Welcome to Coolmenstyle,
In this article, I will guide you how to build a perfect streetwear wardrobe for your budget.
If you are a beginner and building your wardrobe from scratch, I recommend you to use fast fashion brands to fill a lot of your essential items. By essentials, I mean items that are very versatile and transferable that you can use with a lot of different outfits.
They are basic tees, hoodies, denim jeans, pants and joggers. Brands, such as H&M, Zara, asos, Topman, Pacsun, are that have a variety of selections and rarely go out of stock. However, at this price point, there are two brands which are Summit Home and EPTM are the most bang for your buck.
When you have a decent amount of basics, you can now move on to mid-tier brands
How to distinguish between fashion and high fashion
The difference between fast fashion and mid-tier is that firstly, quality and material is much more durable. Secondly, the structure on the thread are constructed much tougher, especially on the sleeves and hem.
Thirdly, the fit on these mid-tiers will be closer to your body, more seamless.
Fast fashion can last for one season, maybe two seasons if you’re careful. You may notice that the colors aren’t the same as original, fading a lot. You will also notice that threads are coming apart, especially on the sleeves and some of the fabric will fray at the neck and hem.
I will always advice you to purchase an item that you can wear a hundred times and is a little more expensive rather than buying a piece 5-10 bucks which you can only wear a couple of times.
And that is why I really hope you can move to the mid-tiers price point as soon as possible.
Stepping into mid-tier is also when you will choose a long-term fashion style for yourself. You may be going towards Avant-garde, Chic, Urban or Americana or any style of your preference.
Stepping into mid-tier is also when you dig deeper into fashion. This is the phase when purchasing anything you will treat it like you are collecting because you have spent quite some money now. Thus, you want to exchange for durability, quality as well as those items won’t go out of styles in a couple of years.
Some mid-tier brands you can consult are ADYN, Represent, N.D.G, Talexander Wang, MNML, John Elliott, Blood Brother and so on.
At this mid-tier price point, almost all of the pieces that you purchase will be bang for your buck and where you will get the best denim for its price.
After gathering a fair amount of base for your wardrobe that includes fast fashion and mid-tier, you can now move on to the next phase/price point – that is grail and high fashion.
Grail and high fashion
Stepping into this segment, things started to change A LOT. You are not simply buying just a clothing piece, but now you are paying a higher price in exchange for values such as designer’s spirit and legacy, especially garments from a collection or ideas that reflect the insane and genius mind of the designer.
You will also be paying for handmade, delicacy textiles and very, very specialty materials. Besides, these items not only have value on the price, but also on the pride and soul of the pieces.
In general, this is the point when you derive from your own personal mindset on fashion.
And I truly understand that to most people, purchasing a lot of these items is a luxury and out of reach. Thus, this is why I will advice you to not purchase these items at a retail price, but let’s wait on annual sales to buy them lower than retail that are still deadstock items.
The most essentials in a streetwear wardrobe
Now, I will drop you some knowledge on the most essential clothing pieces that you should own in a perfect streetwear wardrobe.
First of all, it’s shoes.
In mens shoes, there are a lot of types and styles that those who are newbies might get confused. However, basically, I personally think that there are 5 pieces that every man should own. They are running shoes, the hypebeast, boots, beaters and a pair of plain white shoes.
Actually, I don’t want to mention about this part much as there has been already an article writing about this topic. You can have a look at “5 Types of Shoes every Guys Should Own” on my blog for more details.
Basic tees are arguably as the foundation, fundamental and core of your wardrobe. It’s basically like an engine of a car or groundwork of a house. Almost all of your outfits will be with a basic tee. Doesn’t matter what style you are following, from street, avant-garde, chic to urban or Americana, you need items that can be match with many different outfits.
And basic tees are that one item in streetwear. Almost all of my layering outfits are go with a basic tee. For example, if you are just wearing a hoodie then your outfit will look very boring doesn’t matter how nice the hoodie is.
However, if you layer it with a basic tee, the outfit immediately has a focus, making your hoodie stand out from the crowd a lot more.
Or, if you are wearing a flannel and don’t match it with a nice tee, the flannel won’t reach its max potential.
