Spend money to look good?

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JamesR
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Spend money to look good?

Post by JamesR » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:34 pm

I know quite a few of the male ERE forum members are pretty skinny or fit. I am not one of those.

I recently quit my job, and I'm going to go and live abroad in very hot & humid countries again, as a "digital nomad". Cost of living is nice and low, and I will probably get back into freelancing and/or working on side projects that might generate an income eventually.

That means I'll be living in various countries on tourist visas while working on my laptop. This will be the fifth time I've done something like this, the previous stints adding up to 32 months total. I've always traveled with 1 or 2 carry-on bags.

As you can imagine, that requires a very minimalist selection of clothing. It's far too hot for me to wear anything cotton - since I'm usually sweating like crazy. Sometimes I get very lucky with some cotton shirts having some sort of mysterious weave that miraculously does not show sweat, but I've yet to figure out how to get that kind of shirt reliably.

So I usually wear quick-dry sports/polyester shirts, I have a large selection of polyester polo shirts from walmart (which has been described as an "old man" look, and not particularly cool). I also tend to wear shorts or "travel" zip-off pants, which are pretty silly looking (screams "I'm a tourist"). When travelling, that kind of look might be fine for the short-term, but one time I arrived in Thailand with just 1 backpack. I ended up staying for 18 months, with barely an update to my minuscule wardrobe .. talk about awkward!

My current carry-on bags is a Deuter Futura 28L backpack and a small 10L duffel/shoulder bag. They do the job, but not particularly professional looking at all. The backpack is my computer bag for day to day, but it's really too large to be a day bag, so it's kind of ungainly and lame. I've been using that backpack continuously for 6 years now, never had a proper day bag or messenger bag that would carry my 13" macbook.

I'm debating whether I should update/invest in better gear? I can clearly survive with the gear that I have, but they are not flattering at all.

How do you folks evaluate whether to spend money to have nice clothing and nice bags?

How important is nice clothing anyways? I've always had it at a low priority, which probably isn't helping my largely non-existent love life.

Is there any good heuristic/rule of thumb for this?

If I did a big update, I could easily spend upwards of $1500 on new bags & clothing. But most of it would be very solid, and last me many years anyways. Brands like Bluffworks, Outlier, Prana, Tom Bihn, etc.

Currently my savings is only $100K (just cash, yet to invest properly) and no income (quit the job recently).

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Eureka
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Eureka » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:23 pm

JamesR, just to make sure. You are aware that you can buy good clothes and bags also in hot and humid places? That you do not need to buy everything up front and bring everything along?

I had to smile of your minuscule wardrobe for 18 months in Thailand. What do you think Thai people do when they need clothes?

Felipe
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Felipe » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:42 pm

$1500 is a lot. That's over 1% of your net asset value.

A nice Osperey Farpoint backpack is $120-160 and has a lifetime warranty. A nice bag is worth it for the back support.

I think it's not expensive to look good. Go to your local thrift shop for some nice stuff. Slacks are $10-20 and dress shirts are often less. If you poke around a few, you'll find something good.

If you go new expensive-railriders ecomesh pants look nice and prevent insects-$69 on sale and it opens up a mesh via vertical zipper to allow you to cool off instead of the awkward zip off.

A nice merino dress shirt from Wool & Prince also lasts but it costs ~$120. The railriders ecomesh shirt is also $69. (I have both brands, both are great).

That's in the $300-$400 range to upgrade your wardrobe with gear that will last years.

Nice clothes will have people instantly treat you better in most situations, wear basketball shorts and a shirt with holes in it, along with a garbage bag over your backpack(hey it's a rainy place) when going through sketchy areas.

JamesR
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by JamesR » Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:57 pm

Eureka wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:23 pm
JamesR, just to make sure. You are aware that you can buy good clothes and bags also in hot and humid places? That you do not need to buy everything up front and bring everything along?

I had to smile of your minuscule wardrobe for 18 months in Thailand. What do you think Thai people do when they need clothes?
I did buy some clothing locally. I'm very frugal typically so I rarely buy things and just suffer instead. Also the good clothing for hot climates for caucasian foreigners are typically not found in the source country where the locals are adapted to the weather.

