Are you tired of gawking at $500 shoes and $2000 suits in menswear magazines? Are you considering selling your kidney just to afford designer socks?
Whether you want Ellen Page’s casual gentleman look or Janelle Monae’s crisp style, you can achieve your dream look on a budget. In fact, you can buy a closet full of timeless outfits and still have money left over for Jimmy Choo cologne.
Instead of neutral colors, opt for a brighter, more interesting pattern. A red camo or a striped orange adds a pop of jazz to a classic outfit.
If you order your socks from Maksoks, a portion of the proceeds goes to the nonprofit Kids with Cancer. That’s money well spent!
Anyone can wear a digital watch or – God forbid – check the time on their phone. A true gentleman will carry a personalized pocket watch engraved with her initials. It will only set you back $20.
Your shoes are one of the most important aspects of your outfit, not only because they tie your outfit together, but because investing in the right shoe could save you hundreds of dollars.
You could purchase a classy Oxford for as low as $15. However, cheap shoes are liable to fall apart faster, so you’ll find scuff marks and flapping soles after just a few weeks. The last thing you want is to show up to a date wearing rags on your feet.
The difference between a $25 shoe and a $50 is not appearance, but quality. Would you rather keep replacing your cheap shoes every two months? Or would you like a solid pair that will last you several years?
Tomboy Toes sells men’s shoes in smaller sizes. Run by a queer woman from Toronto, Tomboy Toes specifically caters to women, nonbinary people and transgender men. Pick up a pair of Derby Oxfords for $67.
You can get a quality suit for as little as $100 from Jos A. Bank, which regularly holds Buy One Get One Free (50% off) promotions.
On Amazon, suits start at $57 and often include free shipping. Just confirm your measurements in advance, and keep in mind that you may need a tailor to adjust men’s suits to properly fit your body.
If you’d rather not splurge on a suit, consider purchasing a sharp, neutral-colored blazer, which you can pair with trousers. This will still give you a classic look, but instead of spending $100 you’ll only spend half that. A slim but sturdy wool blend from H&M costs $50.
Shirts and Trousers
This is the most expensive part of your wardrobe. Although you can wear the same blazer several times in a row, you’ll need to own more than one good shirt.
Stores have discounts all year round, not just on Black Friday. Keep an eye out for post-Christmas sales, spring sales, Labor Day sales and back-to-school sales.
Subscribe to the mailing lists of your favorite stores for exclusive coupons.
To find hidden coupons, google “[store name]” and “discount” or “coupon.” You may find coupons that aren’t being advertised on their site.
Shop at thrift stores – not boutique thrift stores that charge $75 for a bowtie, but reasonably-priced places like Goodwill.
There’s no shame in buying basics (such as undershirts, socks and belts) from stores like Walmart and Target. The men’s sections also sell slacks in all sizes, as well as patterned shirts.
Outlet malls sell designer brands at wholesale prices. They’re a zoo but they’re worth it.
Buy things out of season.
That $100 wool cardigan that you admire in December will be $15.99 in April. The good thing about dapper clothing is that it’s timeless; unlike lots of contemporary fashion, which changes monthly (when did the ’90s come back in style?), dapper attire looks the same in 1920 as it will in 2020. So if you buy something out of season, you’ll still be able to wear it 25 seasons from now.
Looking like a gentleman is affordable if you shop wisely.
How do you dress dapper on a budget? Leave your bonus tips in the comments!