For $50 You Can Buy …
Following on my “style for college students" post, I thought I’d suggest some "under $50" options that I think would work well for students. Above is what I sometimes wear on weekends if I have errands to run, but I think it can also work for someone in college. 
Shoes: The canvas shoes are a collaboration project by Billy Reid and K Swiss, and they’re on sale right now at J Crew for $30 (use the code OURTREAT). I think they work well with casual chinos and jeans. If you want other options, LL Bean Signature sometimes discounts their blucher and ranger mocs to about $50, and I think they can be worn with the same things. 
Sweatshirt: The grey sweatshirt above is by Onassis. The fit on their website looks skinnier than how mine wears, but perhaps they had the model size down (or maybe they changed the cut). Either way, it’s a decent, casual sweatshirt, albeit thinner than other models on the market. For other affordable options, check out Uniqlo and J Crew (the second of which offers them in grey and navy). J Crew’s cost over $50, but hardly a thing in their store doesn’t make to their end-of-the-season sales.
White tees: I usually wear my sweatshirt over a Levi’s 1950s pocketed tee, but those don’t seem to be online at the moment (they might have them in-store though). A similar model seems to be the pocketless version. If you wait, those go on sale for about $9. Hanes’ beefy tees are also good, cheap beaters. For more options, look into Alternative Apparel (which I know Jesse likes), American Apparel, Uniqlo, J Crew, and Velva Sheen. 
OCBDs: You also can pair the grey sweatshirt with an oxford cloth button-down, which in turn will give your collarline some more structure. The cheapest ones I know of are at Uniqlo, but Brooks Brothers and Land’s End Canvas will often discount theirs to about $35. Here’s some striped ones from Brooks now for about $40.  
Jeans and chinos: My preferred jeans are 3Sixteen’s SL-100x, which I think are one of the best values on the market right now. They’re expensive, but the fit and quality of the denim and construction are excellent. For something cheaper, check out Uniqlo’s Made in Japan line or Gap’s selvage jeans. For something cheaper still, Levis has a bunch of options, so long as you stay clear of any pre-distressed stuff. The non-raw, non-selvedge stuff won’t age as beautifully, but they’re also much more affordable. Alternatively, you can wear the above with Uniqlo’s vintage chinos, which are on sale right now for $40. Jesse has recommended them in the past. 
Belt: Finally, I bought the belt above for $20 at a local jean shop, but you can buy nicer belts from Voyej, Corter, and Don’t Mourn Organize.
The best thing about everything here is that nothing requires much maintenance. I know most college students don’t have time to iron their clothes, polish their shoes, or do any of the other recommendable things for clothing care. The stuff you see above are all items you can throw on, not pay too much attention to, and not worry if things get stained. These are the kind of clothes that look better beat up than brand new anyway. Pretty much ideal if you sleep in libraries, go to parties where cheap beer is often spilled, and don’t even own an iron. 

For $50 You Can Buy …

Following on my “style for college students" post, I thought I’d suggest some "under $50" options that I think would work well for students. Above is what I sometimes wear on weekends if I have errands to run, but I think it can also work for someone in college. 

  • Shoes: The canvas shoes are a collaboration project by Billy Reid and K Swiss, and they’re on sale right now at J Crew for $30 (use the code OURTREAT). I think they work well with casual chinos and jeans. If you want other options, LL Bean Signature sometimes discounts their blucher and ranger mocs to about $50, and I think they can be worn with the same things. 
  • Sweatshirt: The grey sweatshirt above is by Onassis. The fit on their website looks skinnier than how mine wears, but perhaps they had the model size down (or maybe they changed the cut). Either way, it’s a decent, casual sweatshirt, albeit thinner than other models on the market. For other affordable options, check out Uniqlo and J Crew (the second of which offers them in grey and navy). J Crew’s cost over $50, but hardly a thing in their store doesn’t make to their end-of-the-season sales.
  • White tees: I usually wear my sweatshirt over a Levi’s 1950s pocketed tee, but those don’t seem to be online at the moment (they might have them in-store though). A similar model seems to be the pocketless version. If you wait, those go on sale for about $9. Hanes’ beefy tees are also good, cheap beaters. For more options, look into Alternative Apparel (which I know Jesse likes), American Apparel, Uniqlo, J Crew, and Velva Sheen
  • OCBDs: You also can pair the grey sweatshirt with an oxford cloth button-down, which in turn will give your collarline some more structure. The cheapest ones I know of are at Uniqlo, but Brooks Brothers and Land’s End Canvas will often discount theirs to about $35. Here’s some striped ones from Brooks now for about $40.  
  • Jeans and chinos: My preferred jeans are 3Sixteen’s SL-100x, which I think are one of the best values on the market right now. They’re expensive, but the fit and quality of the denim and construction are excellent. For something cheaper, check out Uniqlo’s Made in Japan line or Gap’s selvage jeans. For something cheaper still, Levis has a bunch of options, so long as you stay clear of any pre-distressed stuff. The non-raw, non-selvedge stuff won’t age as beautifully, but they’re also much more affordable. Alternatively, you can wear the above with Uniqlo’s vintage chinos, which are on sale right now for $40. Jesse has recommended them in the past. 
  • Belt: Finally, I bought the belt above for $20 at a local jean shop, but you can buy nicer belts from VoyejCorter, and Don’t Mourn Organize.