JamesR
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by JamesR » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:13 pm

Felipe wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:42 pm

A nice Osperey Farpoint backpack is $120-160 and has a lifetime warranty. A nice bag is worth it for the back support.
That's going to be about the same as the Deuter Futura 28L that I already have. It's got great back support, and squeezes as the large carry-on when fully packed. However, the "digital nomads" seem to go for something like the https://www.minaal.com/products/minaal-carry-on-bag which is classier looking and easier to pack, starts at $300 though (plus another $70 for shipping to Canada).
Felipe wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:42 pm

I think it's not expensive to look good. Go to your local thrift shop for some nice stuff. Slacks are $10-20 and dress shirts are often less. If you poke around a few, you'll find something good.
That's going to be mostly cotton however, and won't work in a hot/humid climate for me. I feel it'd take too much time to find the good stuff.
Felipe wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 2:42 pm

A nice merino dress shirt from Wool & Prince also lasts but it costs ~$120. The railriders ecomesh shirt is also $69. (I have both brands, both are great).
That's more the type of stuff I'd buy.

Minaal Backpack = $300 + $70 shipping
Messenger bag (secondary carry-on) = maybe $100?
Bluffworks chino pants = $125 + $15 shipping
Merino shirt = $120..
etc

That's already ~$750 to start. Adds up quick :P
Last edited by JamesR on Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JamesR
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by JamesR » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:15 pm

scriptbunny wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:06 pm
How much nice clothing matters depends on who you're trying to impress and why-- locals, fellow nomads, clients, service workers, maybe just yourself?

Buy used (Poshmark seems to have quite a few Prana listings). Invest in linen.
Haven't heard of poshmark, thanks for the tip. As for that list of who I'm trying to impress, I'd say "all of the above", including myself :)

Felipe
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Felipe » Sun Aug 06, 2017 3:45 pm

Thanks for the thread, I like knowing others on here also spend way too much on quality clothes.

These are my other pants and they are great. A merino nylon blend so they're strong, dry quick, and don't reek. Dress clothes designed for biking to work.
https://makersandriders.com/products/li ... wool-pants

So $250-300 for a nice pair of pants and shirt after taxes/shipping. I think it's worth it since they'll last years of daily use. 1000 days of use is under $.50 a day for the whole outfit. You won't be like one of these https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W27PnUuXR_A

On backpacks...
Why do you want both a new backpack and messenger bag?

If you get a new backpack, it'll be slightly larger and have a laptop sleeve so it seems your laptop protection is included.

A laptop case is $20, compared to the $100 messenger bag. In Thailand, these expensive extras may simply make you more of a target for tuk-tuk rip offs.

I had the Minaal for a few weeks, I returned it. I felt I got tricked by marketing. It didn't support weight, doesn't come with a hip belt, has awkward side pockets, no internal frame, very heavy for the capacity, and expensive for the features. Overengineered where it doesn't matter and lacking some basics. At $300 it better be dyneema, not basic nylon, and come with some light internal frame beyond the foam back along with a solid hip belt.

My Osprey daypack held weight better. Your Futura honestly looks better. My ULA Catalyst kicks ass too but it's a hiking pack. The Tortuga looks better than the Minaal from my perspective.

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stayhigh
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by stayhigh » Sun Aug 06, 2017 5:00 pm

http://www.rohandesigns.com/ Smart looking, technical stuff.

IlliniDave
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by IlliniDave » Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:04 pm

When I'm going to be in an environment clothes make a difference for physical comfort, I'll spend the money. For me it's being out in places where no one will see me, but handling moisture is pretty important. If looking good is a consideration, then you probably want to spend enough that you don't sacrifice too much in the comfort area. As far as whether it is a good use of your money, that's something only you can answer.

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C40
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by C40 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:13 pm

I mean this in a completely non offensive and non-judgemental way:

Don't buy expensive new clothes. Focus more of your effort closer to the root cause of the problem. Get more lean and fit**. You're going to do that now that you have some more free time from not working 100% full time (I'm making an assumption here). Then those new and expensive bigger clothes of yours won't fit anyways.


** Leaner people will still also sweat in humid places, though not as much, right? Don't the locals sweat too? Is it really that much of a problem being sweaty? What kind of clothes do the locals wear?

