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Is it frowned upon when you build a wardrobe with cheap items?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by pskusa, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. pskusa

    pskusa Member

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    Being a college student (with no job), my budget is severely limited when it comes to everything.

    I'm limiting myself to thrift shops, for now, on my search for good clothes. Most of the brands I come across, though, aren't acclaimed on SF. I assume the majority of what I see are the brands people really avoid on these forums (cole haan, haggar, boss, dickies).

    This is what I come across, though. Do most people notice the difference between these and better quality clothes?

    Either I wait to shell out money for single items, or I build a nice wardrobe now with second hands...thoughts?
     
  2. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Nah, it's never frowned upon to get a good deal! It's just a lot harder to do with less money.

    When I was in college I was into t-shirts and denim jackets. Maybe just embrace your age and place until you're earning an income?
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. YRR92

    YRR92 Senior member

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    I'm doing both. Learn to spot good stuff -- thrift stores are great equalizers. A decent jacket usually costs the same as one that's crap, so just don't buy crap. There are brands that get no love on here that are just fine -- I have an older Calvin Klein jacket that stacks up to today's BB, for example, and there are older Cole Haan shoes I'd love to find in a thrift store, but most of the Calvin Klein or Cole Haan I find in thrift stores isn't worth buying. Keep in mind: Fit, usefulness, material construction. Those are the elements you need to consider when building a wardrobe in thrift stores.

    Who cares about what most people notice? My own standards for clothing are way higher than most people's. I will say this: you end up with a catch-as-catch-can type wardrobe if you only shop in thrift stores. After two years of thrifting, I have to admit that if I had left behind all the stuff I've purchased and wound up not wearing, I'd have enough to buy some of the essentials that have eluded me new.
     
  4. Rugger

    Rugger Senior member

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    If it fits well, is coordinated and is within recent trends... most people will be very impressed regardless of construction quality.
     
    4 people like this.
  5. sparrow

    sparrow Senior member

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    fit > price.
    if you have a nice shirt thats 2 sizes to big or too long on you then it makes you look bad even if you paid $$
     
  6. mafoofan

    mafoofan Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    You could just slowly accumulate decent versions of staple garments. More quality, much less quantity. A blue blazer is a good start. Infinitely useful in college and beyond.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  7. pskusa

    pskusa Member

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    Thanks for the replies.
     
  8. TiberiasUSA

    TiberiasUSA Senior member

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    I would go this route too.

    But you i think it could be beneficial to check thrift shops try on stuff etc, to figure out what you like, and how you like things to fit
     
  9. RDiaz

    RDiaz Senior member

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    If you want to dress in coat and tie immediately, get cheap staple items that fit well, until you have a basic rotation and you can get dressed everyday. Once you're there, you can focus on saving money and getting better quality stuff slowly, piece by piece. It may not be the optimal route, but that's what I'm trying to do. If you're lucky, you can find very nice stuff at thrift stores, though.

    If you can wait, skip the first part and start saving [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  10. pskusa

    pskusa Member

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    In the library.
    Again, thanks for all the input.


    What I'm deciding to do is build up my wardrobe slowly. I'll buy a few cheap (but decent quality) items from thrift stores (mainly trousers and possibly shirts), but everything else I'll have to save up for I'm thinking. Ebay looks like a promising place to start collecting; in fact, I have been looking at some loafers and oxfords (AE and Artioli so far) that I may invest in.

    I do want to get a decent suit someday this semester. However, what I'm putting in my wardrobe is more of a preppy, fratty look.


    SF is great! Glad I came across it :)
     
  11. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Unless you have the means, do not overspend and get yourself too much clothes. Chances are the way you dress will change drastically once you started working.

    Stick with Uniqlo, made in China greatness at almost thrift store prices. Get a blazer and some interview ready items. Truth is you won't wear out your clothes/shoes that fast...
     
  12. Varmant

    Varmant Well-Known Member

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    Nicely put and not one word wasted. I agree.
     
