How to Dress Well on a Budget: What Men Need to Know

  • August 23, 2017
  • ExperChat Staff

Whether you’re revamping your look to keep things fresh or shopping for a specific occasion (i.e. a new job, wedding), you can expect to spend money. The amount you spend depends on your strategy. Pull together a strong wardrobe on a small budget by changing where you shop and searching for less expensive alternatives to your favorite luxury pieces. 

Where to Shop

High-end department stores and boutiques are alluring. In addition to top-notch customer service, there’s a beautifully curated selection of ready-to-wear clothing. But beware—that allure comes with a hefty price tag. Instead, start shopping in stores that carry items in your price range. Try discount retailers like H&M and Zara as well as local thrift shops. Also, online-exclusive retailers like ASOS are goldmines for affordable fashion that’s on-trend.

How to Shop

These days the retail industry is going through hard times. CNN reported that more than 5,000 stores have closed in the first half of 2017. Your favorite brands need your money, and they will go to great lengths to get it. This means deep discounts, coupons, and other specials. When you shop, don’t pay full price. Sign up for the brand’s email list because the first message tends to come with an online coupon. Then keep your eyes peeled for sale announcements, which happen on a fairly regular basis. Strike while the iron’s hot so you can maximize your savings!

Also, don’t feel the need to redo your entire closet all at once. “One good way to update a wardrobe without breaking the bank is buying a few new things, maybe 1-2 new shirts or a new pair of pants, and integrating them with the items you already own,” says resident Men’s Fashion Expert Nejla Renee. “This allows you to create new looks that feel fresh and updated without having to invest in a whole new wardrobe.”

Look for Alternatives

If you still have your eyes set on those designer goods, try swapping them out for low-price alternatives at more accessible brands.
Ermenegildo Zegna’s White Chevron Shirt costs a cool $415, and that’s on the low end. It has been as high as $595. That’s steep, but luckily, Frank + Oak offers the White Easy Care Cotton Shirt for $69.50. The cheaper alternative is still high-quality and versatile but more within your budget.
The same goes for sweaters and pants. Inis Meáin’s Merino Wool Sweater sells for $485, but Banana Republic’s Silk Cotton Cashmere Crew, which is nearly identical, goes for $69.50. And Rag & Bone’s Richmond Slim Fit Denim Jeans are $230, but Topman’s alternative, the Navy Overdyed Spray On Jeans, are just $60.
You can even find alternatives for niche items like trench coats and sneakers. Burberry’s Extra-long Resin Button Cotton Gabardine Trench Coat is the definition of luxury at $1995. Zara’s Oversized Linen Coat is just as well-designed and priced at $129. Common Projects’ Original Achilles Leather Sneakers cost $410. However, Converse’s Chuck Taylor Monochrome Low Tops offer the same effect at just $50.

A Note on Tailoring

Sometimes, when you scale back price and go for discount brands, you might find more trouble with fit. If this is the case for you, save a little room in your budget for tailoring. “I think a man’s best friend should absolutely be his tailor, no matter what his budget is. A tailor can take a more inexpensive piece and make it fit the person perfectly, which will immediately elevate any look,” adds Renee. In some instances, tailoring pieces you already own could be another affordable way to update your style.

Budget constraints don’t have to be as limiting as they seem. With some strategic maneuvering and research, you can stay on trend and in style without going broke. Need additional input on shopping within your budget? Ask one of our Fashion Experts for advice!

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