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BRUTE
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by BRUTE » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:58 pm

Deuter Futura 28L? is JamesR a Tynan reader?

brute recommends arriving in Thailand with whatever, and then going to the local tailor and purchase custom-tailored shirts and pants for ~$40-60 depending on fabric. a few pieces should be enough.

cotton is not a bad thread for hot weather. in many ways it's superior to all alternatives - it can be quite cool, stays non-scratchy in heat (looking at Merino wool here..), doesn't stick like some synthetic fibers, easy to wash, dries quickly in tropical heat.

wearing wool (yes, even merino) in tropical weather is a terrible idea. wool is too hot, too scratchy, and far less durable than cotton when wet. ask brute how he knows. brute has tried all the digital nomad bullshit clothes like Bluffworks, Wool & Prince, Minaal, Markes & Riders ... simply not worth the money. most of them simply make absurd claims in their hype-marketing, and humans like Tynan, selling the dream lifestyle, promote these lies.

any run of the mill tailor in Thailand will churn out better-looking clothes for far less money, and they know which fabrics work well in tropical heat. brute actually found cashmere wool much better than merino for pants, and cotton for shirts. not as scratchy, not as hot, more durable, more comfortable.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Scott 2 » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:52 pm

It comes down to what you decide to value. You'll probably draw others who share the values you demonstrate, so consider if fancy clothes are part of that package.

Being cool is overrated, imo. I'd just wear your old man clothes with confidence. If you present as comfortable with who you are, that vast majority will accept it without question. Old men dress like that because they figured out it doesn't matter, and they want to be comfortable.

For my personal values, filtering out someone who would discriminate against me for shoddy clothes, is ideal. I do not enjoy the company of someone so obsessed with appearances. I will also inevitably let them down, when I grow bored of playing dress up.

Raising you on the shorts and polos - I expect some good natured ribbing when I pair my sandals with black athletic socks, but it feels luxurious. A quick "you're jealous" or "I'm a trend setter" deflects. People quickly accept it as my normal for me. I get to be who I am, and I'm happier for it.

JamesR
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by JamesR » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:17 am

BRUTE wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:58 pm
Deuter Futura 28L? is JamesR a Tynan reader?
Good catch :lol:. Unlike tynan however, I haven't updated my gear since then (6 years ago).
BRUTE wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:58 pm
like Bluffworks, Wool & Prince, Minaal, Markes & Riders
Which pants worked the best of the 'digital nomad' clothes that you tried? Did you try both bluffworks pants or only the chinos?

As for getting tailor made clothing in Thailand, not a bad idea. Have you actually done so? I'm a little skeptical about getting it at that price - I imagine there would be several attempts to get the right fabrics that work, since they would need to be thick enough but cool in the heat. I'll be able to try that in a few months.
C40 wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:13 pm
** Leaner people will still also sweat in humid places, though not as much, right? Don't the locals sweat too? Is it really that much of a problem being sweaty? What kind of clothes do the locals wear?
The locals are pretty lean in the first place and probably much more acclimated to the heat, so they don't sweat much in the first place. They start putting on coats if the temp drops below 26 celsius. :)

But you are right, I plan to drop some weight over the next few months so I probably won't be making many clothing purchases just yet. I might consider getting a pair of slightly tight pants at the last minute but perhaps not.
Scott 2 wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:52 pm
Old men dress like that because they figured out it doesn't matter, and they want to be comfortable.
Haha, some truth there, particularly about wearing socks & sandals. :twisted: I'm not really going for 'looking cool' or dressing up in an excessive way. But I am talking about having more versatility in my travel wardrobe so that I have appropriate wear for business situations or formal occasions, etc.

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BRUTE
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by BRUTE » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:38 am

JamesR wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:17 am
Which pants worked the best of the 'digital nomad' clothes that you tried? Did you try both bluffworks pants or only the chinos?