The best thing about everything here is that nothing requires much maintenance. I know most college students don’t have time to iron their clothes, polish their shoes, or do any of the other recommendable things for clothing care. The stuff you see above are all items you can throw on, not pay too much attention to, and not worry if things get stained. These are the kind of clothes that look better beat up than brand new anyway. Pretty much ideal if you sleep in libraries, go to parties where cheap beer is often spilled, and don’t even own an iron. 

Style for College Students
There’s no kind way to put this: college students are some of the worst dressed people in America. I say that as man who has spent the last eleven years on college campuses – four as an undergraduate, two as a researcher, and five as a graduate student. This has been at three universities, but with many visits to other schools throughout the years.
To be sure, students are in a uniquely hard bind. They’re broke, very busy, and have little time for gainful employment. Not having a lot of time or money doesn’t lend itself well to picking up nice things. Plus, as a graduate student instructor, I’d rather see students spend more time on their studies than worry about what they should wear.
Still, dressing well in college isn’t that hard. Especially when the bar is set so low. So, in an effort to help students smarten up, I’ve come up with some tips.
Focus on Smart, Mid-quality Basics
The downside to being a student is that you’re broke, but the upside is that you can have a complete wardrobe with very few pieces. No need to worry about having separate weekend and weekday wardrobes; it’s just off to class and libraries for you. So, focus on buying mid-quality, versatile basics. Don’t go for anything too nice. Whether you’re getting straight-As or barely passing class, your lifestyle in college will be mostly rough on clothes and probably not very hygienic. Get things like decent jeans that can take a beating, or thicker merino sweaters, not thin cashmere-blends. Build your wardrobe off grays, blues, and browns, so things can easily coordinate without you needing to have to put in too much thought.
Upgrade 
The best way to not look like a college slob is to not dress like a college slob. Instead of graphic t-shirts, pick solid colors tees. Better still, try to wear shirts with collars, as they’ll help frame your face. Plaid flannels for fall, colorful madras for summer, and stripes year-round will help make those button-up shirts look less like office-attire. Long sleeve polos can also work, so long as they don’t look too fratty (I like Kent Wang’s). 
Instead of ratty or pre-distressed jeans, pick up a solid pair of dark, raw denim jeans that fit well. Levis is relatively cheap and easy. Maybe add a pair of chinos and corduroys too, so you have other things to wear.
Instead of college-branded sweatshirts, get merino sweaters. Club Monaco’s are pretty good on sale (they also offer a student discount year-round, which you can stack on top of sale prices). Cardigans can also work in theory, but they’re much harder to fit well than a simple crew- or v-neck sweater.
Instead of flip-flops and running shoes, get camp mocs, boat shoes, plimsolls, or desert boots. Clarks desert boots are a particularly good option if you’re on a student budget. You don’t have to put too much care into them besides applying some Obenauf’s LP for the beeswaxed versions or waterproof spray for suede, and the crepe soles will be comfortable for long-walks. Jesse has some other suggestions here as well.
Finally, there’s no alternative to cargo shorts, sweatpants, or basketball shorts. You just have to stop wearing those (unless, you know, you’re exercising or playing basketball).
Don’t Overdress
I know this site is often about sport coats and ties, but unless you’re a member of the Model United Nations or College Republicans, I encourage you to not wear ties as a college student. There are some campuses where this is normal, and you’ll know when you’re at one, but for everywhere else, you’ll just look out of place and over-dressed. For many campuses, sport coats may also make you stick out in a bad way.
If you really want to wear a sport coat, tweeds and corduroys can look a bit more natural on a college campus. For everyone else, I encourage reaching for more causal options. A vintage peacoat can be had for $50-75 through eBay, Vintage Trends, or a local thrift store. You can use this guide to help date your peacoat finds. For something new, check Fidelity.
There are also some go-to brands for decent, cheap(ish) outerwear. LL Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, and J Crew can be workable once they have their end-of-the-season sales (when things will be discounted 50-75%). J Crew also has a student discount, but only for in-store purchases. Additionally, Land’s End mainline is probably be less well-suited for a younger person, but this oilcloth jacket might be a good Barbour alternative. It can be had for under $100 if you wait for the right coupon codes. You can read Broke & Bespoke for a review. Lastly, Ben Sherman’s Harringtons can also be had through eBay for about $80.
And the Standard Advice
Add to this the standard advice.
Learn how clothes should fit. We have a few guides you can read through here. You have more wiggle room as a young, college student, but avoid things that are skin-tight or overly baggy.
Find a good alterations tailor and bring as much as you can to them. There are very few things a good alterations tailor can’t improve.
Make a wish list and tightly edit it. Make sure you’re building a wardrobe, and not just a collection of outfits. If something doesn’t mesh well with the other things you plan on buying, strike it off your list.
Set a budget and shop slowly. Especially at this age, your tastes can change rapidly, and if you buy everything now, you may find yourself regretting it next semester.
(Photo by John Morgan)

