7 Essentials to Upgrade Your Wardrobe on a Budget (Under $500)

Do you want to upgrade your wardrobe but are tight on cash? Don't worry! You just need a few classic and versatile pieces that transition effortlessly into multiple occasions. Nowadays, there’s a plethora of high and low-priced options that are strikingly similar. So there is no need to splurge and spend money that would be better spent elsewhere. 

Before we get started, there's one style rule that will make or break your wardrobe—getting the right fit! If your clothes fit poorly, you will come off as a sloppy or careless man. No gentleman wants to be perceived this way. That being said, shopping on a budget means you'll probably be relying on off-the-rack or second-hand items. This means the fits might not always be perfect. The good news is that this is something that can often be fixed through a few alterations by a good tailor. 

Now to our top seven essentials in every gentleman wardrobe:

1.  Black/Brown Dress Shoes- $100

Finding a quality pair of dress shoes that will be a good fit for both the office and social life is a must for every man. Dress shoes add style suave and a dash of class to any outfit that you throw on. It’s important to note that when it comes to leather and suede, the upkeep matters. Invest in a quality pair of dress shoes that, with good care, will serve you for years to come. Great options include ( from professional to casual): Oxfords, Lace-up/Slip-on Boots, and Loafers.

Our Recommendations:

Florsheim Corbetta [Oxford Shoe] $89.95

Stacy Adams Donovan [Tassel Loafer] $60- $100

oxford dress shoes

2. A Pair of Dark Wash Jeans $50

Another must-have in every gentleman's wardrobe—a pair of dark wash jeans. Probably the most versatile item in a gentleman’s wardrobe, it can be worn with just about anything. Remember the point of getting a good fit? When you are getting a pair of jeans, don’t forget this crucial factor. Good fitting jeans should fit your waist without a belt and allow you to pinch a minimum of 1 inch of fabric, but no more than 1.5 inches on either side of the thigh. This doesn’t exhaust all the guidelines for choosing jeans, but it’s a great place to start.

Our Recommendations:

Izod Men's Comfort Stretch Denim Jeans $34.99

Lee’s Modern Series Extreme Motion Jeans $48

3. Monochrome Crewneck- $80

This is ideal for colder months or when the summer evenings start to get a bit chilly. You can wear it on its own, offering a neat, tidy look for any occasion, or level it up by layering it over a white collared shirt for a more polished finish. In case you were wondering, the word “monochrome” is derived from the Greek “monokhrōmatos” meaning a single color. So go ahead and get the crewneck in whatever your favorite color is.

Our Recommendations:

Italian Merino Crew-Neck Sweater $ 62.99

French Terry Crewneck Sweatshirt $ $69.50


4. White Button-Down Shirt -$30

Elegant and simplistic, a white dress shirt is exactly what you need when you’re aiming to impress. Not only is it suitable to wear on almost any occasion, but it will pair well with almost everything else on this list.

Our Recommendations:

Uniqlo Oxford Slim-fit Shirt $ 14.9

5. A Navy or Grey Sport Jacket -$80

The right sport jacket is a super-versatile item that no man should be without. Sports jackets come in a wide variety of colors and textured fabrics. Even though they are now considered appropriate for many business environments and can often be worn with a tie for a business casual look, sports jackets are ideal for a wider variety of settings.

Our Recommendations:

Amazon Essentials Men's Unlined Knit Sport Coat $50

Chap’s Corduroy Stretch Sport Coat $74.49

sports jacket under $100

6. A Duffel Bag -$70

Whether you’re heading to the gym, embarking on an overnight getaway, or traveling for work, a stylish holdall is essential for any gentleman to store their stuff in. Plus, most come with a choice of carrying methods, from grab handles to shoulder straps.

Our Recommendations:

Plambag Canvas Duffle Bag $52.99

7. Sunglasses- $80

Last, but by no means least. The perfect accompaniment to the rest of your gentleman’s wardrobe essentials—a pair of sunglasses. Given that the market is inundated with countless variations of sunglasses, it can be hard to choose. The solution for this is to find ones that flatter the shape of your face or facial features and work from there. Also, ensure it provides UV protection for your eyes.

Our Recommendations:

Good Vibrations $40

MVMT Icon Sunglasses $75

Bonus:3 Tips For Getting The Best Prices 

  1. Keep an eye out for end of seasons & clearance sales. Did you know that most stores keep premium prices for about seven weeks before moving to clearance? So at the start of a season, try to hold off for about one and a half months before heading to the store.
  2. ​Keep an eye out for coupons from your favorite men’s stores. A simple way to do this is to sign up for their email lists. Most mainstream stores have an email list where they send out marketing info to their customers and these often include promotions and
  3. ​Stay away from trends. One way to save on money is to only get classics that won’t ever go out of style.

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