When I was in my late 20's I realized it was time to step up my clothing game. I was graduating from Business School and starting a big new job. I wanted to look like I belonged, but my wardrobe was filled with stuff that I bought for my first job out of undergrad. Old styles. Cuffed pants. Baggy shirts. Beat up shoes. I realized I needed a major revamp of almost everything in my closet.
When you realize your wardrobe needs a refresh you need to take the next hard step. Purge. And that's REALLY hard. You've spent a lot of money on clothing. It's worked for you in the past, but you know it's not working for you now.
Here is the step by step process you'll need to take to get your wardrobe where you need.
Look critically at your wardrobe and immediately remove the clothes you just know aren't going to work for you going forward. Worn down pants. Shirts that are too baggy. Socks that look 13 years old. Jackets that you wore as an undergrad. Just pull them out of your closet and put them in a pile to take to Goodwill. Don't think about the memories and if there MIGHT be a chance you'd wear them again. It doesn't matter if you had an amazing night in Vegas in the pants 6 years ago. They don't work for you anymore. Put them in the Goodwill pile and move on.
There are core clothes that you wear regularly and that are important. Work button downs. Shoes. Going out outfits. Belts. Evaluate the clothes you have left and figure out of these core items that you NEED to buy. Start there. You will get a ton of usage out of a nicely fitted button down that can be worn to work and on the weekends. The same goes for a nice pair of fitted pants. These are the first items you need to go out and buy. You can't buy a whole new wardrobe at once (unless you're blessed with a lot of cash), so focusing on the key items to start with is critical.
Where to Start Shopping
When I made the shift I didn't have the money to just toss everything and buy everything new. I knew what I was wearing wasn't making me look awesome though. What I did was piecemeal the process. To me where I wanted to look my absolute best was the new job I was starting. I started with the items I needed for work. Fitted button downs. Slim fit pants. Shoes. I then went shopping.
I leveraged a couple different sources for this. I wasn't made of money, so couldn't walk into Bonobos or Banana Republic and buy whatever I wanted. I was clear on needing the right fit and wanting a decent level of quality where the shirt could last. My opinion is you can find many items you're looking for on sale if you're patient and looking. Very little of my entire wardrobe was purchased at full price.
My favorite spots for quality clothes that you can often find on sale are Banana Republic, Bonobos, Uniqlo, Thomas Pink, Nordstrom, Gap (for basics), Ben Sherman, Life/After/Denim and J Crew. Below is a basic Banana Republic tee.
A search at these brick and mortar stores or their online stores should yield some good finds on sale. For example, I walked by Gap yesterday and they had 60% off everything in the store! You could pick up nice slim fit basic pants in a number of colors for under $25! Below is a Bonobos shirt I got at a clearance sale on their website.
I've also found a good way to get started is through Trunk Club. It's hard to find deals going this route, but it is an excellent way to just get started. It's an online platform where you're assigned a personal stylist who knows your sizing and understands your personal style. The stylist will send you 10 items for you to try. You send back whatever you don't want. I've found some of my best clothing items through Trunk Club......and the ones I get the most compliments on. I highly recommend this route, but "sale" isn't something offered at Trunk Club. You can specify your price range though, so they won't send you anything way out of reach.
This plan helped me start on the revamp of my wardrobe. You don't have to break the bank, You just need a bit of patience. In no time with a few key items you'll be looking sharp and walking around with a bit more confidence.