Originally Posted by JackTheRipper
I'd like to chip into this conversationas well since I'm in my second year of undergrad.
Imployt was right to say that you definitely need a well-fitting suit. During the school year, you will undoubtedly have to wear a suit AT LEAST ONCE whether it's for an interview or event. You don't have to buy the suit now, but you should save up for the whole ensemble.
Also, follow his advice to invest in some nice sneakers. You can find CPs on sale in B+S for half their retail price, you just have to be patient. You can be frugal and buy all your clothes from fast fashion like H+M, but you can't skimp on footwear. Having a pair of CPs or any baller sneaker (that isn't outlandish) will set you above the chuck/nike running shoes wearing crowd.
Do not drop a wad of cash on everything at once. Your aesthetic WILL change. Like others suggested, be cheap on the basics so long as they fit you. Interesting pieces (with unusual fabrics or cut) will be where you want to spend money on. Styleforum's B&S and sufu's marketplace are your bestest friends. You will find designer clothing with price slashes that will make your head spin.
I want to emphasize once more, DO NOT BUY A LOAD OF SHIT NOW. You may regret your buys later. Go lurk on WAYWT to get a sense of what you like and then wait for similar items on B&S. That way you will save a lot more and be able to be a mid-level baller.
In three of years of schooling I have never once needed a suit. A decent jacket and slacks/chinos with an OCBD will serve you fine.
But everything else counts. Do
spend your money on footwear that will last (last being relative, but something 1+ years is ideal). You're likely going to get taller/fill out, but your feet size will very likely not change, so now's as good a time as any to invest in something that will be kind to your feet and be durable. Of course I'm not recommending a pair of Alden's, simply that if the $90 price tag of DB's or another boot/sneaker scares you, know that it'll last you quite a while. It is budget-smart to purchase items once for a little bit more than to have to keep replacing items.Do
shop smart, as in waiting to purchase those big price items during sale times (Christmas, July 4th, etc) and buying out-of-season if applicable. Do
buy utilitarian, like others have suggested, you should find pieces and basics that can be worn multiple times throughout the week, so pick things that work well with the other pieces of your wardrobe (essentially, consider thoroughly how each item you purchase will work with all the other clothes you have).Don't
be afraid to invest in good outwear, especially if you live in colder climates, however, do
consider how many seasons each item you're looking at will work well in (i.e., it may be better to buy that pair of chinos which can be worn in fall, winter, and spring v.s. those linen pants which'll only really work well in summer). Buy used
Write everything you want down, build outfits, and realize the items which don't really mesh. Develop a simple budget, and agree to only spend a fraction on clothes each month, because your desired aesthetic may change from month to month or even week to week.