How to Build a Minimal Wardrobe for Under $500

Posted by Rocky Mountain Barber on

Building a tycoon’s wardrobe on an errand boy’s budget is fully possible. It all comes down to playing your cards right—and we mean that quite literally—it’s probably the only time we’ll condone “swiping less”! Seriously, though, you can secure an impressive modern clothing collection; you just need some classic pieces that transition easily into multiple occasions. Ready to start? Here’s how to build a minimal wardrobe under $500.

Office shirt by day, awesome by night

dress shirt

Like Bruce Wayne, transform from corporate guy by day to night-dweller by after hours— minus the cape... and that creepishly deep voice. Bottom line, whichever office shirt you’re wearing to work, you can also rock it after five. This would include date nights, lounges and restaurants.

You don’t need more than three shirts: white, pastel and one in print, maybe gingham or stripes, to keep things interesting.

For affordable men’s shirts, go with Zara— you’ll pay about $70 or less each.

Your two must-need pants

To keep things minimal, your two most essential pants are jeans and black khakis. For the jeans, choose dark wash, making them acceptable for both day or night. They’ll serve as you casual go-to bottoms.

blue jeans

The black khakis are a little more formal, so you can rock them for both upscale hot spots and the office. You can find both these styles at H&M for under $60.

black khakis

Basic shirts: your dream threesome

white tee

On casual days, rotate between your three basic shirts: grey, white and black. The neckline styles are up to you. A round neck says it’s a low-effort day, while a v-neck spruces things up — and a deep v means hopefully you’ve been working out. You can get these shirts on Amazon for as low as $10.

Monochrome crewnecks

grey sweater

If it’s cold, a crewneck sweater is your staple. Worn on its own, a crew neck offers a neat, tidy look for any basic occasion. You can also level it up by layering your crewneck over a white collared shirt for that polished finish.

In terms of colour, go with anything monochrome. This way, you don’t need to fuss as much about matching the crewneck with the rest of your attire--that’s what we call “smart casual”!

Again, we’re recommending H&M for crewnecks under $40.

Footwear finish

chelseasGetting your footwear fix doesn’t have to be pricey. To keep it minimal, you’ll invest in two pairs: black suede loafers and brown Chelsea boots. Here’s why. The loafers can double as both a formal and casual shoe. So by getting them in suede (less fancy than leather), you can upscale or downscale your look for less.

The brown Chelsea boots serve as your secondary option for laidback settings. Trendy and durable, these boots will last the test of time— definitely worth it.

To keep everything under $500, we recommend getting your shoes at either Aldo or Payless.


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