Men’s Style – 10 Ways To Dress Well On A Tight Budget

how to dress on a budget
Reading Time: 9 min read

Most of us have to cope with limited funds, but it doesn’t mean you should have to cut too much cost on personal presentations just because you’re strapped for cash. To dress well on a tight budget, you can try your best to include lists of manufacturers with products in a range of price points, but we recognize that for some people, especially those who are just starting out in their careers or those whose jobs don’t pay particularly well— some items may be out of their reach.

This article will give tips on how to dress well on a tight budget. It’s frustrating to be in a place full of beautiful things that you can’t buy (at least not brand new). Don’t stress much about that. Even if others around you can afford high-quality goods, you can still dress with style without breaking the bank.

In this article, we will talk about 10 specific suggestions or measures that you can follow to get past that annoying financial barrier and still dress with style and sophistication. Here are the 10 ways you can dress well for any important occasion while being on a tight budget- 

1. It’s Important to Know Your Measurements

It’s not just the clothing themselves that matters but how well they fit. The simplest method to know if an item will fit is to try it on, as clothing sizes can widely vary, and vintage items frequently lack tags indicating size.

However, if shopping online, you need to know your body measurements. You might assume that men’s sizes would be constant, but you probably already know from your personal experience that they are not. In its place, you should maintain accurate and up-to-date records of your measurements in both inches and centimeters. It’s best to obtain help taking your measurements from a friend or a tailor. The most common measurements are around your chest, your waist at the belly button, your hips, and of course, your height.  Make a list, or even better, memorize them.

how to dress well on a tight budget

Now, search online clothes marketplaces like Nordstrom Rack, eBay, or Etsy for something that catches your eye. How are the dimensions specified? You’ll need to learn to evaluate the information offered by merchants who have no idea how to measure clothing in a usable way. For instance, they might measure the leg outseam instead of the inseam or the chest when the wearer has arms down. To do this properly, you will need to buy a measuring tape with inches and cm. You can get these at Amazon or your local supermarket.

2. Recognize Your Own Requirements

Any man worth his salt in the fashion world should have a complete and detailed inventory of his closet. First, you should take stock of your wardrobe and fill in the missing pieces across the four seasons. Make a list of things you need to replace, such as that navy blazer that never seemed to fit right.

Get out a piece of paper and jot down all the places you frequent and the ideal attire for each. Then, put the needs and possible replacements in order of how flexible they are and how much money you have. Invest first in the most cost-effective items, such as a blue suit or those that help you wear your current clothes longer.

When you’re on a tight budget and have a strict shopping schedule, it’s more likely that you’ll miss out on good opportunities that come up out of the blue. Decisions can be made more quickly and effectively if you have a firm grasp on exactly what you require. Stick as closely as possible to your list, and you’ll be far more satisfied with the end product.

Mini-Tip: Once you know what you want, don’t feel limited to purchasing only during specific times of the year. Some of my favorite purchases were items on my wish list that were out of season. In July, when it was 90 degrees outside, I went to Dresden and got this overcoat for 5 euros.

3. Stay Away From Custom and Made-to-Measure Clothing at First

Unless you find a good deal, it’s best to avoid bespoke and MTM suits. It’s only natural to want to add a great suit once you’re into fashion, but you should hold off for a bit.

When the word “bespoke” is said, it means absolutely handmade to your specifications, down to the last stitch and canvas interlining. If you’re just starting off and require a full wardrobe, you probably won’t be able to afford anything that’s of the highest quality (including material) for less than $1,000, no matter where you shop around the globe.

Marketers and salespeople may try to pass off made-to-measure suits as “custom” for $200-$500. You need to know the distinctions between bespoke, made-to-measure, ready-to-wear, and other terms used in the fashion industry. You’d be much better off looking for a vintage or pre-owned outfit.

You should also know the distinction between a $100 suit and a $1,000 suit and between a $500 suit and a $5,000 suit to have a feel for the new suit market and the limitations of a small budget.

4. Meet the Man Behind the Clothes Alteration.

You should start looking for a qualified alterations tailor regardless of your body shape and learn what aspects may or may not be properly fitted. Check out their services and how they handle special requests for complicated jobs like reducing sleeves from the sleeve head. If they can do it without making mistakes (such as the sleeves bunching up), they can probably handle whatever else you throw at them. Modifications are highly crucial in this regard.

