How to Improve Your Style: How to Budget for Clothing

This is part of my How to Improve Your Style for Men series

Growing up, I mostly purchased clothes from H&M, Value Village, or the Urban Outfitters’ sale section, never spending more than $100 on any item. The idea of paying more than that was unthinkable.

Part of revamping my wardrobe and learning about fashion is unlearning past lessons around budgeting for clothing. Generally speaking, there are two rules of thumb when budgeting and purchasing clothes.

First, instead of thinking of clothing purchases as an upfront cost think instead of cost per wear. A friend of mine told me that he spent $300 on custom-fitted jeans, which initially appalled me. However, if he wears them every week for years or even decades, which he probably will, the cost is actually quite low. Compared to if he compromised and bought a pair of ill-fitting jeans of low quality for 30$ and doesn’t wear them or they break. There’s a saying that we are too poor to buy cheap things, this is especially relevant for clothing. When my friends ask me where they should be spending their money on clothing, I recommend that you spend your money on high-quality essentials as they have a longer life span and won’t go out of style.

Second, as an upper limit, don’t spend more than 5% of your salary after taxes on clothing. If you’re on a shoestring budget, Building a high-quality wardrobe requires patience and making smart choices. You can save up for key pieces and consider thrifting or buying second-hand, including online. Creating a high-quality wardrobe is a long-term process, especially if you have limited funds.

January 24, 2024 · How to Improve Your Style

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