The Sub-$400 Outfit You Should Wear This Week

Outfit of the Week is a recurring series in which GQ Recommends helps you figure out how to dress for the M-F grind like a champion.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: It’s Monday morning, and you wake up in a daze to a cluttered inbox and a calendar littered with Zooms. Cooking up a quick plate of eggs—let alone an outfit worthy of your coworker's judging eyes—feels like a daunting task. If you’ve ever experienced the particular kind of dread associated with figuring out what to wear after a weekend of thinking about anything but, you know exactly the type of ennui we're referring to. Which is where your pals at GQ Recommends come in: To help you jumpstart the week, we cobbled together an unbeatable office-ready fit you can reliably turn to from now until it's time to sign off again.

And because the ol’ wallet is likely feeling a smidge lighter than usual after a weekend of boozy park hangs and late-night Ubers, we capped the budget here at a friendly 400 USD. (In return, all we ask is that you put the extra dollars towards a ticket somewhere without fluorescent lighting.)

Inner Limits II jacket

$109.00, End. Clothing

When it comes to shell jackets—the lightweight, weatherproof zip-ups that represent your best defense against muggy weather—Arc'teryx reigns supreme. The Vancouver-based powerhouse might've started out shilling practical outdoors gear to deep-pocketed REI members, but over the last few years, it's evolved into something much bigger and way stranger: an inadvertent fashion brand.

Which is a roundabout way of saying: You know other jackets exist, right? We've got zero beef with Arc's top-of-the-line slickers, but we're getting a little tired of seeing them around every dank corner. Broaden your horizons—and start by familiarizing yourself with Columbia, the all-American juggernaut founded a whopping half-century before its Canadian counterpart.

Columbia's vibrant, retro-doused shell jackets fly a little under the radar, but they boast the same roster of inclement-weather bona fides you'd look for in options triple their price. Scoop one for just a hair above $100, shimmy into a pair of Nike ACG's zip-off pants, slip on Birkenstock's ultra-grippy rubber clogs, et voilà: the only outfit you’ll want to wear this week, for approximately $380 buckaroos. Now get out there and carpe that diem—and every diem after that—until it’s time to check back here again.

Go cap

$45.00, Huckberry

Convertible belted trousers

$125.00, Mr Porter

Alpro clogs

$55.00, Amazon

Brushed mohair socks

$45.00, Todd Snyder

Looking for more outfit inspiration? Keep scrolling to see last week's picks, and check out our one-stop summer style shop here.

Relaxed-fit utility pants

$30.00, Amazon

We hate to say it, but the last dregs of summer are slowly circling the drain. Bye-bye beach. Bye-bye mouth-puckering spritzes. Bye-bye tomatoes. If there's any good news to be had it's that, thanks to Labor Day, we get to end the season with one last long weekend—and a gloriously short work week. But the start of fall also presents a few sartorial issues that need addressing. We're talking, of course, about the hand-wringing surrounding wearing white after Labor Day—but we're also talking about dressing for the tricky transitional weather with grace.

First things first: You can wear white after Labor Day. The origins of the silly little fashion “rule” are largely a matter of climate. Why would you need to wear white once the weather wasn't hot anymore? Stupid—we know. So we're happy to report that not only has society evolved past the archaic non-rule (progress!), but that white clothes—and white pants, specifically—will help us solve our second closet conundrum. Enter Dickies' eggshell-hued utility pants.

Dickies has long been a go-to for rough-and-tough workwear that, as it happens, also looks pretty great. Its relaxed-fit utility pants were originally designed for painting, sure, but the hardy fabric, roomy silhouette, and creamy French-vanilla color are prime fall fashion material. And at just $30, you don't have to worry about getting them dirty (though if you're stressed, here are some tips on how to keep 'em clean).

There's no need to make a statement by wearing head-to-toe white, either. For one, it's a bit cheesy. For another, you're just tempting fate. Instead, temper your pristine white pants with some fall- appropriate colors like a tan corduroy shirt from J.Crew. Add a sick $7 thermal shirt for some texture, toss on a head-turning belt, keep things comfy with a reliable pair of Birks, and people will be taking notes from you, the dude that's got transitional-weather dressing on lock.

