Picture this: Ryan Gosling effortlessly rocking a tailored suit on the red carpet, or perhaps David Beckham’s casual yet polished street style as he strolls through the city. You might even want to emulate the newly crowned GQ’s Most Stylish Man of the Year for 2023, Timothée Chalamet.

These icons of modern menswear epitomize timeless elegance and impeccable taste. And while their ensembles may seem like they have a hefty price tag, the truth is that achieving a similar level of style doesn’t have to drain your bank account.

In this guide, we’ll give you tips where style meets savings and sophistication harmonizes with thriftiness—all in the pursuit of building a wardrobe that turns heads and keeps your wallet happy.

Identify and Understand Your Style

Identifying and understanding your style involves the following steps:

Research the current trends in men’s fashion

Researching current trends in men’s fashion will provide insights into what men’s style looks like today. For men’s fashion articles, designer collections, and street style trends, you can browse fashion websites and magazines like GQ and Esquire.

Fashion blogs and influencers can also provide insights into the latest and emerging trends. At the same time, following fashion designers and brands can offer direct references to their collections and styles.

Then, identify the looks and garments you find interesting. Keep them in mind throughout the process of picking your style.

Pick the style you wish to achieve

Think about how you want people to perceive your fashion. Do you want it to be edgy, hipster, classic, or sporty?

  • Edgy – Incorporates pieces of clothing with dark colors, such as boots and leather jackets
  • Hipster – Involves graphic shirts, slim-fitting pants, flannel shirts, beanies, and retro-style sneakers
  • Classic – Business-style outfits that use button-down shirts, blazers, jackets, slim dress pants, and dress shoes
  • Sporty – Athletic wear that incorporates pieces like sweatshirts, baseball hats, sneakers, and sports-themed shirts

However, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one style. You can combine two or three to create a versatile style that matches your preferences.

Sort your garments

After picking a style, sort your current wardrobe. Set aside the pieces that align with your style and fit you well. This step helps you revamp your style by finding existing garments that can be the cornerstone of your new wardrobe.

Pieces like well-fitted and sharp dress shirts are invaluable. They can provide versatile bases for various outfits, enhancing your appearance and expression.

Try on the pieces of clothing you want to keep

Once done with the sorting, try on each garment to ensure the proper fit. Then, consider tailoring, donating, or selling the pieces that don’t fit well.

Consider including a fashionista friend or confidant in this step. They can give you valuable feedback, offering an objective perspective on how each piece complements your style and fit. This approach makes the selection more enjoyable and helps you retain only the items that flatter you.

Now that you’ve identified and understood your style, it’s time to build your wardrobe. Take note of the following tips as you go through the process:

Create a realistic budget

Consider all the potential expenses to determine a realistic budget for your wardrobe. This financial blueprint will guide your purchasing decisions, helping you focus on valuable investments over impulse buys. This way, you can balance affordability and longevity to create a versatile and enduring wardrobe.

Managing your finances is crucial in this step. Opening a free checking account online with financial service providers like SoFi can be a strategic move. It provides a dedicated account for short-term purchases like wardrobe updates and helps you stay within your budget.

Set some fashion rules for yourself

Before buying new clothes, set some rules based on your preferences. You can also take cues from the items you’ve removed from your closet.

Some examples of rules you can set include:

  • Avoid colors that don’t flatter you
  • Avoid specific types of fabrics
  • Avoid “dry-clean only” pieces

Moreover, you can apply your core values to your rules. For example, if you’re passionate about ethical, sustainable, and eco-friendly brands, include “no fast fashion” in your rules.

Image by David Lezcano on Unsplash

Shop at thrift and online consignment stores

Thrift and online consignment stores are the ideal shopping venues for the budget-conscious. They offer unique, vintage, and designer pieces at a fraction of their original costs.

Thrift stores have already been popular with frugal consumers.

Meanwhile, online consignment stores are gaining attention for their convenience. On these platforms, you can quickly search for clothes by color, size, designer, and trend, letting you shop in the comfort of your home.

Moreover, they offer more shopping autonomy.

Remember to try on the clothes when shopping in-store and bring a friend along to help with the buying process.

When shopping, other tips to keep in mind include:

Consider the types of fabrics

Considering the fabrics ensures your garments are durable and sustainable. For example, natural fibers like cotton, silk, wool, and linen offer excellent quality, comfort, and longevity.

Understanding fabric types will also help you choose ones that suit your lifestyle and climate. For instance, wool is known for its warmth and breathability, making it ideal for winter.

In contrast, cotton is known for its softness and versatility, which is perfect for daily wear.

Define your investment pieces

Investment pieces are based on your needs and preferences. Some might opt for blazers and trousers as their investment pieces because of their jobs, while others feel the same towards jeans, coats, and shoes.

However, we sometimes deceive ourselves when we label everything as an investment piece to justify the costs. It’s best to consider the item’s longevity, versatility, and cost per wear to avoid spending outrageous costs on unnecessary purchases.

Bring a list of your priority items

Shopping can be challenging and overwhelming when you don’t have a list. If you’re unsure what to buy, you might purchase unnecessary items.

So before shopping in-store or online, create a list to understand the items to buy clearly.

For instance, are you looking for shirts similar to your current wardrobe? How many do you need? Stick to these goals, and if you can’t find something appealing, you can go to another store or browse online. This practice helps prevent you from spending on things just because they are on sale.

Choose versatile items

Packed closets don’t necessarily mean they’re stylish. A simple wardrobe can be more fashionable with multiple versatile items, letting you create outfits with just a few basics.

Versatile pieces like white button-down shirts, dark jeans, and neutral blazers can significantly elevate your wardrobe’s functionality. You can match these clothes with other garments to suit occasions like casual and formal events.

For instance, you can pair the white shirt with jeans for a casual look or tuck it into dress pants with the blazer for a business style.

Opt for pre-owned items

Opting for pre-owned items is an eco-conscious and budget-friendly approach. Not only does it save money, but it also contributes to waste reduction and helps minimize the demand for new clothing production. This method supports recycling clothes to extend their lifespan.

Many pre-owned pieces also have distinct styles, allowing you to infuse unique flairs into your wardrobe. Sometimes, they can even be pricier, high-quality designer pieces.

If you’re uncomfortable with secondhand items, browsing this section is still worth a shot. Some pieces may be unworn and sell significantly cheaper than their original prices.

Buy a watch, sunglasses, and other accessories

Accessories like watches and sunglasses can elevate your wardrobe. They add more sophistication and personality even to the simplest outfits.

Additionally, belts, hats, and scarves can introduce pattern and texture to your attires. They let you experiment with various styles to create more polished and cohesive looks.

These accessories don’t have to be branded to make an impact. You can instead focus on affordable minimalist watches or sleek sunglasses that complement multiple outfits. For belts, hats, and scarves, you can opt for ones with neutral colors to maximize their versatility.

Find a Reliable Tailor

A reliable tailor can transform your wardrobe to ensure each piece fits you perfectly. They can modify existing pieces to prolong their usability. At the same time, they can adjust newly bought clothes to make them more flattering.

For example, tailors can adjust the hems of pants and shirts or restyle old jackets to give them modern twists. This approach is a sustainable choice that encourages garment repurposing, making your wardrobe more personalized.

Build a Budget and Stylish Wardrobe That Works for You

Creating a budget and stylish men’s wardrobe is achievable with careful planning and smart shopping. You can assemble a modish and durable collection by focusing on quality over quantity.

Remember, fashion is an expression, so you don’t have to conform to trends. Instead, invest in pieces that reflect your style, work for various settings, and are financially and environmentally sustainable.

Men's Wardrobe on a Budget

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