The Ten Suit Plan
Let’s figure that you can wear a suit three times before it needs to be dry-cleaned. And let’s assume that, out of seven days in a week, on at least one of those days, I’m going to be painting or dressed down or what have you, and not need to wear a suit. Jeans or something, who knows? That’s six days a week.
If I want to wear a different suit every day, and ensure that my suit-cycle doesn’t synchronize with the days of the week (so, Monday is the gray suit, Tuesday is the blue suit, that’s bad), and I want to do my dry-cleaning once a month, then I need ten suits.
So, now, whenever I buy a dress shirt, I make sure I can wear it with at least two suits, which means in theory I’d only need five dress shirts — if I bump that to six, I can do my laundry once a week, on the day when I’m not wearing a suit, and be ready to go again next week. In theory, though, since I’m wearing each suit three times, I could go for a week only wearing two suits, meaning I’d need at least nine shirts.
If I make sure that every tie I get goes with at least two shirts, then I only need five ties.
I have three suits; I’d need seven more. Plus another four dress shirts, and six more ties. (I think I should probably have twice as many ties as there are days in the week in which I wear a suit, because the last thing you want is a reputation as the guy that always wears the same six ties.)
Fortunately for me, I can buy a suit off the rack and expect it to fit well, so I could fill out my seven remaining suit-slots for less than a thousand dollars. But even MORE fortunately for me, I can also find thrift-store suits and expect THOSE to fit well — this is seven suits, best-case scenario, for seventy dollars. Worst-case (that is, I’d have to buy the suit and have it tailored to fit) for $420 dollars.
Ties are pretty cheap; I like paisley ties (both because I think they look cool, and for the symbolic value), and since apparently nobody else does, I can find these for eight or ten bucks at Ross.
So, actually, the most expensive part of this plan is the shirts — I like a bright, crisp shirt, which rules out the thrift stores. I can get these remaindered at Ross, too, for like ten or twelve bucks — but correct sizing is a big problem. To make sure I get shirts that fit, I’d have to take the hit and periodically get a shirt at $14 or $24.
I can accomplish my ten-suit plan for….between $200 and $540.
That’s not such an investment, to ensure that I’m better-dressed than all of you.