1. Learn to Sew
Unless you are really, really, ridiculously lucky, most of the clothing that you buy off-the-rack will need alterations; or maybe you will need to replace a button now and then. Sure, you could take it to a tailor or your mother, but think about how much more impressive it is to be self-sufficient, and how the cost of these things adds up; as a general guide, here is how much some alterations usually cost:
Taper jacket waist – $20
Shorten jacket sleeves – $15
Shorten jacket length – $35
Take in pant waist – $20
Hem pant legs – $15
Take in shirt – $20
Since virtually every new suit will need, at the very least, the sleeves and trouser hem altered, knowing how to do it yourself will save $35 each time; not to mention all the other alterations you might need. Because remember, the most important thing is that your clothes fit.
2. Get the best quality you can afford
Quality products last longer; it’s a simple fact. This means that even though you may spent a little more up-front, you will save a great deal in the long run.
3. Thrift Stores and eBay
Thrift stores are an incredible resource for the gentleman on a budget; I can’t count the number of second-hand shirts that I have bought over the years, all still in excellent condition, at a fraction of the retail price. If you know how to sew, altering your thrift store finds yourself just means that you get even better value for money.
eBay is another excellent resource for second-hand goods, but it also allows you a far wider range of new products to choose from, allowing you to get the best price. I buy all my cufflinks on eBay; and I don’t usually pay more than $5 per pair, at the same quality that I could buy in most stores near me.
4. Don’t Be Trendy
Trend’s come and go; there’s no point buying new clothes every six months in an effort to look fashionable. Instead, buy clothing that suits you personally; trends be damned. Master the basics; a well fitted navy or charcoal suit and a white shirt will always be stylish, as will a good pair of straight cut jeans. Eventually everyone else will realize that skinny jeans look ridiculous, but yours will still look good. Fashions come and go, style is forever.
5. Have a Battle Plan
The best way to shop on a budget is to have a plan; work out exactly what you have, and what you need. Once you have your list, you can do a bit of research, and find the best price; remember, the internet is your friend. Some stores will price match certain products, and even give further discounts, so keep an eye out for that as well. It might also be a good idea to subscribe to receive email notifications from some of your prefered stores, to keep an eye out for sales.