Basic tees are also nice when wearing by itself.
Personally, I think the most simple and subtle outfit is with a tee and denim jeans. So, how do you choose a perfect tee for you?
As mentioned above, there are some differences between fast fashion, mid-tier, and high fashion. So, in what category should you buy your tee? The quick and simple answer is mid-tier.
Tees that range between $35 – $80, which is the price point where you will get tees that are much better comparing to fast fashion brands that range from $5 to $30.
Because firstly, mid-tier tees have fits that really hugs your body and reasonable length. Secondly, threading construct as well as the fabric quality will save you quite a bit of money in a long run.
With a mid-tier tee, you can wear for several years and it will still hold up very well.
Instead, a fast fashion tee can last you one season (as I mentioned above). Of course, not every one has the income to invest in clothing. If you are like me and have a limited budget, you have no choice but to mix between mid-tier and fast fashion.
But that gives you a goal to replace all of the fast fashion pieces to mid-tier as soon as possible.
Form and cut
Other than investing your money into a shirt, you need to pay attention to the form and cut of the shirt that suits your style. If you are into layering like me, the two most common cuts are scoop and mercer.
Scoops are funnel rounded cuts and mercers have a very angular slit on the sides.
Besides, if your style is urban American streetwear, I highly recommend you to opt for elongated tees or long tees in general. I know some of you might think that such tees are a trend that just comes and goes. But I assure you elongated tees are a timeless piece.
That’s why you shouldn’t be so hesitant investing in these guys.
Now, the question is how many tees you need in your wardrobe. Well, this depends on what you already have and what you are missing. And that’s why we will move on into colors.
Basic in its literal meaning is “basic”.
You should start filling with black and white pieces that are two very, very basic and transferable to match with many different outfits.
If you are into layering, then you should have 2 scoops that are black and white as well as 2 mercers also in black and white. After having those 4 tees for the base of your wardrobe, then you can start experimenting with colors such as cream, olive, grey, brown and so on.
I didn’t mention boxy tees, graphics or shirts that have a lot of colorways or patterns because those types of styles aren’t really basic anymore, but instead a Statement Piece.
If you are wondering which tees are my favorites, you can consult my “How to layer” article where I already listed out some.
Jeans is an item that is like a Holy Grail in a men’s wardrobe, you can totally dress up or dress down with it and can be wearable in any occasions as long as it’s not somewhere that requires a suit.
Brands, price and quality
In all honesty, a good pair of jeans can last a lifetime. That’s why if you have the budget and money is not a problem then of course, I will advise you to invest in Grails such as Balmain, Saint Laurent and Fear of God because it is a worthy and long-term investment.
You will wear them your whole life so why not spend your dough on the most quality pair of jeans? Particularly, as time passes by, you will collect personal marks as you wear it. I don’t mind.
In fact, I prefer jeans that have a little bit stains showing bits of memories of that jeans being worn.
That’s why, investing in an expensive pair of jeans is not at all a waste of money if you are going to wear in your whole life. Not only that, you will be saving a lot of memories as they go wear and tear.
However, not everyone has the budget to buy designer brands like I just mentioned and that’s why mid-tiers are such an intelligent choice when it comes to jeans. Though it’s only a tiny bit lower quality than high-end brands, it is tremendously better quality than fast fashion brands.
After knowing your brands, price and quality, then it is time to choose the right cut and fit.
Cut and fit
The first thing to do when choosing jeans is to look for its cut. Honestly, there are so many cuts like Regular, Bootcut, Straight, Relax, Skinny and Slim fit. However, in this article, I will only talk about Slim fit cuts.
This is a cut that I am personally a fan of. It’s timeless because of the hugging body design that is slim enough to compliment your physique and especially your kicks, but not tight as skinny fits.
No matter you are fat, thin, tall or short, I will all advise you to opt for this type of jeans.
After knowing your cuts, next is to choose the right fit.
The number one priority when choosing right fitted jeans is to find jeans that fits your thigh first! Usually, if it fits your thigh, then it will fit your butts as well.
A pair of jeans that keeps you comfortable and easy to make movements. Don’t go for too loose and baggy jeans or too tight that makes your unable to move.
