift shops are becoming very busy places so deals and steals are becoming few and far between.


Before you start the anti-Wally World hate fest, know that Wal-Mart is a successful store because it is what the customer wants: decent products for cheap prices. Remember that if Wal-Mart did not exist another similar business would fill the void. That's business.

But not everything about the Mart is cheap quality. George Brand, for instance. George trousers are great quality vintage-styling for a good price (originally $25). In the photo below a pair of vintage trou are on the left, George Brand trousers are on the right.Certain Wal-Marts, most often the "Super" ones, also carry classic looking George Brand sweater vests.

Also take a look at their $10-$15 Hawaiian shirts. They are made of rayon (like the old ones) and have pretty classic and attractive fabric patterns. Pair them with gray slacks, brown/white spectators, a Panama hat and some vintage sunglasses for a vintage look.

Don't shun Wal-Mart until you've tried these products.


Still not a fan of Wally World? Try the higher class Target (if there were such a thing as a 'high class' nationwide department store). Target's selection of men's clothing has greatly increased in recent years and has provided the buyer with some rather vintage styled clothing for relatively cheap. Such products include short four-pocket vests in wool and corduroy, classic 100% silk regimental ties (though in the modern too-long length), green velvet smoking jackets, plaid peacoats, classic looking leather jackets and more.

Many of these items are now on sale for very cheap so be sure to check it out.


Selling slightly outdated fashionable clothing to the masses at exorbitant rates, Gap might be the last place you'd think about when searching for vintage style. But while pre-worn jeans and cheaply made shirts and jackets are the main draw for most young folks, GAP socks are indeed quite classic.

Each pair of argyle or striped socks cost a mere $6.50 or get three pairs for $15. Their selection changes regularly with the seasons, as these Spring/Easter socks can attest to.

Younkers and Pennys
These department stores carry a wide variety of clothing, from the hip to the classic.
Pennys, within the last two years, has adopted "American Living" as its in-store brand.
"American Living" is owned and operated by Ralph Lauren so be on the lookout for good quality and classic albeit often expensive styling. Fortunately Pennys has sales regularly.

Another good product sold by Pennys is Van Heusen shirts. Van Heusen is one of the top shirt sellers in the U.S. and it's easy to tell why, particularly when it comes down to their "fitted" shirts. The Van Heusen fitted shirts wear closer to the body and poof out less than their regular-fit counterparts. Van Heusen fitted shirts are often on sale for $25 or less.

Like Pennys, Younkers offers a variety of styles in an attempt to reach a wider demographic. And Younkers has sales almost constantly.

The two jackets/shirts below were obtained at a local Younkers during a 'sidewalk sale'.
Originally $70 each, they were one sale for $10 each. They have great 1950s styling to them.

Lyle and Scott jacket. The gray is actually white houndstooth on a black background. Constructed of combed cotton.

Perry Ellis jacket. Beautiful argyle pattern; constructed of cotton and acrylic blend for easier care.
So, while the economy is in the dumps it's not difficult to look nice and vintage-inspired. You just have to look in the right places.


Mateo said...

this is one FANTASTIC post!!! Great info. I'll start taking an un-snobby look at walmart's offerings.

I knew about JcPenny though. Very promising stuff in their stores lately.

tom said...

Does the Wal-Mart brand Puritan differ very much from the George brand? They are priced cheaper, but are they as good as the George?

Will said...

Hey Tom.
I'm sure Puritan is fine quality but from what I've seen not as good as George.
Plus, most of the Puritan trousers are of a more modern cut (lower waisted, tapering legs, lighter fabric) as opposed to the George trousers shown in this post.


Shane Tenczar said...

pretty much as soon as I saw this post I went to WalMart and got some george pants and they are great! Im going to be sewing some suspender buttons in them and they will be perfect. And I saw the 100% rayon shirts too and they were pretty cool.

Shane Tenczar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Partida said...

Great blog, I can't wait to try out some of the George pants. I was just in a Walmart today, too bad I didn't take a peek.

Tegner said...

Yeah, thrift stores can sometimes have awesome steals, I got a practically new full Nordstrom suit that fit me perfectly for only $6.

Travis Wedding said...

I've owned two or three different pairs of George slacks, They've all had MAJOR rips in the seats. (We're talking embarassing, you can see my boxers and this can't really be covered up with my shirt rips, here.) The Puritan brand pants I've owned were all fantastic, but they no longer seem to come in the elastic slider waistband. Now, for JCPenny, they've got Haggar Cool 20's. Excellent pants, my favorite. Also Haggar work to weekends are good. Keep in mind though, they're a bit pricer if you need ultra cheap. Look on ebay, you can get the haggars, dockers, and a lot of other nice pants on the cheap.


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