Style for College Students

There’s no kind way to put this: college students are some of the worst dressed people in America. I say that as man who has spent the last eleven years on college campuses – four as an undergraduate, two as a researcher, and five as a graduate student. This has been at three universities, but with many visits to other schools throughout the years.

To be sure, students are in a uniquely hard bind. They’re broke, very busy, and have little time for gainful employment. Not having a lot of time or money doesn’t lend itself well to picking up nice things. Plus, as a graduate student instructor, I’d rather see students spend more time on their studies than worry about what they should wear.

Still, dressing well in college isn’t that hard. Especially when the bar is set so low. So, in an effort to help students smarten up, I’ve come up with some tips.

Focus on Smart, Mid-quality Basics

The downside to being a student is that you’re broke, but the upside is that you can have a complete wardrobe with very few pieces. No need to worry about having separate weekend and weekday wardrobes; it’s just off to class and libraries for you. So, focus on buying mid-quality, versatile basics. Don’t go for anything too nice. Whether you’re getting straight-As or barely passing class, your lifestyle in college will be mostly rough on clothes and probably not very hygienic. Get things like decent jeans that can take a beating, or thicker merino sweaters, not thin cashmere-blends. Build your wardrobe off grays, blues, and browns, so things can easily coordinate without you needing to have to put in too much thought.

Upgrade

The best way to not look like a college slob is to not dress like a college slob. Instead of graphic t-shirts, pick solid colors tees. Better still, try to wear shirts with collars, as they’ll help frame your face. Plaid flannels for fall, colorful madras for summer, and stripes year-round will help make those button-up shirts look less like office-attire. Long sleeve polos can also work, so long as they don’t look too fratty (I like Kent Wang’s). 

Instead of ratty or pre-distressed jeans, pick up a solid pair of dark, raw denim jeans that fit well. Levis is relatively cheap and easy. Maybe add a pair of chinos and corduroys too, so you have other things to wear.

Instead of college-branded sweatshirts, get merino sweaters. Club Monaco’s are pretty good on sale (they also offer a student discount year-round, which you can stack on top of sale prices). Cardigans can also work in theory, but they’re much harder to fit well than a simple crew- or v-neck sweater.

Instead of flip-flops and running shoes, get camp mocs, boat shoes, plimsolls, or desert boots. Clarks desert boots are a particularly good option if you’re on a student budget. You don’t have to put too much care into them besides applying some Obenauf’s LP for the beeswaxed versions or waterproof spray for suede, and the crepe soles will be comfortable for long-walks. Jesse has some other suggestions here as well.

Finally, there’s no alternative to cargo shorts, sweatpants, or basketball shorts. You just have to stop wearing those (unless, you know, you’re exercising or playing basketball).

