Alternative Options – The $1500 Wardrobe Part VI
This year’s $1500 wardrobe wrapped up on Friday, but as the week wore on it became increasingly apparent that some tweaks could have been made. The budget remains the same, but here are a few other ways to spend that same pile of cash….
Suits & Blazers: Buy just one suit. B.R. Navy Suit Jacket & pant – $367.50 if 30% off ($525)
Not only buy one suit, but let it be fused. The thing about a fused suit is that most of us have them, wear them, and can go easy enough on them that they’ll last for years and years. They key is to get it dry cleaned as little as possible. One of the best bang-for-the-buck fused suits out there is the tailored fit Banana Republic navy suit in Italian wool. It’s lightweight but strong, and it drapes over your torso extremely well. Wait for a sale and you can get it in the mid $300’s (which is still up there).
Meanwhile, skip the light grey suit. While the J. Crew Thompson is pretty versatile since you can wear the jacket easily as a blazer , instead head back to B.R. and get a nice & smooth cotton blazer like this one. When 30% off, it’s $138.60. Wear it with jeans in the spring, fall, and winter, then dress it up with off-white pants on a summer evening. But keep that Target Merona Kensington (or something equally casual) from the original combo. You’ll want something you can beat around town in.
Savings vs. original combination: $129.99
Shoes: Roll the dice with bonded soles. Nordstrom Adrian – $175 | Mike Konos – $139.95
Like a fused suit, many of us can make bonded shoes go a long way. Especially if they’re upgraded versions like these two options. Both are made in Italy, and both feel more solid and look much better than your average department store specials. Full review of the Adrian over here. Mike Konos is a DSW brand that can hold its own (these are still going strong). These might not be their best looking pair ever, but they’re in stock, plain, and they’ll get the job done. Still acquire a pair of desert boots and classic sneakers for a well rounded arsenal. (UPDATE: You can save $25 on the Mike Konos pair with the code SCOREBIG, and of course, there are these too.)
Savings vs. original combination: $82.05 (now $212.04 left to spend)
Shirts: Add a light blue poplin dress shirt. Neiman Marcus – $38.50 when 30% off
Yep. Adding here. Wouldn’t change much about the original picks except for adding in another dress shirt. A light blue dress shirt is #2 on the list of shirts to have hanging in your closet. Keep the oxford from jcp for more dressed down situations. This one can easily be layered under a blazer and worn with jeans, or worn with your suit or a blazer. 97% cotton with 3% lastol for stretch. Trim fit too. Another one of those items that it’s best to hold out for a sale (since they’re almost always on sale).
Savings vs. Original Combination: -$38.50 (we’re spending that surplus now. Down to: $173.99)
Pants: Add cotton dress pants: J. Crew Factory Bedford Pant – $39.50
We ditched the Thompson Suit, so we’re down a pair of pants. Add a pair of dressier cotton pants that can do duty at, as well as outside of, work. And don’t be overly concerned with the “you can’t wear white after Labor Day” rule. The pair on the left aren’t quite bright white, and you can easily wear them with your navy suit jacket or grey cotton blazer. Plus, you’ll probably be glad to have them once the weather warms up. Also available in a slimmer option.
Savings vs. Original Combination: -$39.50 (Amount left to spend: $134.49)
The Rest: Add another watch, tie, pocket squares, and card case.
Keep the spring bar tool but pick up a more casual watch with a black band like the Seiko SNK809 ($61), this Timex Chrono ($84), or go back to the Skagen well for their multi-function ($65). That leaves $50.53 left if we go with the Timex. Pickup a grey wool-blend tie ($15) for your suit. This pocket square trio ($5) seems to still be available in store at Target. And finally, get a card case you can slip inside your suit jacket or blazer pocket on those days you don’t want a wallet stuck to your rear. Yes it has a script J. Crew logo on it, but at least it’s subtle, and at $29.50 this is one of the better looking yet simple cases out there.
NEW TOTAL WARDROBE COST: $1498.97
CASH REMAINING: $1.03 (which is plenty enough to repay those couch cushions from Friday.)
Would you have changed up the original wardrobe this much? Would you have stuck with the higher quality Allen Edmonds? Skipped an extra watch and gone with another couple of shirts? Leave it all in the comments.