Shopping Detox. She writes about taking control of her financial life while remaining fabulous and fashionable. For all the dudes out there who don't know Calvin Klein from Calvin & Hobbes, I asked her for some frugal clothing advice for men, and she replied with the below. Enjoy!)
Attention frugal men: IT IS NOT AS COMPLICATED AS YOU THINK to dress awesome. Trust me: I know what I'm talking about here. The main thing to keep in mind is that dressing well is not about putting on a costume or dressing differently than normal; it's about being polished, putting your best face forward, and being yourself - but better. And if you're into saving money and getting great deals, fashion can be a thrill-seeking adventure-packed fun time.
Misconception #1: You have to spend a lot of money to dress well. False!
First of all, there are heaps of rich guys who dress TERRIBLY. Wearing something with a gigantic brand name or logo on it does not make you well-dressed. It also doesn't make you look wealthy. At the bare minimum, a pair of nice pants (bought vintage or somewhere affordable like Old Navy or The Gap) and a button-down shirt looks great of every man. The best part about being a man (from what I can tell) is that you are able to wear the same thing numerous times - a pair of classic black or brown pants can be worn every day of the week and NOBODY WILL NOTICE (unless you spill something on them). Just keep them ironed and clean, and you're good to go. (Editor's Note: This IS the best part of being a man!)
Misconception #2: You need to own a lot of clothes. False
As noted above, if you buy really basic clothes, you can wear them over and over and always look great. Have you heard of Project 333? It's where you trim the number of items in your wardrobe down to 33 for 30 days. When I read about it, I counted the clothes in my boyfriend's closet and he has EXACTLY 33. These are pretty much evenly divided in trousers, t-shirts, short-sleeve button-down shirts and long-sleeve button-down shirts. On a day off, he wears a t-shirt and trousers. On a work day? The same trousers and a button-down shirt. (*Hint: vertical stripes are slimming. Pinstripes are always gorgeous. Think Don Draper.)
Misconception #3: Nobody cares what your shoes look like. SO FALSE!
True story: I read in a magazine that Lauren Conrad looks at a guy's shoes first off to determine whether he's a catch or not. Shortly after reading that, I went on a date with a guy who was wearing WHITE RUNNING SHOES with dark pants. I thought, "I'm going to give this guy a shot. Who cares what his shoes are like!" But you know what? It was not a good date. And trust me: I'm not the only girl who follows Lauren Conrad's advice. Also? The next guy I went out with was wearing classic brown leather shoes when we met. And we're still together 2 years later.
Moral of the story? Buy a nice pair of leather shoes. Wear them often.
Misconception #4: Fashion is complicated and looks silly.
Nothing can be further from the truth! Women's magazines always advocate for a simple black dress, which is almost always the prettiest thing that a woman can wear. And for a man? Nothing (NOTHING) is sexier than a guy in a well-cut suit. This is also the easiest thing for a man to wear - matching pants and jacket, plain shirt, a tie... what's to worry about? A suit is a great investment purchase, too. You can get a suit at a thrift store, or spend a bit more to get it from a men's suit store. If you hate shopping, I can't recommend a suit store enough - the salesmen know their customers hate shopping, so they quickly get you in and out, remind you to buy dark socks, and you're out of there! Plus, if you buy a suit, you can always wear the pants with the shirt for a more casual occasion, so it's like three outfits in one.
(Secret: the hottest that a guy can ever look is in a suit with the top button undone and the tie loosened. Bonus points if it's an undone bowtie. This has been making ladies swoon since the 1920s)
Misconception #5: Ball caps.
Guys? Just don't. I mean, if you're out jogging? Fine. If you're at a baseball game? Fine. Golfing? OK. BUT NOWHERE ELSE. Get a good haircut (make friends with a barber if you aren't into hair salons). A good haircut is the best accessory, and can make your outfit look instantly more appealing.
The moral of the story:
Button-down shirts. Nice pants (ironed, cleaned) in a basic colour (black or brown or navy blue). Nice brown leather shoes. Good haircut. A suit for formalwear occasions. Own these things, and you won't have to go shopping again for like 10 years.
Oh, and white socks? NEVER WORK. Buy a 10-pack of black socks. Just trust me on this - it's worth the investment.
Photo by smoothdude