A reader recently sent us an email regarding how to put together a beautiful wardrobe with designer clothes on a budget.
That is an excellent question!
We discuss a lot about why it’s important to invest in your clothing on this site. Also, the importance of investing in high-quality clothing so that you can buy less of them. However, if you’re dealing with a budget that’s more investment-aspiring than investment-ready, that guidance won’t help you much.
So, here are five suggestions for saving money on clothes while still establishing a beautiful adult wardrobe:
1. Shop at thrift stores for your clothes.
I realize we don’t talk about thrifting often on here, and there’s a very good reason for that. Let’s pretend we’re creating an article about the greatest men’s chore coats. It’s pointless to link to eBay, Grailed, or any other resale site. Why? Because that is only one single jacket in one exact size that is no longer accessible elsewhere once it has been sold. So, when it comes to recommending purchaseable goods for your closet, we’ll always opt with garments and accessories that are currently available in different sizes to ensure that the recommendation is as valuable to as many individuals as possible. Thrifting, on the other hand, is a fantastic method to save money on garments without completely giving up shopping!
Here’s how it might work in practice:
You should take a look at our article on chore coats. You choose your favorite (or top two or three), then go to resale sites and write in the same description, as well as your size.
Maybe you’ll strike it rich! Perhaps you won’t, and you’ll have to broaden your search. Instead of “Todd Snyder chore coat L,” use “Chore coat L.”
Who knows, maybe you’ll hit it rich! Yes, thrifting an item will need more legwork (virtual or otherwise) than buying it fresh in season. But, hey, when someone compliments you on your wonderful style, it just makes for a greater narrative.
2. Tailor your closet’s clothes
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes “Shopping your closet” isn’t quite the same as “shopping.”
But how can you make the clothes in your wardrobe fit you in a way that makes you want to wear them? That is an excellent approach to save money on clothing. This tip also applies to guys who aren’t on a budget. So, certainly, you’ll have to spend more money on your clothes at first—after all, you have bought them, and now Team SG wants you to spend even more? Yes, but the idea is that once you’ve adjusted the fit of a seldom-worn garment, you’ll wear it more often. Wearing them more reduces the cost per wear, giving you a better value for your money in the long term (both of the garment itself, and for the tailoring cost you paid on top of that).
Related: Top 10 Must-Have Men’s Accessories
3. Get a browser plugin with a bargain aggregator.
Before buying anything, I used to google “[shop] coupon code.” Then I came upon bargain aggregators (I use this one from Capital One Shopping). When you install the extension on your browser, it will automatically search for bargains and apply the best one to your order at checkout. Watching the browser plug-in pop up at checkout and cycle through all the discounts and coupon codes it’s trying on your behalf before landing on the best available one is exhilarating in a “contestant spinning the wheel on The Price Is Right” sort.
4. Host a garment swap.
My favorite pair of expensive shorts (yes, there is such a thing for women) belonged to an old coworker. We were both the same size, and twice a year, we’d meet up with a bag or two full of perfectly good clothes that we were both just…tired with. She’d choose the stuff she wanted from my belongings, and I’d choose items from her bag. She and I would then take the remainder to Buffalo Exchange to sell and promptly spend the proceeds on brunch. Depending on how much the employee behind the counter accepted from our separate hauls, it was either coffee or tea. If you ask me, that was a wonderful little Saturday! I get that suggesting a wardrobe swap with your same-sized guys may seem odd at first, but this is 2021! Break free from your heteronormative cocoon and start collaborating with your most fashionable friends!
5. Work with a stylist
Yes, it’s true.
You’d be shocked how much money you can save on clothing when you buy items that have been hand-picked for you by a professional stylist. You may work with a member of Team SG on a Wardrobe Refresh, where she’ll select 5 things to spice up your wardrobe for the season, or a Wardrobe Reboot, where she’ll grab 12 items to help you completely rebuild your wardrobe, here at Style Girlfriend. Your stylist’s time and expertise are covered by the service fee; what you buy from your shopping plan is entirely up to you. You’ll spend more upfront for a better, more cost-effective result in the long run, similar to the tailoring tip.