Pants – The $1500 Wardrobe Part IV
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.
Jeans: Levi’s 511 (slim), 514 (sorta slim), or 505 (straight) – $30.10 w/ 30FORYOU
There’s hardly a better value in men’s style than a pair of dark wash Levi’s. Usually between $35 and $45 on Amazon or at JC Penney, they come in a variety of fits, and each fit has at least one dark-wash, easy to dress up shade available. “Tumbled Rigid”, for example, is fantastic. Wear them with a sportcoat or a collared shirt + sweater, and you’ll do that “high-low” thing to perfection. 511 seems to be the choice fit for those who are on the quite slim side. 505 should work for most with a little more beef on their legs. 514s are somewhere in between but with a lower rise. All are zipper fly. Wash sparingly on cold and they shouldn’t fade too quickly.
UPDATE: Major thanks to Tasha for passing along the 30% off + free shipping no min. code 30FORYOU. Looks like it’s goot on Levis.com through 11/3.
Chinos: Greyish GAP Straight or Slim “Lived in” Khakis – $41.96 w/ JOY ($59.95)
When “business casual” came roaring into the workplace in the 90’s, pleated khakis in the standard khaki/graham cracker light brown shade became the de facto lower body covering for cube farm workers everywhere. Not a thing wrong with that shade of brown, but it’s just really, really common. A bit boring even. A grey or even muted green shade is just as versatile, mixes it up a bit, and won’t look odd with black shoes & boots. The GAP “Lived In” khaki isn’t as dressed up as some perma-crease pair of dress dockers, but that’s fine. They’ll look good with that UNIQLO wool blazer from day 1, or, dressed down with a polo from yesterday.
Wool Trousers: Wear your suits more often
No, most of us don’t have to wear a suit more than a couple times a month. But practice makes perfect, and wearing a suit every so often because you want to, not just because you have to, will help you look more comfortable in it during those times when you DO have to put on a suit. Stand alone wool dress trousers won’t ever go out of style, but a matching suit jacket & pair of pants will almost always look better than a pair of dress trousers & blazer (or, trousers, shirt, & tie). Plus, it’s easy to dress down a suit. Lose the tie. Wear some Chelsea boots with it (if you’re lucky enough to have a pair). Wear a less business-like shirt underneath, like a bold check or even a solid grey. Look, you don’t want to be Mr. Overdressed, but suit jackets are made to help a guy look his best. So the next time a situation calls for wool trousers and maybe a sweater over a shirt and tie, reach for the suit.
TOTAL COST: $72.06
CASH REMAINING: $163.94