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Balling on a Budget: How to Buy Suits from eBay

By Christopher Schonberger

This week, one of my best friend's from college graduated from Harvard Law School. In addition to being (in the words of Al Pacino in Scarface) "such a good lawyer [mayng]," he is also known for his enviable fashion sense. In light of his recent accomplishment, I asked him how he managed to stay so fresh on a student budget. His mot-so-dirty little secret? He bought all his suits off eBay. Here's how to do it:

Where to look. Go to eBay, dummy! Search "men's suits," or any specific type of suit you're looking for [e.g., tuxedo, zoot suit, wool suit].

Go for style. If you need a nice, conservative suit for your new job at a law firm or investment bank, go ahead and spend some real money at a place like Brooks Brothers. Buying suits on eBay is about pimping your personal wardrobe and finding bargain-bin gems that are too classic to go to waste.

Approach the task like a jungle cat stalking its prey. Set a spending limit ($10? $20?) for a suit and don't go over it. Only buy things that you think you would actually wear. It may take a few months to get some good loot, but patience is a virtue.

Be prepared for a high failure rate in terms of what is wearable -- 60-80%. And if you do find something nice, spend the money to have it tailored up nicely, too. That's the whole logic -- decent suits that a good tailor can turn into good to great suits.

There you have it. Above, the shimmering blue zoot suit that I plan to order right now.

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