Simple thread. What are your favorite brands.
Denim - Levi's
Sneakers - Vans, Lakai, and I also love the Japanese brand Visvim, but I can't afford it.
dressing nice = buying brands (Given that you think the brand you're buying looks nice, or that those are the brands most of your clothes come from)
Then you would be buying nice clothing from a brand.
The fact you think that some/most of the clothing from a brand you like looks nice doesn't make "buying brands" "dressing nice".
I usually wear:
Denim: Guess, Express Men, Buffalo, INC
Shoes: Aldo, Skechers, Diesel
Denim: Levis, Ross had a good pair of carpenter shorts but the butt pockets started to rip at the seams.
Shoes: Whatever fits. I have wide feet so it can be hard to find shoes that fit me. Typically Nike and New Balance have sizes that fit me.
Shirts: Tommy Hillfiger and Nautica
Jeans - Carhartt (half the price of levi's, equal quality, easier to take the logo off than Levi's) Do have a pair of black levi's though.
Shirts - American Apparel plain color shirts. Expensive but comfortable and high quality. No logos or brand name in sight.
Outerwear - I have a carhartt jacket that's fleece lined for when it's really cold. Looks almost the same as the day I bought it 4 years ago. Also have a military bomber jacket for every day use. Got the idea from the Gibson novel Pattern Recognition.
AA can be pretty cheap on ebay. I think people just buy wholesale and resell brand new stock. You can search for multipacks and stuff too.
Some of my favorite brands for simple, well made, unbranded clothes are Muji ($) and Save Khaki United ($$). Save Khaki especially fits me perfectly, but I doubt I'll find more secondhand.