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, seven 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 $350 – USD ($448 CAD)
People love to argue about this every year, that Charcoal is suggested over Navy as your first suit, but I still remain unswayed to the Navy side. Why Charcoal instead of Navy? Because despite most guys aesthetically favoring navy blue over charcoal grey (myself included), 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.
The Versatile Blue Sportcoat: JCF Flex Chino Blazer – $84 @ 50% off
No, it’s not wool, but most fellas leaning on this $1500 wardrobe are gonna be new to the dressing “well” (whatever that means) game. And for most, a cotton sportcoat, in smooth chino, is gonna feel much less stuffy than a wool sportcoat. And therefor, it’ll get much more use. A full review of this thing is in the works, but know for now that it’s quite good. Totally unlined in the back for nice ventilation. Non-functioning sleeve buttons for easy tailoring. And the smooth chino “evening sky” fabric should go great with dark denim in the cooler months, and just fine with lighter weight linen or linen blend pants in the warmer months. Ignore the reviews. Those are about the khaki/olive version that was on the site last season. 50% off isn’t every day at JCF, but, with the big holiday sales coming? You should be able to get it for around that price pretty soon.
TOTAL COST: $434
CASH REMAINING: $1066
NOTE: Yes really. That’s all we’re putting in this first category 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.
Upcoming Categories: Shoes, Shirts & Sweaters, Pants, The Rest.