However, even the best tailors for adjustments are not magicians. Because you can’t change where the buttonholes and pockets are, you can’t buy coats that are too long or too short. It will be tough to correct the front-back balance if the shoulders don’t match as well.

Would you feel comfortable going out in public wearing this Men’s Wearhouse rental tux that doesn’t fit right?

Avoid purchasing items that are more than one size too small or too large, as adjustments are costly and often produce less-than-desirable results. A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and get an item that is just a tad too big rather than one that is too small. Adding fabric is simple, but if there isn’t enough cloth in the garment, you can’t wear it.

5. Go Vintage

At first, 90% of my clothes were either antique or secondhand, while the remaining 10% were brand new with tags. If we were to look into my personal experience regarding this, I rarely shop at nice boutiques, but I am pleased with how nicely I have dressed. Although I’ve discovered the best deals on quality secondhand apparel in major cities like London and Naples, I’ve found great finds in vintage shops and flea markets worldwide. It may take some time, but if you discover something you like that fits somewhat well, your alterations tailor can handle the rest.

There is a fine art to acquiring vintage items; it takes time, expertise, and practice to master. You should know a lot about brands and where they come from. You should also know exactly what you want and how good construction and materials feel. As a vintage shopper, you need to grasp the following ideas:

  • Tips on recognizing high-quality fabrics like cashmere, cotton, and wool
  • Identified brands and what they represent, such as Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers
  • The origins of certain things, such as Italian leather and fine tailoring, and the countries that produced them
  • Handmade details like buttonholes, lining, and collars, as well as other quality construction techniques, are evident

Knowing more makes it simpler to recognize high-quality goods. There is a 99 percent chance that the jacket you find was made with handcrafted buttonholes. A buttonhole produced by hand will initially be easier to spot from the reverse side than one made by a machine because of the irregularity of the handmade buttonhole.

Functional buttonholes used to be a reliable indicator of a jacket’s quality; however, today, even a $50 blazer from H&M contains those buttons, which are no longer reliable. However, high-quality clothes can also be found with buttonholes that were created with a sewing machine. If the hole is cut first and then neatly fixed, the quality of the clothing is more likely to be good than if the thread density is low and fraying is visible.

It’s easy to verify whether or not the sleeve lining was stitched on by hand if you locate a buttonhole. If so, the shirt is likely of high quality, but you may verify this by lifting the collar to see if it was sewn by hand. All of this can be done without even taking a jacket off the hanger. Using this method, you can swiftly scan the entire store for quality clothing.

6. Consider Purchasing Interchangeable, Wardrobe-expanding Pieces and Accessories

Put your money towards adaptable garments and accessories that can help you get more wear out of your existing wardrobe. While a bold pair of striped jeans could be a lot of fun, they wouldn’t be as versatile as a burgundy vest when it came to putting together different looks. Vests with contrasting patterns and colors are a great way to get more wear out of your existing clothing without breaking the bank. For further information, please refer to our peculiar vest guide. A new pair of pants or blazers won’t help you get as much wears out of your closet staples as a few well-chosen accessories.

7. Tend to Your Clothes

It will be more cost-effective in the long run if you take good care of the clothes you already have rather than buying new ones. However, maintaining your wardrobe can be a challenge at times. This means that a clothing brush should be used regularly on suits, jackets, pants, and coats. Dry cleaning reduces the life of your clothes by a significant amount due to the harsh chemicals and processing utilized.

In many cases, you may even wash suit jackets in your home washing machine! Be gentle when washing your sweaters. Ironing wrinkled clothing is unnecessary if you steam it in the bathroom or use a steamer. Wide hangers are best for coats and jackets; if you can’t afford Butler Luxury quality, plastic suit hangers can do in a pinch. You may get them for free at many stores.

8. A Word of Caution: “People Who Buy Cheap Buy Twice.”

A piece of advice that is important for you to remember is what you need before going shopping and sticking to it religiously. On the other hand, avoid going for the cheapest option if you want to end up with anything of value. Don’t become a gullible fool because of a cheap find, as quality comes at a cost. If an item doesn’t hold up for more than a few years, even a 90% discount won’t compensate for the loss in value. While finding a good deal is always rewarding, savvy shoppers will also consider how soon they will need to replace a vital component if they go for a more affordable option.

