This thought has been running through my head for a very long time. I was thinking to myself, “how am I going to continue upgrading my wardrobe without putting alot of stress and heat on the credit card and wallet. It was practically impossible.
Instead, another idea came right through my head. Instead of having an “Ultimate” wardrobe, for young executives who are quite/very limited on budget like myself, going for a “Compact” wardrobe would be the most ideal option.
Three reasons why I like a compact wardrobe.
1) Space – Trust me, if you have the essentials alongside the versatile outfits, you’d find yourself with excess space for that TV rack you always wanted in your room or that Bar Fridge you’ve been dying to buy !
This is how I go about sorting out my wardrobe. To be honest, I think I could make do without one or two pair of shoes.
2) Versatility – This is what I think would be the essential in a wardrobe – White Button Down Oxford (~RM50 from Uniqlo), Light Blue Shirts/Oxfords, Dark Blue Denim (RM79 from Uniqlo), A few colored oxfords for some variet, Decent Polo Tees and Shorts (Get them cheap at Uniqlo or any outlet store) for that weekend activity, Navy Suit (Price heavily dependent if you go bespoke or RTW), Navy Tie, Knit Tie (Navy would be versatile), White Pocket Square, Dark Brown Captoes (Black if you work in an environment that is slightly more formal), Suede Shoes (Chukkas are great!), Boat shoes are slightly more restrictive to the very casual occasion, like running errands or catching up over a pint of beer. If you have additional budget, invest in penny loafers, double monks, whole cuts.
Details on the outfit – Uniqlo light blue shirt, Navy Knit Tie, Sacoor Brothers Pocket Square, Bespoke Double Overcheck Jacket (from the Harrisons Sunbeam) with double patch pockets, quarter lined, J-Crew Chinos & Uniqlo Tan Belt, Meermin Scotch Grain Double Monks & Uniqlo Socks.
If you are lucky, there are some decent pairs lurking around ebay or styleforum. You just got to keep a lookout for deals too. Back when I bought my Chukka boots from Edwards of Manchester, they were having a 20% deal (+20% if you are living outside of the UK – VAT). The idea of having more footwear instead of constricting yourself to one or two is very self-explanatory. You reduce the amount of wear/tear of your shoes, hence increasing their lifespan.
This Uniqlo Button Down Oxford go cheap for about RM50 each if you get them on sale
Upgrade the wardrobe a notch and get the TM Lewin shirt with unfused collar for about 25GBP via online
Once you are ready to go down the bespoke route, I’d recommend the G&R.
How I go about shoe maintenance
a) Give your shoe abit of a buff after every use. For suede, get a suede brush and brush the upwards after every wear
b) Dry off the leather soles after use, especially during rainy weather. The major drawback of wet leather soles is that it tend to grow fungus if you don’t let it dry properly.
c) Shoe trees are vital. Invest in some and you’ll understand why. Legit cedar wood trees gives your shoe that nice scent.
Invest in shoe trees. They are worth every single penny !
d) Give your shoes a quick shine and apply some conditioner every now and then to make sure that the leather does not “dry” up. In fact, applying conditioner on shoes help “nourish” the leather on it. In other words, it makes your shoe look a whole lot better ! Invest in decent shoe care products.
Giving shoes that extra care would surely boost its lifespan. This pair of brogues went through a few episodes of hectic rain. It still wears fine.
3) Cost – Well this is a given. Having a compact wardrobe saves you a whole heap of money. It truly does! Imagine how often would a white shirt be more suitable compared to a black one? Versatility and cost do come in hand in hand actually. Shoe wise, if you have two choices. Go for a black captoe and a pair of suede (i like suede penny loafers but you have the choice of going Chukkas too)
Save up for some decent shoe care products. It really bumps up the lifespan of your shoe.
Truthfully, it really isn’t impossible to get yourself a decent wardrobe. Spend a few hundred bucks extra and it goes a damn long way. Try it. I did and I never loved my white and light blue shirts, my suede shoes and my economical chinos any less. You just need to get hold of good deals, so always keep an eye out for one.