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Rebuilding Wardrobe

Ejx

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Hey guys

Before Covid I used to work from the office every single day, I bought some dress pants and had some dress shirts, and had one pair of jeans for the weekend. After COVID I gained a lot of weight, that I've been dropping the last few months.

Now I work from home, and have no need to go to the office every day, but when I do go and have meetings everybody is dressed very casual (even VPs and directors). So I'm trying to build a casual wardrobe. I have a limited budget, and I live in Mexico so exchange rate is crazy, so I can't afford 200-400 shoes.

I'd appreciate it if you can help me by recommending brands that are affordable for some casual items

Looking for the following
  1. Jeans (thinking American Eagle)
  2. Leather sneakers black pair and white. Under a $100 (someone recommended me cole haan, but don't know the brand)
  3. Polos: To be honest I was thinking of just buying h&m or Gap. Looking for under $30
  4. Casual shirts: No idea here
  5. Boots chelsea/chukka: I was recommended Thursday boots, a bit over budget but maybe can wait for a sale

I've been reading the forums and see a lot of recommendations, unfortunately they are above my budget. I'm not against second hand or outlets, so if you guys have a good source I'm ok. No need of international shipping I can have them sent to a friend who lives in the US, and have it sent to me later.

Thanks
 
Last edited:

mhip

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Hey guys

Before Covid I used to work from the office every single day, I bought some dress pants and had some dress shirts, and had one pair of jeans for the weekend. After COVID I gained a lot of weight, that I've been dropping the last few months.

Now I work from home, and have no need to go to the office every day, but when I do go and have meetings everybody is dressed very casual (even VPs and directors). So I'm trying to build a casual wardrobe. I have a limited budget, and I live in Mexico so exchange rate is crazy, so I can't afford 200-400 shoes.

I'd appreciate it if you can help me by recommending brands that are affordable for some casual items

Looking for the following
  1. Jeans (thinking American Eagle)
  2. Leather sneakers black pair and white. Under a $100 (someone recommended me cole haan, but don't know the brand)
  3. Polos: To be honest I was thinking of just buying h&m or Gap. Looking for under $30
  4. Casual shirts: No idea here
  5. Boots chelsea/chukka: I was recommended Thursday boots, a bit over budget but maybe can wait for a sale

I've been reading the forums and see a lot of recommendations, unfortunately they are above my budget. I'm not against second hand or outlets, so if you guys have a good source I'm ok. No need of international shipping I can have them sent to a friend who lives in the US, and have it sent to me later.

Thanks
Uniqlo should be your friend...
 

dieworkwear

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Uniqlo is the go-to recommendation for affordable clothing. They have a wide range of sizes and mostly specialize in basics.

As mentioned above, Frugal Male Fashion is a great resource. I would also check out the right-hand bar at Male Fashion Advice. It has a lot of good guides


As for the things on your list:

1. Jeans: I would defer to @mossrockss. He's posted some really good outfits using affordable jeans.

2. Leather sneakers: On a budget, I would go for canvas instead of leather. Lower end leather is not going to age that well. Superga has some nice minimalist styles in canvas. Sign up for their email list, as they often hold sales.


If you really want to do leather, however, they also have leather sneakers for $60.


3. Polos: I would do Uniqlo for this.


Although, to be honest, I'm not that big of a fan of jeans + polos + white sneakers. I think the look is a bit too basic and sometimes not that flattering on guys. I think you'd do better in a collared shirt made from a semi-casual fabric like light blue oxford or chambray. But if you're just looking to quickly rebuild your wardrobe until you explore other style options, you could explore the Uniqlo pique cotton polos above.

4. Casual Shirts: Try Spier & MacKay's shirts. They're about $50. At this price, you miss some of the nicer trims. So the buttons will be plastic instead of mother of pearl, but it's a small detail. The shirts are reasonably well made and come in a wide range of fabrics. I would start with very basic, solid colored light blue shirts, which can be a base for many outfits in the future as you rebuild your wardrobe. Other colors and patterns will be more specific and may not have the same versatility.



5. Boots: I really like Loake's 1880 Kempton chukkas in suede. You can find them on eBay for about $200 (sometimes gently used). I find them to be really versatile and, again, they can fit into many different types of outfits as you start to rebuild your wardrobe. Another option is Meermin, which is also around $200. If you need sizing advice, there are people here who can help. Meermin also has chukkas.

