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April 30, 2017 12:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm a college student that's been living on a very low budget, and is used to buying everything the absolutely cheapest I can. I about to go to graduate school, with a considerably larger living stipend than I had before. My clothes are all old, cheap, and collegiate--lots of t-shirts and jeans. I want to upgrade my wardrobe into something more professional, but am unsure how much to spend or what to buy.

For the past four years, I've been living on about $5k a year and the grace of friends. I only buy clothes from thrift stores on sale because that's all I can afford. But this means that most of my clothes don't fit me well, won't last, and took hours and hours to find because you can't just find the same pair of jeans in another size in a thrift store.

I'm going to be attending a clinical psychology PhD program in the fall, and I want to upgrade my wardrobe to something more professional that will last longer. My partner and I are going to be living off a guaranteed stipend of 20k a year, plus whatever my partner earns once they find a job (likely minimum wage and part time, so mostly just extra spending money). I know that's not a lot of money, but we've been living on much less than that, and it's above the poverty line for a family of two, so I feel comfortable spending some money on this.

I have two problems:

1) I have no idea how much to spend on quality clothes. I balk at the idea of spending $30 for a pair of pants, but is that what I need to spend to get quality, long-lasting clothes? How do I transition from "cheapest thrift store clothes on sale" to shopping in... regular stores?

2) What do I buy? How much do I need? My wardrobe right now is pretty much a couple pairs of jeans and a million different t-shirts I've slowly stockpiled over the years. I'd like to have a slightly more professional wardrobe; it doesn't need to be all-out dress shirts and blazers, but it needs to be something I could wear when working with therapy clients (my impression is the the kind of stuff teachers and professors wear is appropriate for this--pulled together, but not going into business attire). I'm not really sure where to start or what kind of pieces I should be looking for.
posted by brook horse to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should mention I am a 23-year-old woman who likes both feminine and masculine styles but leans more towards feminine. Also, pockets are a must.
posted by brook horse at 12:02 PM on April 30, 2017

Best answer: I recommend googling "capsule wardrobes" to help you buy the fewest pieces possible to create to most possible professional outfits.

Also, if you have the opportunity, you can often find nearly new high quality clothes at thrift stores in an affluent area (the Goodwill in the upper east side of Manhattan, for example.) Can you check out the nearest big city to where you live or are you traveling anywhere this summer?

One other thing I recommend is eBay. If there is a brand you like but cannot afford, try searching on eBay. You will find both used clothing in good condition and some new items that are out of season. If you don't want to deal with the whole bidding thing, you can filter by "buy it now."
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 12:18 PM on April 30, 2017 [7 favorites]

Congratulations! I did this myself, when I started grad school. So I can tell you what I learned.

You can get by with not a lot of clothing. Google capsule wardrobe to get an idea - but you can be more extreme than that. Since you like comfort, I would focus on two pairs of skinny or straight jeans, in a very dark wash and black. Two or three cardigans in any color you like - neutrals are easy, and then solid color shirts to wear underneath. You can always build from this. Whites and light greys for tops will look okay as they fade - blacks and navies are more obvious. And then outerwear - summer is coming so you can put this off, but eventually a nice winter coat of you need it, and something like a trench or a blazer or both for when it's warmer. And black flats and boots would be good, eventually. And also a pair of dress pants if you can't wear jeans with clients - if so, then swap a pair of jeans for a pair of dress pants if your budget is tight.

$30 is on the low end for prices of quality, long-lasting pants , if you are buying retail. This would be on-sale or clearance. But! I regularly pay less than this, once you find a designer and a size and style that fits you- by shopping on eBay or Poshmark or other similar sites. Everyone has their preferences, but I think your money should be spent on a good bra, a good pair of pants, and a comfortable pair of shoes. Cardigans and shirts are easy to find elsewhere - thrift stores, old navy, heck, forever21 works. And when you're on eBay, pay attention to measurements. Measure a similar piece of clothing that fits you and compare. What I do not recommend is doing this for jeans and bras - which is why you should find a style and designer and size that fits well, and then only but that exact thing on eBay for duplicates.
posted by umwhat at 12:26 PM on April 30, 2017 [7 favorites]

I've been in your shoes (ha, sorry!) and found a few different things that worked.

