budget style

#51. Top 10 High-Street Spring Essentials Under £100: 23/02/2017.

With two months of 2017 already nearing their conclusion, spring is fast approaching, and many of the winter wardrobe staples are in swift need of replacement. For today’s post, I thought I’d share with you guys a number of high-street pieces under £100 that I’ve found online in anticipation of the coming months. This also happens to be one of the rare occasions where my wardrobe extends beyond its usual monochromatic scheme, though not by much, I concede; I’m talking muted hues, not pastel greens and fluorescent yellows. Regardless, I imagine there may be a couple of pieces in this list that surprise you a little, but hopefully there will be at least one item that you consider adding to your own wardrobe. I particularly like the black denim biker jacket by Zara, as I lost a very similar jacket in a club a year ago (not a clue how) and have been looking for a replacement since to no avail. I’m also leaning towards the ASOS double-breasted blazer, and the Zara t-shirt with sequin and embroidery detail. Let me know in the comments which pieces you like best, and whether you’ll be picking any of them up in time for spring! Cheers.

Zara: Premium Denim Shirt – £29.99

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Zara: Black Denim Biker Jacket – £59.99

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Zara: Khaki Military Shirt – £15.99

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Zara: Sequinned & Embroidered Black T-Shirt – £19.99

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River Island: Monochrome Acid Wash Denim Jacket – £60

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French Connection: Plain Black Formal Slim-Fit Trousers – £34

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ASOS: Regular Fit Black Viscose Shirt with Floral Print – £25

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ASOS: Skinny Double-Breasted Blazer in Grey Herringbone – £70

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ASOS: Chelsea Boots in Brown Suede with Cuban Heel – £55

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ASOS: Brogue Shoes in Black Leather with Creeper Sole – £55

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#35. Building an Affordable, High-Quality Wardrobe: 15 Minimalist Staples to Recreate Your Style.

I had somewhat of a small revelation the other day; despite the numerous posts I’ve written on various aspects of an outfit, and on how to find them on a shoestring budget, I’m yet to write up a conclusive cornerstone guide for those who wish to start anew, or for those looking to remove the noise from their wardrobe and replace it with high-quality, staple pieces. So, for today’s post, I thought I’d show you the 15 products I would be buying if I wanted to create a new wardrobe from scratch. I’d like to note beforehand that these pieces are a little more expensive than those in my regular posts; however, when you’re only buying a handful of items, and ones which will hold their form for years to come, then it’s honestly worth the extra initial expenditure. I’ve picked out everything you’d possibly need to recreate your style with versatile and high-quality, monochrome staples, predominantly from Scandinavian brands renowned for their use of superior fabrics and minimal design.

Every great wardrobe, irrespective of individual style, needs to get the basics right, and that means you need to spend a little bit more on your t-shirts. Now, I’m not talking spending £30 and upwards per tee, as many brands would have you believe is necessary for quality – Selected Homme‘s plain tees are available on a 2 for £25 deal, but retail individually at £16. These pieces are well under-priced. I own a number of plain t-shirts by them, and can say with confidence that they’re the most comfortable and long-lasting basics you can buy at that price-point. These O-necks are available in black, white or midnight blue, but I would abstain from the latter and just pick up one in black and one in white.

1. Plain T-Shirt: http://www.selectedhomme.com/gb/en/slh/great-offers/2-for-45ch/o-neck-t-shirt-16034242.html – 2 for £25, or £16 each.

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Now that the basics have been sorted, you need a t-shirt that stands out from the rest. Graphic tees can look great when designed with ingenuity and charm, and whilst I tend to refrain from 99% of graphics, P&Co know exactly what they’re doing with their t-shirts. The designs are all clean, unique and heavily-influenced by Americana and biker culture. This particular tee is on sale at the moment at £18, with all sizes available – a rarity, trust me.

2. Graphic T-Shirt: https://pand.co/collections/t-shirts-long-sleeves/products/give-em-hell – £18, on sale from £30.

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That’s genuinely all the t-shirts you’ll need in building your new wardrobe – the plain tees offer incredible versatility and will never go ‘out of style’, and the P&Co piece is one which will fit the purpose for any occasion where you’re looking to stand out a little more.

The next essential you’ll need to pick up is a formal white shirt, which pretty much goes without saying. The ‘Redondo’ by AllSaints is a slim-fitting, long-sleeve, evening shirt, and is well worth the £70 investment – the last thing you want is to underspend on your dress shirt and have it lose its shape after a few washes and wears.

3. Formal Shirt – https://www.allsaints.com/men/shirts/allsaints-redondo-ls-shirt-ms120f/?colour=10&category=11 – £70.

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Next up, I’d be looking to buy a denim shirt, preferably black. Denim shirts are functional, and a high-quality piece can last you years. You can style them open, layered over a plain tee, or buttoned-up, to wear on a smart-casual occasion. This black, slim-fitting shirt, once again by Selected Homme (seeing a pattern here?), is ideal to build up a new wardrobe with. It’s priced at £45.

