Budget Shopping Tips for Men: Looking Great for Less

Updated August 12, 2020

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Man shopping for a shirt
If you’re a guy with no clue how to shop, read these style hacks.

Man style. The final budget shopping frontier.

Most men have no idea how to shop, yet alone budget shop for less. Men have been taught that they can’t be both frugal and stylish at the same time and their choices have been limited to either a pair of $5 Wranglers from K-Mart or a $2,000 jacket from Hugo Boss.

So what’s a frugal, fashionable fella to do? Stores like Target, Loehmann’s, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, and Marshall’s, offer fashionable men plenty of options without breaking the bank, you just need to know what and how to buy items from these stores. 

In an effort to provide a little guidance to my lost budget shopping brothers, here are ten quick budget shopping tips for men:

Fit is king.

Focus on finding garments that fit your body, not just your budget. Avoid high water pants (guys—your pants should break/fold about mid-foot), shirt/jackets that swamp your body, and shirts with sleeves that are either too long or too short (below your wrist joint).

Bring a friend.

A second eye can be a fashion lifesaver.

Know your designers.

Head to The Budget Fashionista designer guide and browse the world’s top designers. You should recognize a designer brand when you see it. Additionally, “expensive” looking shirt tags may indicate that an item is a designer piece.

Dress in monochrome.

Wearing one color like black from head to toe is an easy way to dress in style and it’s also very slimming.

Choose quality over price.

Cheap clothes look cheap. Focus on finding quality garments for less. If a garment has patterns check to make sure they’re matched up through out the garment. Look for lining in slacks and jackets. Make sure the fabric feels good against your skin. And, look for natural fabrics like wool/gabardine, cotton.

Add a higher-end accessory.

Adding a higher end accessory from a major designer is a surefire way to up the ante on any outfit, especially if the accessory has a visible logo. Wearing a Gucci belt with your Dockers will instantly make the Dockers look more expensive. Or, adding a high-end watch with your Old Navy shirt will make the short look like it’s hot off the racks of your Saks Fifth Avenue.

For men, adding a great pair of shoes from designer brands like Kenneth Cole or Cole Haan, that are ALWAYS shined, is another great way to increase the style quotient of your wardrobe. Find these shoes on sale at your Nordstrom Rack, Filene’s Basement or, yes, TJ Maxx.

Wear tech as an accessory.

You spent good money on the Apple Watch. Use it to up the cool, cutting-edge factor of your outfit.

Go easy on the logos.

Avoid clothing with the brand name advertised largely across your chest.

Always buy a complete outfit

Buying the complete outfit will save you both time and money. Go a step further and hang the complete outfit together in your closet.

Bet on black.

If all else fails, bet on black. Black looks instantly more expensive than other colors like brown and light blue.

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By Catherine Brock

As a Southern California transplant now living in the Midwest, Catherine has turned layering into an art form and accepted that UGGs actually do have a place in the stylish lady's wardrobe. She's been featured in Woman's World Magazine, DrLaura.com, Refinery29, Wellness.com and has made appearances on ABC7 Chicago, FOX2News St. Louis, KCAL9 Los Angeles, Fox19 Cincinnati, WGN TV Chicago and WCPO TV Cincinnati.