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: Skip Suitsupply. Go JCF: Thompson Jacket + Pant – $201.20*
You’re losing a lot of quality by switching to a fused suit, but if you don’t wear a suit a ton, you could easily get away with a nicely constructed yet still fused option like the Thompson from J. Crew Factory. The key is to not get it dry cleaned unless you ABSOLUTELY have to (sidenote: don’t get high quality suits dry cleaned a lot either… it ain’t a kind process). Over time, dry cleaning breaks down the glue that holds fused suits together, and you might end up with wrinkles and bubbles showing through the fabric of your suit if you dry clean it one too many times.
*Here’s how you get this price: You’ll need to buy the jacket, the pant, AND… a linen pocket square. They’re running a buy 2 items, take an additional 10% off, buy three items, take 20% off code right now: EARLYBIRD. By adding the relatively cheap pocket square (something some said should have been in the original lineup anyway), you actually save money. Full review of the Thompson over here. For $200, it’s as good as it gets. Much better than Alfani Red or Hilfiger Trim fit from Macy’s. Bar III is another Macy’s house brand that’s worth trying on if they happen to get down to $200.
Savings vs. original combination: $297.20 (We’re RICH!)
Shoes: Take a step down in quality. Nordstrom – $175 | Johnston & Murphy – $111
The leather quality wouldn’t be as nice, but even at under $200 there are plenty of good shoes out there. The option from Nordstrom is almost certainly glued, but they’re made in Italy and the leather is decent. The cap-toe from J&M is known for being about as good as it gets when it comes to bang for the shoe construction buck. Conservative? Sure. But it’s got a goodyear welt and should treat most fine. Try the code 30SHOES1 for an extra 30% off. More on that code later today.
Savings vs. original combination: $106 (now $403.20 left to spend. Makin’ it RAIN.)
Blazers: Add a Grey, Sharp, Cotton Blazer. B.R. Tailored Fit – $157.50 @ 30% off
Sportcoats and jeans. That high/low thing really does look good in all kinds of situations. The key here is waiting for a Banana Republic sale where Sportcoats/Blazers aren’t excluded. They still seem to happen, but they don’t happen that often. Despite being fused, their cotton blazers are nice and durable, are a step up from a rumpled chino, and they’re easy to wear with almost anything. Keep your fingers crossed for this medium grey (with some marling/flecking) to hit the sale section, or, be up for a code in the not too distant future.
$245.70 left to spend.
Shirts: Add a Gingham or Tattersall Dress shirt and a couple OCBDs.
- Calibrate (Nordstrom) Trim Fit – $59.50
- jcp OCBD in blue stripe – $14.99 ($50) (update: you an knock another 15% off w/ CREDITSV)
- GAP modern OCBD – $32.47 w/ MERRY ($49.50)
A bit of pattern never hurt anyone, and these Nordstrom house brand shirts are outstanding. Yeah, sixty is steep, but they hold up great, the collars are substantial, and they ship and return free. Meanwhile, grab a striped OCBD from the jcp mark before it totally disappears, and also pick up a GAP modern OCBD in whatever color you so choose. Layer at will.
$138.74 left to spend
Pants: Add some Cords. Banana Republic Vintage Straight – $45.18 w/ BRMERRY
If you’re in shape (or even if you have some extra poundage on you), but no one would ever call you “skinny”, then the BR Vintage Straight is outstanding. All apologies to those who can fit comfortably in Alpha Khakis (which, also a good buy in this spot) but those are just a bit tight on some of us. Anyway, lots of colors to pick from when it comes to the BR cord. That, and cords walk the line between dressed down and dressed… slightly up… despite being a 5-pocket. Wear em’ with a blazer.
$93.56 left to spend… boy, that Suitsupply suit was expensive, wasn’t it?
Belts: Orion Belt Co. Dress Belts in Brown & Black – $37.45 per
“Where’s the belt?” A fair question in last week’s $1500 wardrobe. But most guys have a serviceable set of belts in their collection. For dress belts (and casual belts, like this well loved Gap option) you want good quality leather, a brushed/matte buckle, and as little flash as possible. The American Made Orion 1 1/4″ dress belt accomplishes all of these things for under $40 a pop. Thanks to all who sent in the style tips about these over the years. UPDATE: Take 10% off w/ THNXORION2013
$18.66 left to spend…
One last tie: Olive wool w/ Faint Plum Stripes – $15.00
Green just doesn’t get enough credit in men’s style. Got this from a pal for standing up in his wedding and… it’s stunningly versatile. Very faint plum colored pinstripes (so faint that they… don’t show up hardly at all on thetiebar’s site?) Looks especially good with a charcoal suit, white shirt, black shoes, and a dive watch. 007 for cheap.
NEW TOTAL WARDROBE COST: $1496.34
CASH REMAINING: $3.66
Thoughts on these alternatives? Is the higher quality suit from Suitsupply still worth the extra $300? Or does it depend on how often the wearer would use it? Leave it all in the comments below.
Head here to see how the original $1500 budget was spent.