Suits & Blazers – The $1500 Wardrobe Part I
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 Navy Suit: J. Crew Factory Thompson Worsted Wool Jacket & Pant – $286
Really, really wanted to go with the $399 Suitsupply option, but see the intro above ^. We’re pinching pennies this year, and we’re going to need something more somber than navy in case you need to attend a funeral. Plus, in our ever-casual society, most will be able to absolutely get away with a terrific fused suit, over a terrific half-canvas suit. The all wool shell isn’t as good as the Suitsupply super 110s Italian wool, but it’ll do fine for occasional use. Fused, yes, but not stiff. Lowered button stance. Soft shoulders. Higher arm holes. Plus, an advantage of suit separates is that guys with slightly out of average proportions can pick what jacket size and pant should fit them best. That means less tailoring. Non functioning buttons at the cuff. Recently JCF started excluding suiting from their codes. It’s not ideal, but the high $200s might be the new target price (they used to go for low to mid $200s with codes).
The Cheap Charcoal Suit: JCP Claiborne Charcoal Suit Jacket & Pant – $139.99
Two years in a row for this one. Yes, it’s fused, but it moves well and should see a bit less use than the navy. Close to the quality of a J. Crew Factory Thompson, at around half the price. Pic above is from last year, but Claiborne is still making these (as well as some suit separates in navy). Shoulder pads are thinner than a Hilfiger. Armholes are higher than an Alfani. And the off the rack fit is surprisingly good. As far as bang-for-the-buck in the ultra-cheap suit market, this is as good as it gets. Somber enough for a funeral if worn with a black tie & shoes, and more versatile than an all black suit. (NOTE: Use the code 4FAMILY through today, 10/27, to knock an extra 25% off. Codes on these are usually 15% – 20% off though, so, for the sake of the $1500 wardrobe, we’ll keep it at $139)
The Versatile Wool Blazer: UNIQLO 90% Wool / 10% Cashmere blazer – $99.90
A lot of bang for the buck. Unfortunately fully lined… but c’mon. Non functioning sleeve buttons, so it should be relatively easy to tailor. Super sharp looking with jeans for a night out. Pick stitching is a nice touch. Might drop further with a sale, but a 90% wool / 10% cashmere blazer, at this price, is more than fair. Yes, it’s true that UNIQLO cuts their blazer tails shorter than most, but many can get away with it. Note that the model on UNIQLOs site is 6’1″ and wearing a size small. Yes. A size small.
The Cotton Casual Blazer: Target Merona Cotton Blazer – $44.99 ($59.99)
This blazer from Target is the definition of a casual rumpled sportcoat. A noticeably lighter shade of grey than the charcoal suit separates. Unlined, so it’ll breathe. Super cheap. Looks best when worn often. Micro stripe pattern that’s barely noticeable. No structure whatsoever. Going to look terrific with jeans. Would probably look pretty smart with off-white chinos or denim in the spring. Says it’s “tailored fit” but might need a little work at the sides.
TOTAL COST: $570.88
CASH REMAINING: $929.12
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