Building Men’s Wardrobe | How To Rebuild On A Budget in 5 Steps


So you finally got that job you were looking for?

Good job! Pat yourself on the back.

One problem… What are you going to wear on your first day?

All you’ve got is clothes from your old job, and you need help building a new men’s wardrobe as soon as possible.

Gentleman, you’ve got this.

Today using my military experience, I have a simple 5 step plan to rebuild your wardrobe on a budget. If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will save money and time and build the best wardrobe you’ve ever had.


Building Men’s Wardrobe – Contents

  1. What is the Five Paragraph Order and Why is it Useful?
  2. Situation – Evaluating What You Have
  3. Mission – Know Your “Why”
  4. Execution – Shopping and Purchasing Your New Men’s Wardrobe
  5. Admin – Any Logistics/Odds and Ends
  6. Communication – Where are You Getting Your Style Information From?

What is the Five Paragraph Order and Why is it Useful for Building Men’s Wardrobe?

For those of you who don’t know, the five-paragraph order is used to issue an order clearly and concisely by a thorough orientation of the area of operations.

antonio marine corps
Having been an officer in the Marine Corps, I have the unique ability to link military tactics to clothing.

In Layman’s terms, this is an easy way to organize all of the information about a situation. This order is used in the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and the United States Navy.

It is broken into five sections:

  1. Situation: the assessment of your enemy’s forces and your friendly forces.
  2. Mission: the who, what, where, when, and why of your order.
  3. Execution: the plan of action taking into consideration the Commander’s Intent, a Scheme of Maneuver, and Fire Support Plan.
  4. Administration: the logistics of this order.
  5. Communication: the radios and passwords and codenames and signals you will use during this order.

You might be thinking to yourself, “How does this factor into rebuilding my wardrobe?”

With a little bit of tweaking of this format, this order will give you the structure you need to keep yourself accountable while rebuilding your wardrobe. It will also help you to budget both your time and money.

Step 1: Situation – Evaluating What You Have

The first step in this process is to judge exactly where your starting point is. I want you to go into your wardrobe that you currently have and lay everything out on your bed or your floor (if it is clean enough).

large clothing pile
Hopefully, none of your piles of clothes are this large…

When I say everything, I mean everything. This includes underwear and socks. Men’s Accessories are also included in this (watches, belts, hats, sunglasses, shoes). You need to look at EVERY piece of clothing you own and divide it into three sections.

Before starting this step, it is imperative to be extremely honest when doing this.

Clothing Pile #1: Love It

This section is pretty easy to understand. These pieces of clothing would be the clothing you can’t live without.

The “Love It” section is not only the best parts of your wardrobe like a nice suit or shoes but also includes pieces of clothing that hold a special place for you, such as old school clothing.

men's shoes

Clothing Pile #2: Like It

This section of clothing would include items that you wear a lot but that you don’t love.

Now, this can get very subjective, depending on your definition of “like” and “love.” My advice would be to fill this section with pieces of clothing that you get a lot of use out of, but that won’t break your heart if you have to get rid of it.

Clothing Pile #3: Let Go

Start singing Let It Go (actually don’t do that) because these are the pieces of clothes you are letting go of.

Everything in this section will be disposed of or donated to Goodwill. These clothing pieces are the ones that don’t fit you or are never worn and just taking up space in your wardrobe.

Interchangeability of your Current Wardrobe

Now that you have three separate sections, it’s time to look at your love and like section. See how many outfits you can put together with this pile.

interchangeable wardrobe
Here is a great example of a 16-piece interchangeable wardrobe that you could use.

I’ve said it many times, but having an interchangeable wardrobe is critical. The more you can use one piece in multiple wardrobes, the more that piece is worth.

For example, let’s say you have a pair of light-washed jeans and a pair of tan chinos. Which is more interchangeable?

The tan chinos can be worn in casual settings and dress settings and match with many different shirts and jackets. Conversely, the light-washed jeans are more casual and can only be worn in that way.

Money and Time

This is all about evaluating your budget for your new wardrobe and how long you have to build it. Both will vary depending on each other.

man counting money
Building a new wardrobe should be a fun experience, not a stressful one – keep track of your budget.

Be honest with yourself and understand what amount you want to spend on your wardrobe with your budget. This is different for every man. It is ultimately up to your income and what you feel comfortable spending.

The second is how long do you have to rebuild your wardrobe. This can be 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years?

That is up to you, but make yourself a deadline and stick to it. If you can set a longer goal, you could save more money to put towards your new wardrobe.

Your Knowledge of Men’s Style

This is where you ask yourself, “How much do I know about men’s style?”

antonio reading
Even I have to study from time to time!

If you’ve been a reader here for a while or have watched a lot of my YouTube videos, then you are on the right track. Try to read and watch as much of my content as you can. You can never know too much about men’s style and lifestyle.

