Suits & Blazers – The $1500 Wardrobe Part I
Creating a versatile, sharp wardrobe doesn’t happen overnight. 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 week we’ll see what a strict budget of $1500 can do.
Despite prices going up everywhere, we’re still sticking with a $1500 budget. (Which is the budget we started with, six years ago when this experiment began.) The outcome might not impress the menswear snobs, but why care? The goal is to balance quality with affordability… accessibility with versatility. Not every last stitch (like underwear) will be covered. We’re not burning the clothes you likely already have. The goal is to 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 aren’t a part of the final cost.
The Charcoal Suit: Spier & Mackay in Slim or Contemp. Fit – $299* USD
*NOTE: You’ll need the code SUITSME to take an extra $50 off, and get this USD price.
Why Charcoal instead of Navy? Because despite most guys favoring navy blue over charcoal grey, you can wear charcoal to a funeral. And if you’re gonna own just one suit (yes, we’re purchasing just one suit for this experiment) you have to be able to have your suit pull duty in the most somber of situations. And charcoal, especially a sharkskin option like this one from Spier & Mackay, still looks great at weddings, out for big dates, and at job interviews. Looks great with black shoes, and yes, it’ll also look great with with brown shoes. All season weight Australian merino wool. Lined in bemberg, which breathes a bit, and much better than poly. Half canvas. Softer shoulders. Curved, boat-style chest pocket. Non-functioning sleeve cuff buttons make for easy tailoring. And Spier & Mackay will pay for return shipping if it happens to not work out, as long as it’s your first suit or sportcoat purchase. Remember, prices online are shown in CAD. So the total price you pay in USD might vary slightly, depending on the exchange rate. Full review here.
The Versatile Blue Sportcoat: J. Crew Cotton/Linen Ludlow – $168
Gonna be honest…the J. Crew Factory Chino sportcoat from last year (or, something like it) is ideal. But there’s just not a lot of year-round navy chino sportcoats on the market right now (no, this brushed cotton number from Old Navy wouldn’t work when it heats up). So we turn to big brother J. Crew for their outstanding summerweight cotton/linen option. I can hear the “Wait… summerweight?” question now. Yes, it’s lighter in weight and unconstructed, but it’s a year round sportcoat. You can easily wear this over a v-neck sweater and OCBD with cords in the fall and winter. Or with jeans year round. Or with lightweight linen pants when it heats up. Fabric is outstanding. Medium blue color should go with just about everything. Totally unlined back for maximum ventilation. Non-functioning sleeve buttons for easy tailoring. An investment, but you’ll reach for it time and time again.
TOTAL COST: $467
CASH REMAINING: $1033
NOTE: Yes really. That’s all we’re putting in this first category, once again, this year. One suit, one sportcoat. In a few years past, we’ve done multiple suits & sportcoats (full disclosure: the dude writing this is a full-blown sportcoat addict). But while we lack variety, the suit and sportcoat chosen above would be the right play in 95% of situations that arise.
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