Unemployed? In a job you hate? On the dole, or just fat and spotty from not being Patrick Bateman? It’s a bad time to be a graduate, and it’s a bad time for men’s fashion. We know. So now Substance is here to help, telling you where to buy, what to avoid and how to make your threads go that little bit further.

A weekly dole payment for 16-24 year-olds is 50.95. Jobseekers Allowance for anyone over 25 is 64.30 a week. So, based on the assumption you’re either living at home with your parents, chip in for food and save money leftover for booze and the little afterthoughts like bus and train fares; or you’re paying through your teeth for a bedsit, there’s not much left to spend on making yourself look dapper.
George Orwell might be sitting up in his grave moaning about being mentioned in an article mentioning G Star Raw but this is just the kind of Books vs. Cigarettes list he would have made. Honest.
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Oh yeah, and if he had an iPhone too.
BUDGET: 21.30 or under. Think you’re up to it?
Trouble is, it’s so easy to get robbed with that little money you’ve saved. Inflation, tax and austerity aside, it goes without saying that the vast majority of high-street menswear is expensive and shite. A lot of the time, shopping on a budget is a choice between Euro-camp brands like G-Star Raw or Topman mediocrity with not much in between. Vintage has been more or less boutiqued, and what’s left is a handful of uninspiring high street shops that want that little bit left from your cashflow.
But it’s not your fault.
If you don’t want to spend loads of your money – or time on a job you hate – you’ll inevitably end up with a lamentable choice of affordable things to rotate between for work/interviews/pubs & clubs/dates. For most British men dressing is not so much self-expression as it is camouflage; a red-faced denial of vanity that supports the monopoly on shit t-shirts and jeans with ornamental distress marks. What’s one of the 1 million to do but slink into the next Breton that H&M thrusts their way?
But don’t worry. It’s not all doom, gloom and fitting rooms. The Unemployed Style Guide is Substance’s weekly attempt to resurrect men’s fashion and give you a quick, definitive guide to what a man can buy, wear and get away with on a budget – the cheapest buys, do-it-yourself trade secrets and where and what to avoid.

The Unemployed Style Guide returns next week, on the theme of T-shirts and tops. Send us your tips, suggestions and how-tos, and we’ll include them in next week’s feature. Email us at collab@substance.tv or tweet us on @Substance_mag.


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