Originally Posted by Gdot
You have demonstrated great wisdom in your post - you are right - if you want to be treated like an adult you need to look like one.
As you are young and on a very limited budget................my advice is to focus on good fit. You will find that even inexpensive clothes will serve you pretty well if they fit right.
Focus on a few basics - a couple of pairs of good fitting jeans (It's ok if they are Levis - as long as they fit well), a couple of pairs of lighter colored cotton pants and a couple of pairs of darker colored wool pants. All solids - no patterns, length hemmed appropriately. Stay focused on the plain old boring basic colors, tan, navy blue, dark grey, etc. etc.
A few well fitting shirts - polos and oxford cloth button downs are good choices - you can also include some patterns here as you didn't include them in your trousers - right?
Leather shoes in medium brown and black with belts to match (these don't have to be super dressy - look for shoes/belts that will work with jeans, khakis and occasionally with the wool pants. You can add some cheap web belts from ebay and sneakers etc. etc. if you like.
Once you have these basics down report back here for additional instruction. DISMISSED! (I'm only kidding)
The trick is to never buy something that doesn't fit you well just because it is available or cheap..........keep on shopping. And to learn to walk before you run.
You might be surprised that you can get away with quite a few things from lower priced places like H&M, Gap, Banana Republic, etc. etc for many of these casual basics - just keep your eye out for all natural fabrics, and good quality sewing (seems should not pucker etc. etc)
Quality suits and sportcoats will take a minor investment and probably should wait until you have some of the other items under control. But.....while you are shopping try on suit jackets so that you can learn your size. This will come in handy later.