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  • Your Guide To An Office Wardrobe On A Shoestring

    Your Guide To An Office Wardrobe On A Shoestring

    Whether you’ve started a new job, or you want to revamp your current style , sometimes you contemplate picking up a brand new set of clothes to wear at the office. You may have some staples in your wardrobe, or you could be a complete novice. But before you panic , you should know, you don’t have to break the bank to look good. Don’t believe me? Read on.

    Buy your main items of clothing in neutral colours

    Neutral colours like black, white, navy blue, grey and beige are colours that fade into the background when worn with a more eyecatching item, this means you can wear them more than once without giving people outfit deja vu. You can mix and match easily, saving time and money. We all have an item of clothing in our wardrobe, whether it’s a shirt , trousers or jacket that looks smart and awesome by itself, but it literally cannot be paired with any other item that you own. They’re just there, almost for decoration, to show everyone how good your taste is.

    On that note, you don’t need lots and lots of clothes to look varied each day. Try getting about five shirts, three or four jackets, three or four pairs of trousers, five pairs of socks, three ties and two pairs of shoes. This is more than enough when you’re starting out.

    When it comes to shoes, black and brown are your safest bet in  a professional environment, the same goes for socks too.

    Buy complimentary pieces in coordinating colours

    Avoid having too many neutrals,and be sure to get some solid colours such as red and blue  as distinct patterns are more likely to stand out, making it obvious that you’re reusing the same thing again, and they’re more difficult to mix and match. If you do prefer patterns, look for  muted colours, and minute patterns that will compliment the other items in your wardrobe.

    Try working with what you’ve got

    Have a look in your wardrobe for some inspiration, you might have a nice shirt that just needs ironing or a pair of shoes that would look as good as new with a little  polish. Never underestimate the power of washing, ironing and polishing to really bring out the quality of something!

    Ask friends and family if they have office wear they’re not using that they can give you, or at least let you borrow

    Rather than splashing your cash at Zara, why not ask someone close to you to lend their showstopping shirt or shoes that got them a job every time? This option is great if you’re really strapped for cash, or simply if you know that it always feels better getting things for free.

    Make a list of what you need before you go shopping

    Start with the cheapest priced stores first, nothing is worse than buying a £80 blazer only to find its twin for £25 somewhere else. Stick to your shopping list, and avoid going into a more expensive store if it’s outside of your budget.Going without a shopping list means you’re more likely to pick up something you didn’t want or need.

    • Charity shops- Go to the ones in nicer neighbourhoods, as you’re more likely to find good condition designer clothes. Look for jackets, trousers and shirts as these are more likely to be wearable Avoid buying used shoes.
    • Discount retailers (Primark etc)  Buy your dress socks, possibly your shoes and tie here. Take a look at the shirts; look for machine-washable natural-fiber shirts and tops. The jackets/pants/shirts at the discounters may look nice but they are not usually made to last.
    • Discount Ex-shop retailers (TK  Maxx): This is where you find the designer stuff that department stores couldn’t sell. Luckily, last year’s classic suit looks pretty much like this year’s classic suit. This isn’t cheap (expect to spend £100-200 for a suit) but it’s still cheaper than paying full price at a department store.
    • Online shops and marketplaces- Shops such as boohoo, or online marketplaces such as eBay and amazon are normally  fairly inexpensive with good quality clothing. You don’t even have to leave your house and voila, you have your outfit. Just be sure to check where the item is shipping from and what the expected delivery date is if you need your shoes or clothes for a particular day.

     

  • Blog
  • Stores Every Man On A Low Budget Should Shop At

    low budget stores strangeness-and-charms.com

    I’ve decided to do a post for men who just want to look good but don’t have the money. The last thing I’d ever advise you to do is spend your last £200 on a suit. Make sure you stay in your financial lane, even if that means building an outfit for £60 – it is possible trust me. Always be on the lookout for low budget stores or the next sale at your favourite brand and sign up to newsletters. I know shopping on a budget can be frustrating and annoying but it is what it is, try to remain patient and it will get easier.

    All of the stores mentioned in this post are specific to the United Kingdom unless you intend on getting them delivered to you. With that being said there will be near identical stores in your country, exact same products and prices with a different name so be sure to check them out.

    [Featured Image Credit: strangeness-and-charms.com]

    next shopping centre

    I must admit I consider myself to be on a modest income so I definitely am not above shopping in these low budget stores – sometimes.