As for getting tailor made clothing in Thailand, not a bad idea. Have you actually done so? I'm a little skeptical about getting it at that price - I imagine there would be several attempts to get the right fabrics that work, since they would need to be thick enough but cool in the heat. I'll be able to try that in a few months.
brute tried the slacks, not the chinos. the pockets were terribly shallow. brute has great stories about losing his phone in random bus terminals and airports around Asia. they also get very clingy in the heat since they're synthetic. in the cold, they feel cool to the touch. not nearly as comfy as real slacks.

brute has indeed gotten tons of clothes tailored in Thailand. great quality, great prices. Vietnam is even cheaper, it doesn't matter much. brute's favorite pants for tropical climate were cashmere wool shorts. they stay very cool to the touch, don't get scratchy, and are pretty rugged. no "high-tech" digital nomad material comes even close. in fact, cotton is better than most hype-fabrics in tropical weather.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Scott 2 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:45 am

The clothes sound important to you, so yes, I would spend the money.

I had a couple friends visit from Hong Kong. My house is kept at a balmy 69 degrees in the summer, because I get hot, and the extra AC is cheap. They were wearing two layers of sweaters to be comfortable. 80 seemed to be their preferred indoor temperature!

The friend originally from US, made the point that it's a subtropical climate, hot year round. The body adapts. Part of that adaptation though, was they were both rail thin. Almost no fat, and very little muscle. From what he described, the opportunities to constantly eat just weren't happening like in the US. I imagine the heat plays a part in that.

Potential body size changes would make me more hesitant to invest in the expensive clothes. That's a big factor in me wearing cheap stuff now. Depending which hobby I put first - lifting, yoga, or video games - my size fluctuates widely.

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C40
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by C40 » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:50 am

BRUTE wrote:
Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:58 pm

wearing wool (yes, even merino) in tropical weather is a terrible idea. wool is too hot, too scratchy, and far less durable than cotton when wet. ask brute how he knows. brute has tried all the digital nomad bullshit clothes like Bluffworks, Wool & Prince, Minaal, Markes & Riders ... simply not worth the money. most of them simply make absurd claims in their hype-marketing, and humans like Tynan, selling the dream lifestyle, promote these lies.

any run of the mill tailor in Thailand will churn out better-looking clothes for far less money, and they know which fabrics work well in tropical heat. brute actually found cashmere wool much better than merino for pants, and cotton for shirts. not as scratchy, not as hot, more durable, more comfortable.
I've found that really good wool is never ever scratchy. I'm talking about wool at least as good as what Ibex or probably Icebreaker use in their baselayers. Or - more-so - like Rapha used for their baselayers (Rapha makes bike clothes and used to use wool a lot... I got these about ten years ago so I can't comment on what they're making now, but those Rapha baselayers have been the most comfortable fabric I've ever worn).

Anyways, I don't think James should be buying wool either. However well it works or doesn't, however scratchy it is or isn't, I think it's not worth the price nearly all cases, especially one like this. And I've never even worn high-end wool pants.

I've been doing tons of hiking in the middle of summer in hot places like Utah. It's not humid at all, so this experience/preference may not be relevant, but I've been happy wearing thin cotton shirts ($8 ones from H&M). If a person wants, get a shirt with some polyester/nylon/lycra in it. For pants in hot areas, I prefer some using a thin and rugged layer of 75% cotton and 25% nylon.

I think this is one of those things where products have been made much more complicated than they need to be, and the whole thing has been turned hyper consumerist (like, for example, shirts with silver in them. Really?) I think high-end technical clothing is only worth it in a small number of very specific situations. One of those, for me, has been bicycling clothes for cold weather. I have some Assos stuff, and it is SOOOOOOOOOO nice.

Anyways, I'd second BRUTE'S point about seeing a local tailor and wearing what the locals wear.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Rouva » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:30 am

I don't know anything about backpacking, so my answer is just about "looking good in old man clothes"-angle. It's more about being neat than what to wear. You can make relaxed style work if you pay attention to details.

My husband is very casual dresser. I'm not. His preferred outfit is grey sweat pants and a random mystery bag t-shirt(He buys them from online shops which publish a new t-shirt design every week and sell unpopular designs at discount in a mystery bag), which used to be right size 15 kilos ago. Now his stomach peeks under the hem. It used to bug me daily, until we reached a compromise. I bought him nice forest green jogging pants and three new t-shirts in right size. Much better. He gets to keep his style, but I'm no longer annoyed by his clothing choices. There is a big difference between light grey, which shows every stain, and dark green. A casual, relaxed look is not a turn-off even for a fashion-conscious female like me, but frumpy is.