Don’t Overdress

I know this site is often about sport coats and ties, but unless you’re a member of the Model United Nations or College Republicans, I encourage you to not wear ties as a college student. There are some campuses where this is normal, and you’ll know when you’re at one, but for everywhere else, you’ll just look out of place and over-dressed. For many campuses, sport coats may also make you stick out in a bad way.

If you really want to wear a sport coat, tweeds and corduroys can look a bit more natural on a college campus. For everyone else, I encourage reaching for more causal options. A vintage peacoat can be had for $50-75 through eBay, Vintage Trends, or a local thrift store. You can use this guide to help date your peacoat finds. For something new, check Fidelity.

There are also some go-to brands for decent, cheap(ish) outerwear. LL Bean Signature, Land’s End Canvas, and J Crew can be workable once they have their end-of-the-season sales (when things will be discounted 50-75%). J Crew also has a student discount, but only for in-store purchases. Additionally, Land’s End mainline is probably be less well-suited for a younger person, but this oilcloth jacket might be a good Barbour alternative. It can be had for under $100 if you wait for the right coupon codes. You can read Broke & Bespoke for a review. Lastly, Ben Sherman’s Harringtons can also be had through eBay for about $80.

And the Standard Advice

Add to this the standard advice.

  • Learn how clothes should fit. We have a few guides you can read through here. You have more wiggle room as a young, college student, but avoid things that are skin-tight or overly baggy.
  • Find a good alterations tailor and bring as much as you can to them. There are very few things a good alterations tailor can’t improve.
  • Make a wish list and tightly edit it. Make sure you’re building a wardrobe, and not just a collection of outfits. If something doesn’t mesh well with the other things you plan on buying, strike it off your list.
  • Set a budget and shop slowly. Especially at this age, your tastes can change rapidly, and if you buy everything now, you may find yourself regretting it next semester.

(Photo by John Morgan)

Fourth of July Sales Events

A bunch of retailers are running Fourth of July sales. Note that even if you don’t care for the items I’ve highlighted below, you may want to browse each store’s selections, as many of them have discounts on a wide variety of items. 

  • Brooks Brothers: Brooks’ summer clearance event has begun. Up to 50% off select items. I’m particularly a fan of this sand colored jacket as a spring/ summer outerwear piece. 
  • Gap: Although I’m generally not that crazy about The Gap, I think their undershirts offer a good value. They’re priced at $15 for two, and you can take an additional 10% off with the code GAP4TH at checkout. 
  • Gant: Up to 50% off select items. There are some madras shirts in there you can check out. 
  • Jack Threads: Bass bucks and Supergas for about $50 each. 
  • Lands End Canvas: A ton of shirts on sale for pretty cheap. Their construction isn’t the most well done, and the cuts are sometimes all over the place, but they remain a good option for people on a tight budget. 
  • Levis: Take 20% off orders over $100 and 30% off orders over $150. Use the code SUMMER at checkout
  • Allen Edmonds: Clearance sale on select summer items. These chocolate brown unlined suede chukkas seem like a good deal at $125. 
  • Ovadia and Sons: Significant discounts on outerwear.
  • Far Fetch: A ton of sales going on right now. Just select an item category and mark the brands you’re interested in. 

You can get more sales announcements each week by signing up for the Inside Track

Put This On Episode 5: Clothing Credits

Intro:
Tie: Pierrepont Hicks
Shirt: Lands’ End
Sweater: Vintage Scottish Cashmere
Jeans: Levis LVC 1947
Shoes: Grenson
Vest: Lands’ End

At J. Press:
Shirt: CEGO Custom Shirtmaker
Jacket: Polo Ralph Lauren
Sweater: Vintage Scottish Cashmere
Tie: Vintage Unlabeled
Pocket Square: Luciano Barbera
Pants: Incotex

At Thom Browne:
Shirt: Brooks Brothers Black Fleece
Tie: Santoni
Pocket Square: Vintage
Pants: Vintage Ralph Lauren Purple Label
Shoes: Vintage Florsheim
Socks: Robert Talbott

thesilentist:

Levi’s latest fit for men: The Ex-Girlfriend Jean — OK, now these hipsters are just fucking with us.

I seriously thought to myself, “Is it April first?” when someone sent me this link.
I mean… FOR REALS?
FOR REALS?

thesilentist:

Levi’s latest fit for men: The Ex-Girlfriend Jean — OK, now these hipsters are just fucking with us.

I seriously thought to myself, “Is it April first?” when someone sent me this link.

I mean… FOR REALS?

