We firmly believe that making an effort to be well dressed is about more than just vanity. To us, it’s a form of self care. When you look good, you feel good, and that can boost confidence, elevate your mood and ultimately put you in a better headspace.
Unfortunately, the fashion world isn’t a cheap place. Factor in rising prices and stagnating wages, and decking a wardrobe out in new clothes becomes a completely unrealistic prospect for many. Aside from shopping vintage or hitting the sales (both of which are excellent options by the way), menswear can feel somewhat inaccessible to all but those with bulging wallets. But there are good options… if you know where to look.
Here at Ape, we have a few go-to brands that never seem to fail when it comes to picking up new pieces on a budget. We’re not talking about bottom-of-the-barrel, stack-em-high-sell-em-cheap fast-fashion companies either – these are labels that we feel offer actual value for money, whether that’s through the versatility of the designs or the build quality of the clothes.
These aren’t THE cheapest brands in the world, but they’re the ones we feel offer the best bang for your buck. So keep scrolling to find out how you can be better dressed on a budget.
Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo is hard to beat when it comes to buying simple, stylish clothes on a shoestring. Unlike most high-street clothing stores, its designs aren’t overly trend-led, which means they don’t date quickly and you can keep wearing them for longer.
This is a great place to pick up budget basics like T-shirts, underwear, shirts (the Oxfords are the best you’ll find at the price point) and even winter outerwear. There are even selvedge-denim jeans for less than £40, which is a big win in our book.
Check out the Uniqlo U line for slightly more fashion-forward designs, and keep an eye out for well-priced collabs with some of the coolest designers and labels around. Past ones include Engineered Garments, Jil Sander, White Mountaineering and J.W. Anderson.
Shop now at Uniqlo
Dickies is a historic workwear brand that found a fresh audience in the skateboarding and streetwear communities.
It’s garments are built to take a battering, whether it’s on the jobsite or in the skatepark, which means they’re super durable and made to last. Everything is pretty reasonably priced too, with three packs of plain tees going for around £50.
One of the things Dickies does best is trousers. Its wide-leg ‘work pants’ are a mainstay in the streetwear world, offering clean lines and comfort for just a touch over £60. They’re super versatile too – sitting somewhere between a chino, a dress trouser and a work trouser – which means you can wear them with anything and everything.
If wide legs aren’t your style, there are slimmer cuts available too.
Shop now at END.
Carhartt is curious in the diversity of its audience. This is a brand you’re just as likely to spot on a midwestern farmer as you are on a Brooklyn cool kid.
It started life as a workwear brand but in more recent years it has been hijacked by the fashion crowd. As a result, Carhartt launched its WIP line, which is dedicated to the more style-led side of things. It’s got some great stuff, but the classic workwear is where the real value is.
Carhartt’s workwear line has a lot of the same basics as the WIP line, but at cheaper prices. Things like T-shirts, crew necks, hoodies and even the highly popular double-knee work pants can be found for less.
Most importantly, it’s all built to be bombproof, meaning you can keep relying on it season after season and year after year.
Shop now at Carhartt
This Swedish label isn’t cheap cheap, but for the sort of trendy, fashion-forward styles it specialises in, it’s the most affordable brand there is.
This is a great place to shop if you’re into the androgynous cuts, unconventional silhouettes and elegance of high fashion, but don’t have to bank balance to shop at haute-couture houses.
Shop now at COS
Gap is a great place to pick up wardrobe basics on a budget. It’s an excellent option when it comes to stocking up on things like hoodies, tees, socks and underwear, and there are loads of other good-value seasonal pieces that rotate all the time.
It’s the sort of store you can throw a great everyday outfit together for less than £150, all the components of which could have just as easily come from somewhere like A.P.C. for five times the price.
Shop now at Gap
British high-street stalwart M&S is an often overlooked source of well-made and wallet-friendly menswear, including some fantastic tailoring. If we’re looking for a suit or a nice double-breasted jacket on a budget, this is always our first port of call.
There’s a great selection of off-duty clothing too, including some excellent knitwear and a huge selection of casual shirts that are built to last.
If you can look past the pensioner connotations, you can put an entire capsule wardrobe together for a few hundred quid.
Shop now at Marks & Spencer
Arket is a H&M-owned store that specialises in the Scandi minimalist aesthetic. It offers a tightly curated selection of understated pieces that can be endlessly mixed and matched to create subtly stylish outfits.
It’s not the cheapest brand out there, but it does make some seriously versatile clothes that are well built and capable of standing the rest of time.
So when you spread the cost over the amount of time you can wear a garment, the value becomes apparent. Check out the heavyweight tees and casual tailoring.
Shop now at Arket
Uniqlo isn’t the only Japanese high-street chain offering solid, simple pieces at budget-friendly prices. Muji may not be as popular in terms of menswear, but it’s an equally bountiful source of understated wardrobe essentials with accessible price tags.
You won’t find anything particularly exciting or fashion forward, but if you just want to deck your wardrobe out with simple pieces that look good and won’t break the bank, you’ll struggle to find better.
Shop now at Muji
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