Menswear: How to dress smart on a budget

mens suit
Written by Sophie Dishman

Whether you’re looking for job interview attire for men, a business meeting or even for a classy date, men have to whack out their smart clothes sometimes. There’s a definite checklist for their professional style: shirt, trousers, a tie and formal shoes. A suit jacket is optional, of course. For women it’s a lot harder – a dress, a tailored suit, a pencil skirt and blouse, trousers and a smart shirt… the list is endless. For men and women alike though, price can be an issue. I’m here to tell men how to dress smart on a budget.

Charity Shopping

I’ll start with one of the not-so-obvious places to go – charity shops. Yes, I said it. There’s still a large taboo surrounding charity shops, but you can get designer suits from a charity shop if you look hard enough. They are discounted, making them cheaper. It doesn’t matter if someone else has worn it! You can also get shirts and ties too, to finish off your look. I sometimes prefer charity shops for clothes and other items, purely because you can find hidden gems at half the price. I once got a pair of Levi jeans in a local charity shop for less than a tenner! You don’t know until you try, so head down to a local charity shop and have a browse.


If you don’t like to be hands-on with your clothes, then you can always settle in a comfy chair at home, have a browse and buy online using eBay and Amazon. Stores also have online sales so you may get lucky there too. What’s in store will most likely be online, or you’ll find some deals that aren’t available in store. You may even strike up a bargain and pick up an exclusive in the sale. They may be from last season and may be out of trend, but if you don’t care about being current with your style then voila, this is your option! There are some issues with buying online but if you get the correct measurements then you’ll be fine.

Family and Friends discount

If you prefer to be familiar with who has worn your clothes then you can always borrow from a family or friend. This is a free option; it won’t cost a penny. Getting clothes and saving money is a win:win situation for you and double the benefit, double the fun definitely applies here. Just be sure to return what you have borrowed and thank the person who lent you the item/items.


So, if borrowing isn’t your “thing” either then there are some other options that you can try. Apart from making something yourself. That’s too much effort though, isn’t it?


You can always re-use what you have now. Some people may not agree with this, but if a shirt isn’t smelly, discolured, marked or broken in anyway then you can keep it. People will always judge, but if you can’t afford it then it’s okay. You’re being resourceful!


If you desperately need to go out and shop then make a list of the essentials. Do your research beforehand and then only buy what you need. Look at the price tags and ask yourself if you would pay that much normally or if you want it just because it’s easier than having to look around. Impulse buying is a no-no for many of us girls, so guys should adopt the same principle. Braces aren’t entirely essential, but they look good. The latter half of this sentence should be void. You don’t need them so don’t buy them. The bare essentials are enough when you are on a budget. Shirt, shoes, tie. Simple, smart and sophisticated. Those three S’s will keep you in check.

And there you have it, four simple tricks – buy (second hand), borrow, be lazy (online) and nothing BUT the essentials.

Do you have any tips for guys who want to look smart on a budget? Let us know in the comments below!