For 3K, with some judicious shopping, you can do very well. I'd shoot for something like this:
5 pairs of goodyear welted shoes (1 black, 4 brown). You should be able to get five pairs for under $1000 total, $750 if you are disciplined, $500 if you are willing to buy (barely) used off of eBay. Mix and match:
one cap toe brogue balmoral or blucher
one boot (chukka or chelsea)
Minmum 3 sportcoats. Budget maybe $250 each. This is going to be a bit more difficult. If you want the money to stretch, figure out your measurements and buy on eBay. If you do, you can easily get more. Perhaps a corduroy for fall, a seersucker for summer, etc:
One three season wool navy blazer (with or without metal buttons)
One fall/winter tweed
One summer weight wool/cotton/linen
10 shirts, perhaps one or two of which is a button-down collar. Brooks Brothers is a good source for these. Decent quality shirts at a reasonable price. Their shirts are also easy to buy on eBay for about $40 a shirt. I'd get at least:
3 solid (2 white, 1 french blue)
10 pairs of trousers. I'd be sure to include:
one grey flannel
one cotton poplin
8 ties. Discounters like Filene's Basement and Marshall's can have good ties. Again, eBay is awash in decent quality ties under $20. Ties can really blow your budget if you pay full retail, but you can find good deals pretty easily.
So maybe the budget would work as follows. You could probably cut back on both ties if you wear them infrequently, and could toss more money into the catch-all Misc.:
Misc (belts, pocket squares, socks) $150Total: $2850
A good place to check is www.virtualclotheshorse.com
. The owner is a member of this forum, and his prices and service are both excellent.
A good ebay seller for quality shoes is Grapevinehill:http://stores.ebay.com/Grapevinehill...Q3amesstQQtZkm
You can buy shoes from Allen Edmonds on eBay, though usually in discontinued styles or odd sizes:http://stores.ebay.com/Allen-Edmonds...Q3amesstQQtZkm
I'd echo the recommendation of Sierra Trading Post. It's a great resource, and there are good deals. Plus, discount codes often surface for 10-20% off.
Keep your eyes on the Buying and Selling forum here. Members (self included) often sell their own high-end clothes, or items they've bought new to resell at very good prices.