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How to Handle a Small Budget (plus Introduction)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
First, I would like to introduce myself since I am new to this forum - plus my question is closely related to my personal circumstances.
I am a 19 year old (just turned 19 in fact) guy from Germany, living in a small town close to Bonn (former capital city of Germany). Currently I am attending the "gymnasiale Oberstufe" (I always thought it funny to see German terms in English texts), the last step before going to university. I am interested in clothes since about two years now, I would rather not mention what I wore before.
I am mostly interested in what I see as classical, elegant and discreet clothes - combined with a hint of casualness this is my understanding of sartorial perfection.
Since I am quite a young man I hope to profit greatly from all you old wise men, your experiences and knowledge. The diversity of the topics as well as the politeness and expertise of the answers made my decision to join an easy one.

Now, to come to my problem: as the title of the topic implies, my budget is somewhat limited. To be exact, my monthly income amounts to a little more than 100 Euro (more or less the same in dollars).
This is obviously not enough to buy half of the shirts, sports jackets, ties and suits I would like to (and that would be only the halfway rational dreams, not including dressing solely in Kiton).
But since moaning will probably not solve the problem as well I would like to know how you would handle such a small budget (or how you handled it in your past, or do in present). One obviously has to set priorities - the question is just which ones.

My wardrobe currently consists of:
- about half a dozen dress shirts (white, pale blue, pale pink) and some sport shirts (none of them costing more than 30 €, most of them bought for half price at sales)
- two cravats, one blue, one red (my most recent acquisitions, beautiful they are, I am really proud of them - both 50 €)
- no real suit, just a combination of grey jacket and black pants (jacket inherited but well-fitting, pants by Boss (does anyone know?), 100 €)
- two sports jackets: brown herringbone tweed for winter, black linen/(I am ashamed to say it)viscose for summer, half-lined. 120 and 80 €
- one beige, one black chino, beige linen pants for summer; winter: black, brown and beige cord pants
- two "serious" pairs of shoes (that is, besides sneakers): brown moccasins (a beautiful shade, hard to find but worth it) and black Oxfords, both around 100 €
- a black wool overcoat for winter, none for summer (tried this season to find a trench, but could not find a nice and affordable one) about 100 € as well (cannot really remember, had been a gift)

The prices I listed not to boast with them (which is harldy possible) but to show you how my priorities were up to now.
But my budget is not my only problem, my stature is as well a little complicated. I am quite tall (193 cm or 6.3 feet) have rather broad shoulders (120 cm/47 inch, former martial artist) but my waist is very slim (80cm/31 inch). So most jackets either fit my shoulders or my waist - rarely both. Plus my arms are quite long, so I have to get extra long shirt sleeves and I feel like they are never on sale. Jacket sleeve length is the only thing I have no real problem with since most of the RTW jackets have sleeves too long, they fit me well.
The same applies to pants: 94 (European size) is the right width for me, 98 the right length. The black suit pants, for example, I took in 94 and had them lenghtened - but that is an expensive hobby.

I hope I haven' bored you too much, not made too much (spelling, grammar, whatever) mistakes and that you have either the same/a similiar problem and/or a solution or good advice for me.

Yours sincerely,
Mr Sand

PS: this post had originally been posted at the FilmNoirBuff Forum, but FilmNoirBuff recommended to post it here as well, for the target audience might be better suited to help my needs - so here it is.
post #2 of 8
It looks like at your budget you'll need to buy the best quality used suit, jacket, etc you can. Also, H&M has a few classic items over a season that you can add until you can buy better quality.
Welcome to the forum.
post #3 of 8
I sell my ties to students on the REAL cheap. I'll let you know when I'm having my next "office sale".
post #4 of 8
Given your physical proportions you might want to have a look at the Kuhn Maßkonfektion mtm service in Thomas-Mann-Strasse. I have a suit and a pair for trousers from them. I can’t honestly recommend getting a suit/jacket there, they look and feel rather cheap, but you might have a look at them for trousers. Haven’t been there in a while, but I’d estimate the cost to be around 100 Euros (depending on the cloth of course), and the guy who measured me did a good job in my opinion. Fit being the most important thing to consider in tailored clothing, you might want to look into this. You sound like a more traditional kind of guy, so for shoes have a look at the John Crocket housebrand. IIRC 130 Euros for Goodyear shoes. I have a pair from them, and for the money they do represent value. They are not comparable to my C&J’s etc., but again, for the price I’d say they are good. If it’s not too far out of your way you could occasionally drop into the Daniels Outlet store in Bornheim. Selection is a bit hit and miss, so I wouldn’t recommend going too far out of your way to get there. They do occasionally have very nice things. At your budget, 99 Euros for a shirt is a bit of a splurge, but: at Emanuel Berg in Cologne this will buy you a mtm (well, actually more a stock special if you can appreciate the difference) shirt from an end-bolt fabric. I think they are worth it, with their mop buttons, single-needle stitching. Fabric and construction are not Borrelli, but appreciably better than Boss for example. Not to mention the superior fit. I’d rather have one of their shirts than two 50 Euro RTW shirts from wherever.
post #5 of 8
There is a really good men's store in Cologne that offers deals on Kiton shirts from time to time. Maybe you can treat your self to one on the next sale for special occasions. Might find some decent deals on slacks there as well. I'll try to get their name. Service was great and I bought several things from them.
post #6 of 8
Originally Posted by Artisan Fan
There is a really good men's store in Cologne that offers deals on Kiton shirts from time to time. Maybe you can treat your self to one on the next sale for special occasions. Might find some decent deals on slacks there as well. I'll try to get their name. Service was great and I bought several things from them.

Fatima Mildt perhaps?
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
@ designprofessor: thanks for the offer, I certainly would appreciate that. @ Fritz: I didn't really hope to find someone here who knows Bonn and its shops - I certainly will have a look at the ones you recommended. In fact I have been at John Crocket yesterday and bought a shirt (which I am a little disappointed of) and a tie (saw a picture of Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in school uniform and thought "well, they do have nice ties" (red and gold stripes) now I can go to Gryffindor as well). I had a look at the shoes as well - what I don't like about the traditional english shoe is the (in my eyes) ridiculously thick sole - it just looks out of balance to me. But maybe I'll find one that I like anyway. I have been to the Daniel's Outlet Store once, I bought my tweed jacket there. The salespeople were absolutely stupid and impolite. The Emanuel Berg shirts sound interesting - where can I get them? @ Artisan Fan: a Kiton shirt would of course be gorgeous. Was Fatima Mildt the name? And if, where can I find it? Thanks for all the useful replies so far PS: John Crocket is definitely the English kind of style, but I like the Italian style muuuch better - does anyone know an Italian equivalent to John Crocket? In terms of quality and price? Or at least something similiar? [Edit: PS]
post #8 of 8
Fatima Mildt definitely carries Kiton, I’m just not sure about their sales. Kiton’s out of my price range, so I never really checked. For you, it might be worth having a look at, though, especially since they are just around the corner from Franz Sauer which carries Brioni, Borrelli and Canali (among others), some other store that carries Attolini and the shoe store Herkenrath (Lobb, Green, Santoni etc.). So you can check out all the big-name Italians in one visit. The Emanuel Berg store is in Mittelstr. Try to deal with the owner, Nicole Koch. The other folks vary in their knowledge. They’re all nice though, in my experience.
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