FOR REALS?

(Source: thesilentist)

suitsandboots:

About one year of wear, a few soaks along the way. (3/3)
Also, I lament the fact that posting these photos disqualifies me from ever becoming a style icon. My greatest dream: shattered.

These are shrink-to-fit 501s. A lot of style for thirty or forty bucks.

suitsandboots:

About one year of wear, a few soaks along the way. (3/3)

Also, I lament the fact that posting these photos disqualifies me from ever becoming a style icon. My greatest dream: shattered.

These are shrink-to-fit 501s. A lot of style for thirty or forty bucks.

Date Night with Alex Grant: A Charlie Brown Christmas
Q and Answer: Where Can I Get Good Advice on Men’s Style?
John writes: I’m trying to transition to better, more interesting clothing, but when I  double-check the internets regarding whether something is worth buying  or not, I almost invariable return with a “OMG… yuck. You could  buy it… and then burn it.” (I’m thinking specifically of what I’ve  seen on Style Forum, but it might be a general issue too.) And I’m  starting to get the impression that it’s not so much a matter of style  as it is of status.I understand that you often get what you pay for, but, seriously, I  work for a museum. Buying $500 pairs of shoes would be awesome, but, for  me, it would also be foolish. And the internet tells me that I’d be a  tasteless buffoon for ordering shoes from Lands End.Put This On is always a reasonable-minded place learn about fashion,  and for that I’m grateful. But y’all are busy dudes—where else is a guy  to look when it comes to advice that isn’t based on narcissism and  posturing? Maybe I’m just asking for permission to be confident enough  to ignore “I’m richer and more fashionable than you” nonsense. Yeah?  Thanks!
This is a pretty fraught issue, so I wade into it a little hesitantly, but I’ll give you my best thoughts.
I’ve generally found Style Forum to be a wonderful resource full of thoughtful, well-informed people who are happy to share information. Like many internet fora, however, it’s not especially welcoming to, shall we say, n00bs. There’s an archive of five years or more of information available for searching, and there’s not much patience there for folks looking for an answer to a question that applies only to them, or that’s been asked a dozen times. Responses to that kind of thing can be pretty unpleasant.
There are other clothing fora out there. Ask Andy About Clothes is generally a more positive place than Style Forum, but it also has a more conservative, traditional aesthetic. It’s also full of great people and information, but caters to an older, more classic American crowd, rather than the sharper Italianate and British-inspired looks you’ll see on Style Forum. The London Lounge is pretty amazing, but it focuses on bespoke clothing, which I’m guessing you’re not in the market for. The Fedora Lounge has some interesting information on hats and vintage clothes, but it also has a lot of… cosplayers. Reddit has a Fashion Advice forum, but along with some good advice there’s some, uhm, less good advice. SuperFuture has a lot of brand fetishists and tight-pants wearers, but it can be a valuable resource, especially for denim.
A list of the available fora wasn’t your precise question, though. Your real question, about money, is even more fraught.
The reality is that all of the people who populate these fora, and who write the blogs of the men’s style blogoverse, are enthusiasts. They care about the best things. Giuseppe from An Affordable Wardrobe is an enthusiast, and Will from A Suitable Wardrobe is an enthusiast. In most areas, the best things are also the most expensive. In many areas of men’s clothes, there is simply no inexpensive alternative if you’re paying full freight.
I’ll give you an example.
For our first episode, we decided to include a buying guide. In our guide, we highlighted the beautiful jeans that Rising Sun Denim makes in Pasadena (and they are beautiful). They cost about $350, which led to some very angry, bitter emails and web comments. We also highlighted the most basic “jean enthusiast” jean, the APC New Standard, which costs about $150. These also led to some angry, bitter web comments and emails. Our budget option was the Levi’s 501 shrink-to-fit.
The reality is that there’s a lot of compromise in the standard 501. It’s pretty roomy, and on slim and skinny guys, it’s not the most flattering cut. This is not unusual in a mass-market product - if something is cut bigger, it will fit more people. That goes for pant legs and arm holes and shirt torsoes and the whole nine. I’m a big guy, and I can wear 501s, though I prefer my slimmer 1947 501s, which were about a hundred bucks on eBay. When we said in the video that 501s were somewhat less baggy than before, we got a lot of emails from people complaining that we were putting down the cheap choice - and frankly, we were. Because the reality is that when you go down the food chain, there isn’t always a great choice at the bottom. The original 501 will work pretty well for a fair number of people, and it’s available at a very good price. It was the best option, but it’s far from perfect.
You know the old engineering saying, “Fast, good or cheap: pick two”? That also applies to shopping. I assume you’re here because you’ll want a good wardrobe. That leaves a choice between fast and cheap.
What I wouldn’t do is assume that everyone on Style Forum (or writing these blogs) is choosing fast over cheap. That all of us are rich people who can walk into Cleverley and order up a pair of bespoke shoes. The reality is that people who are enthusiasts are already spending their time. This is their hobby. Some of them are rich, some of them are thrift-store shoppers, some of them are deal-hounds, some of them have small wardrobes, some of them spend a larger portion of their income on clothes. Personally, I’m all of those except for rich, so I can relate.
The other day, a guy emailed me looking for a pair of shoes to wear while traveling in Europe. He said he wanted something cheap (his emphasis) and stylish, for his rugged classic style aesthetic. I suggested desert boots, he told me he wanted oxfords.
There’s not much I can do with that. There aren’t any cheap oxfords that I can recommend. At retail, there aren’t a lot of men’s dress shoes that are worth buying that are less than about $300. The market for good shoes has shrunken to the point where no value options are available. Now: can good shoes be had used, or on sale? Sure. But that requires an investment of time and knowledge. If you’re looking for cheap and fast, you have to drop good.
Lots of men’s style blogs are essentially lists of products. They’re composed of pictures from designers’ lookbooks, or product shots from boutiques. This is a great way to sell advertising - it’s the reason the one of the only new magazine success stories of the past ten years is Lucky, which is a list of things you can buy. It’s not what I do here, though.
The reason I generally post about ideas and principles rather than products or fashion is that I want to impart some information that helps you make your own informed decisions. I try to emphasize that quality is more important than quantity, that buying used is OK, that buying something great for a lot of money is OK if it’s within your budget, that looking for sales is OK.
These are things that you can learn from all of these places, even the product blogs, if you have the right perspective. The reality is that while I admire almost everything in Will’s A Suitable Wardrobe store, that’s not where my budget is at. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes find a Drake’s tie on eBay or at a thrift, though. You may see StyleForum as a place for rich snobs, but one of my favorite suits is a Brooks Brothers corduroy number I break out for country trips and special occasions, and I bought it new from a Brooks outlet for about a hundred bucks thanks to a tip on Style Forum.
The moral of the story: save money by simplifying, by shopping well, and by getting informed. And don’t let the bastards (real or percieved) get you down.