After choosing a pair that fits your thigh, people immediately think of the waist fit. But no! Prioritize your calves second.
Slim fit jeans will taper from knee down, which is why if your calves are a little bit big then it will be impossible for you to slide your leg down. This is when the zippers show their purpose.
Zippers, other than a very nice detail and transformable then its purpose is to open up the leg opening and let your feet slide through.
This is honestly a mighty invention for jeans.
In the jeans world, there is a concept called “6-inch leg opening”, meaning the leg opening is only 6 inches long. If according to this concept, then it is the most perfect leg opening, tapered pair of jeans.
A well tapered pair of jeans will compliment your shoes, and especially your body by a whole lot. If you are wearing size 36 and up then I don’t suggest you to taper your pants according to this method. But instead, taper your jeans accordance to your physique.
And big guys, remember when choosing your jeans is to look for stretch materials to prevent uncomfortable movements and breathing because you usually don’t have a unproportionable body.
For example, enough leg room but too tight on waist. Luckily, some brands have a stretch denim line meaning a flexible garment, consisting of 1-2 percent of spandex. Thus, you can comfortably wear jeans even if you are an endomorph body type.
Last when choosing your jeans is waist
A perfectly fitted pair of jeans can sit on your waist even without a belt. Do not buy jeans if you need to hold your breath when putting them on because when you sit down, or do any activities, it will make you cringe a lot.
It’s very rare if you can find a pair of jeans that fits everything from legs to waist. Even if you have a body of a model. Usually, everyone has to bring their jeans to a tailor to have the most perfect fit.
In case, it fits your legs but loose on your waist, you can bring it to a tailor to tighten that part. This is much easier to fix than loosen up your inseam.
My tip to you if you feel your jeans are a tiny bit too tight, similar to leather, denim jackets and sneakers, your jeans need time to break in. It means the thread, fabric will loosen up a little bit to adapt with your body.
You might have noticed when buying a brand-new pair of kicks, it will be very uncomfortable the first couple of wears, but after been worn for a while, they will be very comfortable.
Jeans are the same. They need time to break in. That’s why you should mind if the jeans are a little tight, remember only a little.
Wash – paint – distress
If you want to be save and only want to have 3 pairs of jeans to wear forever, then you just need a pair of blue, black and raw denim. No distress, no paint, no bleach. These are the most basic wash that you can wear with any of your outfits.
You can even wear these washes your entire life without worrying it be out of style. But, if you want a little bit more character and style, then washes like white, grey and black wax will have a chance to show their worth.
These color jeans have a very nice character on them but, it’s somewhat a little bit tough to mix and match to an outfit.
However, if you can pull off wearing these colors, then your outfit will be very lit and stand out.
Next up, after wash is paint and distress.
Of course, when talking about character in jeans, one could never forget about distress and paint. Personally, I am not a fan of paint and bleach. I’ve seen many people are hunting for these pants or any alternatives to them.
I like distress because first of all, it’s very rough looking, stylish and very natural. Secondly, as I’ve mentioned then stains and cuts on jeans is something that makes it uniquely one of a kind.
Giving your jeans a character, it owns soul.
Another benefit point when jeans have distress and blow out is you can wear them even in the summer because of the ventilation keeping a lot of heat stuck in your pants escape out. This makes your lower body impossible to breath. I personally don’t like jeans that are too basic and simple because my main purpose when wearing jeans is the roughness, character and style that it brings.
If you want to take it up a notch and making your jeans more casual, you can put a drawstring in the belt loops. And for those who still have no idea about which jeans to opt for, you can consult these of my recommendations which are also the favorites in my wardrobe.
Enrica Men’s Ripped Skinny Destroyed Holes Jeans Slim Fit Denim Pants
This is my very first beloved jeans that I want to show you if you prefer some street vibe and add character to your that-day outfit – The best slim fit denim pants from Enrica which is made out of 100 percent denim cotton to offer a striking softness, breathability and sweat absorbance.
Its emphasis is two ripped holes on the knee portions, delivering both comfort for movements and character, grunge and high street fashion to your outfit.