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BRUTE
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by BRUTE » Mon Aug 07, 2017 12:04 pm

C40 wrote:
Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:50 am
I've found that really good wool is never ever scratchy. I'm talking about wool at least as good as what Ibex or probably Icebreaker use in their baselayers.
brute hasn't tried Rapha, but he has tried Icebreaker multiple times. scratchy, and not very durable when wet (i.e. when sweating). brute has physically ripped an Icebreaker t-shirt apart after a CrossFit workout, just trying to take it off - came right apart. others had holes in them quickly from chafing of backpack.

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Riggerjack
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:02 pm

Rayon Hawaiian shirt, and shorts. Never spend more than $15 each. Wear forever, with minimal maintenance. If I needed anything else, local source. But then I'm not interested in impressing anyone. If I were, I would go entirely local source. Cheaper, more attuned to the locality, and signals more depth than a blog post. YMMV.

2 birds solution, get to Thailand, find a girl to take you shopping. She knows the markets, and women rarely get a life sized ken doll, with a walllet, to go shopping with. Using the talents of someone who is fashion oriented, and in touch with local sensibilities seems like a good solution. When I was younger, and cared about this stuff, getting female friends from my unit to help me in shopping was a real help. I hit the clubs in outfits I would never pick for myself. And had better results using their tastes.

As a side note, I'm losing weight, intentionally. Cutting to under half rations helps with that, and helps with the heat. Get comfortable with hunger, and the heat won't bother you.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by OTCW » Mon Aug 07, 2017 3:47 pm

I don't have the kind of money it would take to make me look good, lol. But if you want nice clothes/gear, get them. Make sure you are paying for quality/durabilty and not style, and you should be fine.

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Sclass
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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by Sclass » Tue Aug 08, 2017 1:48 pm

Just got back from the Goodwill store. Picked up some nice shirts for cheap. I went over to the mall nearby and saw the same shirt for $89. Scored mine for $5.75. It was new. I'll need to alter it a bit to fit my scrawny torso. Goodwill + sewing machine rocks. A high school buddy (who later went into the clothing biz) taught me that. Kind of stuck. He always looked great wearing his thrift store chic stuff that he altered. A lot of young folks making videos about this online.

I had a friend from Thailand who ran some sweatshops. He gave me clothes manufactured in his places. Great shirts. Really good cotton weaves for hot and humid climate - thin, loose and tough button down designs. Try doing as the locals do.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by James_0011 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:45 am

Yeah it worth it. If you want to get laid, you need to have clothes that look good.

They don't have to be expensive, just stylish and cut in a way that suits your body.

I've never met a guy who gets laid on a regular basis who doesn't dress decently.

The reason old men dress they way they do is because most of them lost their sex drive a long time ago and thus don't care much about their appearance anymore.

Thrift stores don't work imo because it's hard to find clothes that fit (atleast it is for me). If you have the means to tailor them go for it, otherwise stores like h&m, and uniqlo have very cheap stylish clothes.

I get polos for $13 from h&m, and pants for $30 from uniqlo. Although, I've seen pants for as little as $10 at h&m. I also like brutes idea.
Last edited by James_0011 on Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by James_0011 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:50 am

@sclass,

How long did it take you to learn to tailor your clothes? Idk it seems pretty difficult to me.

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Re: Spend money to look good?

Post by James_0011 » Fri Aug 11, 2017 4:31 am

@scriptbunny

How do you buy from poshmark without being able to try the clothes first? Don't you worry about buying something that doesn't fit?

JamesR
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Spend money to look good so that you can get laid?

Post by JamesR » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:30 am

James_0011 wrote:
Fri Aug 11, 2017 3:45 am
Yeah it worth it. If you want to get laid, you need to have clothes that look good.

They don't have to be expensive, just stylish and cut in a way that suits your body.

I've never met a guy who gets laid on a regular basis who doesn't dress decently.

The reason old men dress they way they do is because most of them lost their sex drive a long time ago and thus don't care much about their appearance anymore.
Damn, I should've started the thread based on that specifically. That's really what I was asking.

Thread name could've been "Spend money to look good so that you can get laid?". Lol

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