Q and Answer: Where Can I Get Good Advice on Men’s Style?

John writes: I’m trying to transition to better, more interesting clothing, but when I double-check the internets regarding whether something is worth buying or not, I almost invariable return with a “OMG… yuck. You could buy it… and then burn it.” (I’m thinking specifically of what I’ve seen on Style Forum, but it might be a general issue too.) And I’m starting to get the impression that it’s not so much a matter of style as it is of status.

I understand that you often get what you pay for, but, seriously, I work for a museum. Buying $500 pairs of shoes would be awesome, but, for me, it would also be foolish. And the internet tells me that I’d be a tasteless buffoon for ordering shoes from Lands End.

Put This On is always a reasonable-minded place learn about fashion, and for that I’m grateful. But y’all are busy dudes—where else is a guy to look when it comes to advice that isn’t based on narcissism and posturing? Maybe I’m just asking for permission to be confident enough to ignore “I’m richer and more fashionable than you” nonsense. Yeah? Thanks!

This is a pretty fraught issue, so I wade into it a little hesitantly, but I’ll give you my best thoughts.

I’ve generally found Style Forum to be a wonderful resource full of thoughtful, well-informed people who are happy to share information. Like many internet fora, however, it’s not especially welcoming to, shall we say, n00bs. There’s an archive of five years or more of information available for searching, and there’s not much patience there for folks looking for an answer to a question that applies only to them, or that’s been asked a dozen times. Responses to that kind of thing can be pretty unpleasant.

There are other clothing fora out there. Ask Andy About Clothes is generally a more positive place than Style Forum, but it also has a more conservative, traditional aesthetic. It’s also full of great people and information, but caters to an older, more classic American crowd, rather than the sharper Italianate and British-inspired looks you’ll see on Style Forum. The London Lounge is pretty amazing, but it focuses on bespoke clothing, which I’m guessing you’re not in the market for. The Fedora Lounge has some interesting information on hats and vintage clothes, but it also has a lot of… cosplayers. Reddit has a Fashion Advice forum, but along with some good advice there’s some, uhm, less good advice. SuperFuture has a lot of brand fetishists and tight-pants wearers, but it can be a valuable resource, especially for denim.