1) Do you have a high-quality thrift store near you? Not consignment ballgowns, but something like Crossroads, which will have timely, fashionable, and good-quality second hand buys? Still hit-or-miss as a thrift store, but I've honestly purchased most of my clothes there in the last dozen years. Lots of professional separates like Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, etc. A lot of the pulled-together look you're going for can be had by having on-trend or very classic clothes that fit well and are not overly worn.

2) Outlets like Anne Taylor Loft often have good deals (e.g., two-for-one cardigans for $20) and are good quality and look put-together.

3) Target often has sales and offers a few ready-to-go outfits. The quality can be kind of meh, but can work in a pinch.

4) My other favorite is Gap. They have reasonable quality clothes at a reasonable price point and often have big sales. Online they often offer 40% off full price items, free delivery, etc. The pricepoint hits a sweet spot where if I spill coffee on it, I don't care, but I am also quite pleased that I can get good mileage out of most of their pieces. Another couple of similar options are Uniqlo (their clothes never fit me but might have the look you're going for) and H&M (often a bit cheaper but maybe lower quality, especially the lowest-priced items).

5) Accessories and good shoes can also go a long way to being pulled-together. I think you can have a few pairs of simple, grown-up earrings, appropriate shoes, a couple of scarves, etc., and dress up your look that way.
posted by stillmoving at 12:26 PM on April 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm on mobile right now so no links, but the following blogs might be helpful to you:

- Academichic (no longer updates, but extensive archives)
- Already Pretty
- Corporette (more toward professional women, but the comment section is a good resource)

One of the things that worked for me was figuring out my sense of style BEFORE I did any shopping. That meant looking through magazines and websites and looking at what spoke to me, and what I felt worked best for my day-to-day life. For me, that's a slightly less formal Princess Kate - feminine, put together ensembles with good hair and flats, because God knows I can't carry off heels on a daily basis. Yours might be something different.

For me, what worked best for graduate school were dresses and cardigans from Target and similar; they were basically as comfortable as pajamas but gave people the impression I was much more put together and stylish than I actually am, especially if I took five minutes in the morning to line my eyes and dab on gloss. I solved the pocket thing by always having some sort of bag on me, but that might not work for you.
posted by Tamanna at 12:30 PM on April 30, 2017 [2 favorites]

If your waist and hips are about the same size you can buy men's chinos and cords, which have proper pockets.
posted by brujita at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2017

I would not expect a $30 pair of pants to last me very long since I walk a lot and carry my weight in my thighs. YMMV.

Another thing I've learned the hard way is that less expensive clothing with manmade fibers tends to get stinky on me. YBiologicalChemistryMV, but for me spending more for natural fibers is worth it. Especially sweaters, since this way I can wear them multiple times before washing them. Speaking of which, dry clean/ hand wash only is probably too fussy for your needs.

By the way, most Outlet stores these days aren't selling surplus goods.

Do you know someone who loves going shopping? If so, I recommend asking this person to come along.

Something to keep in mind is that you may need to adjust your wardrobe to the climate, but you don't necessarily have to buy everything at once.

I recommend having at least 2 pairs of shoes that you can alternate wearing. This allows them to dry out between use, and will help them last longer.

You might also find it helpful to reframe your mindset from total cost to cost per use.
posted by oceano at 1:06 PM on April 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

JC Penney's Worthington line has good basic work separates at a decent price point. H&M, Target and Old Navy are also good places to look but tend slightly more casual (think "work to weekend"). I also really like New York and Company -- it can be a little all over the place, but their basic sheath or fit-and-flare dresses are great (bonus: pockets!)

I will say that justifying expensive clothes because they "will last" may not be the greatest strategy, because fashion changes and your body changes. Better to budget for one $20 pair of pants every two years than spend $100 on pants that you expect to last for ten years, because ten years from now you will be a different person and the current trend for straight leg ankle pants will seem laughable.
posted by basalganglia at 1:33 PM on April 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

I got a black fitted Moschino brand blazer at Target for $25 when someone in my Ph.D. cohort got an extra teaching gig and I (still dressing like a college student) didn't. I still wear it 5 years later and I don't think it looks particularly cheap or worn. When you are rocking a blazer, people treat you like a boss. Blazers. Blazers. Blazers.
posted by athirstforsalt at 1:34 PM on April 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

