Is your wardrobe getting stale? Are you tired of being the worst-dressed at your office? Do you want to look like you walked out of GQ magazine, but don't want to empty your piggy bank? Here are three easy ways to dress for less!
1. Thrift Stores
Once a last resort, thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army are excellent options to find dress shirts and slacks for less than half of the original retail price.
Things to look for: Brand name button-down shirts (you can't go wrong with a white or blue dress shirt), ties, pants, jeans, loafers.
Things to avoid: Suits — as suits should fit your body as perfectly as possible, finding a good suit in a thrift store can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Examine all clothes closely for stains, tears, and discoloration — after all, some of these items were donated for a reason. Keep a close eye on the fit of the clothes, shirts should fit your shoulders and should not be too baggy or too tight. Pants should reach the tops of your shoes.
2. Online Sales
Menswear companies like J. Crew and the Gap often have online sales for out-of-season clothing.
Things to look for: Classic pieces like Oxford shirts, dark jeans, leather shoes.
Things to avoid: Current trends. If you are looking to create a wardrobe which will ensure you don't have to go out and buy new clothes every season, it's important to avoid passing trends. Those acid-wash jeans and madras shorts might look good right now, but chances are you aren't going to be wearing them next year!
3. Clearance Racks
These can be a bit of a minefield to navigate, but they are an excellent option for budget-conscious men. Many of these items are here because they did not sell particularly well. Also, if you wear an average size like Medium or Large, you may be out of luck. The upside is that, with some foresight, you can often pick up out-of-season clothing like winter jackets or shorts for substantially less than the original prices.
Things to look for: Coats, jackets, shirts.
Things to avoid: Fad prints and fashions.
Those are three excellent resources for a man interested in learning to dress for less. Here are some important things to remember:
1. Don't buy it just because it's a bargain! — This is an easy trap to fall into, but it's much better to own two nice shirts that fit well than an entire closetful of ill-fitting shirts with loud patterns.
2. Express yourself! — If you are looking in the mirror thinking, "When will I ever wear this?" the answer is probably "never." Buy clothes that suit your personality. However, don't mistake this to mean you should buy a graphic tee that says "I'm Out Of Bed And Dressed. What more do you want!?" If that's your personality, fine, but in the name of professionalism, don't broadcast it to the world!
3. Take Care of Your Clothes! — If you want to hold on to your new items for years, hang them up and always follow the washing and drying instructions (for the novice, that's the annoying little tag on the inside of your shirt or pants). It's not going to be any use learning how to shop on a budget if you're going to have to buy new clothes next season.
By now, you are well on your way to being a stylish gentleman, at a fraction of the cost.