Don't Become A Credit Crunch Fashion Victim*

   Remember the glory days of 1997 when Tony Blair swept to power underneath a double rainbow, jobs where everywhere, the Seahorses ruled the airwaves with their confident guitar based rock and, so it seems, money was in a never ending supply? Heck, we had so much of it over here that Gordon Brown couldn’t wait to give all our gold away. Yet, fast forward 16 years and things have changed. Significantly. The impact of The Seahorses have begun to fade in time; the memories of their pomp are beginning to grain, saturate and degrade like an overly paused VHS copy of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Double Rainbows are replaced by unprecedented snow in the heart of spring and as for money… it seems to be nowhere.

   The (soon to be realised) triple dip recession means a great deal for the majority of us. Funds aren’t quite as spare as they used to be, and we have to find ways to spread our money like the supermarket own-brand margarine we have to use in lieu of the one with the televisual advertising campaign which melted our hearts (like an own-brand margarine left out of the fridge for too long). So, in terms of maintaining our appearances it would seem that we might not have the cash we’d like to be prolific like we did in days of yore; whilst we don’t necessarily have to worry about clothing ourselves in the attire of extras from a George A Romero film, we may have to be more choosy in what we spend our money on.

   The key to maintaining a decent wardrobe in the time of austerity is to shop wisely and shop with restraint. It’s a little acknowledged fact that regular wardrobe audits, aimed at decreasing the items in your possession, can actually lead to long and short term improvement of style. Getting rid of all the clothing you won’t wear from your drawers, your floors and your washing baskets mean you can better see, and get to grips with, the essential items you own – from here you can see how to maximise what you own. Once you’ve done this, you can shop smarter and, ultimately, look better.

   For a man, there are very few items that an essential wardrobe needs, particularly if a little amount of nous is utilised in assembling your wardrobe. A handful of trousers and a similar amount of crisp button up shirts should constitute the heart of your day to day wear and, from here, it’s possible to work out how to dress up combinations. Rather than invest in more shirts than you need, work out how to accessorise the one’s you have. So, for example, a crisp white shirt can look incredibly different when worn by itself, with a blazer, with a cardigan or with the addition of a tie, braces or even a classy time-piece. It’s cheaper to purchase adornments like this rather than splashing out on a variety of different shirts – even the more expensive sounding of these accessories, such as a classy watch, can be side-stepped by taking part in a touch of smart shopping. You could, for example, buy a second hand rolex from Market Cross Jewellers instead of laying down the full purchase amount.

   Whilst we may never get back to the times of double rainbows, Tony Blair playing “keepy uppy” with Kevin Keegan and TFI Friday ruling the airwaves, we still don’t have to fully surrender our style to the recession. Keep your wardrobe simple and use a little imagination; it’s a much better currency than profligate amounts of money.


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