  13. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Senior member

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    eBay is a great place to find deals. I have found Brooks Brothers SCs for less than $20. Nothing wrong with spending carefully. The difference I try to make is that I attempt to find deals on quality stuff rather than less expensive low quality stuff. You definitely accumulate stuff more slowly in that way, but to me it's worth it.
     
  14. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Don't rush at it, you are still a student and should simply embrace that. There will be plenty time enough for more formal attire when you start earning money.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    good advice in this thread. The only thing I can add is the possibly obvious mention of keeping it simple. Nothing fancy or tricky - tough to coordinate and you'll seldom wear it anyway.
     
  16. Steve Papas

    Steve Papas Well-Known Member

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    Rugger hit it spot on. The key to looking good is fit, coordination, and non outdated clothes. Some advise on how to look your best on a limited budget based on personal experiences.

    Fit: Do not not make the mistake that most people make and wear clothes that are too big, simply because they feel more comfortable. You also do not want clothes that are skin tight on you. Find something that is in between.

    Coordination: I am in the same boat that you are, I have a low income as well. My appearance improved drastically once I learned about how to coordinate colours. What colour pants, shirt, sweater, jacket, shoes look good together. It is not just the colours but also shades of colour. For instance when will a light blue shirt look good, when a dark blue shirt will be too much. You could wear the most expensive shirt and jacket but if the colours do not match, it will look awful. So take the time and do some research on how to best combine colours.

    The last point is wearing outdated clothes. Thrift stores are great places to find bargains. But what you make think of as a bargain may well not be. I thrifted an Armani jacket on ebay for 10 dollars. The jacket is in excellent condition, except for one problem. It is horribly outdated. (Which is the reason why I won the jacket at such a low price) The shoulders are two inches larger then what I normally wear (what some people call linebacker shoulders), the lapels are large and sit very low. It is also very baggy. No matter how much I have tried to make it work, it does not.
     
  17. FillW

    FillW Senior member

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    Keep searching the thrift stores for good sport coats/clothes. A lot of people don't bother dressing up anymore and would rather dress sloppily when they go out so they give away some nice stuff.

    I found a nice (light blue) sport coat a few weeks ago which I'm having tailored right now. I got another one this week (tan) which I might have to have a little work done as well (the sleeves are a little long and it's a little tight in the chest).
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2013
  18. Fueco

    Fueco Senior member

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    Track the thrift thread to see what other people are buying and holding onto.

    I've had awesome luck with the thrifts, though my style is a bit outside of the norm for SF and probably outdated as well. But then, I'm also heading towards a 20-year high school reunion this June.
     
  19. Geezer

    Geezer Senior member

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    Thinking back to my time long ago as a student (mid-late 80s), about half my clothes came from thrift stores. The others came from saving up for sales, or for the services of a long-defunct inexpensive tailor.

    Of course, back then, while you had to wade through 70s awfulness, you could score some remarkable quality. So I recall a 1960s 3-piece bespoke suit in 18-20oz tweed from a good (albeit Edinburgh not London) maker in perfect condition for £20. It didnt fit well enough, and while I considered having it altered, I ended up giving it to a friend who for all I know is stilll wearing it. And somewhere I have a navy chalkstripe 1940s DB suit in classic Jimmy Cagney style, also for peanuts at the time - but also not fitting quite as it should - that I hope my son will inherit and may even wear.

    One great thing about cheap used clothes at this point in your life is being able to make cheap mistakes and learn from them, without worrying about your boss, clients or work colleagues. Far better to discover that something doesn't suit you,or fit into your lifestyle, for 20 bucks rather than 200 or 2000.

    For example, I had two or three "gunclub" or houndstooth type tweed jackets before I worked out that while I like them in principle and on others, I don't myself feel that they suit me. If I hadn't learned that as a student at 5-10 pounds apiece, I'd probably have a bespoke one now sittting unworn and neglected in my cupboard.
     
  20. Anthony Jordan

    Anthony Jordan Senior member

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    Thrift stores (charity shops here in the UK) were a staple for me whilst a student. They gave me an opportunity to recognise quality and fit, find out what I liked and didn't like, and make a few mistakes too, all without breaking the bank.
     

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