Total cost: $365

Long sleeve shirt

$7.00, Amazon

Boston clog

$95.00, Matches

Faux lizard belt

$148.00, Noah

Fine-wale corduroy shirt

$98.00, J.Crew

"Wilson" key ring

$20.00, Amazon

According to the talking heads on TikTok, the buzziest accessory of the summer isn’t a punchy canvas tote or a cool bandana: it’s a carabiner, the D-shaped metal ring you might recognize from that one time you went rock-climbing in 2020. Videos tied to the accessory are responsible for a billion views and counting, and the memes have been flowing like JuneShine on a sweltering Brooklyn day.

But if you swipe past the jaded Zoomers debating the proper place to clip one to your jeans, the carabiner’s utility is tough to ignore; grab a sleek brass riff from the objet experts at Craighill and you’ll never forget your keys again. Oh, and if you really want to commit to a tote-less summer, pick up one of Wythe’s faded work shirts and a pair of Satta’s cargo shorts while you’re at it, too. With that much extra pocket space, your landlord might ask you to store his knicknacks.

Total cost: $360

New York Mets tonal logo hat

$40.00, Amazon

Washed madras workshirt

$198.00, Huckberry

Cargo shorts

$130.00, End. Clothing

Chuck 70 sneakers

$75.00, SSENSE

Label tie

$85.00, SSENSE

You guys remember ties, right? You know, those pointy bits of fabric people in really old movies used to sling around their dress shirts? (Wait…you guys remember dress shirts, right?) It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that ties have had a rough go of it lately, what with our new post-Zoom reality and the gradual casualization of office dress codes. What might surprise you, though, is how cool ties look these days, blissfully untethered from their associations with the drudgery of cubicle life.

If wearing a tie once designated you as a dead-eyed corporate apparatchik, it now promises to do the exact opposite—and knotting one up for the sheer thrill of it can be a righteous flex. It helps if you reach for one from Mfpen, the red-hot Scandi brand whose woven gray tie cheekily displays its care label front and center.

Will it look entirely at home with a razor-sharp black suit and sleek-as-hell Chelsea boots? No doubt—and more power to you if you’re willing to suffer the late-summer heat to get your fix. But if Reservoir Dogs cosplay feels a touch premature, grab a breezy linen shirt from COS, sawed-off chino shorts from J.Crew’s workwear-adjacent sub-label, and trusty black derbies from the sole doctor we trust to fill our seasonal footwear prescription.

Total cost: $298

Short-sleeved linen shirt

$99.00, COS

8" pleated cutoff chino shorts

$118.00, J.Crew

Organic cotton crew socks

$16.00, Gap

1461 work shoes

$140.00, Zappos

J.Crew slub cotton ringer T-shirt

$40.00, J.Crew

To paraphrase Rick James: Nostalgia is a hell of a drug. How else to explain the glut of ringer tees on the market right now—and how fresh the bicep-hugging silhouette looks decades after its late-‘60s heyday? Ringer tees enjoyed a moment again in the early 2000s, but the raddest of the bunch today pay tribute to the laid-back versions made popular by the Flower Power generation. You could spend hours scouring eBay to nab one that feels authentic to the source material, or you could take a jaunt to your local mall, where the perfect replica waits for you on a shelf at J.Crew.

Speaking of the mall: The rest of your outfit is probably there, too. As GQ’s Cam Wolf reported last week, Madewell, J.Crew’s oft-overlooked sister brand, is in the midst of an eagerly-awaited menswear glow-up, helped along by a trio of industry whizzes, including GQ’s own erstwhile deputy fashion director Jon Tietz. There’s a lot more in the hopper, but we can’t stop drooling over the label’s de-fussed striped button-ups, cut with an extremely 2023 relaxed fit (and from an extremely 2023 relaxed poplin).

Oh, and speaking of nostalgia: If you missed out on Uniqlo’s landmark collaboration with Helmut Lang, which revived the designer’s decade-defining jeans from the ‘90s, now’s your chance to score a pair before they sell out.

