RENT MONEY: Spring Digs

A note on the the “rent money” category: This is what we’d likely spend our cash on if we didn’t have to pay to keep roofs over our heads. Or if we had a family fortune to squander. Or if we had one of those McDonald’s play pits that, instead of party balls, was filled with dollar bills. File these items under “want.” But stick around—you’ll find a workable solution at the end of this clothing lust. (Twist!)
Spring is tapping on the door right now. Pretty soon she’ll be knocking, and eventually she’ll be kicking it in. In preparation, I’ve accumulated some of my favorite items for this upcoming spring, most of which are way out of my price range. For right now, we’ll call them sartorially aesthetic pieces of inspiration.
Gitman Vintage Linen and Chambray Shirt - £119 (~ $193.65) via
Woolrich Woolen Mills Chambray Shorts – $169 – via
Yuketen – $300+ – via Context Clothing
Penfield – $150 – via
Jean Paul Gaultier – $75 – via – I mean,
it’s gonna rain, and you’re gonna need an umbrella, right?
See what I mean about out of my price range? Let’s do some quick math. Those five items? Pushing $900. Last I checked, I didn’t have that kind of wampum to drop on one set of clothes. But here’s how I hacked the system:
You don’t have to toss 9 Benjamins out the window to get this look. Take the shorts, for instance. Front cargo pockets are gaining popularity, and for good reason—they’re functional (cargo is such an ugly word though). Anywho, if you’ve got an old pair of pants that goes without wear these days, find a friend who knows how to sew (and preferably enjoys doing so). Have him or her cut and hem your pants into shorts, using the extra fabric to make front button pockets on the thighs, like the WWM shorts above – this obviously requires a few buttons. This allows you to control the length of your inseam and where the shorts will hit on your leg. Then, pass them 10 to 20 bucks for their hard work, and you’ve got a pair of dope shorts for spring.
Just an idea, but repurposing old stuff you’ve fallen out of love with will save you cash and give you something new at the same time. We currently have a pair under construction – photos to follow upon their completion.

Brian McDonough - The Chicago wind already blew out my first Walgreens umbrella of the year. Actually considering investing in something more substantial now, haha. If you suddenly come into an assload of money let me know how the J.P.G. x Opening Ceremony one works out.

Victor - Nice post, I like the shorts idea!

FAVORITE: Leader 725TR

Editor’s note: Here at the Midwestyle, we’re fans of practical transportation and staying fit. Bikes accomplish both. This is a post by Cameron N.—student, model(?), thinker, no-longer-part-of-this-blog, and apparently, hipster. Cam, over to you:

The perks of living on East Campus are many. I’m just a five minute jaunt from class. I can be in the heart of downtown in 10 or 15 by foot. That convenience sounds great, I know, but most mornings, I wake up for my nine o’clock classes at about 8:44, throw on a pot of coffee, practice the bare minimum levels of personal hygiene, put said coffee in my thermos, and finally jam out the door at about 8:56. And unless I’m trying to do that painfully awkward walk-run-skip thing I usually do when I’m in a hurry, I hop on my bike. Living in a small-ish town like Columbia allows my bike to be my main mode of transportation.
And I like that.
Because I like my bike.
Yeah, I’m aware it is a fixed gear.
Shut up.

Specs: Leader 725TR frame – 58, Leader Trickstar steel fork, Cane Creek ZS headset, Nitto bullhorn handlebars, Kalin seatpost, Pake PBS saddle, Origin8 Pro Track crankset, Shimano bottom bracket, All-City pedals/toe clips, Velocity B43 wheelset laced to Origin8 hubs, freedom Thickslick tires.

Heather henley (Christmas gift from the lady) by J. Crew, small; “The 77″ dry, 14-ounce Kurabo fabric (Standard Style, $200) by Baldwin Denim, size 31; brown leather belt (stolen from dad’s closet); Mid Skool 77 LX courtesy of Vans Vault, size 9.5.

Photos by Zach McSpadden. Thanks for helping, guy.

Ross - Love the bike, but then, I’m from London. We get off on that kind of thing. How do you lock it up? I find carrying a lock a real drag, and putting one on the frame spoils the lines.

glenmcmurry - I lived with Jeff for a year and Seth for three… I know for a fact the underwear statement is false.

Cameron - I’m not saying you can’t find jeans that won’t last you a long time. When I was buying denim I wasn’t just looking for just any old pair of jeans. I wanted selvedge, which granted, can be found for cheaper. But I was more concerned with supporting a local Kansas City company in Baldwin and investing in jeans that were cut and sewn in the US. Trying not to outsource your money in the states means you’re going to pay more. And since I wear denim nearly everyday, why not invest?

Glen, ours don’t start to smell because we still wear underwear. I know you phased out of that whole trend, but it does keep your pants smelling nicer! :]

glenmcmurry - I got some jeans from Ross that have lasted me almost six years.

