In these tough times, we just need to keep it to bare necessities. Image courtesy of iStockphoto/Thinkstock.

Unless you work for the government, you might have noticed that the economy is not what is used to be.  Although it is not great, one of the good things we can take away from it is how to spend wisely.  A few years ago we were all spending like we were on the corporate account.  We didn’t wait for things to go on sale. Any new fad or trend?  We’d get it, then sell it on eBay in a couple of months.

I’m as guilty as anyone else.  I used to look through a wardrobe of things that had absolutely no business being in my life.  But that’s ok.  Lesson learned.  And less is more.

With all of that being said, here are a couple of ground rules for smart purchasing.

1. Do I need it?  As in, is it going to be used?  Be utilitarian.

2. Do I love it?  If every time you look in your closet you are going to pick something else, then you shouldn’t buy it.

I think a great way to learn the lesson is to go through your closet and purge every so often.  Look at the stuff you are throwing out.  How much did you spend on it, how much did you use it, and how much did you love it?

One particularly nasty predator is a little something that I refer to as “The Outlet”.  Damn outlets!  If you are going to the outlet with a specific purchase in mind, then great.  Problem is, we usually have no clue why we are there, in the middle of some desert, and we find some crap that is half off, and we think “half off crap, I need that!”  Whoa, big dog.  Rein it in, so we can make it rain at the strip club later.

For the most part, let’s stick to the basics.  We should be putting down the dollars for essential pieces that every man should have in his arsenal.  Let’s rethink our strategy.  Instead of buying four pairs of $50 jeans that we just feel so-so about, let’s buck up on that one pair that we love for $220.  Don’t buy something that is only going to work for one season.  Skinny jeans shouldn’t be around right now, and they probably won’t be around in another year (hopefully).

My wardrobe is a much leaner, meaner animal these days.  Great jeans, sweet kicks, and a nice shirt?  Solid.


Richard has been in the Essential Style for Men mix since its inception in 2009. When he isn’t busy serving as the ESM’s Director of Fashion & Style, you may find him on the beach playing volleyball, or working hard in Thailand shooting with a beautiful Brazilian supermodel.