    Poundland

    poundland store

    As the name suggests, Poundland is a piece of land in which anything and everything on that land is priced at £1. It’s well known in the UK and in recent years has grown from strength to strength, with stores popping up everywhere. They once sold ties, still do sell some underwear and all their stores definitely sell socks. Obviously due to the price, it’s seen as a poor mans store so beware before you brag that your boxers only cost £1.

    As mentioned previously, I’m pretty sure every country has their own kind of stores in which everything is sold at the same really cheap price – so be on the look out.

    Primark

    primark store

    Primark is well known in the UK for being the huge cheap shop no one wants to admit they shop at. They are averagely good at everything, you can’t expect too much of their products. They are pretty much everyone’s go to place for underwear and socks. My favourite thing about Primark is their incredibly cheap suits, it’s a well made suit with cheap material sold at around £40 for a two piece. This is no exaggeration when I say you could pick up a full two piece suit, with shirt, tie and some black office shoes all for £60.

    Please note that on the weekends the ques in here are ridiculous so I advice going there during the week.

    Next

    next store

    Next is definitely one of the biggest retailers there are, they sell everything, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, children’s clothes and even home furniture. Truth be told, their menswear range is the very opposite to my taste, I find them very basic and standard. They have a very small range of shoes, definitely not their forte. Their clearance is the best time to shop there, you can pick up some amazing blazers for dirt cheap. Usually this is because the trousers would sold out or only have really huge or slim waist sizes. Next also have a really good online store, it’s pretty spot on and they have massive stock.

    TM Lewin

    tm lewin store

    TM Lewin might come as a surprise inclusion on this list as it looks like a very expensive store, well it is. TM Lewin is mainly aimed at corporate lads with navy suits and pink shirts on huge salaries. The average suit here will cost you around £250, with shirts costing £35 and ties costing around £25. With that being said they have earned the right to those price points as without a doubt, they have lead the way in the last 100 years and have almost become the benchmark for quality. If you’re reading this wondering why I would include such a brand on my list, the answer is simple; their change of season discounts. Between the months of April to June and October to December they start to dump all their stock that didn’t sell as they expected and £40 shirts are sold at £15 – bargain!

    After shopping here for five years, I’ve loved every purchase except their socks, they lost elasticity within a month, wasn’t impressed.

    My Best Buy From Each Store

    Poundland

    This is going to sound funny but I’m being serious, I picked up three pairs of black socks for £1. I’m actually wearing them now. They are comfortable, have a decent colour and they are cheap as chips, or even cheaper.

    3 pairs of black socks low budget stores

    Primark

    In 2010 I picked up a suit for a work event I went to. Cost me a whopping £35 for a two piece black suit. I also picked up some black shoes for £8. Not bad right?

    black suit from primark hamed adefuwa 2010

    Next

    I have had over fifteen suits from Next, no exaggeration, many of which I still own and its hard to pick an out and out favourite. For the sake of this, I’ll go with one of my go-to suits when I need to impress – the blue pin stripe suit. The suit is a poly-blend suit, nothing special, but looks fantastic, has great colour, I’ve owned it for three years and it cost me a modest £110 for the jacket and trousers.

    hamed adefuwa next pin stripe suit

    hamed adefuwa next pin stripe suit

    TM Lewin

    I have and always will rant about my twill pink oxford shirt from TM Lewin, I’ve had it for over two years and it’s served me well. However it cost £35 so you would expect it too. For that reason my favourite shirt from TM Lewin will have to be my non-iron summer shirts I bagged in the winter of 2015. I remember seeing these online and thinking “what the hell – £15.” Since it was November and no one wanted to wear summery colorful shirts they were on sale from £35 to £15. I grabbed three . Without a doubt; a brilliant bargain, brilliant quality and my favourite buy.

    tm lewin summer shirts sale men on low budget

    tm lewin summer shirts sale men on low budget

    tm lewin summer shirts sale men on low budget

    Low Budget Stores

    Wherever you live and whatever shops you have available to you, you can apply some of these tips to suit you. When the season changes as it is now, have a look at all the winter clothes, the jackets, scarves, gloves, wool or denim shirts. No one wants to buy thick clothes now when they’re expecting hot sunny days, I’m in England so I wouldn’t bet on it too much.

    Also be on the look at in the sales section of your favourite websites. Check in your local “pound shop” and see what they have to offer. Enjoy the budget shopping and if anyone asks; you paid top dollar for it.

  • Tips
  • How To Dress Well On A Budget

    abovetheankles instagram

    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.

    Trends

    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.

    Sales

    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.

    Accessories

    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.

    Essentials

    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.