Friday, March 7, 2008

Style that's right on the money

There are those who can afford to wear what they wish and money is no object. And then there's the rest of us whose budgets are visibly limited. And yet the common denominator that binds is quality. (Who wouldn't want to own, say, a Kiton suit?) Question is, at what price?

The specter of a sagging U.S. dollar, as noted in a recent Houston Chronicle story, has made high-end, Italian menswear even more expensive. At least for now, the consideration to invest in custom-made clothing using these fabrics becomes less attractive (though men who soldier on the made-to-measure path anyway would ensure sartorial splendor).

So if your budget is better suited for off-the-rack wear, there are plenty of quality options. For maximum bang for the buck, follow this most valuable style point: Get it on sale.

Menswear shoppers who troll through retailers such as Macy's, Dillard's, Nordstrom's, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue (yes, even Kiton goes on sale here), Brooks Brothers and the like, know what I'm talking about. Garments you may have seen at full price have a good chance of getting marked down to make room for the following season's inventory.

As a rough rule, shopping for menswear after the Fourth of July and after Christmas are the ideal times to look for bargains.

Last month, for example, I purchased a Versace blazer from Saks that retailed at nearly $1,495 for less than $400, and a pair of Polo Ralph Lauren suede bucks that were regularly $390 for about $80.

Of course, I was in the right place at the right time. The risks of waiting for clothes to go on sale is that your size could sell out before the sale season. But that's part of the thrill when bargain hunting, to see if the best stuff fits at a lower price.

With patience, the goal is to look like a million bucks while saving up for that milestone, my good man.

Good luck!

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