Looking Sharp without Bleeding Your Wallet

Excellent suits.

So the other night I was kicked back watching Inception, and between the shootouts and car-chases I couldn’t help but to appreciate the suits that Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were wearing throughout the film. They were sporting some really stylish gear and I was wishing I had $5,000 to drop on a custom designer suit, but I’m a broke college kid. I realized though that one can still look fresh without spending a lot of cash.

Looking professional is something that every business student should strive to achieve, and there is an economic way to get a solid wardrobe together. But before going shopping there are a few things you need to know. First, know your size! Knowing your size is imperative to getting clothes that fit nicely. You can get a free sizing at any department store or tailor. Check out this link to see how male sizes work:


Second, you need to know what you intend to buy prior to making purchases. Here is the breakdown for a basic wardrobe:

  • 1 Suit (Black)
  • 2 Dress Shirts
  • 2 Ties
  • 1 Pair of Slacks
  • 1 Blazer (Preferably Blue)
  • 2 Pairs of Shoes (Black and Brown)
  • 2 Belts (Black and Brown)
  • 2 Pairs of Dress Shoes (Black and Brown)

The staple to any professional wardrobe is a black suit. The black suit is classic and it’s versatile. Buying suits online is a great way to save some money, so this is where knowing your size is important!

After getting the first suit you should expand your wardrobe by getting some slacks, a sport coat, a couple dress shirts, and a couple ties. Sticking to e-commerce is a good way to find deals on these items, but there are other ways to save money too. Goodwill is a great way to get gently used sport coats and blazers at an unbeatable price. I went to Goodwill last year and got a gray sport coat for about $10! I then took the coat to a tailor and had him take in the sides for a slim, modern look. Having the garment altered ran me about $30, so I ended up with a nice fitting coat for a total of $40.

Having two blazers/sport coats and a pair of khakis will give your wardrobe the flexibility and diversity it needs to handle about just any business situation. Gradually adding different dress shirts and ties will greatly increase your options for professional dress too.

You should also keep your eyes peeled for thrift stores and garage sales; these are great places to find a hidden deal. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your old man if he has any old clothes that he wouldn’t mind giving to you. He may have some cool stuff.

Remember, you don’t have to be a movie star to look sharp. Just stick to my advice and you will have a good looking wardrobe without going broke in the process.

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