We would all love to wear nothing but designer clothes and have the slickest suits with the highest quality leather shoes. Some people actually have the opportunity to dress like that constantly, and boy do they look great. Others (including me) have no chance. Now I wouldn’t say I’m on a budget because I don’t consider myself to be tight with money anymore but I don’t exactly walk into Hugo Boss on a regular basis.
I remember when I initially started out my sales career I didn’t even own a suit, my first stop was Primark, then as I got payed I started filling my wardrobe with Primark suits, shirts, ties and shoes. Being an 18 year old kid I felt like a millionaire, I still remember taking over 100 selfies in one night.
Avoid trends, as you know – they come and go. We all fall for trends but right now you need to concentrate on the things that will last in your wardrobe. Also be wary of buying summer suits, like sky blue suits that are really thin, in UK you will be absolutely freezing.
Shoes, Bags & Coats
People notice these three first. They can be quite expensive to get good quality ones but these three things people know whether they are good quality. Look at it as an investment – your trench coat and your bag will last you two or three years. It’s well worth the money. Paying more for a good coat, a quality bag and sophisticated shoes will elevate your outfit and help you avoid a scruffy look.
Know Your Brands
Do some research on different companies and go into many different stores, try things on, touch as many things as possible. The only times I will buy something online without having tried it on is if; a) someone who’s opinion I trust, recommends the brand or product or b) I know the brand and I know what kind of quality they produce. Having a list of companies you know you can rely on will stop you from spending money on something that looks good on you but is known to fall apart easily.
I’ve told a few people this tactic I use, hit every single sale possible. You will definitely be surprised what you can find in sale items. I know it’s a bit long and I too usually just brush past them but when you find those gems, its so worth it. When it hits any of the sales period you basically need to be the first one checking the sale, the best way to do that is online. Most of the best sale items are sold out before the stores even open, people can buy the items online and then by the time you get in store you size is sold out and they only have the really ugly shirts or ridiculously big sizes left. Best way to know about sales is make a list of all your favourite brands and sign up to their emailing lists. They’ll email you at midnight letting you know there’s a sale tomorrow.
Avoid The Cheap
I know many bloggers and other “fashion people” talk about buying from high street retailers and say that you shouldn’t do it because they are too cheap and they use bad materials, etc etc etc. Which to be fair there is some truth to it all. Some retailers do use incredibly cheap material, however most are actually quite decent. I would say have a look around, avoid anywhere that sells suits for under £50, i.e Primark. If you look at the suit and you can see bits of fluff on it or loose threading then you know that suit will look good for one or two weeks and after that it will crumble. Don’t buy £15 shoes, they will last you two months and look crap after two weeks. Buy £40-60 shoes that will look good for six months. Try to get real leather shoes, I bought some great real leather brogues from ASOS for £40 last week.
Simple & Neutral Colours
Neutral colours like; black, grey, white and navy are the absolute best for looking great, especially on a budget. Chances are if you’re on a budget you don’t have a huge selection of good ties to wear and different belts, keeping your wardrobe simple with basic colours will enable you to wear the same suit with different ties since your suit matches many different ties. If you buy a green or burgundy suit you are limiting yourself to what shirts and ties you can wear with them. I’d stick to black and navy suits, white shirts and black shoes until you start earning more money and have more cash to play around with.
Use smart accessories – Keep your main wardrobe as basic as possible, but make your outfit stand out with interesting jewellery, slim ties, hats, bow ties, cufflinks and scarves.
There are some items of clothing that you need to make sure are at a high standard. Falling short in these areas can really damage your outfit and people will definitely notice them. Make sure you have a few white shirts that fit you well but aren’t too expensive; I recommend TM Lewin & Next. You also need some quality trousers (Next, M&S or Moss) and a decent pair of chinos/jeans that are simple; I stick with Levi’s & Zara. Lastly you need some good shoes and a smart but warm jacket, I’d go OFFICE or Schuh for shoes and Next or Zara for jackets/coats.
The companies mentioned above are only the ones I’d recommend because I know the things I’ve bought from there have lasted me a long time, have looked great every time I wore them and didn’t get ruined after a couple washes/dry cleaning. They are also relatively cheap with everything costing less than £100.