Shirts & Sweaters – The $1500 Wardrobe Part III
Creating a versatile, sharp wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight. By far, the best course of action is to go slow. But for argument’s sake, let’s say you need a major wardrobe makeover, stat. Over the next 5 days we’ll see how far a strict budget of $1500 can go. And this year, we’re going back to our roots.
Prices have gone up everywhere, but instead of raising the ceiling to make this, say, the $2000 Wardrobe, we’re accepting the challenge. The outcome might not impress the menswear snobs, but why care? The goal is to balance quality with affordability, and accessibility with versatility. Not every last stitch (like underwear) will be covered. We’re not burning the clothes that are already in the closet. The goal is finish with a setup of clothes that can have someone looking great in most situations. The focus will be on affordable goods which can last with reasonable care. Also know that since tailoring costs can vary wildly, those haven’t been added to the final cost.
The Nice White Dress Shirt: Nordstrom Trim Fit White Pinpoint – $49.50
Remember what was said at the start: “We’re not burning the clothes that are already in the closet.” So chances are, the vast majority of guys already has a white dress shirt that’s workable. What we’re looking for, here, is a nice dress shirt you can use a few times a month when you want to look your best. Plus, going cheap on shirts can mean extra discomfort. Remember, unlike blazers or suit jackets or even sweaters, these are sitting right on top of your skin. The Nordstrom trim fit “smartcare” twill is about as good as it gets for just under fifty bucks. Neck & sleeve measurements (so, more exact than a S/M/L shirt like the Merona Ultimate), super smooth fabric, and less-wrinkly finish that doesn’t feel stiff like other non-iron shirts. Ships and returns free. Another $15 gets you one in twill or herringbone. More on the differences between twill, herringbone, and pinpoint over here.
The Pale Blue do-anything dress shirt: Charles Tyrwhitt Slim Fit Sky Blue – $39.95*
So here’s what the ” * ” means up there… the current deal that they’re running now (or, perpetually running) throws in a free tie, but you’re on the hook for shipping (a steep ten bucks). High thirties is the target price for a CT shirt. So even though you get a free tie with this current deal, we’re not going to count that in for the $1500 wardrobe. Some guys would take the free shipping over the tie, and sometimes they do shirts for $39 + free shipping promos. Do they get cheaper? Occasionally. But high $30s is what we’re shooting for. Bottom line: The slim fit sky blue dress shirt from Charles Trywhitt is a fantastic workhorse. Get the button, not French, cuffs. Chances are, just like the white dress shirt, most fellas already have a blue one. Having another on hand is a very good bet. Wear it with everything from jeans & a sweater, to a suit & tie. More on CT here.
The slim fit logo-free polos: 2 UNIQLO Dri-Fit Button Down Polos – $45.80 total
Not a fan of the button down collar? No problem. UNIQLO makes plenty of other, slim fit, solid polos that are logo free. And that is what’s key. That said, the polo-style collar (y’know, the buttons) really does help make it look a heck of a lot better. Those collar points won’t curl or pancake under a blazer like other polos. Regularly $22.90 and worth every penny. (Note: These are sold out now and should be back in the Spring… not really prime polo-buying time, y’know?)
The V-Neck Sweaters: 2 Slim Fit J. Crew Factory Merino V Necks – $70* total
*Again. Target price here is $35 a pop. They were just $33.75 yesterday. They often go for between $32 – $39, so aim for $35 with the perpetual sales and codes that J. Crew Factory runs. Notice these aren’t cotton or cotton cashmere. You want merino wool. It’s more durable and plenty breathable. JCF’s slim fit sweaters are fantastic. Unless you’re carrying more than average around the middle, you’ll want to give a slim cut sweater a shot. And not many brands make em’. UNIQLO is also a good choice here, but their fabric is quite thin. Great if you live in a hot weather climate, not so good for everywhere else. JCF’s slim merino sweaters offer just enough warmth without getting thick, while keeping the silhouette trim.
TOTAL COST: $205.25
CASH REMAINING: $236.00
Upcoming Categories: Pants, The Rest.