Our question today comes from Twitter –
If style budget is tight, how best to come across as stylish?
Thank you for your question, it is a very good and important question. I know the chaps at the Perfect Gentleman are always banging on about how you don’t need a lot of money to be stylish and I agree with them.
The Stylish Gentleman team did an experiment with their 14 Items that every man should have in his wardrobe, the list is in the book (a subtle plug), to find out how low they could purchase all the items for. They managed to get all items from online retailers for under £400 in the UK and for a similar price in Dollars using US retailers. Which is a very fair price, the full series of articles will appear over the next couple of months.
But your question is how to do it, so here are Uncle Henry’s top tips to dressing stylishly on a budget.
1 – Spend the largest part of your budget on one quality item. Whatever your budget is you should look to purchase at least one item of quality that will last. I would suggest either a suit or a jacket. It is the one thing you will wear most in your early style journey. Spend a little more on it, probably at least a third of your wardrobe budget.
2 – Shop Smart – always look to shop in Sales, especially for the bigger ticket items, you have to be dedicated and ruthless about it. Don’t just buy something that ‘will do’ or ‘not bad’, even in a sale. Or shop at stores that do Bargains, in the UK the men’s outfitter T M Lewin is always doing 4 or 5 shirts for around £80-£100 and will ship to the USA.
3 – Another great way is to wander around Thrift, Charity or Vintage stores, it may take some time but it is a great deal of fun and can even make an interesting date. The amount of fantastic items myself and the PG team have found and purchased at these stores is legendary everything from Harris Tweed jackets to Zenga Suits and Hermes ties have all been found at these types of store.
4 – Use online retailers, what I wouldn’t have given in my youth for online retail! A wonderful invention and because there is no fancy store to maintain, generally one can find a very fair deal on all manner of items. Personally, I tend to go for the old basic items first and if it doesn’t fit send it back!
5 – If you need a little bit of magic – find an alteration tailor. If you need the trousers taken up, taken in, or those jacket sleeves adjusted to fit you, well then you can always go to an alteration tailor. He will help you and it will generally be a reasonable price to fix these minor items.
If you want to look stylish, keep it simple and go for the basics; navy suits, white shirts and black shoes for a start. Keep to a simple framework and add flair with pocket squares, ties, cufflinks and other items. You can always request these as gifts from friends and relatives, it will beat novelty trinkets that get quickly cast aside.
I hope that has helped a little, Malcolm. For more help, #3PG recently wrote an excellent article on A-List Style for Affordable Prices. But I think this is worthy of a more in depth series of articles and I shall make the PG team hasten with their 14 Items at various price points and also the basics of style, here in the Code.
I am off to wander round my local charity shop, I need a new jacket!
Keep those questions coming.
If you have a question for Uncle Henry email firstname.lastname@example.org or #askhenry on Twitter @ThePGentlemen