Budget Shopping feat. Cory Sylvester

October 4th, 2012

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Sure, we sometimes feature expensive clothing on TSBmen. That doesn’t mean, however, that good style has to be expensive.

Meet Tampa native Cory Sylvester. Part time writer, actor and comedian. Full-time style enthusiast and budget shopper extraordinaire.

After studying and performing sketch comedy at the legendary Second City Theater in Chicago, Cory moved to NYC in search of opportunity and experience. Admittedly, this lead to many nights waiting tables and performing odd jobs between gigs. Throughout the process of chasing his dream, however, Cory has learned many important life lessons, including how to look presentable and stylish on a tight budget.

Here he shares years of experience finding steals and deals, and proves that you don’t need a lot of cheddar to have good style.


1. Military Surplus

“When I moved to NYC I put everything I could fit into this bag and left the rest of my life in behind me. Everyone should know the feeling of a one-way flight to New York City…no return.”

Budget Shopping Tip: Army/Navy Surplus

If you’re shopping on a tight budget, check out your local army/navy surplus store. You’ll be surprised how many wearable basics you can find: cargo pants, canvas bags, aviator sunglasses, lace-up boots, canvas belts, yellow rain slickers, fatigue jackets, wool peacoats, etc.

Everything in there will be inexpensive and built to last. Just make sure you size down (most army/navy stuff is cut generously) and remember you’ll probably have to take some pieces to the tailor.

Crunch the Numbers

Sunglasses: $18 Cole Hann from Nordstrom Rack
Watch: $49 Timex from eBay
Donegal Sweater: $19 from Old Navy
Camo Pants: $12 from Crossroads Army/Navy Supply
Wingtips: $3 Florsheim from Salvation Army Chicago
Belt: $49 from JCrew
Canvas Duffel Bag: $22 from Army/Navy Surplus Chicago

Total Outfit: $172

  • Gold aviator shades by Cole Haan
  • Grey donegal wool sweater by Old Navy
  • Camo cargo pants Vintage
  • Gold watch by Timex
  • Black leather plaque belt by JCrew
  • Canvas duffle bag from Army/Navy Surplus
  • Black Vintage wingtips by Florsheim
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  • Cammy

    The best article I have ever come across on clothing. I am also one of those shoppers who love to save money as much as possible. Not very long time ago, I was very much careless while spending money on expensive clothing and accessories. But now after financial crisis I have learned to shop economically. found many great websites such as ezcouponsearch and retailmenot in last six months that helped me save a lot.

  • changingman

    I like Jersey Gardens in Elizabeth. I got a pair of Banana Republic slacks for $35 on sale from like $80 I think, and got them tailored for $25.

    • James Hemingway

      Love the look! Curious as to how the scarf was tied?

  • MrJBeee

    I love your posts on budget shopping. Flea markets and army/navy surpluses are the way to go. So many jewels are found. You guys are life savers for real. Keep up the good work!

  • http://thetreasuregentleman.wordpress.com TTG

    Nice post. I always love a good budget shopping tip. Nice one Cory.

  • http://areyoubob.com Wes

    These outfits are still a little expensive… Haha, maybe I’m just speaking for myself though. I’m pretty much broke most of the time. Great article!

  • Jimi Brady

    H&M and Zara are great for buying cheap, well-fitting clothing on a budget. Being a former employee of H&M, I made full use of my discount. This article is a godsend for college students like myself. I need to visit thrift stores more often.

  • Sam

    Love the bleeding madras in look 3 (which is my favorite look). Great post!

  • Jonathan

    Something more affordable, for me especially being in college. I like the fact that this is someone I can relate too. Nice job TSB you never disappoint.

  • http://chinosandcheesecake.blogspot.com Desmond K

    I think that secondhand stores have been getting a lot of love lately in the menswear world. And it totally helps out guys who really cant drop a grand on a new burberry trench coat. But they can find a used one for $250. Great post. It also helps to open people’s eyes who pass judgement on well dressed people thinking that they spend thousands on their clothes all the time.

  • Elizabeth

    FINALLY! This is the kind of thing you guys should be doing!!! Great work. Really. Obviously not a man, but have to say this is definitely more accessible to the everyday, “real” man. Thanks for showing finances don’t have to dictate fashion. A plus.

  • http://dressingbetterforless.blogspot.com Sergio Arteaga

    This is an awesome post! I personally am a budget shopper and love looking for deals anywhere and everywhere, so I can definitely relate to this post. Great style by Cory and on a budget!

  • TO

    You coulda hit me up for this one man! And I recently decided to extend my school career for a few more years, so this kind of shopping will continue to be a necessary habit for me haha. Cory did a good job though! Reminds me I still gotta get more familiar with Ebay…