How much money do you think most men spend on clothes every year? Hundreds of dollars? Thousands?
Most men, myself included, don’t spend all of their hard-earned money on clothing. In fact, the average man spends just $400-1200 per year on apparel.
Depending on how expensive your taste is and where you like to shop, this budget could go very quickly.
For the record, I believe in quality over quantity. I think you should splurge for certain items, like shoes. It’s better to spend $300 on a pair of high quality shoes that will be worn for 10+ years than $50/year on cheap shoes that don’t look or feel as good.
But I get a ton of emails from readers who want help finding affordable clothing. And the truth is, there are plenty of options for shorter guys who want to buy clothes that fit well and look great without breaking the bank.
So I’m going to walk through four ways to save money on clothing. They’re all great, but the last one is my favorite.
1. Tight budget? You can still go custom
I talk a lot about buying made-to-measure (MTM) clothing online. I’ve reviewed companies like Dragon Inside, Blank Label, Arden Reed and others. Many MTM companies charge a premium for their shirts and suits. After all, they are made to order, right?
But there are some affordable options. The best one I’ve found is Modern Tailor. Their dress shirts start at $59, and their suits start at $299, which is really good for a MTM suit.
Seriously, if you’ve been on the fence about going custom, there is no better time than right now to try it out. You can even get $20 off with this link, which means your first shirt will be $39. That’s less than most off-the-rack button ups.
2. Buy cheap, get it tailored
You already know that fit is the most important aspect of style. That’s why it’s so hard for short men to dress well, because we have a hard time finding clothes that fit. Higher end, designer type clothes usually tend to fit better, but even they aren’t perfect.
- Target (chinos, shorts)
- Gap (button up shirts, jeans)
- H&M (casual button up shirts, shorts, jeans)
- J. Crew Factory (pullovers, sweaters)
- 20jeans.com (jeans)
- ASOS (shorts, chinos)
- Nordstrom Rack (t-shirts)
- DSW / Shoes.com / Zappos (shoes, bags)
Remember, it’s great to save money on clothing, but don’t skimp on the tailoring. Spend that extra $10-20 to make sure everything fits properly.
If you need a primer on what can and can’t be altered, and how much it will cost you, check out this page:
One more thing: When you find something you like – whether it’s that perfect pair of chinos or a t-shirt that fits just right – stock up. Buy two or three pairs.
That way you’ll have plenty of colors to choose from, and they won’t wear out as quickly (thanks to Jason in the comments section for this tip).
3. Get thrifty, buy secondhand
High quality clothes last a long time, but just like cars, they lose a lot of value after they’re used even one time. Which is great news if you’re willing to buy used and save a little money.
You can find some gems at your local thrift store, be it Goodwill or some trendier secondhand shop. But these stores are very hit or miss, especially for men looking for smaller sizes.
If you’d prefer not to leave your couch, check out Grailed.com. It’s like eBay but curated for stylish dudes. The best part? You can sort by size and type.
Even better, you can send the seller a message asking about their size, measurements, why they’re selling, etc. Many sellers even include their height and weight in their listings. How cool is that?
I just got a sweet military jacket for way less than retail price. Grailed is definitely worth checking out.
4. Only buy stuff on sale
Confession: I never pay full retail price for clothes. Okay, very rarely. There are so many sales these days, it simply doesn’t make sense to pay full price. Almost all of the companies on my approved clothing list have regular sales throughout the year.
How are you supposed to know when these sales are happening? There are a few ways to stay on top of things:
First, you could join the various newsletters of the companies you like. Every clothing store has an email newsletter these days, which is kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, you know when sales are going on. But on the other hand, your inbox is bombarded with promotional emails.
A better strategy is this: get on The Modest Man “Deal Alert” newsletter. It’s separate from the main newsletter, and it’s dedicated only to finding deals. So, when a Modest Man approved company has an awesome sale, I’ll send you an email notification along my top picks.
This way, you won’t get bombarded with annoying, flashy sales emails from a bunch of different companies. You’ll just get a simple, curated list of deals once or twice a month. Sounds pretty good, huh? Get on it!
Also, even if you get on the Deal Alert newsletter, you should check out the site Dappered.com regularly. Joe, the editor, posts his picks from all of the best sales several times a week. It’s an awesome place to find affordable stylish clothes.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money on clothes to look good. Dressing well is about fit, not brand or price. Buy cheap clothes and save money for alterations.
Consider buying secondhand, especially for higher end items. Experiment with affordable custom clothing. And, most importantly, only buy clothes on sale.
Do you have any strategies for finding affordable clothes that fit? Share your knowledge in the comments section!