I’ve got a friend who only owns one suit. Once, when it came around to a wedding he found he’d piled on a few pounds over Christmas and his suit didn’t fit anymore.
Rather than having it altered or buying a new one he decided to go on the ‘jockey diet’ and didn’t eat anything for days until the suit fitted again. That’s not being frugal, that’s madness.
As a Yorkshireman I’m happy in a pair of wellies, an old pair of jeans and a slightly curry-stained parker jacket. It goes without saying that I’m not one for spending much of my hard earned brass on posh clobber (although I wouldn’t go as far as the jockey diet to get into a too-small suit).
So as a bloke who likes to keep his pennies firmly in his pocket, how can I get some decent formal clobber on a budget?
Let’s get to work
The problem comes when I’m due to go to a posh do, job interview or other formal occasion. I’ll open the formal section of my wardrobe and find my de-mob suit (only joking), the suit I got married in and the black suit I wear for funerals.
The suit I got married in has seen better days and my funeral suit makes me look like an extra from Reservoir Dogs (this doesn’t give the best impression at most job interviews – or at a funeral for that matter).
Posh clothes for any budget
1. Get down the chazza: charity shops are appearing more and more on the high street and you can pick up some real bargains. Tips for this include looking at different size suits that you can get tailored to fit you.
2. Relatives: dads, uncles, cousins and brothers; ask around your family and friends if you need a smart whistle and flute. I was only joking about the de-mob suit earlier but my Dad has still got his suit from when he was in the Fire Service during the 70s. The same rule applies: if they’re willing to give you the suit it doesn’t have to be the exact size. You can always get it tailored to fit you and tailoring doesn’t cost the earth.
3. Get online: look for discount codes and deals on the web. Don’t ignore eBay, Gumtree and other sites where you can pick up a bargain.
4. Market stalls: Get down the market for bargains on second hand and new clothes. If it needs it get someone who’s good with a needle and thread to repair any damage or take the suit in.
5. Discount clothes stores or the supermarket: High Street pile-em high sell-em cheap stores, the larger supermarkets and other discount clothes stores are all worth a visit. You may find the clothes here look good but don’t last that long or wash that well, but if the price is right it’s a good playoff.
The one blue suit
Before his death my grandad always advised on owning one decent blue suit. I’ve heard this advice elsewhere, in films and on TV. The idea behind ‘one good blue suit’ is that you can wear it for all formal occasions, from job interviews to the occasional court appearance (what happens after you’ve had your collar felt).
Sometimes it’s better to spend a little extra on a decent suit that’s built to last that will also be appropriate for all occasions. It doesn’t mean that you won’t find a suit like this in a charity shop or down the local market.
All this talk of suits reminds me of an old pal who was having a night in playing the latest FIFA game while his wife went out on a works party.
His wife returned home after midnight to find him walking down the stairs dressed in his best suit, shirt and tie. When his wife inquired as to where he was going he had to explain (rather sheepishly) that he’d reached the Champion’s League final and felt that he should at least put on a suit for the occasion.
If you have any tips on where you find cheap formal wear let us know.