Sample: Fashion staples for every man (on a budget)


Take the stress out of style with these affordable men’s fashion items and great ways to mix, match and accessorise for any occasion, without burning a hole in your wallet. 

Your wardrobe tells a story. And if all you’ve got are slightly rude t-shirts, some worn-out trainers and a pair of jeans that also qualifies as your longest intimate relationship, it’s probably not the story you want to tell about yourself.

If you’re going to fix it, you need to know the 10 essentials from head to toes that will help you feel your best, whatever the situation, without spending a fortune. 

Some quick advice first: your clothes should fit without being tight or too loose – don’t be tempted to go for a size up. But do try different “fits” to see what feels best, whether that’s regular, tailored or slim fit. There’s also skinny fit, but fuck those guys, right?  

We’ve given ourselves a limit of £100 for any single item and shopped around to give you a look at some of the best retailers out there.

The plain white t-shirt – Superdry 1 for £20 or 3 for £50

The single most versatile piece of clothing you’ll ever own is the plain white t-shirt. It goes with absolutely everything: with a pair of jeans and trainers, with a suit and smart shoes, or peeking out from under a sweater. Just make sure you’ve ironed it before putting it on.

We recommend Superdry’s brilliant organic cotton t-shirts in 100% organic cotton, especially since you can buy three for the rotation. 

The blue Oxford shirt – Charles Tyrwhitt – £29.95 

From catching up in a coffee shop to heading out for cocktails, the Oxford shirt can navigate it all. It’s thicker than most formal shirts with more texture. A slimmer fit will give you both dressy and casual options. 

Charles Tyrwhitt’s range of Oxfords (and shirts in general) are some of the best available with 100% cotton and fits for every body type at an amazing price for the quality. 

The grey sweater – Next cotton rich jumper in charcoal grey – £24

A nice grey sweater is ideal for layering up your look. It’ll add some warmth on a cold day and it’ll offer a little smart-casual sophistication even with a pair of jeans. Choose a crew neck, since this works with t-shirts and shirts. 

We think you should look at Next’s cotton rich jumper as your option. It’s a great price for 82% cotton and a classic look. 

The blue blazer – M&S Tailored Fit Performance Technical Blazer – £95

With a blue blazer in your wardrobe, you can turn a casual look into a formal one, or dress up a little for a date. Look for a single-breasted slim fit blazer so it’s more form-fitting and doesn’t have lapels that could double as a boat sail. 

We recommend M&S’s tailored fit navy blazer, because M&S stuff is always good quality and they have a huge range of sizes to find your perfect fit. 

The overcoat – Jack & Jones grey faux wool coat – £50

A longer coat is an easy way to add a little sophistication to your look, while keeping warm in colder weather. A medium grey allows you to wear any colour with it, and it can dress up or down simply by your choice of trousers and shoes. 

Jack & Jones faux wool coat is a great low-cost option, but make sure you choose a size that allows you to get a few layers underneath. 

The dark blue jeans – River Island – £36

It’s time to start a new relationship with a smart pair of denims that will feel comfortable whatever the weather, whatever the season. We’re choosing a dark blue so it’s easier to dress them up to suit the occasion. Light denim can look too casual. 

Go for straight leg or slim fit options, as they’re more flexible and flattering to more body types, and look at River Island’s range, where you can get two pairs for around the same price as one pair of Levi’s. 

The chinos – John Lewis Stone Slim Fit Vintage Laundered – £49

Chinos are magic trousers: casual enough to go out for the day but smart enough for work, and match up well with most items you’ll have in your wardrobe. Pick a slim fit, before turning up the hems to create a relaxed look with your white sneakers, or dropping them down for those more formal affairs. 

The leather belt – H&M brown belt – £12.99

Hold your trousers up and make a tucked shirt or tee look a little more formal. You don’t need anything fancy, but we would advise getting a brown and black belt to give you more options. But a dark leather belt will go with most options. 

The white sneakers – Puma Smash V2 trainers – £40

White sneakers can add some “I don’t care” charm to the slickest of suits, or some sharp contrast to your jeans/sweater combo when you’re grabbing a beer with friends. 

Look for a pair with as little colour or branding as possible so they can go with anything you wear. We’ve chosen a clean, simple Puma pair because it’s a slightly underrated brand and really comfortable. 

The black Chelsea Boots – Black dante leather Chelsea boots from Schuh – £65

Chelsea boots are the superheroes of footwear: they can pass as stylish dress shoes in most situations, while transforming into casual form with a pair of jeans. Go for black matte leather that can polish up, and a rounder toe to keep the balance of smart and relaxed.

Schuh’s range of boots is huge, but we recommend this black leather pair with a quality rubber soul. 

What’s the cost?

A little under £420 for everything on the list, but the idea is you buy it piece by piece and build your wardrobe up gradually. 

How to wear it all

These staples can all work together to give you any look you need and you can add in other pieces to create your own style. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Catch up at the pub: pair your white t-shirt and grey sweater with the dark blue jeans and white sneakers.
  • Date night: white t-shirt, blue blazer, dark blue jeans and chelsea boots.
  • Job interview: blue oxford shirt, chinos, chelsea boots, blue blazer.
  • Out for a walk: blue oxford shirt, grey sweater, grey overcoat, chinos, white sneakers.

Don’t limit yourself to these options – experiment and enjoy. 

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