Corpgov propaganda posted in the break room walls and employee handbooks are more than happy to tell you how to dress. A name tag usually must be worn at all times so they know who to punish if a member of the upper middle class is somehow offended by your presence. Shoes are to be clean and only certain color slacks or skirts and socks are to be worn. More advanced slaves are required to wear ties and jackets. For many, this is a continuation of institutional life that is common in schools, work places, and prisons. Of course, none of this applies to "the man". He can walk in with a Hawaiian shirt and tennis shorts if he wishes while talking to the 20 year old intern he is cheating with behind his battleaxe wife on his cell phone while walking through the halls. He will get his pit bull manager to fire you for a bad attitude if you bring this up, though. Firing folks himself is beneath him and interferes with golf, wine, and church.
Some people rebel against this in their "free time" (which really only is free because it costs your employer nothing). Taking their cue from the only free source of information they see in daily life, they try to imitate artists, musicians, actors, and models. Maybe they think that through osmosis that by dressing like those that have lots of freedom, they may appear to be free too. But, this is an illusion. All the stars where chosen by agents of BigMedia through a sort of fucked up lottery. The style and fashion of the stars is not picked by the stars but by large clothing firms that sell being able to dress like you are free to the masses. Indeed, some of these "fashions" are really silly and many not very utilitarian outside of the fake social event world or certain scenes and subcultures.
But, fear not. We here at STW have your back with good field tested advice from the pros. Plus, you will not have to pay us 100 USD for jeans with "STEALTHISWIKI" embroidered in 4 inch letters across your ass that we paid 12 year olds in China 3 USD a day to do in a sweat shop.
Of course, this is "Free Clothes", and we would not be doing our part without telling you how to get some.
If you are absolutely destitute or can play the part, The Salvation Army and other homeless service organizations have been known to let folks get some clothes. But, like any "charity", there is a chance of some off handed remark, questions into your judgment or character, or a small dose of Jesus that may not apply to your situation at all. Other times, they may actually show some compassion and dignity and let you have something no questions asked. Women and youth tend to get a bit better treatment. This is either in the form of actual clothes they keep or vouchers to actual thrift stores. Do not expect it to be anything that will win you any modeling competitions or impress the bohemian coffee shop crowd with your fashion sense.. But, some guys' old faded Super Bowl Champion jacket from 10 seasons ago will keep your ass from freezing off till you can get something better or summer comes again.
Thrift Stores are a great resource. Often, these are run by the above mentioned "charities".However, it is hit or miss. The quality of the goods really depends on the area, what time they get donations in, and how many folks pick the place clean each week. Of course, this is after the workers pick through the best stuff! The problem with thrift stores is that when the middle class "donates", much of the time they are only dumping off their trash. But we know that one mans trash can be our treasure sometimes. It is common in thrift stores to find aisles of nothing but 4 year old tee shirts from an old advertising campaign to sell stuff to the lower class and pants that are either way too big or too small. Common sizes of stuff with no advertising tends to move quickly. You really have to search to find gems. Nice stuff like suit coats and ties are usually pretty easy to find and are usually in pretty nice shape if you need one. After all, most people hate these get ups and only wear them once or twice then get rid of them. However, be sure to take any suit or business dress to an alteration service so you do not look like a clown. The thrift store does not deal with socks, underwear, gloves, bras, or have a good selection of shoes (exception: Ladies' dress shoes are very common due to the middle class shoe collecting behavioral trend) most of the time. Not that you would want some old geezers shit stained drawers or someone's washed too many times socks, anyways.
Please note that there is a difference between "thrift" stores and "vintage" used clothing stores. Vintage stores typically serve trust fund baby hipster crowds and usually know what used clothes are of high quality and currently are trendy. They then charge accordingly, sometimes as much as an upscale department store depending on what they can get away with and the location of the store.