Total cost: $395

Madewell poplin easy shirt

$90.00, Madewell

Uniqlo x Helmut Lang classic cut jeans

$100.00, Uniqlo

Timberland 3-eye lug boat shoe

$150.00, Nordstrom

L.L.Bean essential leather belt

$45.00, L.L.Bean

Merrell Winter Moc 3 shoes

$110.00, Merrell

It’s hard to pinpoint when, exactly, Merrell’s hiking shoes became an unlikely menswear favorite, but once Julia Fox started wearing the brand’s EVA clogs, it felt like a rubicon had been crossed. Through little effort of its own, the all-American footwear label has inadvertently inserted itself into the fashion conversation, a position only bolstered by menswear’s ongoing gorp kick and a historic reevaluation of all kinds of ugly shoes.

Which brings us to Merrell’s signature slip-ons, a cushy amalgam of specially-treated suede, plush fleece, and bouncy EVA, a combination designed to keep your feet insulated on slushy winter mornings—but one that also makes for an ideal shoe on summer days just like these. The footbed is naturally odor-preventing, the outsole is exceptionally grippy, and right now, the entire shebang costs less than a Benjamin.

If the silhouette looks familiar, it's probably because the cool counselor at camp—the one with a very tenuous relationship to your bunk's canteen budget—swore by it, and his vibe is still the one to orient yourself around. Start with a shirt from the Swoosh's utilitarian-leaning Nike Life line, mix in a pair of SoCal-drenched corduroy shorts, and finish with a tech-y 6-panel and nubby camp socks.

Total cost: $317

Birdwell classic corduroy shorts

$95.00, Amazon

Nike Life woven military shirt

$95.00, Nike

Butter Goods terrain 6-panel cap

$49.00, End. Clothing

Thunders Love mélange recycled cotton-blend socks

$30.00, Mr Porter

J.Crew heritage cotton collared polo sweater

$98.00, J.Crew

Remember the night before elementary school picture day? For the young and prodigiously menswear-pilled, the prospect of documenting an outfit for posterity provoked just as much excitement as it does now—and demanded no small amount of extra preparation. You might not be gearing up for back-to-school season this year, but if your approach to getting dressed for a ho-hum summer workweek remains just as methodical, we know exactly what you need: J.Crew’s sweater-polo hybrid, knit from a soft, lived-in cotton that’s pleasantly beefy, improbably breathable, and ideal for summer days spent shivering in the AC.

There’s little J.Crew’s archive-indebted polo won’t look killer with, but the way we’re aching to wear it is throwback the whole way through: fatigue shorts from Stan Ray, the Lone Star state's hardest-working Carhartt competitor, anchored by canvas kicks from the historic sneaker pioneers at U.S. Rubber Co. Finish off with a famously durable ticker and a jaunty bucket hat your mother never would've approved of.

Total cost: $375

Gap denim bucket hat

$25.00, Gap

Casio G-Shock watch

$75.00, Amazon

Stan Ray fatigue shorts

$99.00, End. Clothing

US Rubber Co. military low-top sneakers

$108.00, Huckberry

Madewell crinkle cotton perfect striped shirt

$90.00, Madewell

Bad news, folks: we’re in the midst of yet another record-smashing heat wave, and the mercury shows no sign of dropping any time soon. It’s on days like this that corporate dress codes—y’know, the type that stipulates wearing actual pants to work—feel especially Draconian, so if you plan on braving public transportation at some point this week en route to a climate-controlled cubicle, don’t panic yet.

Instead, take a gander at Madewell’s aptly-named ‘Perfect’ shirt, a beachy-as-hell button-up the brand cuts from crinkly cotton in broad, variegated stripes, a summer-friendly alternative to the once-again-ascendant going-out shirt. The best way to wear it is decidedly WFH in vibe—airy mesh tank, sawed-off jorts, leather sandals that give flip-flops a good name—but to make it feel office-ready just tuck it into a pair of khakis, notch up a woven leather belt, and anchor it all with suede penny loafers.

Weathering the heat from home? Style it exactly like we do here, ideally with a fresh coat of polish covering your bare little piggies.

Total cost: $300

UO mesh tank top

$29.00, Urban Outfitters

Levi's 501 '93 cutoff denim shorts

$70.00, Nordstrom

Essie nail polish

$10.00, Amazon

Birkenstock "Gizeh" sandals

$100.00, Nordstrom

Alex Mill "Mill" shirt

$125.00, Alex Mill

Over the last few years, the humble striped shirt—once the preserve of pomaded Wall Street types and their corporate lackeys—has experienced a glow-up for the ages, scrapping its fuddy-duddy reputation in the process. Yes, it's still technically a button-up, but in the hands of next-gen apostles like Alex Mill, who cut their signature Mill shirt from a lived-in cotton, it feels less like a nod to business casual propriety and more like a flex in its own right.