9. Don’t Give up on Discounts, Sales, and Coupons

Although it may seem like a good idea to buy whatever is on sale to save money, the reality is that you almost never need an item that is currently on sale.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is probably a reason why no one else has purchased a substantially discounted item at the store before you. This could be due to the item being a store second or having minor flaws such as loose threads, tears, or stains. Take just what you know you can fix; buttons are simple to replace, but a stain is not. Naturally, bargains appear, and the more you know, the better your chances of recognizing them. A buddy of mine once paid 300 Euros for a bespoke jacket that was mislabeled as cashmere but was made of Vicuna and resold for 3000 Euros. Yet, such transactions occur rather seldom.

Examine the item’s cost per wear instead. Similarly, a $50 seersucker jacket may cost you more than a $400 blazer. Similarly, the true cost of ownership can soon escalate for bargains that require major changes like dry cleaning or alterations to fit a specific body type. A full-price purchase could be justified if a discount is included.

You can also avail of different discount coupons from renowned brands, and you can use them to get your desired outfits from those brands at a discounted price, which would have cost way more without the coupon. This way, you can manage to get the outfits you need and wish to get from expensive places without costing yourself a fortune. 

10. When it Comes to the Right Fit, NEVER SETTLE

Most people nowadays have no idea what constitutes a good fit. Although we see many folks who claim to have found ready-to-wear that fits exactly, we haven’t really come across anything that did. A person’s subjective experience determines the outcome. When you stand up, the fabric of your suit should not show any signs of creasing. When a garment develops vertical creases or wrinkles, it means the width of that area is too great. If there are ‘X-shaped’ creases in the fabric horizontally, it means the fit is excessively tight.

A jacket with ‘x’ wrinkles means it’s too small. Most mass-produced clothing does not have much of a cloth reserve built in to make tight items looser, so err on the side of caution and buy a size larger than you think you’ll need. Clothes that are produced by hand typically have more spare material. For additional information, read our instructions on pant and suit sizing.

Conclusion

There is always a way to dress stylishly on a budget, even if you can’t afford things you’d love to buy right now or if you just don’t have easy access to great clothes. If you follow the aforementioned advice and go through the measures we have listed in this article, you will be able to create your own wardrobe on a shoestring budget. You will be able to make yourself look elegant, nice, and classy while costing you a little fortune.

Related Articles

Men’s Style – 10 Ways To Dress Well On A Tight Budget

Reading Time: 9 min read

Most of us have to cope with limited funds, but it doesn’t mean you should have to cut too much cost on personal presentations just because you’re strapped for cash. To dress well on a tight budget, you can try your best to include lists of manufacturers with products in a range of price points, but we recognize that for some people, especially those who are just starting out in their careers or those whose jobs don’t pay particularly well— some items may be out of their reach.

This article will give tips on how to dress well on a tight budget. It’s frustrating to be in a place full of beautiful things that you can’t buy (at least not brand new). Don’t stress much about that. Even if others around you can afford high-quality goods, you can still dress with style without breaking the bank.

In this article, we will talk about 10 specific suggestions or measures that you can follow to get past that annoying financial barrier and still dress with style and sophistication. Here are the 10 ways you can dress well for any important occasion while being on a tight budget- 

1. It’s Important to Know Your Measurements

It’s not just the clothing themselves that matters but how well they fit. The simplest method to know if an item will fit is to try it on, as clothing sizes can widely vary, and vintage items frequently lack tags indicating size.

However, if shopping online, you need to know your body measurements. You might assume that men’s sizes would be constant, but you probably already know from your personal experience that they are not. In its place, you should maintain accurate and up-to-date records of your measurements in both inches and centimeters. It’s best to obtain help taking your measurements from a friend or a tailor. The most common measurements are around your chest, your waist at the belly button, your hips, and of course, your height.  Make a list, or even better, memorize them.

how to dress well on a tight budget

Now, search online clothes marketplaces like Nordstrom Rack, eBay, or Etsy for something that catches your eye. How are the dimensions specified? You’ll need to learn to evaluate the information offered by merchants who have no idea how to measure clothing in a usable way. For instance, they might measure the leg outseam instead of the inseam or the chest when the wearer has arms down. To do this properly, you will need to buy a measuring tape with inches and cm. You can get these at Amazon or your local supermarket.

2. Recognize Your Own Requirements

Any man worth his salt in the fashion world should have a complete and detailed inventory of his closet. First, you should take stock of your wardrobe and fill in the missing pieces across the four seasons. Make a list of things you need to replace, such as that navy blazer that never seemed to fit right.