Big Box Stores
You would be surprised to hear this from a radical site, but the big box stores have decent items. In fact, for socks and undergarments, this is pretty much the only game in town – that is, if you do not want to go to some "upscale" store and spend 20 USD on socks that may look sharp but will tear up in a month of hard use. If you get your clothes here, it is about 4 to 10 times more expensive than a thrift store. But, every size imaginable is here with the exception of stuff for the unnaturally tall or morbidly obese. Move past the racks they place in front with merchandise proudly displaying TV commercial sound bites and images, sports, and pop culture silk screened on them. (We rant on this CorpGov bullshit a bit later in this article.) A solid color, well made plain shirt and some okay pants are extremely versatile, will let you be accepted in a huge variety of places, and never become unfashionable. Socks are cheap here. We suggest the white socks. Black socks may be needed to infiltrate certain areas, but lack the absorbency or last as long as good white athletic socks.
Hand Me Downs
Some people's body type store fat easily and their weight fluctuates from year to year. If you have one of these folks in your social circle, and you notice them losing or gaining pounds, most of them will be glad to get rid of old clothes which have nothing wrong with them to get closet space. There is nothing wrong with recycled clothes.
If you find yourself with it turning hot to cold suddenly and often, it is very easy to layer and not look stupid with the right choice of outfits. That plain, collarless black tee shirt with no lettering can go from a single shirt to a decent looking undershirt with the addition of a button up shirt. Sweaters can be tied around waists of it gets hot. Of course, in a destitute cold survival situation you could put on 2 or 4 sets of everything at the expense of having to wash more often. No need to buy 50 sets of clothes if you stick with basic ingredients and mix and match as you need.
Donate and Give Back
Nothing pains us after struggling day in and ay out and watching our brothers and sisters struggle than the upper middle class lady with a room full of 200 pair of shoes she never wears or the guy who still has good stuff in five closets he has long not been able to fit in left as food for the moths. If the clothes are over a year old and you will never wear them again, it is time to give back to society. Someone, somewhere could use your clothes. Somewhere, someone just got out of jail and is freezing to death because he has no coat. That old, ugly coat you have not used in five years is worthless to you but can save this man's life. Some where, some kid decided he had enough of being raped in the butt by his or her step dad. He or she ended on the street with no pants and only shorts. We do not think he or she will mind wearing your 4 year old Lee Jeans with a hole in the knee that is too large for you.
In fact, we here at STW can only think of one reason why someone would need that many clothes. If you are an entertainer or socialite, it is usually very frowned and can cost a career to be seen in the same outfit twice for an event. Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac had to save every bit of her clothes because she wrote it off as a business expense. When the IRS started screwing with her like they do most big stars, she had to take them to rooms to show them all the outfits she had and that she needed them. But, chances are, you are no Stevie Nicks if you are reading this, so recycle!
Make and Repair your Own
A bit of fabric, a sewing machine, some thread and some creativity can go a long way. We have seen some real quality stuff come from knitters and tailors. You can also do Tanning if you are an outdoors type. It takes time, practice, and skill, but once you get good you can repair your stuff and make your own.
Even if you never want to make your own clothes, we recommend everyone have a kit with at least needle, black thread and white thread, a few extra buttons, and some safety pins. Some nicer hotels give decent kits away to guests for free and you can score one if you can fake the part of a hotel guest. This way you will be able to mend emergency pants blowouts if they are not too bad and put a button on if you need to. It is not incredibly hard. Even if you are not that good at it, even a shoddy sewing job will hold a rip until you get to a good alterations place or get replacement clothes without your bare ass or other things revealed to the world..
In kindergarten, the teachers have little charts with pin up clothes to show developing minds about what clothes are best for what situation. We at STW really are not into any scene or culture. You provide that yourself. We can already hear the whining as we type this that having band tee shirts with pot leaf hats or showing your drawers and not wearing a belt is "revolutionary". We are not going to argue with you. Indeed, it DOES give attention and displays your approval in certain groups and can give a sense of belonging. But, consider this story:
One martial arts instructor had been to Japan to learn ninjitsu. He then returned to his hometown with a little cash and a black belt to start up his own studio and teaching center for kids. The first day, all the kids came in dressed to the nines. They had all ordered the cheesy black ninja masks and the ninja gi from an ad in Black Belt magazine. The instructor shook his head and regretted not going over a dress code before signing folks up. He started a lecture. The whole point of the ancient ninja was that the ninja was being invisible. He or she could move into and out of any situation without attracting the attention of the pigs of that day or unsympathetic folks. Black garb and masks were only used in ceremonial occasions or just a simple, easily disposed of mask worn if identity needed to be hidden. The question he then asked is, are your clothes attracting the wrong kind of attention? Are they versatile and can get you in and out of many situations? Or, is it something the movies sell? The next class, everyone wore street clothes except for two students whose parents were probably pissed off they spent 60 USD on a costume and were hell bent their kid was going to wear it!