I now wear said blazer with black skinny jeans (I call this my "Berlin suit") and Banana Republiccy "whimsical but office appropriate" blouses. Back then I would wear it with jeans and a T shirt.
posted by athirstforsalt at 1:37 PM on April 30, 2017

Best answer: One good rule of thumb for business casual - which seems to be what you are going for here - is that you want either your tops or bottoms to be more formal (doesn't need to be super formal) and the other to be more casual. So like, jeans with a nice top and cardigan, or chinos with a t-shirt. Given your style, you might want to build a capsule wardrobe around the former, assuming you can wear jeans to see clients. The nice top can actually be a t-shirt if it is nice (fits well, no writing) and you wear it with a cardigan or blazer. Put that with a pair of flats or boots and you've got a presentable outfit for most occasions.

I agree that $30 for a pair of jeans is going to be the bottom of the range. I don't even think you can get a non-sale pair of jeans at Old Navy for that little. It sucks, I know. I went through the same sticker shock when I graduated and started buying new clothes on a similar salary. My best advice is to buy a few cheap things this summer to get you through and then gradually start buying nicer things later on.

Also, if your area has some nice consignment shops, check those out. They will be more expensive than the Salvation Army, of course, but you may be able to find higher-quality things.
posted by lunasol at 1:41 PM on April 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Speaking more specifically to your line of work/study, I want to add that depending on which population you are working with and in which settings you do your externships it can be important not to wear clothes that communicate a significant class difference and many settings are more casual than you might imagine.
posted by Waiting for Pierce Inverarity at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

You touch on fit in the question. If you are going to upgrade bear in mind that even expensive clothes will not make you look pulled together if they don't fit. So be prepared to try on and search until you find things that fit, budget for alterations or learn to do simple alterations yourself.

It is worth noting that some items are more forgiving than others - for example, I have had to conclude that my arms are about an inch shorter to the wrist than the people who develop standard sizes and blazer sleeve length have deemed to be normal length. So I know 3/4 or short sleeves will work in all upper garments, long sleeves in anything that has cuffs with an actual, working button designed to fasten the cuff at your wrist is likely to work, long sleeves in blazers are invariably too long and will need to be altered.

Wrap styles are forgiving of slight variations in waistline.

Trousers have to fit at the waist and hip - not easy to alter these areas. But straight leg trousers are very easy to hem so the only concern is if the ones on sale are petite lengths that are too short. Tapered trousers on the other hand can be a bit more tricky.

Also, depending on your proportions some styles will be more flattering than others. For myself very high necklines more often than not make me look as if my boobs start under my chin. V-necks never do. Camisoles can be used to protect your modesty when wearing deep v-necks.

If you have never given this kind of thing much consideration start to think about it. Look at some magazines/blogs etc. And try on stuff, especially stuff you'd never normally consider. Developing a sense of what works and what doesn't makes you a much better shopper and saves time in the longrun.

Finally, if you do end up buying 'nicer' things bear in mind that nicer/more delicate/more ornate does not equal durable. You may be able to take the entire contents of your wardrobe and dump in the washing machine without much/any consideration at the moment. You may have to start to change your approach in time. For example, a lot of the more delicate tops do not hold up well to machine washing or at all to tumble drying. If you start to acquire such things buy the mesh laundry wash bags they have in the detergent isle and use them. Identify the delicates cycle/handwash and do not ever tumble dry anything you'd wash in the delicates cycle. Ask me how I know.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:44 PM on April 30, 2017

One good brand to look at for reasonably-priced quality goods is Uniqlo.
posted by R a c h e l at 5:44 PM on April 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

As to where to buy, you can also try or
posted by avocado_of_merriment at 7:07 PM on April 30, 2017

Best answer: I'm a few years older than you, but I've been doing a version of this, since I transferred recently into a new department at work and have been trying to be taken seriously. In my case I do work in a quasi-academic environment, which as you know is usually really casual, but I also need to work with all kinds of people in all kinds of positions and in my case too-dressed-up can look worse (not capable of getting dirty when the job requires it) than too-casual, although YMMV. So, I'm still figuring this out, but here's what I've been doing:

I'm still shopping at the thrift store, but starting off slow by upgrading from t-shirts to shirts with buttons and long sleeves, which looks dressier. The button-shirts sometimes need to be worn with some kind of camisole or t-shirt underneath if the material is very thin (which also helps keep them cleaner, and allows you to use your existing t-shirt collection), and can be paired with a sweater over them (cuffs and collar visible) in cold weather, a look I find attractively professorial.