Apart from this full-black denim jeans, there are also 4 more colorways and styles to choose, but I highly recommend the sky blue and black 19 ripped because they come in very rough look and also very easy to mix and match. On the other hand, its price range is very affordable but the quality is on point. This is a worthy pair of jeans that bangs for your buck.
I almost forgot, for those who are wondering about its maintenance and clean, good news is that you can machine wash it, just remember to turns the pants inside out and wash it separately with like colors.
ZLZ Slim Fit Jeans, Men’s Younger-Looking Fashionable colorful Super Comfy Stretch Skinny Fit Denim Jeans
Yes, another slim fit jeans.
This pair is from ZLZ, which is a mens fashion mid-range price brands specialized in jeans and well-known for many elegant colorways in jeans as well as their sensitiveness in catching up fashion trends. And I must say that when you wear this ZLZ jeans, your handsome mode will automatically on.
It mixes and matches perfectly with almost any kinds of outfits to complete your clean and handsome look, which I think its slim-fit figure and basic design (No distress, no paint, no bleach) are two main key characteristics for such magic.
In terms of material, this pair of jeans is made out of 98 percent cotton, but compare to the Enrica above, I don’t kind any clear difference. I mean it still comes in the same softness, breathability and great sweat absorbance. Besides, ZLZ’s cotton is very stretchy that though it features a pair slim fit denim pants, you still feel comfortable to move when wearing it.
NITAGUT Men’s Ripped Slim Fit Tapered Leg Jeans
Here, this is the legendary distressed jeans that I mentioned when you want to add a tough, grungy, character and street vibe to your outfit. From its outlook to the quality, this Nitagut is worth a try.
The pants are well-made with strong seams, smooth zipper, moderate stretchiness, but what I want you to focus here is its on-point distressed part on the legs. This pair of jeans is a typical example for what I have talked to you, the more you beat it up, the more character and soul it will get. It is made out of 70 percent cotton and 30 percent polyester so that it’s both soft, comfortable and stretchy, sweat wicking quickly.
However, as its material has polyester, I don’t advise you to machine wash this pant, especially using the dry mode because it will ruin the form of your pants. The best way is to hand-wash or put it in freeze department in your refrigerator like I have guided you in my Style Secrets to Look Better Than other Guys article.
There’s just one thing you should take notice is that as it is featured as a slim-fit pair of jeans, with skinny men, you should go true size, but with those who have larger thigh, chances you should level up the size and then have it tailored to get the best fit.
Upreface Men’s Distressed Destroyed Slim Fit Zipper Biker Jeans Moto Denim Pants
Upreface is a fashion brand specialized in very grungy, character and high-street fashion pants, most of which are distressed jeans. Also, their products come in a little pricier but it’s worth every penny you spend on.
Softer material, more durable, sophisticated and well-made. It’s true to say that you get what you paid for. Thus, if your budget is on the table, let’s rock these Upreface. I highly recommend them.
This pair of jeans is made out of denim and cotton, featuring some stylish and lit ripped holes around the knee parts and also, zippered pockets. Actually, this bad boy brings a little more motocross style so that if you want to have a perfect outfit for hanging out at night or club, this is a go-to item.
Other than its super on-point outlook, the pants also come up with great functionality with smooth zippers, strong seams, and 5 functional pockets for extra space for storage in a coolest way.
Besides, its colorways are variety so that I’m pretty sure you will pick at least one of your favorite in this collection.
Lee Men’s Modern Series Slim-Fit Tapered-Leg Jean
In terms of Lee, I think we should talk about its exclusive active comfort fabrication. In semi mid-tier range, Lee is standing out from the crowd for its premium material with striking stretchiness, flexibility yet breathability and comfort to wear.
Besides, it is durable and can even last for decades without much wear and tear. Not saying that Lee is very sensitive to modern trends such as bleach, distress, or slim-fit figure. Like this pair of slim-fit tapered-leg jeans, it doesn’t come up with grungy distress or ripped hole, it’s basic but looks still modern, multifunctional and makes you charmer when putting on.
Made out of 99 percent cotton and 1 percent spandex, you can freely wash it by machine without fears of tearing or your pants losing its form. This item holds up very well.