While that story is a cheesy story from the era of 1980s martial arts flicks, we tend to agree with the instructor. A true revolutionary is immune to mind control can drift in and out of any situation with ease. He or she chooses clothes that fit the occasion, are versatile, and does not paint a big sign on us that says, "mess with me!". Our enemies in the Pig Empire are many. Right now, as you read this there are classrooms in police academies, retail sales offices, and advertisement agencies. They teach "profiles" gathered from premier sociologists and psychologists of behaviors, hairstyles, race, and dress to make their job very easy. There are crackheads who while are stupid, are very perceptive and know what a rich, dumb ass tourist looks like and will bash them upside the head and take their money just as quick as they will give blowjobs for another fix. They have been doing this for as long as anyone can remember and will not stop because it works. Why make their job easier by making us identifiable?
Bottom line: Look average, not rich, but clean, and nondescript and usually get left alone. Look disheveled, with eyes bloodshot red, and a "LEGALIZE NOW!" pot leaf or counter culture outfit and maybe get body searched or caged. Dress with obviously expensive stuff, gold watch, and a bulge where your billfold is and maybe get mugged. Reek to high heaven, laid out in public, obviously drunk and maybe get hauled in for vagrancy. The kindergarten teacher was telling some good stuff, but was missing some pin ups for the chart. Always wear the right costume for the right environment.
Do not get fooled by someones ideology that something must be worn to be considered part of that ideology, especially if you are not getting benefit from it. The old, classic "Che shirt" of past anarchist/socialist circles is a great example. Che never had to wear a shirt to say he was a revolutionary or remind himself he was part of some group. Capitalists came in to make some lunch money much later off that clothing line. He was revolutionary because of his actions. His only dress was a suit and tie for the occasional political social event and rugged, nondescript outdoor wear for everyday guerrilla operations. Dressing the part does not make one a revolutionary any more than wearing sports team jersey with all the equipment make you a player for that franchise. It just means you paid someone money.
If your activities lead to you being outdoors for extended periods of time or in really cold or hot weather, you need to be more selective with your clothes. Avoid cheap cotton because when it gets wet, it is worthless as insulation. Camping has more ideas on proper outdoor gear whether you are between shelter or just like outside.
The actors that make a living doing commercials get paid for their time after splitting the check with an agent. All the players in professional sports, even the bench warmers, get paid CEO salaries. But, what if we were to tell you that you can pay to advertise! That is right! CorpGov calls it brand recognition. The object of the game is to make the name of your product or service appear everywhere. If people see this every day, they will subconsciously think about the product in a purchase decision over a brand they have not heard about. No tin foil hat here, but it is almost mass mind control.
Wear what you want, but ask yourself this: Are the Dallas Cowboys breaking you off a portion of ticket sales or ad revenues to wear a jacket with a big football helmet with a star on it? Is the media company that makes anime paying you to have beautiful drawings of their trademarked characters on a shirt? Does Snoop Dog break you off a piece of his blunt for you to wear his shirt with picture of him smoking a blunt? And why in the hell does a clothing designer like Girbaud or FUBU need to plaster the brand name covering your entire ass and charge you 100 USD for the privilege? Shouldn't simple quality be enough?
Oh, and while you are at it, ask yourself why you never see "the man" or his wife wear anything like this unless he is an ex college frat type that still goes to ball games. Or why, on reality TV, they have to "blur" out anyone's shirt wearing brand name ads. It is because they are not getting paid for this.
As we say, dress how you would like. If it is a friend's heavy metal band and you want to support him, awesome. If it is a protest, go ahead and wear a protest shirt for that event. Just be aware of this trend that has been going on for a bit amongst the working classes and working poor to get them to pay for someone's ad campaign and further an agenda that may not mesh with your own.