I'm still wearing my thrift-store jeans, but paying more attention to wash and fit (darker looks better, and a classic dark blue, black, or neutral color rather than bright or patterned; not too tight, although a slimmer fit rather than baggy reads more polished right now; steering away from too many embellishments on the rear end pockets). As far as materials, corduroy or something like ponte can feel similar to jeans and have pockets but reads like you made more of an effort.

Shoes are hard, and I'm still figuring out shoes. But something that is not obviously used for athletic activities reads dressier, or at least a stylish, intentional sort of casual rather than a sloppy sort. So it doesn't have to be heels or anything like that, but a nicer looking (which sometimes means plainer looking) sneaker that you could walk in but wouldn't go running in. Other people get a lot of mileage out of flats, which always look nice, but I personally have an odd foot size and shape and have trouble getting them to fit. I'm a big fan of Nordstrom Rack (especially the brick and mortar stores if there is one near you) for shoes, since lots of shoe styles are timeless and last season's whatever is fine, but I still want quality (ditto bras, BTW). Look in the clearance section and sort by your size, then % off, and don't get caught up by the designers for which 86% off is still $200. There can be some really great gems there--I've regularly paid $20-$30 or less for shoes that are well-made and $100+ quality.

On that note, making sure that you look pulled together in general: hair not too dirty and arranged or taken care of in some way. I don't wear makeup but try to make sure my skin looks OK (moisturizer with spf, acne medication when necessary, groomed brows and not-peeling lips). I often try to wear a necklace because again, it looks like you tried to make an outfit. A watch looks nice and is practical for appointments. I experimented with scarves and wear one sometimes. You can also try wearing more plain t-shirts which you may already own, and pairing them with a cardigan or blazer or scarf if you want to dress it up a bit or are cold. Fewer logos and printing reads more sophisticated. Accessories (scarf, necklace) make it feel more like an "outfit" and less like "a bunch of unrelated clothes I put on so as not to be naked." Learning about how things should fit and whatever challenges re: clothes are particular to your body will all help everything work together.

You don't suddenly need a new wardrobe, especially if you haven't even started graduate school. Once you get there, and get a chance to experience the kinds of settings you'll be working with, you can look around and see what other people wear, talk to professors, and get a feel for things. I wouldn't stress out about this just yet. And maybe I'm just cheap, but you also don't need to shop at "regular" stores just because. If the thrift store works for you, keep shopping there, learn how to identify quality materials/stitching/design details, and branch out to sale and clearance at "regular" stores after you identify a need and can't fill it any other way.
posted by spelunkingplato at 10:28 PM on April 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

The new clothes you can buy on that budget are likely to fall apart at least as quickly as thrifted clothes, I'm afraid. Doubly so if you're picking out the highest quality thrift store cothes, which are likely well out of your current budget when new.

What I did in your position was identify things thrift stores dont do well at all (daily-wear shoes, tshirts, raincoats, hoodies) and bought those new, while continuing to thrift things like dresses, business-casual tops, cardigans, dress pants, and yes, jeans (it takes an eternity to find good ones that fit but they won't shrink, and the price difference is crazy).

I still do that, really - I spend a bit more on high quality clothes now, but still buy most of my pants, dress shirts and cardigans thrifted.It's really ridiculously good value for your money.

For new stuff I recommend buying a few things just for fun at "fast fashion" stores like h&m/forever 21 for some clothes that are new, fancy looking and cheap, but will unravel if you look at them funny. Buy basic tshirts ONLY on sale, ideally somewhere with decent quality but even the old navy etc ones are fine when theyre like 4$ each.

If you have extra cash, identify a few really really key "signature" pieces you'll wear nearly daily, and do research to select high quality materials and brands. Something like leather boots or a nice coat, not something like a tshirt which won't last long even with the highest quality materials and cost. And invest in something you already wear a cheaper version of,or have a definite need for (the 200$ suit my parents insisted I would need in grad school has never been worn, almost a decade later).

