Pants – The $1500 Wardrobe Part IV
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.
Jeans: Levi’s 511 (slim), 514 (sorta slim), or 505 (straight) – $39.99
In a clean looking, dark wash of course. 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. Wear them with a sportcoat or a collared shirt + sweater, and you’ll nail the “high-low” look. Which fit you pick has to do with how much meat you’ve got on your legs. Remember: clothes look best when they skim your frame. Not CLING AND STRANGLE. Not billow out either. You’ve got to be able to move, but not be swallowed in cloth. The 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.
Grey Cotton Pants: J.C.F. “Bedford” Cord in Grey – $41.50
Sticking with this suggestion from last year, because it still hits all the right notes. First, they’re not a “true” fuzzy, thick cord. There’s no real nap to these things. Just a very slight bit of texture. And that’ll give them a bit of contrast, in terms of fabric, when worn with flatter/smoother garments like sweaters and the already suggested sportcoat. Plus, chinos, to some, can feel a little too business casual when on your downtime. These avoid that, yet will look great in a business casual environment all the same. Meanwhile, the medium grey shade, while not the most exciting color (lotta blue & grey in this category… lots), can play well with a lot of other items.
Wool Trousers: Lands’ End Tailored Fit Year ‘Rounder – $53.40*
Versatile, comfortable, durable, and classic. Good for when wearing a suit might be going too far, yet jeans would be too dressed down. Going with navy here since you already got some grey pants to work with. Merino wool is lightweight, super breathable, and great year round (hence, the name). *NOTE: This is a “target” price of 40% off. Lands’ End has been running 40% off codes with some regularity, and one that works on these trousers should come around in the not too distant future.
TOTAL COST: $134.89
CASH REMAINING: $228.76