How To Dress Well On a Budget

In this edition of Help Me Dress Myself, a stylist explains how to look good without going broke.


Are you one of those guys who wants to look stylish but finds it doesn’t come all that naturally? We feel you. Don’t fret: With some advice from LA-based stylist Rayne Parvis, we’re all going to learn how to dress a little better. In this edition, we’re looking at every item you should have in your closet and where to pick it up for cheap.

Step #1: Invest in Essentials (and Only Essentials)

The key to dressing well on a budget, according to Parvis, is minimizingthat means only purchasing clothes that are completely versatile. Here are her head-to-toe budget shopping recommendations:

The Garment: Grey Cotton T-shirts
Where to Get Them: Target or Gap
The Average Price: $8 to $10
What They’re Good For: “Cotton T-shirts can be worn with both suits and jeans, and grey—in my opinion—is more muted than black or white, meaning you can wear it during the day and at night,” Parvis says.

The Garment:
White Button-Down
Where to Get it: Marshalls or T.J. Maxx
The Average Price: $15
What it’s Good For: “Like cotton tees, white button-downs can be worn with both suits and jeans,” Rayne says. “Just make sure to get it tailored to fit you properly, which should cost under $10, if you pick one up from a discount store like Marshalls or T.J. Maxx.”

The Garment: Grey Suit
Where to Get it: Your Local Suit Outlet
The Average Price: $200
What It’s Good For: “Black suits are a little too formal to be completely versatile, and navy suits sometimes make you look like an airline attendant,” Parvis explains. “Grey suits, however, can be worn to weddings, business meetings and even out on the town.” She adds that skimping on the price of a suit is just fine so long as you get it tailored to fit properly.

The Garment: Cashmere Sweater
Where to Get it: Your Local Thrift Store
The Average Price: $5 – $50
What It’s Good For: Cashmere sweaters are the best kind of sweaters, according to Parvis, as they can be worn casually and formally. Plus, if you have the patience, she says you can probably find one at a thrift store for just a few bucks. If not, you can pick one up from discount stores like T.J. Maxx or Marshalls for under $50 during the summer off-season.

The Garment: Dark-Colored Jeans
Where to Get it: Banana Republic
The Average Price: $90
What It’s Good For: $90 might seem steep for a pair of jeans, but Rayne says the right pair can last you up to five years if you take proper care of them. “You can wear dark denim on a casual date, or you can dress it up with a sport jacket for special occasions,” she says.

The Garment: White Sneakers
Where to Get Them: H&M or Zara
The Average Price: $35 to $50
What They’re Good For: White sneakers are the most versatile shoe, according to Parvis. “You can wear them during the summer, during the winter, with a pair of jeans and even with a suit,” she says. Just be sure to keep them clean!

If you have any questions about getting the look you want—fits, cuts, colors or anything else fashion-related—leave it in the comments and we’ll have a stylist answer it in an upcoming post.