The Gentleman's Guide to Looking Sharp on a Budget
Posted on 11 January 2017
You're chivalrous and confident, courageous and honest, but you come short in the wardrobe. It's true that dressing like a gentleman can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. I hope that the following tips can help you achieve complete gentleman status without breaking the bank.
1. Know What Fits
One of the keys to looking your best is knowing your measurements so you can avoid looking like this:
You can get the wife to take your measurements or you can go to a custom suit shop. Generally, you want to measure the following:
|Jacket/shirt length||Shirt neck|
|Chest size||Pant length|
|Shoulder size||Pant hips|
|Sleeve length||Thigh size|
|Bicep size||Knee size|
Once you know your measurements, you will be able to pick the right shirts, pants, jackets, and vests. If you need a suit, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get a tailored one. There are many Made-to-Measure (MTM) shops that sell affordable suits of decent quality. You can visit them in store and they will take the above measurements for you. You get to choose the fabric you want and they will make you a suit or dress shirt based on your measurements. These suits range between $300 and $800 depending on the quality of the fabric used. You just don’t get the same look with Off the Rack suits, so we recommend going with MTM in the beginning and when you can afford it, go with Bespoke.
Once your suit fits, an easy way to step up your menswear game is to accessorize. Men's accessories are generally inexpensive. So get yourself a few pocket squares that compliment your outfits, sport a nice timepiece, and add a lapel pin and tie bar to your wardrobe. As you can see below, the details make a difference!
Additionally, since you are a gentleman with confidence and character, you want to wear eye-catching accessories. Find ties, pocket squares, and even socks that bring personality to your outfits. Below are a few examples.
Blue Paisley Hanky
3. Layer like a Pro
A nice way to look like you own the place is to wear layers. Almost as if you were leaving on a hike on a cold winter day, except with a lot more style. You start with your dress shirt and work your way to the coat. You can get creative and mix and match pieces of your outfit. For example, in the image below, he wears a zip sweater under his sport jacket as an extra layer. You can also wear a different color waist coat or a sweater vest and finish with your winter coat. Lots of fun can be had here!
4. Go Vintage
This may take a little more effort but you can find some stylish vintage pieces for cheap. You can even find quality designer items at a fair price. Look for neckties, bow ties, pocket squares, waist coats and jackets. Pick items that can compliment your outfits. Below are a few examples of how you can add vintage items to a modern outfit. As we mentioned above, a nice vintage waist coat can add a stylish layer.
5. Don't Forget Shoes
You want to look good from head to toe, so make sure you keep your feet fresh! You have two options:
- Buy a cheap pair every year ($50-$120); or
- Invest in a quality pair that will last you years and take good care of them ($250-$500)
What is fun about buying cheap is that you can buy a variety of shoes. For the price of one pair of quality shoes you can buy three pairs: One black, one brown, and one pair of loafers. It's nice to have options for different occasions.
To keep them clean, I recommend getting a shine sponge. You can buy one on Amazon for about $12.
6. Stay Clean
A gentleman is well-groomed. So even if your outfit is on point, you can't be lazy. If you are a bearded man, keep it trimmed. If you are a clean-shaved man, keep it that way. Try to get a hair cut at least once a month and keep your nails short.