Dress Like a Baller for a Fraction of the Price (Brand + How To Guide)

Hopefully this guide will save monkeys some money and avoid the fuckups I made. Basically, you can score expensive $$$ clothing for way way less than what you would think. This doesn’t mean cheap, but it does mean you should be able to find $8000 suits for ~$700 - $1200 by the time you finish with this guide and shirts that are $500 - $700 for ~$100/$150.

We’re going to be searching the vast universe of the interwebz to find you dope shit at great prices, so please obtain the below first:

  • You need to know the measurements of a shirt that fits you best.
  • Measurements of a suit jacket that fits you best.
  • Measurements of pants that fit you best.
  • Some level of patience.
  • A good tailor you trust. You don’t want someone nuking your Attolini/Kiton jacket!!!

Measurements

For the measurement portion, here’s a good guide: How to measure a garment. There are also loads on YouTube if you’re still lost.

Tailors

Since you almost always want things tailored after buying them, here are some general rules of thumb…

  • Nailing shoulders on a sportcoat/suit jacket are the most important thing as an error in fit here will cause the most issues for your tailor.
  • A lot of pants can easily be let out, but bringing them in can be a little tricky since pocket positions start moving.
  • If you’re in good shape and have a solid V taper, you WILL run into issues buying suits because you’ll end up buying a “large” suit jacket that comes with pants that are too big in most cases. Can be a huge pain.
  • If you’re in-between sizes or unsure what size to go with, always size up because it’s easier to bring something in than to let it out.

Where to search:

  • Lyst.com – Good aggregator. Can sometimes miss things though. I like starting here usually.
  • The Real Real - Used site but look for NWT. That means new with tags/unused.
  • eBay. Look for items that are new with tags or have a factory defect. A defect can be something as small as a tiny discoloration which can makes an 80%+ discount (!!!) totally worth it. eBay is where you’ll likely find the best deals.
  • Discount retailers/outlets. Yoox, Shop the Finest, Barney’s, Nordstrom Rack, Saks, etc… can have good deals occasionally.

General Notes on Wardrobe Construction:

  • Think every piece through when you first start buying. Try to pick up pieces that work well with other things you own.
  • Blues, browns and greys are nice because they pair up with a variety of colors.
  • Knits can be hard to take care of and fragile.
  • Don't buy trendy bullshit, at least initially. Focus on classics. This is where you'll get the best bang for buck too. Grab a sportcoat that's a season or two old and save some srs $$$.

Brands to Look For (Traditional Business Clothing)

  • Cesare Attolini – Some of the best clothing available. Their cut is more structured than what you’d usually find from an Italian made suit. Not as structured as a British made suit but definitely moreso than say…Kiton/Isaia. Anything made by them is amazing. I’ve had great experiences with their suits, shirts and jeans. With patience you can find a full Attolini suit for $800 - $1400. Keep in mind these usually have a sticker price of $8000+ new. Shirts/pants can be found for $100 - $200 all day long.
  • Kiton – Same deal as Attolini quality wise except with more of a classic Italian slim fit. I’ve had great experiences with their sport coats and pants. Generally easier to find at lower price points NWT than Attolini too.
  • Oxxford. Very well made American suits. Personally not a fan of the cuts but quality is on par with the above.
  • Brioni – I don’t have much experience with them outside of a few suits but they tend to have more of an “old man friendly” cut. Good if you’re on the heftier side of things. I’ve been more impressed with the Kiton and Attolini pieces I’ve picked up but Brioni is very good quality wise too.
  • Isaia – My favorite brand. Great quality and you can find their stuff at amazing prices NWT. Just scored an unworn $3000 sport coat for $400 the other day that was about a season old and I probably overpaid slightly. They have a classic Italian slim fit and are known for their fun patterns. Amazing sport coats. Shirts are solid quality wise too but I’d probably rather opt for Attolini/Kiton before Isaia.
  • Zegna/Tom Ford – Zegna has a ton of different quality levels. Stay the fuck away from ZZegna. Their Couture line is really nice but I’ve never had great luck finding good deals on Zegna stuff and IMO it’s kind of boring. Throwing Tom Ford in here because his stuff is made by Zegna. Hard to find good deals on because he’s a little trendy right now. Pretty aggressive cut, generous lapels, etc…IMO you’re definitely paying a bit of premium for the Tom Ford brand.
  • Eton. Just throwing this in here for their shirts. They are my favorite because of the built in collar stays and wrinkle-resistant fabric. Amazing shirts and you can find them new for as little as $40. I prefer them to my Attolini shirts, especially when travelling, just because of how easy they are to take care of.

Other brands:

  • Brunello Cucinneli – I love their clothing. Known for their knits but they have tons of gorgeous pieces. If you’re in an office environment that allows business casual then look here for sure. I have a sport coat from them that I love too.
  • Paul Smith – Makes some fun stuff. They’ve had a few different sub-brands and quality on those can be hit or miss. I have a shirt and wallet from them, both well made but for the price I would rather more Kiton/Attolini.
  • Canali – Well made. Have some experience with their jackets but IMO you get more bang for buck when buying NWT elsewhere.
  • Etro – Cool shirts and widely known for their paisley patterns. Not impressed with their suits/sportscoats for the money personally. They have some really cool overcoats and jackets that I love. Only buy at steep discounts!
  • Eidos – Made by Isaia as their less formal line of clothing. Have put out some really cool pieces and can be found cheap NWT on eBay.