If you’re new here, maybe you don’t know a lot, but that’s okay because we are the best source on the internet for men’s lifestyle and fashion.

Just search for a topic in the search bar at the top of this page to check out whatever you want to learn about. Also, be sure to check out our ebooks about all things men’s fashion and lifestyle.

Step 2: Mission – Know Your “Why”

This step is when you figure out exactly why you are doing this rebuild. Understanding your why is extremely important and will serve as motivators to you.

man writing notes
To ensure you remember it fully, take the time to handwrite your Commander’s Intent.

In essence, you need to create a mission statement. In the military, this would be called the “Commander’s Intent.”

An example of this mission statement would be:

“I’m moving into a new business career and need a wardrobe that reflects my commitment to get things done. I am working in the Tri-State area and interact with potential high net-worth clients two times a week and via video conference with my boss daily. I need to look the part within 30 days on a budget of $1000 so that I can leverage a professional image to meet my yearly sales goals.”

This step is so important as it will serve as a motivation for you to accomplish this wardrobe and keep you accountable. It’s always important to remember what your overarching goal is and to never forget that.

Just like in a career, you can’t get bogged down in the monotonous daily work. Keep pushing towards your goal of building men’s wardrobe one step at a time.

Step 3: Execution – Shopping and Purchasing Your New Men’s Wardrobe

This is where the bulk of your rebuild will happen. In this step, you will be spending all of your money and purchasing all the pieces for your new wardrobe.

Remember The “Commander’s Intent”

It is vital while you are shopping and looking for clothes to refer back to your mission statement you wrote out.

happy man shopping
With so many options, it is easy to get distracted. Always remember your why.

You wrote it to make sure you don’t get distracted from the wardrobe you are building.

While you are shopping, it is very easy to get distracted and get something that doesn’t fit into your “Commander’s Intent.”

Maybe you see a new pair of sneakers you want or maybe a new leather jacket. Do these fit into the wardrobe you are building?

You always have to be asking yourself these questions as you work on building men’s wardrobe.

Know Your Enemy’s Center of Gravity

What do I mean by this? Your enemy –  tons of clothing that don’t match or work together.

You probably have tons of pieces that don’t fit into an interchangeable wardrobe.

So, think about this while you’re shopping. Buy clothing that is flexible enough to get more use out of it.

Understand Your Critical Vulnerabilities

These are like the speed bumps you can experience while rebuilding your wardrobe.

For instance, if you only have 30 days, is this enough time?

Are you in-between sizes; would it be smarter to get custom clothing made for you?

Is your budget extremely tight?

These are all vulnerabilities that you have that can prevent you from accomplishing the wardrobe rebuild.

Never Forget Your Desired End State

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

dapper man reading

Find your style inspirations.

Whether you look at magazines or movies, find a person’s style you admire and use this to build your end state.

When picking guys style that you admire, make sure you have a similar skin tone and hair color. The odds are that the colors and styles they wear will look good on you as well.

Scheme of Maneuver

Gentleman, this is your action plan. You need to make a list of all the items you need to get in the order you need to get them.

man writing list
Make a list, and make sure to check it twice!

Make sure the order goes from most important to least important. You also want to make sure you a detailed about this.

Don’t just say grey trousers. What kind of material do you want them to be in? What kind of cut do you need?

Again, make sure that this list starts with the most important items that you need. You don’t want to make a random list and spend too much on the first items and run out of money.

Make a Fire Support Plan

Your fire support plan is a backup plan.

Let’s say an item you desperately want is out of stock. Then, make sure to have some backups that are similar to it.

If you find yourself in a pinch in your budget, maybe ask for help from someone. If you are a student, this is a perfect opportunity to ask for an early birthday gift.

Always have support systems and back-up plans to ensure success in building men’s wardrobe.

Step 4: Admin – Any Logistics/Odds and Ends

This includes kind of “not fun” parts of shopping for new clothes. First, make sure you understand what the return policy is.

tailor measuring a suit
You should be on a first-name basis with your tailor. He can make or break your style.

With online shopping so prevalent, mistakes happen, and sometimes you may need a different size. Make sure that you understand this policy thoroughly in the case that you need a refund or exchange.

Another logistical issue is adjustments. Odds are you won’t fit into professional clothing right off the rack. You may need small adjustments here and there.

Speak to a tailor in advance to understand how much this will cost you and how long it will take. Some adjustments take a lot of time, depending on how big they have to be.

Step 5: Communication – Where are You Getting Your Style Information From?

This step is crucial to you saving the most money while building men’s wardrobe.

Basically, the more you understand about men’s style, the money you save, and the more time you save.

Real Men Real Style is the perfect place to do this. With thousands of articles and tons of ebooks, and a vast library of YouTube content, we have all the information you will ever need to know and more.


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