The Complete Guide to Building a Wardrobe on a Budget

The Complete Guide to Building a Wardrobe on a Budget

We give you the lowdown with the complete guide to building a wardrobe on a budget.

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‘You don’t need a Porsche to learn how to drive.’ Great analogy, not mine unfortunately. I wish I could claim it, but I can’t. Anyway the theory is a good one and in this instance it is especially relevant; you do not need a load of money and expensive clothes to dress well.

Compiled below are some common misconceptions and top tips to bear in mind if you want to know how to build a wardrobe on a budget.

The Common Misconceptions

1. Clothes shopping has to be expensive – designer items are the best quality. This is not often the case so the best way to find which colours, styles and cuts suit you is to shop at the lower end of the price scale until you have deciphered what you like and what looks good. The Idle Man's own range is inexpensive but retains the same high quality.

The Idle Man A/W15 Collection
The Idle Man A/W15 Collection

2. You should avoid sale items and special offers – this is especially amiss when basic, staple items are reduced. There is nothing wrong with shopping sale, it is a great opportunity to snap up wardrobe essentials for less than you were prepared to pay. We can’t find a downside to that.

3. Previous style rules apply – you probably haven’t properly been shopping in a long long time, your body shape and taste have most likely changed. Things that you liked 10 years ago may not be appropriate now so be open minded and try things you may have dismissed at one time or another. Try being a bit adventurous; if you're a casual dresser try opting formal wear. You may surprise yourself.

Formal wear street style
Mix Things up with Formal Wear - PHOTO CREDIT: Walter Cabal

4. Building a new wardrobe means scraping all of your existing clothes – whatever your reason for building a new wardrobe it doesn’t mean you have to completely strip your wardrobe and start from scratch. Often we have pieces in our wardrobes that we may have forgotten about or are versatile and these should definitely be incorporated into the new one.

5. Budget clothing looks cheap – they are poor quality and not well made. This is a very common misconception. Often the quality of cheaper clothing is just as good as high end, what is lacking is an upmarket label and price tag. It is possible to spend little money and still look expensive. Items such as t-shirts and underwear are an ideal example of this. The Idle Man's own clothing line is a testament to this theory.

eton messy wearing idle man
Eton Messy Know the Idle Man Is Affordable and Looks Great

3 Versatile Budget Wardrobe Staples

The Plain White T-Shirt

A classic and essential wardrobe staple, you should have a few plain white t-shirts in your wardrobe as they can be worn anytime, anywhere - day to night.

2 ways to wear a white t-shirt
SHOP: (left) The Idle Man White T-Shirt | The Idle Man MA-1 Khaki Bomber | Dickies Tan Work Pant | Jack Purcell White Converse SHOP: (right) The Idle Man White T-Shirt | Religion Black Overcoat | Levi's 510 Blue Jean | Dr Marten's Burgundy Brogue

The Tweed Blazer

A tweed blazer is a great alternative to a coat or suit jacket. Dress it up or down with jeans or chinos and experiment with what you wear underneath it.

2 ways to wear tweed blazer
SHOP: (left) The Idle Man Tweed Blazer | The Idle Man Grey Oxford Shirt | Dickies Navy Work Pant | Hudson Desert Boot SHOP: (right) The Idle Man Tweed Blazer | The Idle Man Striped Sweater | Nudie Lightwash Jean | Vans White Plimsoll

The Jogger

The Jogger is generally thought of as the lazy day staple. You can keep it casual but there is a way to dress it up; with a shirt and parka for example.

2 ways to wear joggers
SHOP: (left)  Publish Navy Jogger | Lee Checked Shirt | Lyle & Scott White T-Shirt | Le Coq Sportif Trainer SHOP: (right) Publish Navy Jogger | The Idle Man Denim Shirt | Only & Sons Khaki Parka | Religion Navy Trainer

Top Tips to Bear in Mind

1. Consider the reasons for wanting to build your new wardrobe – which area of your life are you seriously lacking when it comes to clothes? Formal wear? Casual wear? Have a clear focus when deciding which items you really need and tailor your shop accordingly.

2. Get a 2nd opinion – you may be trying out new colours and styles that are completely alien to you. If you don’t know what to make of that khaki bomber or that patterned shirt then get another opinion from a friend who you know will be honest with you.

Idle Man own product bomber
The Idle Man's A/W15 - Affordable and Stylish

3. Shop at leisure – take your time when you are deciding which pieces to add to your new wardrobe. Impulse buys will likely take up expensive and unnecessary room in your wardrobe. Remember the aim is to keep costs down so if you stumble upon something that takes your fancy, add it to your basket and mull over it for a few days. That way, with the benefit of hindsight you can decide whether you really want/need it.

On that note...

Remember, building a new wardrobe doesn't have to be expensive. You can still look great shopping sale and own brand items. If you are going to spend a little more, keep your budget in mind and take time to mull over which statement pieces you are prepared to fork out for.

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