I work in a small city close to the US border and have always wondered what to do about my love for great looking men's business clothes. The challenge for me has always been the high cost of some of the shirts, suits and pants sold in the city where I lived. This conundrum escalated to a point where I had to contact my family in Africa to see if they could get in-expensive men's business clothes and send it to me. I've always complained to my wife that men were sometimes segregated in the fashion industry. You would always see these crazy deals for women and rarely come across a good deal for men. My wife would laugh at me and, to make matters worse, would keep telling me about the latest deals she came across.

Where knowledge is scarce, frustration is inevitable

Well, that problem was solved several weeks ago when my wife and a friend decided to drive across the border to get some clothes for women. I grudgingly volunteered as the driver and wondered how the trip would pan out for me. We drove for about 45 minutes before we got to the first store. My wife and her friend came across some clothes they liked and I couldn't really find any men's business clothes that was good to my eyes and safe for my wallet. Yes, some of them were inexpensive but still no significant difference from where we lived.

After spending an hour in the mall, we decide to drive further to and came to the Carousel mall at Syracuse. That was where I had one of the best shopping experiences I've ever had. I came across some great deals for men and even saw a suit and pants for $65 (didn't buy it because I couldn't get my right size of pants). "Unbelievable!" I thought to myself. I was able to buy some  very good looking business shirts. At the end of the day my wife was happy, her friend was happy and I was very happy!

On our way my economist brain started thinking. I was amazed at the great deals I secured but wondered what the cost benefit was. My costs were:

  • Gas price for driving almost 2 hrs to the mall (and 2 hrs back)
  • Inconveniences for the kids
  • Wear and tear on the car
  • Extra money spent on buying food on the way and at the mall
  • Money spent at the border

Benefits for me where:

  • I bought four shirts and saved between $35-$45 on each (a total of $140-$180)
  • It was a good family drive and I like driving
  • You had more options to choose from

So I need to make a decision: where do I go to for my men's business clothes? Here are my options:

  • Shop online and buy inexpensive business shirts for men
  • Keep buying from the stores in my town
  • Save up money throughout the year and stop by Syracuse on my way to visiting my Uncle in New York 

The third seems more likely and I am looking forward to the next trip! As I think about this decision I have this sad-happy feeling inside of me. Sad that I'm not being patrotic to the city where I live in and happy that I now have an option with regards to where I buy my work clothes.