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There’s an ad campaign out there – we’re not naming any names, but you’ve almost certainly seen it – which asks the question, “What’s in your wallet?” In these trying economic times, the answer for all too many of us is, “Not nearly as much as there used to be,” and if you’re one of the folks who currently finds themselves in the midst of a search for employment, then you’re probably really feeling some lightness in your back pocket.
It can be rather disheartening when you’re trying to balance your budget, and we know that you need to find places to cut down on expenses, but be sensible, man, and keep yourself looking stylish at all costs. After all, did not the great philosopher Fernando once say, “It is better to look good than to feel good”?
Indeed, he did, and you must heed his words, for he is far more marvelous than you or I.
So how do you go about maintaining your outer awesomeness for future job interviews without having to break the bank? No, it’s not just about closing your eyes while you’re eating Ramen noodles and pretending it’s a sirloin steak…although, come to think of it, that actually worked pretty well for me when I was in college. If you put a bit of thought, care, and concern into your efforts, you can still come out with the right clothes, the right shoes, and, of course, the right shave.
As to the latter category…wait, hang on, let me just walk over to the CD player and cue up “Hymn for a Contractual Obligation”…we’ve already discussed in a previous column about how guys tend to buy a razor and stick with it for the long haul, so just go ahead and invest in Gillette’s new Fusion ProGlide and get it over with. First and foremost, it proves an awesome shave, but more importantly in this instance, odds are that you won’t feel the urge to replace it until well after you’ve found gainful employment again. As for your shaving gel and any of the other products with which you prefer to pamper your face, start scouring the Sunday papers for coupons as well as fliers for sales at your neighborhood drug store or pharmacy. If you keep your eyes open, the odds of you having to pay full price for these amenities drop significantly.
But what of the right clothes? Or, more importantly (as far as women are concerned, anyway), the right shoes?
Don’t freak out on me here, but…have you considered going the secondhand-store route? Kids, thrift stores aren’t just for hipsters anymore. They’re a great place to get near-new clothes, and if you investigate the scene and scout out the locations nearest to your area’s highest-priced homes, you’ll be astonished at the quality of clothing you can find…and, more importantly, the breadth of the big-name brands amongst their selection. How do you find the secondhand and thrift stores in your area? Well, first and foremost, there’s The Thrift Shopper, a one-stop web destination for all your thrift shopping needs. Per the site, “Search for thrift stores in our national thrift store directory, join our online thrifting community, and learn more about thrift shopping!” Beyond that, though, here are some of the more prominent names in the business that are likely to have locations in your neck of the woods:
• CHKD Thrift Stores
• The Salvation Army
But, okay, maybe you just can’t get past seeing secondhand stores as a step down. If that’s the case, then try their upscale cousins: consignment shops. Or you can let the crappy economy work for you and keep an ear to the ground for word on going-out-of-business sales. Or, heck, you could even consider checking out the occasional estate sale. Yeah, it’s a little grim, but just imagine the possibilities for retro fashion!
Guys, how do you manage to save money but still look your best?
Look, no one ever said it was going to be easy to look good, but with a little effort, at least it doesn’t have to be expensive. So get out there, beat the street, and turn that reasonably-priced look of class into a new job that kicks ass!