Ballin’ on a Budget: Outlet Mall Edition

Over the weekend, I was able to visit an outlet mall to find some goodies. This time of the year is perfect for outlet mall shopping because a lot of them have discounts on top of the already embedded outlet mall discount. Usually, outlet malls are out of the way, so it’s best to devote the whole day to shopping and finding some “diamonds in the rough.”

Here are some quick pointers when outlet mall shopping.

  • Go big or go home: You are at the outlet mall to get premium brands at a discount. Don’t venture to the Old Navy outlet. Also, don’t go to the lower tier shops of a brand (like Ralph Lauren Chaps instead of Ralph Lauren). Spend your time and resources at the premium shops – otherwise, why go at all?
  • Focus on the deep discount items: Outlet stores still carry in-season items which are only discounted slightly. Hit the racks with the BIG discounts.
  • Skip the trendy stuff: Since a lot of deep discount items are last season’s stuff, you don’t want to get the really trendy things. As always, devote your money to the STC (simple.timeless.classic).

With that being said, I’ll outline some great things guys can get. However, since skinny guys are at a disadvantage to bigger men, I’ll split this post up.

The Skinny Man can ¬†buy…

Photo Credit: Sartorial Butch

  • Winter Accessories: Scarves, gloves, hats are all one size items, so grab some!
  • Ties: Usually I don’t recommend spending too much on ties, but I recently bought two Burberry ties because of the amazing discount I received. This is your chance to buy great ties at great prices.
  • Eyewear: A lot of shops have sunglasses because they are out of season, so you can buy designer eyewear at a really steep discount.
  • Shoes

The Larger Man can buy all of the above plus…

Rock and Republic Denim Photo Credit: This Next

  • Designer Denim: For men with waist size 33 and up, you can grab Sevens, R&R, Joe’s, etc. for ridiculously low prices. For example, I saw a pair of Sevens that were originally $200 which could be bought for $60!
  • Shirts and Sweaters: Great shirts at great prices. Loads of Larges, and XLs
  • Coats: Same as “Shirts” above (for a coat sizing guide, read my post)
  • Suits: Armani, Zegna, galore! Out of every 1 or 2 size 36 and 38, I saw 10 size 40 and 42’s.

As you can see, slimmer guys are at a distinct disadvantage, but there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, my major haul of the day was a lovely Burberry Peacoat that was originally priced at $1,200! I was able to get it for almost 75% off!

So as you can see, anyone can ball on a budget. Just remember, shop strategically and enjoy your acquisitions!

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Shoes 101: A Man’s Guide to Footwear

The easiest way to ruin any outfit is to wear a terrible pair of shoes. In the same vein, the easiest way to spruce up an outfit is to wear a fabulous pair of shoes. There’s a reason women are obsessed with shoes, and it’s a shame so many guys don’t even consider shoes to be an integral part of their outfit.

If there’s one thing you should overspend on, it should be shoes. The reason for this is the ROI (for non-finance types this is Return on Investment). You may spend more, but you will get a far greater ROI on more expensive shoes than cheap ones because of longevity and comfort.

Trust me, I wore a pair of Aldos for a year, and at the end, I couldn’t wait to toss them out. Like when I engaged in an Olive Garden unlimited soup and salad eating contest with my eldest sister when I was 10 – NEVER AGAIN! But I digress.

Here’s a sweet and simple guide to the different types of men’s shoes!

Lace-Ups: Generally considered the most dressy kind of men’s shoe

Cap Toe: Perhaps the most popular type of shoe, it’s appropriate for almost all types of business or dressy situations.

Cap Toe

Wear with: Suits, dress pants

Wing-Tip: You can tell it’s a wing-tip because of the distinctive “W” shape in the stitching near the toe.

Wing-Tip

Wear with: Heavier fabrics like tweed and flannel

Plain-Toe Oxford: Probably my favorite of the dressy shoes because of the simplicity of the stitching, the plain-toe fantastic for almost all dressy settings.

Plain Toe Oxford

Wear with: Suits, dress pants

Monk strap: The buckle on the side is the distinctive feature. A man wearing these may gain a little panache.

Monk strap

Wear with: Suits, dress pants, jeans

Shoes without Laces: Generally considered less dressy than lace-ups, and the cheaper of the two options

Loafers: With roots in preppy traditions, the loafer is ubiquitous with khakis.

Loafers

Wear with: Khakis, jeans

Slip-On: With the front of the shoe generally coming higher up the foot than the loafer, slip-ons look great with jeans.

Slip-On

Wear with: Dress pants, jeans

Drivers: My personal favorite in this category because they are SO COMFORTABLE. Seriously, it’s like wearing slippers in public. The sole is more casual (not wood). It’s called a driver because it lets you feel the pedals in a car better.

Drivers/Moccasins

Wear with: Jeans, khakis, shorts

Other

Boat Shoes (think Sperry’s)

Dress Boots (for colder weather conditions)

Shoes are an easy way to upgrade your style – you really should be spending upwards of $200 on a pair of shoes. I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s really worth it!

(Photocredits: KinoWear)

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Monday Manswers: “How do I Build a Better Wardrobe?”

Here’s five quick tips to remaking your wardrobe and yourself:

Keep your wardrobe simple and updated.

1. Eradicate anything you don’t wear often…and donate it to the Salvation Army. Seriously, if you don’t wear pants or a shirt that often, get rid of it. You will be surprised how much crap you have acquired over the years. Additionally, you will gain a more organized closet and more space for better couture.

2. Tailor suits and expensive items …that don’t fit well anymore. You can add more life to items that you don’t wear because they look bad. Take them to your nearest tailor and fix ’em up.

3. Build a better strategy for buying items…by employing the “8 or more” framework. Whenever I’m shopping, I consider the item, price, fit, color, etc. Then I ask myself, “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being obsessed, 1 being hatred), how much do I like this thing?” If it’s an 8 or more, I usually buy it. Don’t wantonly spend and buy.

4. Don’t diversify just to diversify…by buying items you won’t wear. For instance, don’t buy a yellow shirt just because “you don’t have this color.” Some people like to wear lots of different colors, and some don’t. Wear what you like to wear. At the same time, you’ll start building a signature style that people will start recognizing.

5. Value quality over quantity…for long term use and wear. Start buying quality items less often in lieu of low quality items more often. You may spend more at once, but over time, you’ll have higher quality items that will last far longer. For instance, one nice pair of Ferragamos may cost 3 pairs of Aldos, but they will look better and last longer than the poorly made Aldos.

Furthermore, keep your wardrobe updated by buying a few pieces every season. Stick to simple, timeless pieces over trendier ones. But if you want to pick up something really trendy, go for it! You only live once, and you may learn something about your tendencies – individual style is always encouraged around these parts.

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