The Lost-Money Look

Eminently suited menswear author G. Bruce Boyer has opined eloquently about the Old Money Look. But now with the economy completely FUBAR, both old and new money can finally schlep around together in the Lost-Money Look.

To get the look, simply stop buying new clothes for the next five years.

Wear your shirts until they’re frayed, your tweed until it looks like an ancient oriental rug, your footwear until it has that Boston Cracked Shoe look. Since you won’t be living well off the land (in fact, you might be sleeping on it), you will also lose weight during this time, so discard any clothes that don’t fit. You’ll wear out the remaining clothing even faster.

The American economy is largely kept afloat by people buying things they don’t need, often with money they don’t have. So the effect of our collectively adopting the Lost-Money Look will be to drag out the economy’s FUBAR status another five years, for a grand total of 10 years of no new clothing purchases.

The light at the end of this tunnel is that you will look far cooler than you ever have before. Isn’t the worst thing about WASP 101 the unforgivable newness of his wardrobe?

Yes, at the end of a decade of retail abstention, with your leisure time spent reading Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” and drinking cheap bourbon, you might just look as cool as these vagabond prep-school grads hopping a plane to Singapore just to find a job in finance.

The poor chap on the right can’t even afford socks. — CC

(Photo from the January 1988 issue of M. While not buying clothes for the next 10 years, be sure to visit the websites of the retailers listed in the Merchants column at right.)

10 Comments on "The Lost-Money Look"

  1. I remember this photo well. M Magazine is much missed indeed; I still have a few issues-wish I’d kept them all. They had a good article on “The American Look”, among many others.

  2. Did you just feel the need to take a stab at WASP 101? That sentence just came out of blue, and it doesn’t flow. I am 30 years old, and when I am 60 my clothes will be worn. I am sorry that I don’t buy already used articles of clothing from ebay.

  3. Yes, I did feel the need.

  4. Christian,

    I see your list of merchants on your site that you endorse, and I can’t help but see a contradiction. I didn’t realize Ralph Lauren and J Crew (Or Any Of The Sites) sold used merchandise on their websites. Shouldn’t you just list Ebay and other thrift stores?


  5. I too love a bit of scruff around the edges of my finery…builds character. Any chump can wear something fresh and new, but it takes some flair to pull of the look of good clothes a day past prime.

    I’ve even heard stories of the old timers buying new clothes and giving them to thier valet to wear for a year or two first, because thier was something abit tacky about brand newness.

    Once upon a time, ‘Yankee Thrift’ was a prized virtue, and what better way to show it than wearing your Grandfather’s worn out and slightly ill-fitting tweeds.

    p.s. not to be a pain, but that shot at the WASP was a bit un-called-for. We all knowhow easily excitable he can be.

  6. Giuseppe, your work has been the needed inspiration to get me back into thrift store hunting. I don’t seem to have the luck you do out in Boston, but I’ve made decent enough finds and the hopes of happening upon a Barbour jacket for $15 keep me going.

  7. Best post yet, fellows. I was feeling a bit anxious this morning about those loose threads sprouting from my shirt cuffs. But no more.

    Too bad Richard has his cream trousers in a wad. No doubt his tweed Teddy will be a comfort.


  8. the photo shown, features in the book “jocks and nerds” by Richard Martin and Harold Koda published 1989. funny i was flicking through it just the other day.

    not sure about carrying the shabby chic through to the wardrobe, OK leather and denim up to a point looks good with a little patina ……… but a line needs drawing and staying the correct side of.

  9. News alert: If you are trying to emulate this style and have to read an article about this …you are an outsider.

  10. Alert, if you read the article and didn’t notice the tongue-in-cheek tone, you may be an outsider to the English language.

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