Young, Thin, and Naked

What is the modern, young, thin male supposed to wear when he can't afford Prada?

Young, Thin, and Naked

If you ever find yourself disgruntled because high-fashion uber-futur ensembles for men perfectly match your personality, but are unsuitable for your admittedly non-model body type, count yourself lucky. I may be thin enough to wear Prada, but that doesn't mean I'm within a mile of being able to afford it. As much as I'd love me a JUUN.J draped trench circa 2052, I'm equally unprepared to max out another credit card.

Life presents an interesting challenge to the modern thin male. There are seemingly droves of new trends to adopt, but few within budgetary reach. You're also persona non grata to the likes of Banana Republic if your waistline resides anywhere below a 30. In short, you can't buy clothes that fit (because you can't afford them), and you can't buy clothes that are affordable (because they don't fit). So what to do?

You actually have myriad options, they just require a little more ingenuity:

First: Get acquainted with women's clothing. I'm not talking about wearing dresses or the latest additions to the ladies department of Ross Dress for Less. And please don't ever, ever think that capris are trending for males, even if you spent last summer in Spain. No, you're going to have to accept the fact that American clothing manufacturers have banished your waist-size into the 2-4-6 domain of women's sizes and live with it, especially for denim. The good news is that ladies' denim can be ridiculously cheap. A skinny pair of size 4 black denim from Just USA can run you under $40. Try Goodie Two Shoes (1111 S Congress, 443-2468), where more than a few skinny male musicians have been outfitted. Yes, I have shopped in the Nordstrom Juniors Department and I am no longer ashamed to admit it. Be prepared for the sales associate to shuttle you over to the men's dressing room for the sake of cultural norms. Also, keep in mind we're talking about trendy, hipster-style digs. You will not find textile bliss in a Lane Bryant.

Second: You are looking for clothes that fit, not My Little Pony T-Shirts. Don't dismiss the staple stores of business suits, such as Men's Warehouse, where recession-era deals and two-for-one suits are the norm. Scope out such establishments that cater to wedding parties. Why? They have to stock unpopular, smaller sizes in order to outfit five-year-olds in tuxedos. Lucky for you, most places will carry several tiny suits, thin blazers and French-cut shirts, and they will usually be more than happy to provide tailoring on-site.

Third: Boutique brands. Think Diesel, but slightly cheaper (in cost, not quality). Larger brands may have dismissed you as unclothe-able, but smaller brands are generally more than happy to appeal to fashion-conscious crowds. Obey is notorious for slowly shrinking the sizes of their men's t-shirts, and online boutiques such as 80's Purple almost always carry at least size 28-waist men's denim and slim-fit hipster duds. (Though the S and XS sizes tend to disappear rather quickly). Keep in mind these brands are by no means "standardized," in size, so fit may be hit-or-miss until you find your perfect brand. Start with one and branch out.

Fourth: Summer requires swimwear. Unfortunately, everyone seems to think American males have a love-affair with baggy boardshorts. Head over to Skivvies (1114 W. 5th) for some 50's-style tiny, boxy swimsuits, sure to hug your winnowing, pale physique. Nobody needs tan-lines on their calves, which reminds me: You are a boy. Just say no to capri pants.

As a model-sized male without a model-sized budget, you have to walk a fine line between women's clothes that aren't too girly and men's clothes that aren't too baggy. Don't be afraid to cross the line into the women's departments and don't pretend you're shopping for your sister. Be bold and determined. Set your own trends. You can't shop at Old Navy, but how many Santa-print pajama bottoms did you really need anyway?

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