For clients etc, buy cheap stuff that will get you by for the short term, then wait and see what your colleagues are wearing before you spend much. You'll be expected to be presentable, but this does not require expensive brands or new clothes, just clean and appropriately formal ones.
posted by randomnity at 7:09 AM on May 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Okay, here's the deal. I know you're excited - and rightly so - to be upgrading your lifestyle in the fall. But don't buy clothes yet. Every time I've gotten excited before a job and sworn that it's an amazing upgrade and I'm going to dress better and look nicer and have my crap together and look like a real adult, I've managed to hold up that facade for a month at most, before defaulting to what I like to wear. If and only if you would prefer to be wearing something other than jeans and T-shirts on an everyday basis, do you buy new stuff. Grad school is the pits, $20k is not much money, and everybody is scrambling to get by, and predominantly all you do is go to class and study, and wear jeans and tshirts to go to class and study in. Unless you're going to be on some kind of patient-facing duty during your first year of school (good lord I hope not!) then you are probably best served by continuing to live in jeans and t-shirts.

I realize this academic-business-casual look isn't the type of fashion that's going to turn on a dime, you can buy semi-professional things now and use them later, but my main advice is to wait until you genuinely need things to start buying them.

That said, you should have a pair of nice crisp black jeans, a pair of non-sneaker black shoes (loafers or low boots - no clicky heels, no laces), a shirt with buttons, a nice scoopneck rayon-type flowy T-shirt or tunic, and a black cardigan or textured-fabric blazer-cut jacket. Just enough that you have 2 outfits so you can go to "first impression" meetings with professors who you might want to do research with, or to silently follow somebody through rotations.
posted by aimedwander at 7:27 AM on May 1, 2017 [5 favorites]

Subscribe to sale emails from Gap and Old Navy and Loft. They regularly run 30-40% off sales. Go into stores to try stuff on and write down the size and style that fits you, but NEVER buy anything at full price from those stores.

My mother still rarely spends more than $30 on jeans and they don't fall apart that easily, but she is the queen of shopping clearance racks (only slightly less effort than thrifting). The stores above will run storewide sales though which I find easier to shop. Old Navy is lower quality than the other two but good for cheap washable basics. I also second Uniqlo if you have a store nearby; they don't run many sales but regular price is surprisingly reasonable for the quality.
posted by serelliya at 8:07 AM on May 2, 2017

Response by poster: Thanks for all the tips, and the reality check! I probably don't need to replace my entire wardrobe. But I have a lot of clothes that I'm pretty "meh" about, so I'm going to try and slowly replace those with more professional things that I actually like (I know they're out there! I just don't have a lot of them). I'm also going to look into the capsule wardrobe.

I think it's the sticker shock that's really getting to me; it's hard for me to tell what's reasonable when everything about $10 seems expensive to me. If $30 is the low-end for pants, what's a reasonable price? What do people usually spend on shirts? Dresses? Shoes?
posted by brook horse at 11:43 AM on May 2, 2017

When you're looking at it as "trying to upgrade my whole wardrobe" the sticker shock will kill you. Set yourself a clothing budget - not as a hard cap, you're not the kind of spender who needs a reminder that you're about to go over your limit this month, but as a reminder to set aside some money on a regular basis. Then when an event comes up, you look at your accounts and there's an amount already set aside as "clothing" (some people like cash envelopes accounting, that might be well-applied here) which is less stressful than looking at price tags and thinking about whether you'll make rent if you buy this. If you kind of like shopping in stores, then start going around looking at clothes, touching clothes, trying things on, and get an idea of what (for example) pants are like at $20, $40, $60, $90 - the fabric, the style/fit, the stitching/durability, the decorative details, etc. But don't feel that you're there to buy something, you're just there to learn about how you would buy something, so when there's an event you've saved up for, you'll know where to go and what to look for.
posted by aimedwander at 2:05 PM on May 2, 2017