On the other hands, Lee also provides a lot of options for this model to meet various needs, taste and preference. With Lee, you can’t go wrong!
Hoodie is one of my favorite garment!
This is also an item that I have the most personal deep connection with in my wardrobe. Hoodies are a must-have essential item for winter season because of the flexibility to pair with a lot of outfits. They are very comfortable, casual and especially very cozy to keep you warm just like a mobile blanket on your body.
So, how to choose the best hoodies?
Yes, budget plays a really important role.
Most of hoodies are made with cotton. Maybe with a little bit of detailing with other materials, but usually they are all cotton. I personally suggest you to buy full cotton hoodies because it will be timeless and secondly a lot easier to maintain.
For example, a hoodie that has faux leather on the pocket or patches on the arms, in a short period of time, they will immediately crack or flake off. That makes your hoodie completely ruin already. Or, techwear hoodie which combines with nylon will be very hard to maintain after a couple washes, especially machine dry or sun dry, doesn’t matter how quality the material is.
That’s why with hoodies, I suggest you to buy cotton ones. Honestly, there are many types of cotton in the world but personally, the only way to judge a good hoodie from a bad is depending on how heavy the cotton is.
So to speak, before buying from any brand, read a lot of reviews about it.
Done with the material, next is the design on the hoodie.
First, I will talk about what I’m looking for in a hoodie – the hood. Isn’t this the main reason to wear a hoodie compare to a sweater, right? Then, what makes a perfect hood?
It needs to be big, not too small just for show that cannot fully cover your head. Next, it needs to be standing up because when putting the hood on or leaving it rest on your neck, it will look very shabby and just falls left and right, looking very bad.
Next is the length of your hoodie.
Honestly, the length plays an important part because if it’s too short, it will look very unpleasant. Your butts, waist and belly are getting exposed. That’s why usually with hoodies, I size up 1-2 size.
Unless they are already oversized, then just go true to size.
Last but not least, silhouette, and I will talk about 3 most basic silhouettes.
This is the type that I like the most because of the simplicity, casual and can especially match with 100% any other items, such as flannels, denim, leather jackets and bomber. Choosing the best pullover hoodies, fit is the most important thing.
I usually don’t spend too much on pullover hoodies, but instead only buy fast fashion or semi mid-tier brands. However, they will be very difficult to have the perfect fit. If I accidentally buy it too oversize then it will look too large, swallowing your whole body.
Too slim, making your body very stiff and bulky, which defeats the casual and laid-back purpose.
Another to watch out is if the hoodie is too short will make you look very absurd and breaking your body up like girls wearing crop top. But girls look sexy and lush, while guys will look…well, you guys already know.
This is usually the most outer layer and acts like a jacket. Of course, you can be use for layering. The most important thing in a zip hoodie is of course the zippers.
For example, the zippers in Black Moniker hoodies is much better than the zippers of H&M’s.
There are two reasons why I vote for Black Moniker. Firstly, the sound of zipper pulling and secondly, it is the smoothness.
With zip hoodies, I honestly suggest you guys to invest in mid-tier and up because after a couple washes, you don’t want to wear the fast fashion hoodies anymore.
This is a rather very difficult design to find a perfect hoodie because this needs to combine a perfect fit, like a pullover hoodie. And zipper is extremely important to this silhouette. Similar to full-zip hoodies, if the zip is trash, it will create waves and wrinkles.
There is a tip that I want to show you when putting the hood on, don’t put it all the way up, but only put it on the half back of your head to have a much cooler look.
On how many you should have for your wardrobe, I suggest you to have 2-3 pullover hoodies, 1-2 zip hoodies to have a foundation.
You also should start with neutral color hoodies so you can match with lots of other items and when you have a fundamental wardrobe, then you can buy printed hoodies or more pop colors, statement pieces.
Strong and colorful colors to make your wardrobe more viable.
Champion LIFE Men’s Reverse Weave Pullover Hoodie
The very first hoodies that I want to recommend to you is this basic Champion. As I mentioned, in mid-tier range, Champion is king for quality so that just no doubt to give it a try. This hoodie comes in spacious hood, a drawstring, two pockets and the elastic bands in waist as well as two wrists.
