Pursuit of Fly: Being Fresh When You’re Broke

I’m broke and so are you. Be honest. This fashion series serves as a guide to keep you fresh and fly, despite your bank statement and other limitations. If style was eyesight, I would wear bifocals. But, let me stay on task.In Hip-Hop, the sixth element of the culture - in my opinion - is fashion. The main issue is the lack of funds causing the pursuit of “fly” to become a chase as elusive as the cat to the mouse or maybe the United States to Bin Laden. Now that’s a helluva chase! I’ve never claimed to be any sort of ultra fly guy, but I try my best to keep up with the Brownes, Joneses and the Jacksons. That is within the confines of reason. Of course, this means, trying to have hot kicks, trying to pop my quota of tags and buy the occasional piece of jewelry. But we’re not Young Jeezy, Lil' Wayne, Jay-Z or 50 Cent and for all intent and purposes, we have very little money. The first illseed rule to staying fly is to always stay clean.Some of you aren’t going to agree with this, especially the younger ones, but listen. If you are short on cash (or living as a middle class citizen, with your parent(s) or renting), buy a fair grade of inexpensive, white sneaker (think the classic shelltoe Adidas or the Nike Air force 1). You don’t have to have the crazy, ill colorful, one-of-one sneaker. Your shirt can be a top brand from Foreman Mills Mall or Burlington, still crazy inexpensive, and still more than up to par. You are so fresh and so clean. One of the worst things for a b-boy or b-girl is to have the hottest, most expensive fashions…of last year. Oh, but it gets worst. If you spend all your money on that one or two garments, you can’t re-up as fast. How wack is layaway? If you can’t re-up as fast, you can’t stay as clean as the next man. And don't get caught in fake stuff! Those fashionistas will call you out! On top of it all, these super expensive garments get dirty, scuffed and played out like everything else. I stay in Marshall's department stores and have friends that buy from places like that only to resell to those so-called trendy types on the street. Don’t be a dirt ball Hip-Hopper, because there is nothing worse that that. I’m not into the long, white tee crap, but a clean whitey is better than a grimy, old anything name-brand. Take it from me, budget baller, don’t trying to compete with the rappers on their terms. Play the game, but play by your own rules. Keep it classy and classic. The next Pursuit of Fly: “Never Throw Anything Away.”“Pursuit of Fly” is AHH columnist illseed’s column for the fashionably challenged.