Thursday, July 14, 2011

$50 Mens Business Wardrobe Capsule

I love nothing more than when I get the opportunity to use my thrift powers for good instead of greed (seriously, I love to shop, but sometimes I think I'm going to need to fold space to accommodate all my purchases). Luckily, my good friend Ivan gave me just such an opportunity when he allowed me to start up his very first business wardrobe capsule. A recent graduate, he's in the process of going out to face-to-face informational meetings as well as interviews, so he needs to look sharp and be prepared to work in a business casual office right away if he receives an offer. As a recent graduate, however, he also needs to go easy on the old pocketbook -- a perfect job for yours truly!

Fist thing, we hit up Ivan's local swap meet and ferreted out some great basics: button-front shirts and dress slacks (he already owns some nice ties).

Yellow Ralph Lauren shirt - $1 - compare at $85
Jos A. Bank wool slacks - $1 - compare at $195
Van Heusen Navy Sweater Vest - $1- compare at $20
Linden Grey White shirt - $1- compare at - $14.50
John W. Nordstrom White shirt - $1- compare at $90
Calvin Klein Gray slacks - $1- compare at $80
Blue Nsignia shirt - $1 - original price unknown

Next, we headed down the street to Goodwill, where we scored majorly with a perfect navy pinstripe suit, black dress shoes, a beautiful camel jacket, and a snazzy pair of suspenders to add polish and personality.

British Walker shoes - $8 - compare at $50
Gel insoles - (came inside the shoes!) - compare at $9
Clip-on Patterned Suspenders - $1.50 - compare at $20
Hart Schaffner Marx Navy Pinstripe suit - $20 - compare at $695!!!
Camel hair blazer (no tags) $10 - compare at $299

Check out those results in our totally silly Modern Man's Morning photo shoot! I think he looks totally professional, competent, and experienced -- all for under $50 versus more than $1,500. Now that's good business. :)

Howdy, neighbor! Oh, this mug? A busy guy like me clearly has no time to drink his coffee at home - multitasking is king!

As a successful California man, I sometimes like to study for my financial certifications poolside.

Don't you??

TGIF - and TGI have this slick camel hair blazer to take me straight to a social event of my choice after work!

Tips for shopping used business wear:
  • Don't trust the labeled sizes! Dress clothes are the most likely to have been tailored to fit someone else, so you absolutely cannot rely on the tags. Try on everything you can, and measure everything you can't.
  • Men, pay special attention to neck size and inseams.
  • Women, watch those hemlines.
  • Buy the best jackets/suits you can reasonably afford. A great jacket will uplift a so-so shirt, and can even mask issues like sleeve length.
  • Don't forget the details. They show your employer that you... well, pay attention to details! Well-crafted shoes and personal touches like ties, suspenders, patterned shirts, flattering colors, or quirky cuff links show that you aren't just a drone.
How do you save when shopping for work? Any tips?


  1. Congrats! i love the feeling of using my 'fashion' skills to help other people too - you did an outstanding job here! and the 'editorial spread' is priceless :) steph

  2. Thanks for reading - we had so much fun with the photos!