A Fashionable wardrobe, on a budget

A Fashionable wardrobe, on a budget

Q. I need to improve my wardrobe, but on a limited budget. Are there some basic concepts I can use and shop with? And not at GQ prices?

A. It is certainly easier to be well dressed when money is no object. But a fat wallet does not guarantee great results. In truth, some of the simplest changes – the smallest details – can upgrade your look from ordinary to great.

Before heading out to shop, first take a look at the individual clothes you already have in your closet. Get rid of outmoded, ill-fitting, and other mistakes you see there, plus anything you never wear or don’t feel good in. Don’t discard favorites that merely need tweaking or altering.

Here is a list of things a man can do to be well-dressed while spending very little. A few of them don’t require any expenditure at all.

  • Become knowledgeable about quality brands, fine manufacturers, and designer names. Find affordable ones and learn which expensive ones to seek out as bargains
  • Learn to color coordinate well. This is a skill that women especially admire
  • Shop in discount stores
  • Shop in upscale men’s shops, but only during their “sales”
  • Take advantage of early seasonal online discounts. (I saw recent “summer sales” prices from L.L. Bean, Combat Gent, and Eastern Mountain Sports as much off as 50 percent; some clearance items were reduced 90%.) You can wear them all summer; and next year, since men’s styles change very slowly, they will not be dated
  • Find good thrift shops. If you dedicate time to looking, you just might find some gems
  • Be sure everything fits you perfectly. Have all needed alterations made to the clothes you buy. Men have a tendency to wear clothes that are too big for them; this can ruin all your other best efforts.
    Even $350 pants look terrible if they’re so long that they “puddle,” rather than “break”
    Too-long jacket sleeves look like hand-me-downs; they should be short enough to expose about 1/2 inch of the shirt’s cuff
  • Be aware of up-to-date styles. In general, current styles are slightly shorter and a good bit slimmer — Don’t wear a 4-inch wide tie when stylish ties are half an inch narrower. That small fraction makes a huge difference. You can have yours altered.
  • Stay with single-breasted, two-button jackets; skip three-button jackets and double breasteds
  • You don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” on your own. If you can’t pick out a complete great look for yourself, go into a fine brick-and-mortar store. Then, take the time to select a salesperson whose look appeals to you. Or, ask for the department manager’s advice on selecting a truly helpful (I call it a “nurturing”) salesperson. Be insistent. Make it clear that you will return anything that is not right. That makes them take you seriously.

Try a few of these suggestions. Take your time. And you’ll look great.

Please send your men’s dress and grooming questions to MALE CALL – Lois.Fenton@prodigy.net

Categories: Male Call