4. Denim Shirt – http://www.selectedhomme.com/gb/en/slh/shirts/slim-fit-shirts/slim-fit—denim-shirt-16055131.html – £45.

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So, we’ve got a dress shirt and a denim shirt. The final style of shirt needed is a casual one, and by that I mean flannel. Of the three, flannel shirts are by far the most versatile – not only do they provide a timeless top layer for spring/summer looks, but they can be layered up beneath a coat for warmth in the winter. Checked flannels are often worn open over plain t-shirts, and are available in pretty much every colour palette conceivable, however, if you’re looking for staples that can be integrated into an interchangeable wardrobe, I suggest keeping it monochrome. This slim-fit, checked grey flannel shirt by Farah costs £60. However, if you’re a student you get 10% discount, which would make it £54.

5. Casual Shirt – http://www.asos.com/farah/farah-shirt-with-yarn-dyed-flannel-check-in-slim-fit-grey/prd/6625372 – £60, or £54 with student discount.

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In the height of winter, what pieces in your wardrobe become indispensable? For me, it’s jumpers. I own a lot of plain jumpers. There’s nothing better than layering up with jumpers when it’s sub-10 degrees, and, if you opt for unadorned pieces, they can provide near-limitless styling options alongside their functionality. Scotch & Soda are an Amsterdam-based brand, well-known for their exceptional minimalist design. Their graphite crew-neck jumper comes in a cotton-cashmere blend, and is priced at £79.95.

6. Jumper – https://www.scotch-soda.com/gb/en/men/pullovers-cardigans/crew-neck-pullovers/cotton-cashmere-pullover/101642.html – £79.95

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The foundations of the upper-half of the new wardrobe are now complete, and to pair with all the tees, shirts and the jumper, you’re going to need some legwear. First up, denim -specifically, Dr. Denim. Slim, black jeans are about as essential as you can get, and the ‘Snap’ jeans make an ideal bottom-half at £50.

7. Jeans – http://www.drdenimjeans.com/uk/snap-black – £50.

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The second set of essential bottoms are formal trousers. French Connection‘s slim-fit pair come in black, and are on sale at £34, from £80. Much like the dress shirt, you don’t want to skimp expenditure on the trousers, and to get a well-constructed pair at £34 is a steal.

8. Trousers – http://www.asos.com/french-connection/french-connection-plain-formal-slim-fit-trousers/prd/6970352 – £34, on sale from £80.

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The backbone of our wardrobe has now been formed and well-supported, and now we’re onto the more expensive pieces, namely, the outerwear. Don’t worry, it’s not impossible to find a winter coat that’s both, beautiful, and affordable. Noose & Monkey‘s herringbone overcoat comes in a wool-blend, and is priced at £180, which, with 10% student discount, would be £162. I know it sucks to part with £162, but when you’re getting a coat that looks this good, and will stand the test of time, in return, it’s worth it.

9. Winter Coat – http://www.asos.com/noose-monkey/noose-monkey-herringbone-overcoat/prd/6621949 – £180, or £162 with student discount.

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The next staple piece of outerwear is a leather biker jacket – the single most effortlessly cool and functional jacket you could own. When building a wardrobe from scratch, this is the one piece I’d be most willing to invest heavily on. Many high-fashion leather jackets retail well above £700, some of which go into the thousands, but you really don’t need to be spending more than £250 to get a biker jacket that’s a cut above the rest. This asymmetric, belted, black biker jacket by Goosecraft is priced at £225. Students would again get 10% off, making it £202.50. Honestly, jackets like these are worth the initial outlay when you’re only looking to buy a small number of items. Quality always trumps quantity when building a new wardrobe.

10. Leather Jacket – http://www.asos.com/goosecraft/goosecraft-leather-belted-biker-jacket-asymmetric-zip-in-black/prd/7207024 – £225, or £202.50 with student discount.

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Much like the denim shirt, denim jackets are extremely durable and versatile. Scandi kings of denim, Nudie Jeans, price their ‘Sonny’ black denim jacket at £115. A denim jacket is essential when you’re limiting your quantity of clothing; it can be worn over jumpers, layered with flannels, or kept lightweight in spring when worn with a plain t-shirt.

11. Denim Jacket – https://www.nudiejeans.com/product/sonny-dry-black-black – £115.

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So, that’s all the clothing sorted – the handful of pieces will serve you extremely well for years to come, and can be worn interchangeably to create numerous looks for all occasions.

What’s next? The best bit. Footwear. Firstly, everybody needs a pair of military boots. Once you’ve worn them in, they’ll genuinely be your best friends; I say ‘once’ because before that you’ll want to douse them in petrol and set them alight. Zara‘s footwear collections have always been exceptional, and this pair of black Antik-finish boots with side-zipper are nothing less than stunning. They’re priced at £79.99.

12. Military Boots – http://www.zara.com/uk/en/man/shoes/view-all-%7C-from-size-39/black-antik-finish-boots-c734091p3763692.html – £79.99

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To pair with the French Connection trousers and AllSaints dress shirt, you’re going to need some Oxford shoes. Once again, Zara are on hand with the ideal pair. Their patent leather Oxfords come in at £69.99.