Once you go below $200, shoes tend to be not very well built unless you're going for a very casual style, like canvas sneakers. If you can stretch the wallet a little more, I think you'll be happier with this purchase in the long run.


I write for a site called Put This On. Generally don't like posting my stuff here cause it feels gross and self-promotional. But you may find these posts helpful. Here's a series I wrote on value-focused brands. In the very beginning of the first post in this series, there's a long list of mainstream affordable brands (e.g. Levi's, Clarks, Lands End, etc). Check those as well.



A post about those Loake Kemptons




Suggestions on how to shop on a budget





And some starter guides


 

Ejx

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Guys I really appreciate your input!

@dieworkwear thanks for taking the time, great post.
I will def consider canvas sneakers, I saw the Cole Haan for 60 and thought it might be a good deal. You got me thinking, in Mexico we have a State called Leon that is famous for leather, maybe I should make the trip. Many international companies manufacture leather in that state. It is not quite Italian leather but it should be good leather and craftmanship (just need to take the time to look around, many cheap options too, so might take time).

For Polos I will follow your Uniqlo advice, maybe even buy h&m, and gap and compare all three, see which one fits me better.

Finally for boots, I will wait for sales, and join the reddits and mailing lists recommended.

Please keep advice coming I should could use it.
 
Last edited:

cadmonkey

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If you need entry level stuff go naked&famous/unbranded, Taylor stitch, things of that elk. Heck even Gustin would be better than those mall brands. The quality of the mall brands just get worse and worse the more you wear them.

If you have time, another option would be straight g-r-a-i-l-e-d.com for everything then you could get better qlty stuff for the comparable price but you'd need some working knowledge of fits/styles ect before you could hit the ground running
 

mossrockss

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@dieworkwear tagged me about inexpensive jeans. My journey into cheap jeans has been driven by my desire for good white/offwhite jeans and good light/mid wash blue jeans with reasonably high rises I can wear with a sport coat.

  • American Eagle jeans are great for the price (virtually free). I like their original straight fit and sometimes their slim straight. One pair I have is so stretchy I can do deep squats with no fear. Their fades kinda suck if you want mid or light washes unfortunately; always too much fake whiskering. I don't know what it's like in Mexico but here in USA, there is an AE store in every dying mall that exists so you're never too far away to try some on or return the 45 pairs you ordered online (oh is it just me who does that? nevermind then).
  • Abercrombie is better with the fades. I like their fit less but obviously ymmv.
  • J.Crew is good, too, and has more of a reputation for decent denim so they're probably my first recommendation to try if you can.
  • I also always want to try Polo Ralph Lauren's denim, which retails for $80-120. I haven't yet but I like the looks of their light and mid washes.
  • I haven't tried many other cheap brands. Many folks love Levi's and I've tried hard to get behind them but the denim usually feels cheap unless it's super heavyweight which is less wearable where I live, and something about the top block doesn't work on me no matter which fit number. Gap has many fits, too, but I've never cared for them. The last pair of Uniqlo I bought was 7 years ago so my experience with those won't be particularly helpful I don't think.
 

mossrockss

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Guys I really appreciate your input!

@dieworkwear thanks for taking the time, great post.
I will def consider canvas sneakers, I saw the Cole Haan for 60 and thought it might be a good deal. You got me thinking, in Mexico we have a State called Leon that is famous for leather, maybe I should make the trip. Many international companies manufacture leather in that state. It is not quite Italian leather but it should be good leather and craftmanship (just need to take the time to look around, many cheap options too, so might take time).

For Polos I will follow your Uniqlo advice, maybe even buy h&m, and gap and compare all three, see which one fits me better.

Finally for boots, I will wait for sales, and join the reddits and mailing lists recommended.

Please keep advice coming I should could use it.
Look at Astorflex for desert boots. https://www.endclothing.com/us/astorflex-driftflex-desert-boot-af-dfx-475.html

The Dritftlex is a more traditional style desert boot—unlined, kinda floppy. They make private label desert boots for Drake's and possibly Anglo-Italian (on those respective companies' own lasts).
They have another model called the Greenflex, which is lined, has a bit more bulbous toe box with the same general desert boot vibe.
They have a ton of other styles, too, including Wallabee style shoes/boots. Check it all out at End: https://www.endclothing.com/us/brands/astorflex?page=1
 

javyn

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Wish I had noticed Uniqlo before I ordered all those polo shirts from Kohls last week
 

0ldb0y

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Fast fashion is your best friend the first couple years. After you've decided what style fits you best, then invest in quality garments.
 

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