Monday, February 6, 2012

"Mindset" 3: Recycled Money

Old Money, New Clothes

Throughout the years I have had multiple places where I would house my belongings be it my parents’ house, storage space, grandparents’ apartment and wherever I was currently residing. As I moved back to the city last spring, I brought all my sartorial belongings under one roof; into one room. Anybody that helped me move or seen my room since I moved back could testify to the endless abyss of clothes and footwear. However the funny thing is that I still found difficulty with proverbial question of “what to wear?” I realized that I had many exquisite pieces but few bare essentials to go with them. I would have a nice Zara suit that has a silver shimmer with a brown undertone but no brown dress shoes or white button down shirt to go with it. I have a pair of H&M cobalt blue slacks but very few dress coats to suit it. Therefore I realized that I had accumulated a whole bunch of nothing throughout the years.
            As the summer months passed and my messy room began to disturb my sanity I became more adamant about severing the emotional ties that I seem to have had with many different articles of clothing. For instance I had a couple of Eddie Bauer sweaters from ‘97-‘98 that I no longer wore and a Liz Claiborne sky blue Teflon golf jacket along with various dull plaid button down shirts that made me look like someone’s grandfather. It was hard for me to let go of these items because they were the clothes that got me by throughout my younger years when I didn’t have much. However I decided that my sanity was more important. Therefore I buckled down and finally decided on what needed to go. I gave a bunch of clothes away to friends in need and donated a good portion to a men’s homeless shelter. After it was all said and done it still wasn’t enough, it seemed as though I was just getting started. I sat down and analyzed how many out of the 70 plus sneakers I owned which were infrequently worn and subsequently made over $800.00 on and still counting.
            After selling multiple items on Ebay it had occurred to me how much money I had spent senselessly over the years on clothes. It hurt my heart to see how much money was spent on fads which would never reoccur and how the money could’ve went towards financing other ventures and hobbies. I then made the difficult decision that I would attempt not to spend anymore “new” money on clothes but rather if I was going to buy something new then I would  have to do it with money I procured from auctioning off something old.
            Ultimately I realized that I didn’t need nearly as much clothes as I had. Many of us have fallen victim to consumerism. We see an article of clothing in a store that we fall in love knowing very well that we don’t necessarily have anything to go with it at home. But we all make the excuse or find reasons to hold on to it in hopes that the occasion will arise or that we’ll find another piece to compliment it. And over the years that is exactly what my closet has become; A closet of exquisite and exclusive pieces that can’t be paired off. There needed to a change. There had to be some order in my dysfunctional shopping habits that have plagued me throughout my fashionable experience. I came to the conclusion that a man only needs a few staple suits, shoes and jackets which can be rotated and reinvented as new, every time. I figured if I could wrap my mindset around this concept then it would save me tons of time looking for what to wear and most importantly money. Some may see it as cheap but I see it as smart, ergonomic, practical and actually quite ingenious such as an artist that has to work with the same brushes and paints but must create a brand new masterpiece every time.
Fast forward to the present day,

All in all it has been a difficult journey and work in progress. There have been moments where I had relapses and proud to say even more moments where I succeeded. My theory is that you have to recognize what your sartorial staples are and stick to them. If you have no idea how to categorize your sartorial staples then you can usually refer to any clothing website of your choice and go to either the women’s (for women) and men’s (for men) section where then you will find labels for the different clothes categories (i.e.: Outerwear, Shirts, Pants, Leisure wear, Accessories etc). After you have chosen the categories that apply to you then you should pick a number from 1-10 but no greater than 10 which will be your MAXIUM number for articles of clothing that you may have for each category. This cap will be an indicator that if you desire anything new within any of those categories then you have to let one of your pre-owned items go. You recycle the money you receive from auctioning your pre-owned item to attain a new one without having to spend new money.
            Lastly as I have professed before in Mindset article #1 learn to shop smart there is many places where you can get name brand or quality items for cheap or on sale. Don’t be afraid to be a bargain or sales shopper. Its not “being cheap” its making an “informed consumer” purchase. Buy within your means or even below it to allot money to fund other areas of interest. The worst thing is to look like a million bucks but have no money in your pocket to fit the look.

Some online places to shop for below retail or sell your items:

Some stores to shop at for high quality below retail:

Your local thrift shop
Burlington Coat Factory
Century 21
Buffalo Exchange
Salvation Army (might be a stretch but hey you never know)

Places to donate or get a few bucks for your items:
Buffalo Exchange
Good Will
Salvation Army

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