13. Dress Oxfords – http://www.zara.com/uk/en/man/shoes/view-all-%7C-from-size-39/patent-finish-oxford-shoes-c734091p3721571.html – £69.99

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Yes, that is a touch of colour you can see in the next pair of shoes. Whilst this post has thus far been all monochrome, I figured a bit of burgundy wouldn’t go amiss in the wardrobe. Burgundy works extremely well with monochrome looks when used sparingly, and these leather Derbies by Base London are all you’ll need to brighten up an outfit a little. They’re on sale at £52.

14. Casual Derby – http://www.asos.com/base-london/base-london-xxi-oscar-leather-derby-shoes/prd/6690946 – £52, on sale from £80.

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And we’ve arrived, 1400 words and 14 items later, at the final piece for a new wardrobe – a pair of trainers. I don’t wear trainers at all, day-to-day, but I do wear them to go boxing in and for those monthly runs, and I imagine most people would like to have a pair just in case they decide to use that gym membership they’ve been paying for for 4 months but haven’t yet ‘found the time’ to utilise. The ‘Flex 2016 RN’ running shoe by Nike is ideal for any of the above, and is priced at £70.

15. Trainers – http://store.nike.com/gb/en_gb/pd/flex-2016-rn-running-shoe/pid-10942171/pgid-11266203 – £70.

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It’s taken me 8 hours to research and type this up, bloody’ell. It’s been a lot of fun to do, to be honest, and hopefully will prove useful for any of you guys who have been thinking about recreating their style or building up a new wardrobe from scratch. I’d love to get some feedback – let me know what you think in the comments, and tell me how you’d change or add to this. Cheers.

 

 

#31. Budget Bikers; The Best Below £100.

The biker jacket is without a doubt the apex predator of effortlessly cool outerwear; there is no style of coat or jacket in history that possesses even a comparable aura. I myself own two biker jackets – both leather, and both black. But the rugged charm of the rock ‘n’ roll cornerstone is not confined by leather, nor, though I love it so dearly, by black. For today’s post, I thought I’d try my hand at finding the best biker jackets currently available online at less than £100, and whilst this may sound an almost-futile task, with £100 being an extremely conservative price-tag for a biker jacket, I actually had quite a lot of success. What helped was widening my horizons beyond the typical, and aforementioned, black leather pieces, and looking at fabrics and colours I might not have looked at before. Don’t fret, there’s no fluorescent teal mesh biker jackets in the list. I’d like to think I managed to find something for almost everyone – not quite everyone though, there’s always going to be that one guy. Don’t be that guy. These are cool jackets.

I guess we should begin with the classic, though, this time, faux-leather has won over genuine leather – don’t say I never did anything for the vegans who read my blog. H&M’s black biker jacket has all the conventional details, and exudes characteristic cool at a highly discounted rate to that of a Schott Perfecto. I mean, of course it’s no Schott, but for £49.99, it’s a real steal.

H&M Black Faux-Leather Biker Jacket – £49.99

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Second up, and also £49.99, is Zara’s faux-suede jacket in tan. I think tan and suede (or faux-suede) is a stunning combination, and I’ve wanted a jacket like this for a long time. This would be ideal for those who want a warmer layer that won’t bulk up an outfit. Snug but sleek.

Zara Faux-Suede Biker Jacket in Tan – £49.99

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I’ve always been a huge advocate of grey leather biker jackets, and I’m very surprised I don’t actually own one considering how good I think they look. This one by ASOS is £66, and features biker panelling on the sleeves and belt detailing at the waist. I quite like the roomy fit too, which is not something I say often; I’d wear this layered over a monochrome-checked flannel and a white long-sleeve top.

ASOS Leather Biker Jacket in Grey – £66

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I really felt the temperature drop this week, and it’s always this time of year I think to myself, “why do I not own a wool coat?” The answer, being honest, is that I find most winter coats to be quite unattractive, and not in-keeping with the sort of stuff I like to wear. Topman have solved my dilemma. Well, I say solved, I can’t afford to buy a jacket at the moment but if I had £85 then the dilemma would indeed be solved. Their wool-rich black biker jacket does something which I rarely see at high-street prices; it manages to mingle a warm winter fabric with biker design without ending up clunky, bulky and ugly.

Topman Black Wool Biker Jacket – £85

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The final biker jacket of the lot looks like something straight out of a Coach collection. Not as luxurious, sure, and faux-suede rather than genuine, but River Island’s black borg-lined biker jacket is the best winter biker I’ve ever seen at less than £100 – £85, to be precise. It’s uncluttered, cool as you like, and probably the best bet if you, like me, are currently having to throw on as many layers as you can to keep warm without looking like Joey Tribbiani.

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River Island Black Borg-Lined Biker Jacket – £85

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Hopefully, you guys found at least one piece you liked in this post. Let me know which style you prefer, and whether you’ll be picking one up for the coming winter. How do you style your own biker jackets? Personally, whilst I really do love some of these pieces, nothing will ever surpass the classic black leather for me.

Twitter: @nikpxtxl