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1st Post: 0-60 Wardrobe For Under $1000

osbb

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Hey there!

Just a bit of back story, I recently turned 25 and I feel like I need to start dressing a little more professionally. My current wardrobe is basically a pair of ratty flip-flops, a few pairs of baggy shorts, and a bunch of worn-out old black polos and plain t-shirts. I don't need to dress nicely for work so I don't need a ton of stuff. I don't need anything super formal either, the most formal occasion I'd need to dress for is the occasional night out with my girlfriend. So the bulk of my new clothes will be worn around town, in class, and out to dinner. I live in Florida too, so I'm still going to be in shorts a lot of the time too, no matter what. And outerwear really never comes into play. I want to look put together and professional, but not too hip or cutesy, if that makes any sense.

I'll give a rundown of what I'm thinking based on about a month's worth of online browsing, and any tips and feedback are greatly appreciated, and keep in mind that I'm totally new to putting any effort whatsoever into this type of thing so bear with me.

Shoes: I like the looks of Allen Edmonds lace-ups a whole lot but I feel like they're too formal to wear often. I think I've settled on Rancourt & Co. Beefroll Penny Loafers in Dark Brown with the Leather Soul. They're formal enough, but I could wear them with shorts too, I think. They seem very well made and would probably last a long time if worn sparingly. I really like the looks of the leather soul. I figure they'll serve as my "dress" shoes. Club Monaco has them and they do a 20% student discount so I could get them for $220.

I'd need a second pair, something more casual. I've always like Sperry Top-Siders, especially the plain black boat shoes. $80.

Pants: I've hear good things about Bonobos Washed Chinos. I'd probably buy two pairs. I like the Khaki and Charcoal. I really don't think I'll need any true dress slacks. $180 for two.

Shorts: Land's End or maybe Bonobos Chino shorts? Maybe 3 pairs, approx $150 total, maybe less.

Shirts: This is where I'm a little bit picky, I have a hard time finding shirts that fit properly. I think Ratio MTM shirts look really nice. Fit should be spot on, the fabrics look quite high quality and they're US made. I'm thinking a plain white, a seersucker, and a gingham or madras. $300 for three.

I'll round things out with some plain t-shirts. $50 for 3.

Extra: Maybe a decent brown belt ($25), one pair of dress socks ($10) and some no-show socks ($10).

What do you think?

PS: Is it not a good idea to wear dress shirts with the sleeves rolled up with shorts? Untucked? I kind of like that look...

Any suggestions?
 

archibaldleach

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Welcome to SF. You sound like you're trying to work on putting together a slightly nicer casual wardrobe (I see nothing about jackets and ties). You've probably thought about this, but if I were you I'd give some serious thought to how often you plan to dress in these clothes. You don't always want to be in the same outfits. You should also know that a lot of the things you're thinking about (shorts, t-shirts, boat shoes) don't really fall into the umbrella of classic menswear.

Shoes - I'd buy a pair of Allen Edmonds loafers. They're more than what you're looking to spend, but will be well made and will last. Boat shoes probably fit with your overall look, but I'd think a color less severe than black would be better for a casual shoe.

Pants - I wouldn't buy a charcoal chino; if something is formal enough for you to want charcoal, it's formal enough that you should be wearing wool dress pants. Perhaps a tropical weight wool in Florida, but wool nonetheless. I'd go with two different shades of khaki if you are avoiding wool trousers. Can't comment on Bonobos but suspect you might be able to do better for the price.

Shirts - MTM shirts often do not come out quite as expected the first time around, so be prepared for this. If you give us measurements, we might be able to recommend something RTW that works and may be less costly. Frankly $100 is a lot to spend per shirt when you're trying to revamp a wardrobe for $1,000.

Other - I can't offer much advice on shorts and t-shirts. I would suggest more than one pair of nice socks (people always seem to underestimate the amount of socks / underwear they need). At some point, you probably want a suit (solid navy or mid-to-dark grey) for the occasional job interview, wedding, etc., but it's best to start with buying things you'll use regularly. Still, keep this in mind so you can try to score something on sale rather than be stuck with a need for a suit at the last minute and having to pay retail.
 

unbelragazzo

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With the caveat that this is all my opinion and not meant to be "arrogant", and that I haven't read the dappered article so might be repeating:

Skip the charcoal chinos. Charcoal isn't a good color for cotton or for odd trousers.

You sound wedded to shorts, but you will look much more "put together and professional" if you wear pants instead. Get only one pair of shorts and instead get pair of linen pants to go with your chinos.

Also don't get black boat shoes. Black should be for formal shoes.

You'll probably want more than two pairs of socks, so maybe figure out a way to save somewhere else, like using a cheaper MTM operation for your shirts. Also seersucker is a little eccentric for one of three shirts IMHO. Substitute a light blue oxford cloth.

When you can find another $50ish or so, a cotton (linen and wool are nice too but usually more expensive) pullover or cardigan will be a nice addition. Later still you might consider getting a cotton sportscoat - keep an eye out for one you like, there are some in the $150-300 range that might work well.
 

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