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The following expert tips from The Suit Depot will show you which clothes to invest in, why alterations matter, and how to accessorize on a budget. You can get the most from your money with this advice. 

What Not to Do

Many people who are only buying one suit will go for a black suit. That’s a mistake. A black suit is just too formal. The only use for a black suit is weddings, funerals, and formal parties. 

The Most Versatile Alternative to a Black Suit

A dark navy suit is the most versatile suit. While you can wear it to weddings and funerals, it also functions as an everyday work suit. There’s no need to own a black suit.

Solid Colors

Solid colors will give you the most versatility – nobody will remember that you wore a solid color suit yesterday unless it is a bold color. You can wear a dark neutral like navy blue or charcoal gray every day. If you want to add more variety to your suit wardrobe, add a lighter blue or lighter gray suit. You can do so much with those four solid colors of suit. For example, you can wear the navy sportcoat with the light gray slacks. There are many color combinations you can make with these four colors. You can also wear the plain slacks with other clothes that you buy down the line, or wear the blazers with jeans. 

Adding Patterns

The rule of thumb is: The larger your wardrobe, the more distinct your patterns can be. Don’t buy a patterned suit until you have two or four solid color suits. 

Percentages When You Are Shopping on a Limited Budget

Spend 60% on the clothing itself and 40% on the alterations. You might think that your suit fits you off the rack, but it never really does. There are always tweaks you can do to make it better. Some people will buy a $1000 suit and will not be willing to spend the extra $100 on alterations – that is a grave mistake. You can buy a $200 or $100 suit and get it altered to fit perfectly, and it will look better than a $1000 suit. 

Which Alterations to Make

Shorten the sleeves so that a quarter inch to a half inch of shirt cuff shows. Taper the legs to be a perfect fit on you. Taper the body and maybe even the arms. Choose a suit that is as close to your size as possible, but know that you will need alterations.

Choosing Dress Shirts on a Limited Budget

Your first priority should be white shirts; light blue should be your second purchase. Four or five white shirts and two or three light blue shirts will serve you well. Once you have those, you can start adding patterns like stripes. When you wear a light blue striped shirt with a charcoal gray suit one day, and a white shirt with that same suit the next day, it is two totally different looks. No one is going to remember that you wore that same suit the day before. The shirt alone makes it a new outfit.

Use Ties to Differentiate Your Outfits

Buy yourself a variety of ties – aim for 10 to 15. You can buy those ties on clearance racks and thrift shops. Those ties will create the illusion that you have a really large wardrobe. 

Choosing Shoes on a Limited Budget

Choose a brown or cognac shoe. Brown is more conservative; cognac is more fashion forward. Brown or cognac coordinate perfectly with blue and gray suits. In this day and age, black shoes are optional, but it’s good to own a black shoe. Black gives you the opportunity to wear your shoes to formal occasions, because you do need to wear a black shoe to formal occasions. 


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Matt Flanagan

Matt Flanagan

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