Hey guys,

So I'm a college student in Nashville, and like most college students I'm mostly a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy, but I want to dress more like an adult, especially now that I'm graduating soon and on the cusp of becoming a completely independent man and a young professional.

I'm kind of sick wearing brands like Polo, American Eagle, A&F, etc... I want to wear styles that a real man should wear, but won't break the bank since I am still a college student. I was just wondering if anyone had suggestions on actual brands I should check out.

I would appreciate if you could list your favorite brands for each article of clothing, kind of like this:

Shirts: brand(s)

Pants: brand(s)

Outerwear: brand(s)

Accessories: brand(s)

Shoes: brand(s)

You get the idea. Something along those lines. Any suggestions would very much appreciated.

Thanks guys.

Tags: brands, budget, clothing, suggested

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On a budget, Uniqlo is your friend. They offer t-shirts to button downs, fleece zip ups to cashmere v-neck pullovers. Some of their items will be a little bit pricier, but the quality of them shows and you won't end up throwing them away after 6 months. So for all clothing essentials go to Uniqlo.

For shoes, I would say either Clark's (You can get something relaxed like the desert boot which can be dressed up or down, or you could get a pair of rubber soled brogues for a less formal approach on the shoe) or get yourself a pair of Converse, they are a simple shoe if you get the black/white colour way and go with pretty much everything, unless you're smartening up.

I don't pay too much attention to brands. I go for what I like and fits well. Sometimes a brand will change out, sometimes my body changes and another brand fits better.

But I honestly can't take you all that seriously about budget. When I dress and shop on a budget, it is Old Navy, Kohls or back to the bargain racks and sales at JC Penney and the like.
Polo, American Eagle, A&F and so forth are not budget brands or stores.

Brand doesn't matter.  The Store is a better indicator. In my experience, you do get what you pay for.  Walmart is OK, if that's what you can afford, but the same style from Target or Kohl's tends to last longer.

That said, I will put in a word  in favor of two clothing brands, Cabella's and LandsEnd.  Both are primarily catalog stores, and the styles aren't for everyone, but the stuff is hard to wear out.

For clothes, I like Express (dress shirts), Gap (for jeans), and recently I've become a big fan of LL Bean. Their stuff is top notch, and reasonably priced. Also, comes with a lifetime guarantee.

For shoes, it's worth the investment to buy a pair of Allen Edmonds. They are expensive (though currently there is a sale), but will last for decades.

You're going to get a lot of different advice on this one Ethan.  There are as many different styles as there are men on this site.  You need to determine what your style is before you look into prices.  For example I wear Khakis, a long-sleeved button down shirt, and cowboy boots at work when I'm in the office and jeans and a corporate polo with cowboy boots when I'm in the field.  On the weekends I typically wear jeans and a t-shirt unless going out when I'll change to the button down or polo.  I do not (I can't stress this enough) wear short-sleeved button down tuck-in shirts, especially with a tie; to me those look so small store manager-ish and I actually get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about wearing those.

My best advice, especially for work, is to look at the people who are two levels above you and dress as they do, unless you are working in the warehouse and those people are office workers/managers.  As a student coming up on graduation take a look at the people who are working in the field that you will be going into and take style cues from them.  As for price, generally speaking the higher priced items will be of better quality and will last much longer than some off-brand bought at K-mart.  Purchase a few items (pants, shirts, shoes, etc.) to get you started and when you've been working a while purchase more of those items.

Unfortunately, there is no brand that's always cheap, high quality and stylish.  Consequently, you can, as with so much in life, have your pick of two out of the trio of cheap, quick, and good.  Since you're on a budget, you're going to have to take some time and watch for sales.  If you learn what sizes you wear (bearing in mind differences of cut between brands, and even within brands) you can also look for deals online.

If you like you can also look at places like eBay for used clothing and shoes in good condition, as well as the occasional consignment item.

Shirts: LandsEnd, Charter Club

Pants: LandsEnd, Dockers, Dickies

Outerwear: North Face, London Fog

Accessories: Calvin Klein

Shoes: Clark's

Charter Club is Federated Department Stores' (Macy's, and...?) store brand. LandsEnd can be purchased and returned and exchanged at Sears, but is mostly online. Sears will never have the sales or selection of LandsEnd products that you can find online. North Face is pricey, but I'm a West Coast yuppy. I've looked for North Face jackets on ebay, and they're not discounted. If you're not picky, they do wind up at discount stores. I have a great Calvin Klein leather belt I got for $10 at Macy's.

Don't overlook second-hand stores if you're on a serious budget. If you go for classic style rather than fashion/latest trend, you can dress well for very little. If you have a few bucks left over, find a tailor or alterations shop and get the new-to-you clothes taken in or hemmed or whatever so they truly fit you.

If you are building your wardrobe from the ground up, probably best to just get cheap "no frills" sort of stuff to start off with, if it looks smart on, fits well and is of reasonable quality, it is entirely fit for purpose.


Once you have a base to build off, you can start adding more expensive stuff into the mix (I personally would be looking at really good footwear and jackets once I'd got the basics...then some shirts jeans and sweaters).


Good luck!

Skip brands go for what fits!

If you have a smart phone you might grab the app WhatsMySize.  Put in your measurements and you will know by store and brand what should be close according to brand.  BUT you have to try the clothing on and see if it actually fits. 

Look at JC Penneys they have good selection of pants and suits that would work.  Shirts if you are skinny will require some hunting or going to a store that stocks slim and extra slim fit.

Stafford is good.

Yes, I like Stafford, and their t-shirts are the best I've found.


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