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Work-Friendly Wardrobe on a Budget?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

My name is Geran (29yo) and I live in the Washington DC metro area. I recently got a promotion at my job to a position that was a career step, and I want to upgrade my wardrobe so it’s more work-appropriate. I’m on a budget for building my wardrobe from scratch, though. My budget is limited to around $1500.

I was wondering how many suits and other pieces of clothing (shirts, polos, basic tees, etc.) should I own for both casual Fridays and regular work days (Monday - Thursday)? One thing that I would like are decent shoes that will hold up for years to come.

Thanks for all your help!

Geran B.
post #2 of 7

Start with the basics:

- MTM Plain navy or dark grey suit

- well-constructed shoes

- quality shirts


then add accessories:

- ties

- pocket squares

- socks


Can you buy all of that with $1,500? No. To be honest you'd need to shop around to get a decent MTM suit for just that price, but I believe building a wardrobe takes time. Get the basics down now - a high quality suit will make the biggest immediate difference to your look - and then buy more things as the months and years go by.

post #3 of 7

You should do *okay* for that much. As long as you look out for sales, though. Building a wardrobe will take some time so don't rush. Taking the time to figure out what your style and preference is will benefit you in the long run before you make unwarranted purchases.


Like Kayhill said, start with the basics. 


You need at least two suits, navy and mid-grey (imo). Circulate between them every other day. Along with that, two pairs of shoes in black and brown. Allen Edmonds is currently on sale at Nordstrom's for $229 (select models). You can't go wrong with a black pair of Park Avenues and a brown pair of Strands or McAllisters. If properly taken care of, you should get at least five years of use from them.


A handful of tailored dress shirts should accompany the suits. The best colours to start with are white, light blue, French blue and if you think you can pull it off, pink. There are many other conservative colours available such as ecru. 


Rue La La has a few Brooks Brothers Fitzgerald suits from their mainline on sale for $399. Half-canvas construction. For a bit more, you can try the Suit Supply route where their suits start at $399 (although their solids start at $469). Their stores offer a made to measure service. Again, if you pay attention to sales and promotions from high-quality men's stores, you can at times grab fully canvassed suits for as much as what Suit Supply charges for their suits.


If you check out the Marketplace of this forum or on eBay, you can find Brooks Brothers shirts for ~$25-40. At times Brooks Brothers will have their own sales dropping their shirts to around that price.


I can't answer to casual Fridays as I am not familiar with the concept. I assume it's a shirt and jeans day?

post #4 of 7

^ excellent response


I probably went a big 'over the top' with the MTM suggestion. A much more cost effective method is to buy a suit that fits well across the shoulders and the neck and to tailor it as required. The sleeves, pants and waist suppression on the coat should all be fairly easy jobs as long as the suit fits relatively well in the first place.

post #5 of 7
No reason at all you can't completely re-do your wardrobe with 1500.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Should I spend more on shoes compared to other items?

OTR suits probably won't do me well since my body type isn't normal. 29in waist and a 30in a 32r is way too big for me I the shoulders.
post #7 of 7
While good quality shoes are important, you'll have to spend to your budget. As a rule of thumb is say 50% of your suit price could go to shoes.

In terms of real Bang for your buck though, i'd say some decent quality shoes in a nice colour and good shape is more important than price at this point in time! Don't get shoes that turn up at the ends!
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