You can cheap out on pretty much all clothes, but get good shoes! Nothing tacky that screams "rob me" like rapper Air Jordans, these tacky skull punk rock star BDSM Doc Martins that they sell nowadays, or crap like that. Only good, comfortable, quality shoes. You will be sorry otherwise! For walking shoes, nursing supply houses have the most comfortable white shoes known to man or woman. Avoid the Croc shoes, though. Only hospitals will let folks get away with that. For boots, construction boots are the best boot out there and can double as dress shoes (and hide white socks!) if they are black and polished.
Shoes are an issue. As much as we would love to run around barefoot like the pagan earthy crowd talks about, being barefooted is a safety and health issue and also a stigma. You will be run out of most legitimate public places without shoes. With parasites from pet droppings, athlete's foot fungus, broken glass, and all manner of other hazards, barefoot walking is limited to the realm of your own pad or martial arts classes. Shoes, particularly old or these cheap slave labor Chinese shoes they have been dumping on the market lately, tend to get three major problems towards the end of it's useful life.
- Most common is that the insole of the shoe gets covered in foot sweat and bacteria or deteriorates. This can be very uncomfortable and leave a very bad smell that can be very strong and ruins socks. New insoles can be acquired to extend the life of the shoe. Get a cheap box of baking soda and put this all in the shoe. This will draw out moisture and keep folks from getting pissed at you for smelling your feet. Rotate shoes if you can and have more than one pair.
- Second most common is that the bottom of the shoe comes loose from the body of the shoe. You are going to get new shoes in this case soon, but you can delay this somewhat. Get some superglue. Superglue this back together. That should buy you a few days. Do not do like one contributor did (blush) and try to use construction caulk! It does not work and you really WILL have to find shoes then. If these are nice boots or dress shoes, many cities still have actual cobblers around that can take care of this for a few bucks. The cobbler businesses are usually located in downtown areas where there are lots of lawyers and such that have nice shoes. They usually will not fix ratty tennis shoes, though – only business attire type stuff and nicer boots. Don't think they're being snobs or anything. Higher end boots and dress shoes are still made to be repairable, whereas very few other shoes are. You can buy new soles for Red Wings and Allen Edmonds, but not for Nikes or Adidas.
- Third most common is that the bottom of the shoe simply wears out from use and gets holes. If you walk a lot, walk with a slight limp, or even these cheap shoes that use cheap bottoms, you will have this problem eventually. Depending on the size of the hole, you should be okay for a bit. Problem is that if your feet get wet, this is miserable and will start smelling. Like the insole problem, liberal use of baking soda will hold you over for a bit. If these are really nice shoes like the 1990s Doctor Martins or business shoes, a cobbler can re-heel these for far much less than retail price. Red Wing boots are the best about this, as any city with a Red Wing store can repair them. Red Wings are also still union made (by hand, to boot) in Minnesota, too. Otherwise, this is pretty much a done deal. Shoes only last so long.
As we talk about later in Get a Job, many jobs have clothing requirements to be employed there. Sometimes this is something simple like just getting a certain color pants. Other times, this can be a scavenger hunt in order not to be ripped off. After all, you probably have just been unemployed and money may be short. Of course, while CorpGov want it's money up front, you could wait up to three weeks or more to see the first of your paltry paycheck if they hold back a week and pay every two weeks.
If the requirement is only a certain color pants, the thrift store has probably got you covered. If it is a certain color shirt, it is still possible to find a plain one like this.
Banquet and fine dining waiters probably have it the worst. Tuxedos tend to run around 200 USD , jacket and all. That is on the cheap side. You probably will not find this in a thrift store, either. If you go to a tuxedo rental place, often they usually have damaged rentals in the back they well let go for very cheap if you explain that you have taken such a job. Be sure to get the hem taken up on the pants and you should be good to go. Look over the shirt. It will probably have a stain someplace. If it is not bad, you should be able to get by until you get tips. Bow ties, you may have to bite the bullet. They are only 10 USD to 20 USD, though. Many places will give you a jacket, which is good. If not, waiters must wear a jacket that shows their ass and are usually disallowed to wear long jackets like the upper class. It has it's origins in slave days where the "help" was not trusted with silverware and one actual silver fork melted down could equal up to an entire years salary for a slave! Tux shop may not be able to help with this, but you can ask. More likely, you will have to order online.
