If you’re anything like me, you want to look good for your first day at work, your mid-week date night, or for a simply confidence boost. We’ve seen all of the ads on Instagram, Facebook, billboards, and television commercials, but who has $200 to spend on a button down shirt and pants? The truth is you don’t have to drive brand new BMWs or a penthouse apartment to wear the same brands.
There are a few ways to get the look you want, wearing the brands you want, without dropping a ton on money on clothing. In this blog, I’ll share a few tricks these high end brands don’t want you to know about when purchasing their clothing, and where you can find these deals. I’ll also put together five business casual outfits you can assemble for less than 50 dollars. But first, here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping on a budget:
Tips and for Finding High-Quality Clothing on a Budget
Search for Deals on eBay
When it comes to eBay, most people either love it or hate it in favor of Amazon. Both are great options depending on what you like to buy, but eBay has become much more than an online beanie-baby auction from the 1990’s. In working for a previous e-commerce company, I surprisingly found out that eBay actually sells much more new with tags items than used these days.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind wearing preowned or used clothing, eBay is probably the best option for finding your favorite brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Peter Millar, Polo Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Clarks, BKE, and just about anything else.
Don’t be Afraid of the Clearance Section
Many items that you see for sale on online marketplaces have actually been bought from clearance sections at various stores. If you really want a good deal, don’t assume that clearance items are always terrible. Clearance items aren’t always rejects that no one wanted in the first place, but I’ve found it does depend on where you shop. Also, if you tend to wear larger sizes or a very unique size, clearance may be the place to look first. I’ve found 46 x 40 Levi’s new with tags for around 10 bucks.
One thing I’ve found is that you can get really good deals if you stop if to check clearance a couple times per week. This may not be your thing, but I like to stop in a TJ Maxx or Marshalls from time to time if it’s in the same shopping center that I’m meeting friends at for dinner.
More and more people are buying clearance items to resell online for three to five times the purchase price – why not scoop up a good deal if you can?
Shop at Discount Retailers
One of the best ways to find brand new clothing is at discount retailers. A few stores that you’re likely to find in your area are:
- TJ Maxx
- Ross Dress For Less
- Burlington (formerly Burlington Coat Factory)
There probably other stores in your local area that are not national chains that may be worth checking out. For me, I know of several that carry menswear brands at big discounts.
Outfit #1 – Classic Navy Ralph Lauren Blazer
This pairing is a classic look that never goes out of style. Perfect for parties, dates, church, or any semi formal event and goes great with any white button down shirt or khaki chino pants you have. Goodwill is always a great option for these, but finding the right size may take some time.
I have found and sold several of these preowned on eBay somewhere around $50 with free shipping depending on your size. Most similar models are selling for around $200 new on Amazon, which is about what you can expect to pay at Macy’s, a Ralph Lauren retail store or another fine retailer. The green label Ralph Lauren blazers are made really well, go great with jeans or khakis. I recently had one drycleaned, and looks basically new.
Outfit #2 – Peter Millar Button Down and Chino Pants
Peter Millar is a great high quality menswear brand, but can get pretty pricey depending on where you purchase. Expect to pay around $60 to $100 for a basic Sport Shirt and around the same amount for a pair of sateen dress pants. Peter Millar shirts have great plaid colors, are pretty soft, and are made from very high quality blends. Unlike some cotton shirts you buy, these are very breathable and don’t shrink up or get starchy.
I found most Peter Millar dress shirts for around $20 to $30 on eBay, depending on the size. You can pick up a pair of preowned khakis for around the same size. This combo at PeterMillar.com will run you somewhere around $150 to $200. I’ve also found alot of Peter Millar shirts and pants new on eBay for around half that price.
Outfit #3 – Tan Levi Pants and Levis Flannel Button Down
Classic Levis Red Tan blue jeans are always a great look for just about any occasion. There is an enormous following and market for these jeans, and many times you can pick them up for less than $20. Combine that with a $20 flannel button down, and you’ve got a great outfit for around 40 dollars. You can find many new with tags Levis on eBay for around $30-$40 due to the sheer volume of listings. You can find them on Amazon for around $50.
Outfit #4 – Banana Republic Wool Sweater with Button Down
If you’re looking a nice cashmere or wool sweater, Banana Republic is definitely worth checking out. You can pick them up significantly cheaper than other brands like Brooks Brothers or Polo Ralph Lauren. Their button downs are also very affordable, at around
Outfit #5 – Southern Tide Polo and Chinos
Southern Tide is a growing coastal brand, and is showing up more and more here in North Carolina and throughout coastal areas. I find the quality very similar to Polo Ralph Lauren, with the main difference being the coastal color schemes.
The short sleeve polo shirts seem to be very popular, and cost around $85.00 new with tags for higher-end performance polos on their website. You can actually find these new with tags on eBay for about half that price. Click here to check the current price. However, if you’re looking for an outfit, you can easily find a polo shirt and chino pants for around $45.
I hope you’ve discovered a few new ways to dress well on a budget. Keep in mind when buying preowned to always check condition descriptions, and feedback (on eBay). Many sellers have great return policies, so if something doesn’t fit, you can return it usually as late as 60 days from purchase.
I hardly ever buy dress clothes new with tags, and if I do, it’s usually for at least 50% of the retail pricetag at stores like TJ Maxx. If you’re willing to be creative, you can definitely upgrade your wardrobe at an extreme discount.