Unlike most other Champion’s hoodies which are too heavy in logo, this one arrives in very small brand logo in chest and arm, which looks very subtle and elegant. Besides, its texture is really very soft and comfortable to put on. It’s breathable and greatly sweat absorbing, though.
Champion also provides variety colorways to choose but to layer, I highly recommend three options: Oxford Gray, Granite Heather and Silver Grey which are the safest choices to mix with other items such as basic tee or jacket.
However, I don’t say that you can go with others, for outstanding look as well as if you already know how to mix them, just feel free to rock it.
Champion Men’s Front Pocket Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
Another Champion’s hoodie that I really want to advise you to try is this one. It is made out of 100 percent high-quality cotton, except for the elastic parts at waist and cuffs. It’s soft and comfortable, as always.
Differ from the previous Champion, it decreases the brand logo on chest, just keep the one on the arm that even makes the hoodie look more elegant and sophisticated. In terms of its construction, this one is similar to the previous with large hood, long drawstring, and two pouches.
Another small plus point is its more affordable price than the previous that for those who are new to Champion or have tight budget, you can pick up this to experience how high-quality of Champion’s material, which is a premise for building your wardrobe.
Hanes Men’s Full Zip Ultimate Heavyweight Fleece Hoodie
Move on with this zippered hoodie from Hanes.
Have I told you how good quality of Hanes’ hoodies? Good price, good material, which is why they are one of the most favorite fashion brands for teenage and students who usually have tight budget.
In terms of design, you can’t go wrong with Hanes. They are a sensitive brand in catching up the latest trends as well as know how to make timeless pieces, such as this zippered. It is a perfect compromise of design and functionality.
When hands on this hoodie, you will feel its high-quality of the material. As I mentioned, the easiest way to know whether that hoodie is well-made or not is its heaviness. This Hanes is made out of 9.7 oz. cotton-blend fabric, weighing 1 pounds, which feels very durable, longevity, and comfortable to touch.
Another emphasis is its zipper for more comfortable and flexible to put on and move as you adjust it to make you feel convenient the most. You can wear it for layering or just a single one as a comfortable casual outfit is okay.
Besides, their colorways are diverse, as well.
G-Style USA Premium Heavyweight Contrast Raglan Sleeve Pullover Hoodie
Another high-quality material hoodies which is made out of 10 oz. Ringspun Cotton. This hoodie from G-style is a little heavier than the Hanes above. However, in terms of softness and durability, I personally think they are the same.
What I really like about this hoodie is its colorways, instead of using just one solid color or plain color like Champion and Hanes, G-style’s is really stylish and fashionable by blending two colors such as black and charcoal, black and red, black and cyan caviar, etc.
You can mix it with other pieces, or just wear this hoodie along, both are handsome and nice-looking. However, if you want to layer it, bear on mind to mix with solid color pieces and as what I have told in my “How to layer” article, neutral is the best and safest choice.
Ohoo Mens Slim Fit Long Sleeve Lightweight Hoodie With Kanga Pocket
Last but not least, a hoodie from Ohoo. This is a brand-new fashion brand to me as I have just tried their product lately. However, I don’t regret it. Ohoo is really a good choice for perfect fit to your body.
For those who don’t know, Ohoo is a Korean brand, which means they catch up Asian fashion trends like slim-fit figure, from pants to even hoodie.
I mean they are still large and spacious to give us comfort when wearing, but it also slim-fits to our body to make a neat feeling, not too baggy like others. However, one con is it’s a little narrow hood that I only enable to pull it over half of my head.
However, the biggest advantage is its variety colorways and I really like their tones, bright, true tone and catchy. They also include many beautiful colors that rarely have in other brands such as baby pink, red and jade green, which I think this is an ideal choice for those who want to diverse your style and outfits.
So, I have shared with you every single detail on choosing the most essentials for your personal wardrobe. Generally, my point of view on streetwear is to make our outfits more relaxed. And of course, most importantly is to match your body, your style and your taste as well as make you feel comfortable. Hopefully, through this article, you have got some more useful information to pick up more interesting pieces adding to your wardrobe.