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A guide to help the average man... look less average

Affordable designer clothing

Mark Kwak

You want to look sleek... You want to buy designer.... You have no money. My friends, I understand this sentiment all too well. I'm a frugal man myself. I instinctively look at price tags before anything else, I thrift for second-hand whenever I can, and I go to the sales rack before knowing what store I'm even in. Sure, I may be recommending Black Fleece and Paul Smith on this blog, but that doesn't mean that there aren't more affordable options out there with amazing fit & quality.

Here are some outfits I quickly put together with affordable pieces. Please excuse the awful picture quality:

Here are the pieces, and their prices -

Outfit 1 (Left): Kenneth Cole Reaction Jacket $29 :: American Rag Flannel Shirt $20 :: Calvin Klein Jeans $25 :: Simple Shoes $9

Outfit 2: Alfani Dress Shirt $18 :: Ben Sherman Tie $15 :: Perry Ellis Leather Belt $18 :: Louis Raphael Slacks $39 :: Calvin Klein Dress Shoes $49 :: Gap Double Breasted Jacket $25

Outfit 3: Marc Edwards Casual Shirt $14 :: Brooks Brothers Chinos $49 :: Converse All Stars $32

Outfit 4 (Right): Old Navy Hoodie Jacket $15 :: Calvin Klein Shirt $6 :: Levi's Sneakers $21 :: Levi's 513 Jeans $39 :: Gap Belt $12

In the land of affordable, I would recommend several go-to brands.

1. Uniqlo - If you have a Uniqlo close by (NYC, SF, NJ), I would definitely recommend heading to the store immediately. This place is amazing, as their selection and quality is better than most clothing companies at double the price. I have some of their shirts and pants, and they are stylish and durable. Good news is Uniqlo just tweeted that their online store will be opening this fall as well. Just to give you an idea of prices: dress shirts $29.90, chinos $39.90, henleys $19.90. The Japanese know their stuff.

2. Land's End - This company makes some great clothes at very reasonable prices. You will find that a lot of their clothing is a bit old-school and not contemporary enough for today's standards. It's okay though, since they make some great basics (like white shirts or grey pants) that never go out of style at wonderful prices. Stick with their tailored fit

3. Zara Man - I don't have first hand experience with this brand, but some of my more stylish friends swear by it. They make some great looking clothes, albeit a bit more "fashion-centric" than, say a Brooks Brothers. Quality will be much better than an H&M, and Zaras are fairly widespread, so you won't have trouble finding one. Here a cool jacket, gingham shirt, and casual shirt by them.

Lastly, I wanted to let you guys know about an awesome way to afford some high fashion clothing at a reasonable price. Starting this Thursday 9/27, GAP and GQ are doing a collaboration event where high end fashion designers (Ovadia & Sons, Mark McNairy, etc.) are designing pieces under the GAP brand. Just to give some context, a pair of Mark McNairy shoes cost upwards of $450, and an Ovadia & Sons shirt is over $200. This might be an opportunity to get some designer clothing at very reasonable prices. Hope this help, my fashion-forward friends.