Building a deplorable wardrobe

The topic of “where do you shop for your clothes” came up on a men’s forum I frequent. This forum skews fairly young, but I offered my middle-aged deplorable advice:

I like to dress reasonably well, but I am also cheap as fuck about it because I’d rather spend the money on travel and experiences. Bear in mind I’m an older guy and dress more on the refined side most of the time, with a sprinkling of rugged and rakish dropped in here and there. I take most of my style cues from Tanner at Masculine Style and Antonio at Real Men Real Style, for what it’s worth. I have different sources for different types of clothes.

Target: henleys, jeans, chinos, shorts

Henleys are just fancy t-shirts, so I don’t spend a lot on them. I have short and long sleeve versions that I picked up on sale for like $7 each. Target’s Denizen brand of jeans and chinos is made for them by Levi’s, and the slim/tapered cuts fit me perfectly.

Ross: dress shirts, sneakers, chinos

Not super high-end, but I’ve gotten a couple of pretty nice Hilfiger dress shirts that fit me great for under $20. Most of their shoes are trash, but they usually have Converse and sometimes Adidas at good prices. Chinos are hit and miss, but I have found some nice Dockers lightweight summer chinos for under $20. I once picked up a great pair of Clark’s chukkas for semi-cheap, $40 I think, but other places are generally better for shoes.

Burlington Coat Factory: suits, shoes

I learned a while back that Kenneth Cole (New York, not the cheapo Reaction) slim cut suits fit me great after minor tailoring, and Burlington sells them for very low prices. I have three KCNY suits (gray, navy and tan linen) that fit perfectly, and I didn’t pay more than $170 for any of them INCLUDING tailoring. They also have great shoe deals. I got a pair of $295 Allen Edmonds for $60, $185 Johnston & Murphys for $30, and just recently $130 Florsheim single monks for $22. The latter were shopworn and scuffed, but easily rehabilitated in 20 minutes with a shoeshine kit and some elbow grease.

Dillards Clearance Center: blazers, shoes

I got a great blue-checked Ralph Lauren blazer there recently. Retail was $295, I got it for $56 out the door. $20 for tailoring and the thing fits me better than anything I own. Shoes deals are similar to Burlington. For example, I got a great pair of J&M Chelsea/gore boots for $40, retail was $185.

Old Navy: polo shirts, short sleeve button front shirts, sweaters

Their slim polos and SS casual shirts fit me perfectly and are often on sale for under $10. I’ve also picked up a couple of great sweaters in the off season for about $12 each.

DSW: shoes, obviously

I don’t shop here a lot, but I drop in to check out the hit-and-miss clearance rack occasionally. I’ve gotten screaming clearance deals on a pair of suede loafers, Kenneth Cole double monks, and their house brand full-grain leather chukkas.

Once or twice a week, posts lists of good stuff (depending on your personal style) on sale. I’ve found some good bargains there, including a Mac-type wool blend overcoat for 40% off and free shipping from Gap.

I personally haven’t had much luck with Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, or the Macy’s sale rack, but a lot of men have. H&M and Zara are too youthful-looking for my middle-aged ass, and they don’t fit me anyway. Can anyone who lifts actually fit into their jackets?

So there’s your deplorable wardrobe shopping list.


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