Thanks to its broad, eye-grabbing stripes, the Mill shirt still looks just as righteous with an unlined jacket and a gusty foulard tie, but the best way to wear it right now starts with leaning into its thoroughly chilled-out vibe. To help those stripes really pop, layer it over a ‘70s-inflected ringer tee from Wales Bonner’s latest link-up with the Three Stripes, and ditch the 9-to-5 chinos for Tracksmith's impossibly lightweight shorts.

Total Cost: $394

Adidas x Wales Bonner T-shirt

$95.00, End. Clothing

Tracksmith twilight shorts

$64.00, Tracksmith

L.L.Bean ragg socks (2-pack)

$25.00, L.L.Bean

Puma "Vlado Stenzel" cord sneakers

$89.00, End. Clothing

Abercrombie & Fitch knit tank

$40.00, Abercrombie & Fitch

If your stomach is bursting with red meat right now, there's only one shirt that'll help cure your BBQ hangover: a slinky, slimming knit tank. Sexed-up A-shirts have been strutting their stuff on the runway for a couple of seasons, but it's only recently that big-box brands like Abercrombie have cashed in on the craze, churning out tank tops that promise to flatter us Average Joes, too—not just lanky model types with size 28 waists. The cut here is relaxed and a little boxy, designed to hug your torso in all of the places you want it to, without emphasizing your gut. Buy it in black and never look back.

For maximum breeziness, you could wear your knit tank with pleated linen shorts and strappy leather sandals. But, as your fuddy-duddy brother-in-law would be quick to remind you, the window to enjoy your summer whites only stays open for so long, and the opportunity to break out pants as preternaturally chill as Polar's '90s-inspired joints is a terrible thing to waste. (As per usual, your brother-in-law is woefully misinformed—white jeans look killer long past Labor Day—but the point still stands.)

Tie up those grease-stained strands with one of Kapital's signature bandanas, block out the bad vibes with Crap's lemony tinted frames, and soothe your swollen dogs with Vans' unbeatably cushy slip-ons.

Total Cost: $360

Crap Eyewear sweet leaf sunglasses

$89.00, Urban Outfitters

Kapital printed cotton bandana

$45.00, Mr Porter

Polar Skate Co. '93! work pants

$130.00, End. Clothing

Vans OG slip-on sneakers

$80.00, SSENSE

J.Crew colorbluck rugby shirt

$100.00, J.Crew

The rugby shirt has been around in one form or another since the 1800s, when thick-necked Britons popularized the style chasing around a wee leather ball on the pitch. (Okay, you got us: we’ve never watched a game of rugby before.) The point is, the beefy cotton polo—defined by its contrast collar and broad stripes—was designed to take a beating, and it’s lingered in the menswear consciousness for that exact reason.

Once upon a time, the rugby was the exclusive domain of winter and fall, often layered under a burly waxed canvas jacket or worn solo with cozy-as-hell cords. Mercifully, those days are behind us—J.Crew’s retro-leaning riff preserves the silhouette’s quintessential attributes, but equips it with a jaunty teal stripe across the chest, a welcome upgrade that feels just right with summer on the horizon. The Crew’s durable cotton joint was already a steal, but at a mere $40 it’s suddenly looking like a deal worth wading into the scrum for. Blitz!

Rugby shirts have long since transcended their origins, but to really lean into the vibe (and dial-in your next hiking fit), keep things in the broader gorp family. Gramicci’s climbing shorts are a perennial GQ favorite, and Nike’s Air Deschutz sandals, the latest smash from the brand’s ACG sub-label, might just convince you to ditch the Merrells indefinitely. Before you hit the trails, protect your keppe with a UV-shielding, moisture-wicking ball cap, and protect your toes with a scrunched pair of camps socks.

