By Guest Writer
on 2.26.09

Note From the Editor: I’m pleased to introduce Torrey McMurray. Gear Patrol’s first Style Correspondent… rather, Budget Style Correspondent. Torrey brings to GP years of style knowledge, birthed during his tenure at a famous Beverly Hills haberdashery (see more below). He plans to combine this experience with his obsession for “real world” fashion finds and tips. Think: budget. You know, stuff for real guys. Many of you have already discussed his first article about dropping the dry cleaner. Look forward to much more. Torrey will also be available to answer your budget (or non-budget) style questions, which may also be shared on the site.

torreymcmurray1Initially, I thought I was asked to be style correspondent for Gear Patrol because of my passion for all things clothes. But after some serious consideration, I realized it’s really because of how frugal I am. You see, we men often think it’s impossible or at least difficult to have a sense of style while living on little to no discretionary income (especially in these trying times). Magazine ads, though nice, can be fatiguing. Hopefully, that’s where I come in. I have a lifetime of love for clothes, shoes, and style, while spending my entire adult life on a shoestring budget.

I’ve been married for almost seven years and I have two children with another on the way. I’m not complaining; it’s just that having three kids under four tends to make a man creative with his clothing budget. The same applies to any man who cares more about how his style works than the label it carries. My objective as a contributor is to find ways for us to look dapper, while living on a budget. A “real man’s style,” if you will.

Currently, I’m mired in the corporate world (banking), but I’ve had an amazing past in the clothing business. When my wife and I decided to make the drastic move from East Tennessee to Los Angeles, I left behind my world of Saturday football rituals and color changing leaves to find myself amidst never-ending concrete and a smattering of palm trees. If that weren’t enough, I also found myself newly graduated and unemployed. With some time spent in corporate gigs, I found myself dismayed with not only corporate tribulations, but corporate style…

… take my word that I understand quality and I understand value

That’s when good fortune provided me with an opportunity to work in world famous Beverly Hills haberdashery, Carroll & Company. If you haven’t heard of it before, that’s okay, just pick up a copy of Alan Flusser’s book titled Style and the Man and you can read on its history of servicing Hollywood greats like Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire. Needless to say, I couldn’t pass it up. During my years there, I was apprenticed to and learned from men who have spent their entire careers working in haberdasheries. It was then that I, a young kid, humbly learned what it meant to be well dressed. I came to revere these men who wanted nothing to do with “casual Fridays” (but long-live the casual weekend!). I was educated on everything from bench-made clothing to men’s hosiery (fine socks). All of this to say, I quickly learned the difference between fashion and style and now I’m hoping to bring it to Gear Patrol readers. All this with the hope that I might pass on some of my frugal, yet stylish findings and tips. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to answer your questions. You’ll have to take my word that I understand quality and I understand value. Continue to look here for recommendations on products that aspire to be both.

Torrey can be reached at tmcmurray@gearpatrol.com or send your style questions and tips (some of which will be shared on Gear Patrol) to helpmystyle@gearpatrol.com.

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