Get out a piece of paper and jot down all the places you frequent and the ideal attire for each. Then, put the needs and possible replacements in order of how flexible they are and how much money you have. Invest first in the most cost-effective items, such as a blue suit or those that help you wear your current clothes longer.

When you’re on a tight budget and have a strict shopping schedule, it’s more likely that you’ll miss out on good opportunities that come up out of the blue. Decisions can be made more quickly and effectively if you have a firm grasp on exactly what you require. Stick as closely as possible to your list, and you’ll be far more satisfied with the end product.

Mini-Tip: Once you know what you want, don’t feel limited to purchasing only during specific times of the year. Some of my favorite purchases were items on my wish list that were out of season. In July, when it was 90 degrees outside, I went to Dresden and got this overcoat for 5 euros.

3. Stay Away From Custom and Made-to-Measure Clothing at First

Unless you find a good deal, it’s best to avoid bespoke and MTM suits. It’s only natural to want to add a great suit once you’re into fashion, but you should hold off for a bit.

When the word “bespoke” is said, it means absolutely handmade to your specifications, down to the last stitch and canvas interlining. If you’re just starting off and require a full wardrobe, you probably won’t be able to afford anything that’s of the highest quality (including material) for less than $1,000, no matter where you shop around the globe.

Marketers and salespeople may try to pass off made-to-measure suits as “custom” for $200-$500. You need to know the distinctions between bespoke, made-to-measure, ready-to-wear, and other terms used in the fashion industry. You’d be much better off looking for a vintage or pre-owned outfit.

You should also know the distinction between a $100 suit and a $1,000 suit and between a $500 suit and a $5,000 suit to have a feel for the new suit market and the limitations of a small budget.

4. Meet the Man Behind the Clothes Alteration.

You should start looking for a qualified alterations tailor regardless of your body shape and learn what aspects may or may not be properly fitted. Check out their services and how they handle special requests for complicated jobs like reducing sleeves from the sleeve head. If they can do it without making mistakes (such as the sleeves bunching up), they can probably handle whatever else you throw at them. Modifications are highly crucial in this regard.

However, even the best tailors for adjustments are not magicians. Because you can’t change where the buttonholes and pockets are, you can’t buy coats that are too long or too short. It will be tough to correct the front-back balance if the shoulders don’t match as well.

Would you feel comfortable going out in public wearing this Men’s Wearhouse rental tux that doesn’t fit right?

Avoid purchasing items that are more than one size too small or too large, as adjustments are costly and often produce less-than-desirable results. A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution and get an item that is just a tad too big rather than one that is too small. Adding fabric is simple, but if there isn’t enough cloth in the garment, you can’t wear it.

5. Go Vintage

At first, 90% of my clothes were either antique or secondhand, while the remaining 10% were brand new with tags. If we were to look into my personal experience regarding this, I rarely shop at nice boutiques, but I am pleased with how nicely I have dressed. Although I’ve discovered the best deals on quality secondhand apparel in major cities like London and Naples, I’ve found great finds in vintage shops and flea markets worldwide. It may take some time, but if you discover something you like that fits somewhat well, your alterations tailor can handle the rest.

There is a fine art to acquiring vintage items; it takes time, expertise, and practice to master. You should know a lot about brands and where they come from. You should also know exactly what you want and how good construction and materials feel. As a vintage shopper, you need to grasp the following ideas:

  • Tips on recognizing high-quality fabrics like cashmere, cotton, and wool
  • Identified brands and what they represent, such as Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers
  • The origins of certain things, such as Italian leather and fine tailoring, and the countries that produced them
  • Handmade details like buttonholes, lining, and collars, as well as other quality construction techniques, are evident

Knowing more makes it simpler to recognize high-quality goods. There is a 99 percent chance that the jacket you find was made with handcrafted buttonholes. A buttonhole produced by hand will initially be easier to spot from the reverse side than one made by a machine because of the irregularity of the handmade buttonhole.

Functional buttonholes used to be a reliable indicator of a jacket’s quality; however, today, even a $50 blazer from H&M contains those buttons, which are no longer reliable. However, high-quality clothes can also be found with buttonholes that were created with a sewing machine. If the hole is cut first and then neatly fixed, the quality of the clothing is more likely to be good than if the thread density is low and fraying is visible.