A note on accessories:

I recommend buying most of your accessories like watches and ties used - ESPECIALLY watches. Get good at feeling out watch prices and buying them, and you can make some decent cash while owning great pieces. I have a 6 figure watch collection that I can flip for 30% - 40% more than I paid. All it took was some patience. Ties you can find all day at a fraction of what they go for new.

Hope that helps!!!

 

Check the forums - RolexForum dot com and OmegaForums dot net are good ones to start with. I bought my Omega on the latter and was very pleased. They are typically better prices than buying in the "grey market" on some sites mentioned by others and the users are vetted by the community. You can buy with confidence after doing a quick check of the sellers' references.

I'd recommend doing your research on the "grey market" sites before buying as I've heard some horror stories.

 

I got an automatic Tissot a while ago. Not really a brand known for luxury with the watch only costing ~$1,000, but I get complements on it all the time and it looks more expensive then it actually is.

Love, abigreguy
 

I bought a Tissot as my first real watch and it is always solid. Minimal to no maintenance required and just has a clean look. Tissot makes the movements for many swatch group watches, so you get the same movement for cheap. Its how I met my girlfriend, so its always a nice conversation piece when i'm with her,

 

Know this is an older comment, but seriously hope if you executed you went for the JLC. Fell in love with the brand majorly and bought Master Ultra Thin Moon. I've never been obsessed with Rolex's but felt out what it would be like to find a Daydate / Datejust. Ended up being an absolute nightmare - every AD was utterly sold out and expressed they had no hope for getting me one for quite some time. Cue JLC and I did some research into the brand and their models and immediately fell in love. Some of their stuff has been harder to find but was nothing compared to the Rolex process. And their pieces are, IMO, incredibly more gorgeous given their subtlety and the quality of finish/movement.  

 
Most Helpful

I am a huge advocate of buying secondhand and on eBay in particular.

The most important thing I feel you need to watch out for is the seller rating. Do they have generally good reviews (95%+) or are they a new seller? This is the only major point of caution I would be careful with but it is pretty simple.

I get a lot of NWT or NWOT stuff through eBay. Recently I scored an awesome Baume & Mercier Classima (from the watch snob recommendations thread) for about half off of new retail. A penny saved is a penny earned!

 

Real Real has a ton of Brunello. If you're in NYC they have an awesome store in SoHo so you can try everything on as brands like this are a little tricky to size. Got a Loro Piana jacket there for about 1/4th of the price.

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
 

I agree with this, with the caveat that you have to know what you are doing. I've had a bunch of stuff made on various trips to Thailand over the years, and the difference in quality has been stark. A few shirts that somehow or another still fit me decently despite my packing on quite a few pounds and suits that have lasted for years, and some other shirts that came out with sleeves too short and collars too skinny.

Take the time to do your research, and you can come out of it paying $400 for a suit that seems like it should cost $4,000.

 

Unless they're super nerdy about clothing, then they won't know how much your clothing costs. The only way someone would be able to tell you're wearing an Attolini polo for example would be by looking really hard at the buttons and button holes or the way it's sewn together. There's nothing overtly flashy about most of the brands I mentioned. Not like they ever have logos on display, etc...

Pull anyone off the street and they'll have no idea what Kiton or Attolini are.

Same reason I never buy flashy watch brands or anything gold/icy. Attracts the wrong kind of attention IMO.

 

Honestly, proven strategy by most of my coworkers; sign up for the Nordstrom credit card in the spring and get early access to their 1/2 yearly sale in June. You can get almost everything you need for 50-60% off (designer/high quality suits, dress pants, accessories with free tailoring for guys and gals) and your purchases accrue to points you can use towards other purchases or tailoring on any products.

Not to make a pitch for them, but its hidden gem but it works damn well and keeps money in your pocket - goal achieved.

 

If you're ballsy...you can buy used and get a $1500+ shoe for like $100 but if you value hygiene then factory seconds are the best way to get good bang for buck. I'm not a big shoe guy as I have a weird fit. Almost all my stuff is Lobb.

Random thoughts on brands:

-Edward Green: Pricey but amazing quality wise. Better value for the money than John Lobb IMO.

-John Lobb: Great brand. Prices have gone way up and Edward Green is better for the money. Neither shoe is cheap though.

-Vass Custom. Relatively inexpensive way to get a custom shoe.

-Allen Edmonds. Used to be a better deal but quality has dropped over the last few years. Best way to buy them is via their dedicated site for factory seconds as you can get shoes way cheaper than normal.

-Random fashion brands like Ferragamo, Gucci, etc.... I'd personally rather just spend more and get something by Edward Green or John Lobb but YMMV.