Cartoon character t-shirt. Frayed shorts – this is what I call ‘the student look’. The problem is, Sam finished university over five years ago.

I don’t know how old these shorts are. Sam has had them for the eight years I’ve known him. They have been stained with bleach, food, and look like they are hanging together by a thread, but in Sam’s eyes they are still perfectly acceptable weekend attire – and yes, he does actually wear these outside of the house.

Sam will only buy clothing or footwear when it’s a matter of dire urgency. A few holes will not deter him, he waits until the item has actually fallen apart before he considers a replacement. You could say that he really makes the most of his clothes.

These are his only pair of trainers. According to Sam, they are fine… as long as he avoids puddles.

But the thing is, I feel bad commenting on Sam’s clothing. Sam does actually have pride in his appearance. He likes to look good, he would love to have a trendy wardrobe and to not be the butt of fashion jokes in the office. He loves the smart winter coat I bought him for Christmas last year and I know he has one eye on the latest menswear fashions. It is true that neither of us have a great deal of patience for shopping. But the main reason he avoids buying clothes is not because he doesn’t care about looking good or having nice new things, it’s because he’s doing his best to budget for our family. Like a lot of parents, we waved goodbye to certain luxuries when we had Arlo. My clothing and beauty budget certainly took a huge hit, but Sam’s style budget has now ceased to exist altogether. He has appointed himself as least important when it comes to new purchases.

Not only is our budget low, but neither of us have any idea about suits or formal wear. A comment from one of his bosses saw us gazing cluelessly at the dozens upon dozens of racks in the suit section of m&s when Arlo was just few weeks old. This was our attempt to make Sam ‘less school teacher’, more young, succesful, well-traveled business man. I remember feeding Arlo on one of the chairs outside the waiting room whilst Sam tried on a huge range of different trouser styles, he wanted to know what looked good and what he should try on next. He was seeking my advice, and I had no idea.

We did eventually settle on a suit, and it looks great on him. But owning only one suit is not ideal when he frequently attends conferences or business trips wearing the same suit every day. And the value-pack of three shirts from M&S have been such a great purchase for everyday officewear, but they don’t exactly give him a huge confidence boost when paired with his ‘nice’ suit for an important meeting.

Long-time readers of my blog will know that since Arlo surprised us with his existence, Sam has gone from a starter-salary job at 23 years old, to providing for all three of us – I’m so proud of what he has managed to achieve for our family. Sam is doing all he can to further his career at the moment. We all know the saying, ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you have’, but this isn’t always easy to achieve on a low budget. I would love to see Sam’s confidence after gaining advice from the expert stylists at M&S and being kitted out in a new suit that looks perfect on him. I think he would look great in the fine striped wool suit from the M&S Performance collection.

I think that he really deserves a treat, something just for him for once, and that’s why I’m entering him for the M&S man-over challenge.

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