It’s easy to verify whether or not the sleeve lining was stitched on by hand if you locate a buttonhole. If so, the shirt is likely of high quality, but you may verify this by lifting the collar to see if it was sewn by hand. All of this can be done without even taking a jacket off the hanger. Using this method, you can swiftly scan the entire store for quality clothing.

6. Consider Purchasing Interchangeable, Wardrobe-expanding Pieces and Accessories

Put your money towards adaptable garments and accessories that can help you get more wear out of your existing wardrobe. While a bold pair of striped jeans could be a lot of fun, they wouldn’t be as versatile as a burgundy vest when it came to putting together different looks. Vests with contrasting patterns and colors are a great way to get more wear out of your existing clothing without breaking the bank. For further information, please refer to our peculiar vest guide. A new pair of pants or blazers won’t help you get as much wears out of your closet staples as a few well-chosen accessories.

7. Tend to Your Clothes

It will be more cost-effective in the long run if you take good care of the clothes you already have rather than buying new ones. However, maintaining your wardrobe can be a challenge at times. This means that a clothing brush should be used regularly on suits, jackets, pants, and coats. Dry cleaning reduces the life of your clothes by a significant amount due to the harsh chemicals and processing utilized.

In many cases, you may even wash suit jackets in your home washing machine! Be gentle when washing your sweaters. Ironing wrinkled clothing is unnecessary if you steam it in the bathroom or use a steamer. Wide hangers are best for coats and jackets; if you can’t afford Butler Luxury quality, plastic suit hangers can do in a pinch. You may get them for free at many stores.

8. A Word of Caution: “People Who Buy Cheap Buy Twice.”

A piece of advice that is important for you to remember is what you need before going shopping and sticking to it religiously. On the other hand, avoid going for the cheapest option if you want to end up with anything of value. Don’t become a gullible fool because of a cheap find, as quality comes at a cost. If an item doesn’t hold up for more than a few years, even a 90% discount won’t compensate for the loss in value. While finding a good deal is always rewarding, savvy shoppers will also consider how soon they will need to replace a vital component if they go for a more affordable option.

9. Don’t Give up on Discounts, Sales, and Coupons

Although it may seem like a good idea to buy whatever is on sale to save money, the reality is that you almost never need an item that is currently on sale.

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is probably a reason why no one else has purchased a substantially discounted item at the store before you. This could be due to the item being a store second or having minor flaws such as loose threads, tears, or stains. Take just what you know you can fix; buttons are simple to replace, but a stain is not. Naturally, bargains appear, and the more you know, the better your chances of recognizing them. A buddy of mine once paid 300 Euros for a bespoke jacket that was mislabeled as cashmere but was made of Vicuna and resold for 3000 Euros. Yet, such transactions occur rather seldom.

Examine the item’s cost per wear instead. Similarly, a $50 seersucker jacket may cost you more than a $400 blazer. Similarly, the true cost of ownership can soon escalate for bargains that require major changes like dry cleaning or alterations to fit a specific body type. A full-price purchase could be justified if a discount is included.

You can also avail of different discount coupons from renowned brands, and you can use them to get your desired outfits from those brands at a discounted price, which would have cost way more without the coupon. This way, you can manage to get the outfits you need and wish to get from expensive places without costing yourself a fortune. 

10. When it Comes to the Right Fit, NEVER SETTLE

Most people nowadays have no idea what constitutes a good fit. Although we see many folks who claim to have found ready-to-wear that fits exactly, we haven’t really come across anything that did. A person’s subjective experience determines the outcome. When you stand up, the fabric of your suit should not show any signs of creasing. When a garment develops vertical creases or wrinkles, it means the width of that area is too great. If there are ‘X-shaped’ creases in the fabric horizontally, it means the fit is excessively tight.

A jacket with ‘x’ wrinkles means it’s too small. Most mass-produced clothing does not have much of a cloth reserve built in to make tight items looser, so err on the side of caution and buy a size larger than you think you’ll need. Clothes that are produced by hand typically have more spare material. For additional information, read our instructions on pant and suit sizing.

Conclusion

There is always a way to dress stylishly on a budget, even if you can’t afford things you’d love to buy right now or if you just don’t have easy access to great clothes. If you follow the aforementioned advice and go through the measures we have listed in this article, you will be able to create your own wardrobe on a shoestring budget. You will be able to make yourself look elegant, nice, and classy while costing you a little fortune.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment

Get coupon codes and online deals delivered straight to your inbox