Scrubs are not just for nurses and doctors. Even if you only mop floors in a medical facility, you must wear scrubs. Nursing supply houses sell cheap stuff on clearance sometimes. Make sure the clearance scrubs have pockets! If you find 4 USD a pair scrubs, usually, this is the reason. Do not go to the big box stores. Most of the time it is only frilly girly type pattern stuff and much more expensive. Thrift store, you may have some luck. But, the clearance rack at the supply house will have better stuff for a dollar or two more and sometimes less than the thrift store most of the time. Even if you eventually quit or get fired, these make excellent lounging and work out clothes. They are loose and comfortable.
Nice clothing stores only hire rich kids for a reason. It is a scam. They make them buy several complete outfits from their line once per season, even if they work part time. The boss man/lady only hire those he or she figures will spend most of the check on clothes, anyways. Even at a discount, these clothes can take up most of a paycheck.
If you need a cheap actual suit and tie, the thrift store is your best deal. As we mentioned when talking about thrift stores, a good tailor is worth it for a recycled suit. When infiltrating the suit world, extremely perceptive people can spot subtle differences in actual class by noticing the tailoring job. Where it is most noticeable is what sociologists call the "proletariat gap" between side top collar of the shirt and the shirt collar. A person who lives and breathes in a suit and tie will not have this. A working class person who never wears a suit except when someone dies or gets married will have this.
Whether or not you occasionally partake of bags of herb or other things that tend to attract bacon, hidden pockets can be a very valuable security measure. A folded hundred dollar bill carefully hidden in a sewn hem after a rough encounter can be a lifesaver. If you are carrying a large sum of cash, this can let you get away from a robber. Make sure your pocket is truly hidden and the item you are trying to hide will not be felt as a bulge during standard police search pat downs. Even if you get taken in on a warrant, you may have a chance to palm and dispose of any contraband before more detailed searches at the station or even in the squad car if you are stealthy.
One of our favorite tricks that works in tandem with the hidden pocket is the dummy wallet. Losing your identification can be more of a pain in the ass than losing cash in certain situations. It is not like a pickpocket will give your cards back to be nice, either. Keep your ID not in your wallet, but in a different pocket. Keep a wallet with a few bucks and maybe some old debit cards with the numbers melted off with a hot butter knife. If some one lifts this, they get nothing. If someone tries to rob you, throw the wallet down on the ground and run if you can. This has gotten a couple of folks out of tough spots in the past.
Deodorant and Hygiene
Hey, wait a minute? Isn't this supposed to be in a some stupid hygiene article? No. Most body odor that brings oppression to people that deal with anyone not homeless comes not from lack of bathing, but from sweat getting into clothes if they must be reworn.
If you find yourself in this position, your type of deodorant will help a lot, but you must do this before the sweat gets into the clothes. If sweat gets in and bacteria starts growing, it is too late. Get a deodorant that is an antiperspirant. The best kind are the name brand white stick deodorants. Do not mess with the gel, sprays, generics, or roll-ons. These suck. Women's deodorant for the most part suck as well. "PH balanced for a woman" our ass. Many ladies use only men's deodorant and swear by it. Your problem with this may vary and it is largely influenced by diet, genetics, and body type. The right deodorant and trying to stay somewhat clean may get you another day or two's wear in an emergency where there is no laundry access.
Febreze is some good stuff. Sprayed into the crotch area of pants, it will keep the odor down for a day or two. That is, if you do not start breaking out with chemical allergies! Do not over do it.
Do not neglect your shoes! Use baking soda.
And, no.. cologne or perfume over already smelly clothes does not help. In fact, it makes it even more gross smelling. It's time for Laundry.
Of course, some folks just do not sweat much and may not need this advice.
Common sense helps. If you work a slave fast food job and your boss works you every day but only gives you one uniform (common practice) you will need to look at Laundry's ideas because of grease.