When it comes to your wardrobe there are three things you shouldn’t cheap out on:

  • Shoes
  • Accessories
  • Outerwear

Why? Because you typically get what you pay for, they’re the first things people notice on you, and they last a lot longer than other pieces.

I’m not saying you should spend exorbitant amounts of money on these things, just that you shouldn’t cheap out on them. As a rule of thumb I spend just a little more than I’m comfortable with on these pieces.

Shoes

This applies more so to leather shoes than canvas shoes (although the construction of an ASOS plimsoll is going to markedly worse than something like Converse for example.)

This also applies more to actual shoes than sneakers (the lay person isn’t going to notice a huge perceivable difference between Adidas Stan Smiths and something from Greats for example.)

Until you reach a certain price-point with leather shoes you get plastic covered crap that looks cheap.

When leather like this creases the wrinkles look terrible. It just looks worse over times no matter how much you take care of them. Good leather develops a patina over time and the creases don’t look nearly as bad.

The soles are also glued on instead of stitched. When the soles blow out they’re done for. You can resole welted shoes. You’re basically spending the same for less for better looking shoes over time.

Entry level brand suggestions: Thursday Boots, Meermin, and Beckett Simonon. NOT ALLEN EDMONDS (because of quality control issues)

If you ABSOLUTELY cannot afford any of those: Florsheim, and JCPenney Stafford Line

These will NOT be nearly as good as the above brands but you at least kind of get what you pay for.

Accessories

By accessories I primarily mean sunglasses, watches and jewelry.

This is especially important with jewelry because cheap jewelry can literally leave marks on your skin.

Jewelry

With jewelry you want to avoid weird zinc alloys. Stick to stainless steel, glass, stone, fabric and precious metals only.

ASOS and Etsy are great places for jewelry if you’re hurting for money. I’ve found that HM is a little sketchy when it comes to finding jewelry that doesn’t irritate your skin.

Sunglasses

Once you reach a certain price-point Sunglasses look markedly more luxurious because of things like better acetate (carved and hand polished vs injection molded), metal, and lenses.

Luxxotica brands do suck compared compared to brands that specialize in eyewear but they’re not as bad as people think. Don’t be afraid to get sunglasses from Luxxotica brands. 

Entry level brand suggestions: Warby Parker, Kent Wang, Ray Ban, Persol, Illesteva, and RETROSUPERFUTURE

If you’re really hurting for money: Some $15 to $20 Sunglasses are fine, just avoid the drug store/dollar store/mall crap. Target Goodfellows is my personal favorite brand for absolute beater sunglasses.

Watches

Don’t waste your money on Daniel Wellington and MVMT watches. They’re terrible, ugly, cheap garbage.

Also, don’t feel obligated to go mechanical unless you’re into watches no matter what anybody says. Mechanical watches don’t keep time as well and setting the time can be a pain in the ass. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a watch with a quartz movement (especially if you need the time on your watch to be precise.)

Entry Level Brands: Tissot, Timex, Seiko, Casio, Invicta (NEVER at full retail, and only their homages/replicas, not their ugly original crap), Citizen, and Orient

*Wallets

Not nearly as important as the other three but I highly recommend getting a nicer wallet. People DO notice and you do feel better pulling it out.

I have an Anson Calder wallet and it was a bit pricey but it definitely was worth the purchase. You don’t have to spend nearly that much however.

Some good less expensive options include: Bellroy, Craft & Lore, Mamut, Das Offene, and Taylor Stitch

Outerwear

This applies MOST to leather outerwear. Even more so than leather shoes. You DO NOT want to cheap out on leather outerwear.

That doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply to synthetic, cotton, and wool outerwear as well.

Outerwear takes up the most real estate in your outfit so you want to make sure your outerwear looks great.

Entry level brand suggestions:  Alpha Industries, Carhartt/Carhartt WIP, Schott, Barbour, L. L. Bean, Patagonia, and Allsaints (on sale ONLY)

If you’re really hurting for money: Uniqlo, Abercrombie & Fitch (yes, Abercrombie & Fitch. They’re not nearly as bad now as they were before with the branding)

Thank you for reading.

If you enjoy this content and would like to see more of it you can subscribe below. You will also receive my list of the 17 Essential Items For Any Man Who Cares About How Attractive He Is.