The Men’s Guide to Dressing Well for Less
I will leave the issue of why you should dress well for another time. Let’s focus for now on how to dress well on a tight budget. Tailored menswear, including suits and sportcoats, can make a big dent in your budget. However, there are ways to greatly reduce the cost of quality clothing while dressing well. Here are a few tips that will help you to find the best quality menswear for the lowest price.
Educate Yourself About Clothing Quality
Learn to judge clothing quality by educating yourself. For example, there are clothing brands that offer better quality for your budget, and others that do nothing more than tack an expensive designer name on a cheaper garment. Can you tell the difference? Invest some time in learning how suits are made. What construction details are seen in a quality suit? What brands offer the best quality for your budget? The more informed you are the less likely you are to overspend on clothing that does not offer good value.
Have a Plan for Your Wardrobe
What are the dominant colors in your wardrobe? Think of the suits and sportcoats you currently own. When making new purchases, be sure that what you buy will coordinate well with your existing wardrobe. Otherwise, you will have orphan items in your wardrobe that are seldom worn because of their visual incompatibility.
Make sure you have a solid foundation of classic clothing and build on that. Suits in basic colors such as blue and grey and timeless patterns such as pinstripes and tweeds are a great starting point. Select shirts, ties, and accessories that can be paired with multiple outfits. For additional tips, check out my post, How to Thrift Shop for Menswear and Always Find What You Want.
Stop Following Fads and Designer Labels
Clothing manufacturers create and manipulate fads and designer labels to reach deeper into your wallet. High-priced designer labels promise the illusion of elevated status. Fads keep you on a never-ending treadmill of consumption. Spend wisely and seek the best value. You will avoid the expensive mistakes of over-consumption.
Buy Off-Season For the Best Prices
If you buy at the start of a selling season, you will pay more (much more). Wait until the end of the selling season to land the best savings. The experts recommend January as the best month to buy new suits. I have discovered that both January and the summer months are the best time to buy second-hand suits and sportcoats online at low prices. They are slow months for thrift clothing sales and prices are much cheaper as a result.
Take Care of Your Clothing
A bit of timely maintenance can add months and years of life to your clothing. Learn how clean and launder clothing properly. Learn how to iron your clothes (and choose the right iron). Also, a clothes brush, handheld clothes steamer, and proper hangers are essential tools to extend the life and looks of your garments. For example, brushing your suits and sportcoats after each wearing will reduce the need for frequent dry cleanings. Educating yourself on how to care for your clothes will extend the usable life of your wardrobe.
You can find excellent second-hand clothing bargains both online and in local thrift shops. If you are shopping for tailored clothing such as suits and sportcoats, you’ll find the widest selection on eBay, Poshmark, and other online sources. Generally, local thrift shops in larger cities may also be a good source of gently used clothing. Every outfit seen on this page was purchased second-hand (none cost more than $28.00). Learn more about thrift shopping for menswear in this post.
Learn How to Do Basic Alterations
Now, this tip is not for everyone. However, if you are serious about thrift-shopping for high-quality tailored clothing and see yourself doing so for the next decade or more . . . Learn how to do basic alterations. A decent sewing machine can be purchased new for about $100.00. It will make you master of your wardrobe! I’ve been thrift shopping for nearly four decades for all of my tailored clothing (I have not bought a new suit in as many years). I do all of my alterations. It has drastically reduced the cost of dressing well. Basic menswear alterations can be learned with a bit of determination and practice (there are plenty of how-to guides on youtube). This is a great skill to master of you intend to be a long-term second-hand clothing consumer.
These basic tips will help any man to get the best value for his clothing budget. I hope you find them useful! -SplurgeFrugal