A list of the available fora wasn’t your precise question, though. Your real question, about money, is even more fraught.

The reality is that all of the people who populate these fora, and who write the blogs of the men’s style blogoverse, are enthusiasts. They care about the best things. Giuseppe from An Affordable Wardrobe is an enthusiast, and Will from A Suitable Wardrobe is an enthusiast. In most areas, the best things are also the most expensive. In many areas of men’s clothes, there is simply no inexpensive alternative if you’re paying full freight.

I’ll give you an example.

For our first episode, we decided to include a buying guide. In our guide, we highlighted the beautiful jeans that Rising Sun Denim makes in Pasadena (and they are beautiful). They cost about $350, which led to some very angry, bitter emails and web comments. We also highlighted the most basic “jean enthusiast” jean, the APC New Standard, which costs about $150. These also led to some angry, bitter web comments and emails. Our budget option was the Levi’s 501 shrink-to-fit.

The reality is that there’s a lot of compromise in the standard 501. It’s pretty roomy, and on slim and skinny guys, it’s not the most flattering cut. This is not unusual in a mass-market product - if something is cut bigger, it will fit more people. That goes for pant legs and arm holes and shirt torsoes and the whole nine. I’m a big guy, and I can wear 501s, though I prefer my slimmer 1947 501s, which were about a hundred bucks on eBay. When we said in the video that 501s were somewhat less baggy than before, we got a lot of emails from people complaining that we were putting down the cheap choice - and frankly, we were. Because the reality is that when you go down the food chain, there isn’t always a great choice at the bottom. The original 501 will work pretty well for a fair number of people, and it’s available at a very good price. It was the best option, but it’s far from perfect.

You know the old engineering saying, “Fast, good or cheap: pick two”? That also applies to shopping. I assume you’re here because you’ll want a good wardrobe. That leaves a choice between fast and cheap.

What I wouldn’t do is assume that everyone on Style Forum (or writing these blogs) is choosing fast over cheap. That all of us are rich people who can walk into Cleverley and order up a pair of bespoke shoes. The reality is that people who are enthusiasts are already spending their time. This is their hobby. Some of them are rich, some of them are thrift-store shoppers, some of them are deal-hounds, some of them have small wardrobes, some of them spend a larger portion of their income on clothes. Personally, I’m all of those except for rich, so I can relate.

The other day, a guy emailed me looking for a pair of shoes to wear while traveling in Europe. He said he wanted something cheap (his emphasis) and stylish, for his rugged classic style aesthetic. I suggested desert boots, he told me he wanted oxfords.

There’s not much I can do with that. There aren’t any cheap oxfords that I can recommend. At retail, there aren’t a lot of men’s dress shoes that are worth buying that are less than about $300. The market for good shoes has shrunken to the point where no value options are available. Now: can good shoes be had used, or on sale? Sure. But that requires an investment of time and knowledge. If you’re looking for cheap and fast, you have to drop good.

Lots of men’s style blogs are essentially lists of products. They’re composed of pictures from designers’ lookbooks, or product shots from boutiques. This is a great way to sell advertising - it’s the reason the one of the only new magazine success stories of the past ten years is Lucky, which is a list of things you can buy. It’s not what I do here, though.

The reason I generally post about ideas and principles rather than products or fashion is that I want to impart some information that helps you make your own informed decisions. I try to emphasize that quality is more important than quantity, that buying used is OK, that buying something great for a lot of money is OK if it’s within your budget, that looking for sales is OK.

These are things that you can learn from all of these places, even the product blogs, if you have the right perspective. The reality is that while I admire almost everything in Will’s A Suitable Wardrobe store, that’s not where my budget is at. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes find a Drake’s tie on eBay or at a thrift, though. You may see StyleForum as a place for rich snobs, but one of my favorite suits is a Brooks Brothers corduroy number I break out for country trips and special occasions, and I bought it new from a Brooks outlet for about a hundred bucks thanks to a tip on Style Forum.

The moral of the story: save money by simplifying, by shopping well, and by getting informed. And don’t let the bastards (real or percieved) get you down.