Dapper on a Dime: Dressing for Less

There are wardrobe essentials that one must simply never skimp on, a good suit being one of them. However, in this economy, there is no need (and quite likely no available green) to spend $200 on a designer t-shirt when you can probably find one for a few bucks at a thrift store or, for the same price, purchase 20 designer-inspired t-shirts that can be mixed and matched with different pieces to create hundreds of looks. Here’s some advice from the dudes over at GQ magazine on how to dress on a budget.

1. Start at the best of the low-cost, high-style stores

Uniqlo, H&M, J. Crew, Topman, and ASOS offer high-style without the price tag shock:

Mens Cashmere V Neck Cardigan, $10, Uniqlo

Jack & Jones Tribal Intelligence Oversized Tank, $16.50, ASOS

Slim Chinos, $35, Topman

He Said/We Said model, Jack Elliot (right), wore this J-Crew Ludlow suit (about $540) at his wedding. Photo credit: Levi Stolove

And all these goodies are in H&M stores now…

2. Suck it up and head to the dreaded outlet mall

Outlet malls are a nightmare, and that’s coming from me, someone who LOVES to shop. If you have the guts to brave them, they are a great place to find affordable accessories (socks, belts, hats, etc.). Avoid weekend crowds for your own sanity.

3. Take care of what you already own

If the label on an item of clothing states “dry clean only,” don’t go and throw it in the washing machine! Put cedar chips in your closets and drawers; they are a natural way of warding off moths and other critters that may eat away at your clothes – smells good too!

4. Shop your local Army-Navy store

Your local Army/Navy store is filled with affordable treasures, such as these preppy canvas belts for $4.00

5. Thrifting requires Jedi-like patience, but is totally worth the savings

Joshua Kissi (pictured on left with business partner Travis Gums, right), co-founder of the style blog Street Etiquette, scored his Tommy Hilfiger tie at a thrift store for $3.00.

6. Even cheaper than thrifting – shop your own closet

This advice comes directly from me, not GQ. The other day, I was browsing a fashion magazine and came across an outfit that stopped me dead in my tracks. I HAD to have it. I showed my girlfriend and she replied, “Don’t you already own this outfit?” I actually owned all of the components of the outfit, but never thought to put the look together on my own.

How many outfits can you make out of that blazer you own?

As I mentioned in a previous post, take inventory of what you already own and look for outfit inspiration from books and magazines. You’ll be surprised at what little you need to purchase to put together a decent outfit, because you probably already own stuff that you’re not making efficient use of. And, if you can’t make any use of an item, GET RID OF IT!

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1 Comment

  • Hi all, just learned about a place in Bangkok (that’s right!) that will make a custom-made three-piece suit for around $300! They’re coming to the U.S. in September but I think you can also order suits from them online if you get your measurements done elsewhere? They’re called Crown Tailor and are on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/CrownTailor.

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