This may be the least helpful answer you'll get but I think for most people, it massively varies. Speaking for myself (and I think I'm pretty normal here) I buy from a variety of sources for a variety of prices:
1. when I'm buying things that are basics for me where quality matters (shoes, jeans), I pretty much always have an eye out for a good deal - ideally I find high-quality brands at thrift stores or consignment stores like Buffalo Exchange. At these stores, I expect to pay $15-20 (maybe $30 max) for high-quality jeans and less for almost anything else. If I don't find those things and I need them, see #2.
2. When I'm buying things that I need fairly urgently but I'm willing to be somewhat flexible on style-wise, I look at sale sections of stores I like (mostly brands that, I discovered, fit me well after first finding stuff at thrift stores) both online and in-person or I look at stores like TJMaxx and Marshall's. I don't have great luck with jeans in this category but I find good-quality shoes in the less-than-$50 range or work dresses in the $30-40 range.
3. When I really need something specific, I go to a store that fits me well and has (from experience) good price-to-quality ratio. Here, there are two types of stores: stores that always run sales where full price is a lie nobody should pay (old navy, american eagle, victoria's secret) or stores that don't run sales that much so full price is ok (uniqlo, zappos, everlane). At these stores, what I'd expect to pay varies by the average prices in the store but jeans would probably run $30-40.
4. When I want something "fun" that is more than basic, I keep an eye out for it at all of those places (especially around end of season). I don't always pay one consistent price - it kind of depends on the brand and quality - but it'd take a lot to get me to pay more than $20 for something that I don't consider basic. I can't think of a single time I've bought anything fun full-price, but maybe it's happened if it's something I've really fallen in love with.
5. Bonus tip: once I have something that I know fits me well from a big brand, I just buy that style or brand specifically on ebay (there are also the newer online thrift stores like poshmark and thredup, which may be worth exploring). I don't recommend doing this for unfamiliar clothes but it's the best thing ever for familiar clothes. I can usually get great jeans for $20-$40 this way.

I also built a lot of my first work wardrobe by rooming with people in a similar position and sharing what we could, size-permitting, to build at least one solid wardrobe between us. YMMV on that one.
posted by R a c h e l at 2:19 PM on May 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

One article that made a big difference in how I view quality clothing was how to shop at discount stores without looking cheap at the hairpin - I look for those qualities at fast fashion stores (which I mostly avoid, although I do buy fast fashion brands from thrift stores) . I also prioritize machine-washable clothing over top-quality natural fibers, but that's a know yourself issue (hand washing will definitely leave your clothes looking better, I'm just lazy).
posted by R a c h e l at 2:23 PM on May 2, 2017

Best answer:
I think it's the sticker shock that's really getting to me; it's hard for me to tell what's reasonable when everything about $10 seems expensive to me. If $30 is the low-end for pants, what's a reasonable price? What do people usually spend on shirts? Dresses? Shoes?

There isn't really a universal Reasonable price. A grad student reasonable is not a office worker reasonable is not a surgeon reasonable.

I'd suggest approaching it more as value for money - eg what's the best quality pants you can buy for 30$? Is that worth the time and money saved vs thrifting? What about 50$ pants? 100$ pants? Are the increased quality, comfort, looks etc worth paying that much more? And will that extra 50$ etc give you more happiness than a few meals out with friends, or saving up for a trip, or whatever else?

It's a very personal decision since everyone has different priorities. If you're conscious of what you're spending and why (and you can fit it into your budget, of course), it's hard to go too badly wrong.

And yeah, it's often hard to tell how much extra quality you get for your money, especially with "respectable" brands lowering their standards all the time. That's why I'd suggest easing into it - buy only a few pieces to start, and at prices that are the lowest you can find for clothes you actually like (windowshop sale racks at a few mid-range stores, like average mall clothing stores or something, to get a sense for what "average" and "extreme" sales tend to be - maybe focus on one type of clothing to start off with). Then pay close attention to what you liked and disliked about them (and again, evaluate if it was worth the extra money from the cheaper ones, and if you'd spend more for ones you like better) so you'll know what to look for next time.

Reading up on how to identify high quality clothing (thrifted or new) will help, but keep in mind that from a pure budget sense, it can often be cheaper to get a new 5$ shirt every year or two instead of investing in an 80$ shirt that might last 10 or even 20 years, but only if you don't stain it, lose it, shrink it in the dryer, stop fitting into it, change your personal style, change your workplace style, etc, etc. But of course it'll be nicer to wear, too. So again, it really comes down to your priorities - you'll need some trial and error to slowly figure out what's the best value for you.
posted by randomnity at 7:32 AM on May 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

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