Total Cost: $290

REI Co-Op trail hat

$27.00, REI

Gramicci gadget shorts

$90.00, Huckberry

Falke organic cotton-blend socks

$33.00, Mr Porter

Nike ACG Air Deschutz+ sandals

$80.00, Nordstrom

Tekla striped pyjama shorts

$105.00, SSENSE

You ever wish you could walk out of your house in your PJs and not get side-eyed? (We miss college, too.) The adult world is a bit less forgiving in that regard, which is a real shame—at this very moment, there are a heckuva lot of pajamas that look cool enough to wear as street clothes, far away from the marshmallow-y safety of your bed. Case in point: Tekla's GQ Sleep Awards-winning jammies, which answer the question of “Is it possible to rock pajama bottoms out of the house without looking like a slob?” with a hearty, resounding YES. In fact, we'd like to suggest, you can even wear them to elevate your outfits all the way to Cloud 9.

The trickiest part of pulling off PJ bottoms anywhere but your bedroom is that they're often made from a striped or plaid fabric, the kind of material that screams "Welcome to Snoozetown". The solution, dear reader, is mercifully simple: just balance them out with a plain white button-up, like Uniqlo's classic broadcloth version. If there's a single garment that tells the world you're aren't lazy and didn't oversleep, it's a shirt with, like, 8 buttons on it.

To drive home the point, slip into a pair of Sebago's ultra-classic Dan loafers. You'll look like a college kid, alright—one that walked straight off the pages of the seminal style tome Take Ivy. Layer a graphic tee underneath your shirt to add some visual oomph—Awake NY's Miles Davis joint feels appropriately prep-inflected—and then toss on some wire-frame sunnies to disguise the fact that, okay, you did just wake up ten minutes ago.

Total cost: $382

Uniqlo extra fine cotton broadcloth long-sleeve shirt

$40.00, Uniqlo

Sebago Classic "Dan" loafers

$260.00, SSENSE

AIRE Velocity 52mm oval sunglasses

$39.00, Nordstrom

Awake NY "Miles Davis" tee

$59.00, End.

Madewell pleated cotton-linen shorts

$80.00, Madewell

As soon as the weather inches above 60 degrees, it's hard to miss the telltale rustle of thousands of fellas slipping into Patagonia's nylon shorts. Baggies are classics for a reason, but the shorts we're feeling right this very second look a whole lot like the ones above: breezy cotton-linen joints outfitted with a crisp set of pleats. They read a little geezer, sure, but the spot-on fit—a couple of inches above the knee, just the way we like 'em—upgrades the erstwhile country club staple with a jolt of 2023 cool.

Their blue-blooded pedigree means they'll look killer with a rumpled Oxford shirt and beefed-up boat shoes, but if a button-up feels a little too buttoned-up for a lazy Monday afternoon, throw on Todd Snyder's blanket-soft vest and a pair of knockabout kicks and crush that post-lunch meeting blitz like the Energizer bunny on speed. Round out the look with J.Crew's retro-y tube socks, and then add a little arm candy to the mix to juice up your Zoom icon.

Total cost: $352

Todd Snyder x Champion reverse weave crewneck vest

$128.00, Todd Snyder

éliou "Amelia" bracelet

$100.00, SSENSE

J.Crew striped gym socks

$16.00, J.Crew

Adidas "Prairie" sneakers

$105.00, End. Clothing

J.Crew cotton-viscose camp collar shirt

$90.00, J.Crew

The hero of today’s get-up is J.Crew’s groovy camp shirt, printed with an aquarium's worth of cheery marine critters and cut from a slinky cotton-viscose blend that promises to flutter satisfyingly in the breeze. Pair it with Banana Republic’s preternaturally relaxed linen pants, anchor ‘em both with Melissa’s rubber fisherman sandals, and set your vibe—if not your automated response—to OOO. (Your feet might shvitz a little, but it's worth every drop of perspiration.)

When you're headed out the door to grab a mid-day macchiato, top off the whole shebang with Uniqlo’s crushable bucket hat, add a gleaming pair of frames from the indie eyewear maestros at LA’s Bonnie Clyde, and get on with your day in exquisite style.

Total cost: $379

Uniqlo linen blend bucket hat

$30.00, Uniqlo

Bonnie Clyde Blue Angel sunglasses

$170.00, SSENSE

Banana Republic cotton-linen "Castello" pants

$100.00, Banana Republic

Melissa possession sandals

$70.00, Amazon

Originally Appeared on GQ

More Best Stuff Recommendations from GQ