I also bought some Levi’s last year that are running like a champ.

Both together cost me less than $70.

No way would I ever consider paying anywhere close to that much for a pair of jeans. To each his own though. They look nice, but one think I don’t really understand is how you guys don’t start to smell in them, my pants start to smell pretty bad after about two weeks.

Also, I was in a part of London last week where I think you would fit in well with that bike.

Cary Randolph - LOVE that alley. Stumbled through it many a night in college, running back and forth between Sake (those martinis) and Tonic and Quinton’s. Great shots, great bike, great jeans, and great scene.

Cameron - @Denver, thanks for the heads up my man. I’ll definitely be dropping by Halls tomorrow!

Denver - Off the subject, but I hope you guys checked out halls this week. They are moving the crown center halls and are clearing a lot of stuff out. They have an extra 25% off sale stuff through tomorrow, I picked up a Barbour Liddlesdale for $60, a gant by Michael Bastian flannel shirt for $22, and several polo items for over 75% off.

Raquel - That is a really cool/hipster bike, I think I want one… And I love the blog by the way.

Cameron - Yes, we do thrift and look for deals a large portion of the time, but we also recognize that there’s no thrift store substitution for premium, US produced, quality denim. As a blog we endorse both, thrifting, yes, but also understanding that quality and ethically produced products, like a pair Baldwin Denim, come with a price – and that’s one we’re very willing to pay. Thanks for the comment!

mamacita - I thought you all were ‘thrifty’ guys — $200 jeans? Dayum!

Thrifty Thursday: Tortoise Sunglasses

Let’s talk about gafas del sol. For those who don’t speak Spanish, that’s español for “gafas of the sol.” Or sunglasses. Whichever you prefer.
I’ve never been much of a sunglasses guy. Never paid much attention. But Chicago Summer ’011 is shaping up to be a hot one, and I’d better be ready for all the days I’m going to spend lazing around on the beach, running into the water, saving lives, playing sand volleyball in my dog tags with Slider and Iceman, beach soccer, and maybe doing a little bit of work outside if there’s time.
I’ve been in the market for some ’60s throwback sunglasses, like these RayBan Clubmasters. So, I was pumped when I found these tortoise keyhole sunglasses at Seek Vintage yesterday. Though not the exact look I was seeking (see what I did there, eh, eh?), they were 10 bucks. Hard to beat. I mean, sure, I’d love to have these Persol retro sunnies, but I’d rather save $300. (File under: #sacrifices and #rentmoney.)
What we care about is achieving a classic look regardless of name/brand. And when we can do that for 3 percent of the price, well, our work here is done.
Check your local thrift store, or pick some old knock-off Wayfarers up for $6. Sure, they’re cheap. But $160 sunglasses break just the same when you step on them.

Tortoise keyhole sunglasses (thrifted, $10).

daine - Man i have to say, I see your point on Persols. They are bitchin’ and not just because Steve McQueen used a set. But I have to stand by the Ray ban 4140′s I broke down and bought last year.
I love the water and if you are on a boat at all you will want polarized. That is what a friend told me who does a fair amount of deep sea fishing. I spent the extra and not I find myself taking care of them and not sitting on them.
they look wayfarer-ish but they fit my smaller face.

Seth J. Putnam - YES. Those are awesome. Had a similar pair from Cheap Monday, buuuut they broke. Womp, womp.

Brennan - Another place to check out for cheap sunglasses is Sunglass warehouse. Unfortunately, they never have an imitation of the exact style I’m looking for, but I did pick up a pair of these in tortoise shell ( and have been happy with them.

midweSTYLE: Working Man

Jeff’s closing in on the end of his first full week at his new big-boy Chicago job. (Remember when he was here looking for a job a few weeks ago? Well, he got one. And now he’s crashing on my couch until his super cool new place is ready in the Logan Square slums. It’s a difficult life we lead…watching the “Chicago Code” [which is hands down the best television show ever made], socializing every night, heists, shenanigans, and stepping over broken glass to get Niko’d every weekend.)
Not Jeff would ever be unstylish, but part of the new job is dressing well, so he’s been trying out some new looks. I’ll kick it over to him.
Jeff: Don’t be afraid to mix patterns and prints, as long as it’s in the same color story. I mixed this obnoxious printed stars shirts that I picked up at Halls during their winter sale and a dandy flower bowtie from Etsy.

I threw on a vest to break up the dark colors and add some contrast.

Grey sportcoat (Halls, sale $220 [reg. $680]) by Billtornade, small; vintage star print shirt (Halls, sale $33 [reg. $99]) by Scotch & Soda, small; grey vest (thrifted, $5); dark wash “Rhigby” (retail, $50) by Seven for All Mankind x Jonathan Adler, 31×34; vintage paisley bow tie (Etsy, $5).

Camilo.L - that vest.
just starting blogging and you guys are great.

Brianne - I like your style, Jeff. Congratulations on the new job.