DIY : How to Dress Well on a Budget – SiDi Huang – Medium
Maybe you are like me, fresh out of school and joining the job force, a ton of student loans looming over your head, and in need of a wardrobe appropriate for your new office job. You search around online and find these nice looking shirts, but they cost what you spend on meals for 2 weeks. Needing an alternative, you look for thrifty solutions that are more in your budget. Here are a couple of ways you can look good and not break the bank.
If you are in no rush, there are multiple clearance sales for every brand scattered around the year. You can often pick up clothes for more than 70% off in between seasons. For example, J Crew is currently having a 50%+20% off sale for a total of 60% and you get free shipping. In one extreme example I was able to grab some shirts off the clearance rack at Kohl’s for 90% off. The fabric may not be the best and probably won’t last 10 years, but for $5–10 a shirt, it should tide you over for a couple of years until your bank account is rejuvenated. Buying clothes on clearance also let’s you try new styles and fits without putting a big dent in your wallet.
Take a peek at your local thrift store! Whether it be the salvation army, good will, or another secondhand store, you can often find high quality clothes and shirts for less than $5. My local thrift store has colored days, where a blue tag would have 50% off on Tuesdays, a pink tag would be 50% off on Saturdays, I was able to pick up a Charles Trywhitt shirt for $2 (MSRP $100+ though you can get 3 for about $110 on sale). The fabric is excellent but the CT slim fit leave much to be desired. There are a lot of forum posts about which brands to look out for, I’ve seen people score $500 boots with minimal wear for $20. The thrift store is definitely a good place to “thrift” if you don’t mind wearing secondhand clothes.
During these clearance sales, the optimal size for you will probably run out of stock really quickly (slim fit medium will probably sell out within hours), you may be stuck with the option of regular fit or a size up (14.5 neck vs 15 neck). If the price point is good enough, it might be worth it to just get that size and tailor it. Traditional tailors will charge you $15–20 a shirt or you can do it yourself for $5 with the ZipSeam. And unlike traditional tailoring methods, the ZipSeam is adjustable and removable, so you can gorge as much as you want during the holiday season.
Here’s a quick video on how it works