Living Fashionable on a Budget

We are living in harsh economic times. That’s a reality that affects all of us, regardless of where you live. Apart from bills and family commitments, men would love to splurge on fashionable and trendy clothing. The truth of the matter though is that there just isn’t enough money to go around. So, what do you do when you have limited finances but you still want to look your best?

Here’s my advice…

Avoid getting into debt.

If you’re like me, you start life with a deficit having acquired a student loan to pay for your first degree. The foremost thing now is to limit the amount debt you incur. A firm policy to have is not to spend what you cannot afford to do without. This therefore means that you will need to operate on a budget. It’s not hard to create a budget. Simply identify what are your expenses and your source(s) of income. Take care of the bills first as you don’t want to be disconnected. Judiciously handle the rest.

Onto the matter of shopping….

1. Set aside two days for purchasing new clothes.

Day One: Take a tour of all the stores you fancy and make a list of what you like and the prices.
Day Two: Make a decision on what you will be purchasing.

The real gentleman knows that it takes time to find quality pieces. This also helps you to seriously evaluate what you really need. Such a move will curb unnecessary spending.

2. Shop by style and not brands

Brand name clothing generally command a higher price. The quality is sometimes there but, there are instances when the quality does not match the price. You can easily find affordable clothing that is trendy and durable but not a popular brand. In a previous blog article (It’s not a jacket, it’s a blazer.) I looked at blazer designs and prices.  A brand name blazer could fetch as much as $1700 US! It’s quite easy to find a really good blazer for less than $500. The trick is to know what is in style and to shop around for that particular style.

The time will come when you make a serious investment in statement pieces for your wardrobe but until then, do what makes sound economic sense.

3. Invest in Solid Colors

It is easy to identify a piece of clothing by a particular print or design. Additionally, these are hard to dress-up. Going for solid colors rather than stripes or prints gives more options. A solid colored shirt can be paired with various tie colors and patterns. You can also mix and match with dress pants. This option increases the versatility and repeat-ability of the item. Such shirts don’t do well in the sun, so whenever you do the laundry keep these in the shade if you don’t have a dryer.

4. White Dress Shirts

Just pause for a while and think of what you can do with a white shirt. This is a standard dress shirt that all gentlemen should have a few of. Whether for work or leisure, these are always needed. If you’re going for a suit and tie, a white dress shirt is your best friend. The combinations are endless. Throw on a pair of slim fit jeans with this button down shirt and you’ll have an exquisite look just the same.

With a grey suit….
Roll em sleeves up…

Do it like Gareth…
5. Durable Shoes

Cheap shoes can be an absolute disaster. Just close your eyes and buy that leather brogue. You won’t regret this decision. More than likely it will last a few years and this represents a saving. Price is not always an indicator of quality but it is a reasonable assumption to make. With this item you may want to practice brand loyalty. Go with the brand that hasn’t failed you. I’m a Clarks Shoes fan and also like Puma.

I recommend that you keep contact with a good cobbler. Who knows what you may need him for. Sometimes you can have a shoe restored.

6. Buy at the end of a season

Stores always try to replenish their stocks at the end of a season in preparation for the approaching season. So all this summer clothes will have to go as fall approaches. Same thing happens when we go from winter into spring. You best believe that climate influences our behaviour. Generally stores want to clear out items from the last season so they offer them at reduced costs. Look out for these deals.

7. Sign up for notifications of available deals.

If you’re any at all like me, you get weekly email updates on what’s on offer at different fashion houses. What this means is that as soon as a sale is on, I’ll get notified. No sweat. No stress. Some of you are rightly worried about your inbox being filled with promotional emails. Try Gmail as it separates promotions from your regular mails.

Some of the popular fashion houses: Perry Ellis, Forever21, Zappos, Zara, H&M, ASOS

8. Recycle Clothes

When all else fails recycle your clothes. H&M’s latest ad is all about sustainable clothing. These days if you really want to get noticed by the climate conscious folks attach “sustainable” to your idea. Hopefully, the following video will convince you.

I hope these pointers will be of some assistance. No need to be ashamed, live within your means. Keep in mind, “Money can’t buy style!”

Do you, and remember, style is personal.

*All pictures taken from pinterest unless otherwise stated.

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