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The 10 Best Stores for Finding Affordable Men’s Style

The  retail world isn’t geared towards men who want to dress well. It’s  designed for women and for guys who just want to get in, buy something  comfortable and plain, then leave before anyone recognizes them amongst  the racks.  If you’re the type of guy who enjoys looking his best and  wants to do so without spending a thousand dollars every month at the  mall, then you’re at a serious disadvantage. Having a plan and knowing precisely what kind, type, and color of clothing you’re  setting out to buy is key, but knowing what stores are best for which  items will save you an enormous amount of time.  And every second not  spent strolling by a food court or avoiding the suffocating scented  cloud that rolls out the doors of Abercrombie and Fitch is time well  spent.

This is the short list of retailers that’ll save you time,  money, and in some cases… won’t even have you leaving your house.

1. Macy’s

http://www.macys.com/

What it’s good for: Suits, dress shirts, Levi’s, and sometimes jewelry for your significant other.

Macy’s  is the bargain department store for guys who care about what they look  like.  Their house brand Alfani and the more athletic fitting Alfani RED  can be a source for great dress basics.  If you don’t have a ton of  cash but need a suit?  Wait for one of their Men’s Wardrobe Sales or  monthly One Day sales.  Shop then and you could find yourself paying  less than $250 for an excellent Tommy Hilfiger Trim fit or Alfani RED  suit, $15 for a tie, and $20 for a decent dress shirt.  But beware the  sales people.  Sometimes they can be a little too attentive.

2. Nordstrom

http://www.nordstrom.com

What it’s good for: Nice suits, great in-house brands, sweaters, splurges, and terrific sales

Nordstrom  is like an upscale Macy’s.  A quick glance at their brands (Hugo Boss,  John Varvatos) and you can tell immediately that it’s going to cost more  shopping there.  But their in house brands are superb.  Their more  modern leaning house brands like Calibrate and 1901 offer quality and  great fits at reasonable prices.  Plus their Nordstrom Trim Fit dress  shirts are extremely well put together.  Nordstrom isn’t perpetually on  sale like Macy’s, but when they do discount, it’s worth it.

3. J. Crew

http://www.jcrew.com

What it’s good for: Trim suits, chinos, some casual wear, and some bags

There’s  no denying that J. Crew stuff looks good.  But sometimes the prices on  the items can get a little steep.  Their Ludlow trim fit suits can look  amazing, but you’ll pay for it.  When J. Crew actually does go on sale  the selection can often be weak.  They’re outrageously popular and  they’ve become a bit of a trend setter.  And they know their power.  For  example, there’s not many other stores that can get away with selling a $200 Timex.

4. Old Navy, Gap, & Banana Republic

http://www.oldnavy.com / http://www.gap.com / http://www.bananarepublic.com

What  they’re good for: Jeans, sweaters, casual and dress blazers, casual  shirts, and finding cheaper alternatives to J. Crew stuff.

They’re  all owned by the same company and they each have specific target  audiences.  Old Navy goes after the bargain family shopper, Gap is the  place for still stylish but still mostly affordable foundational pieces,   and Banana Republic touts themselves as affordable luxury.  Unlike  Banana Republic, you can’t buy a suit at The Gap or Old Navy, but you  can buy pretty well made blazers at all three.  Yep, even at Old Navy.   Just make sure to take them to your tailor when you’re done, and  consider ear plugs for the shopping trip to keep the screaming kids from  giving you a headache.

5. Lands End Canvas

http://canvas.landsend.com/

What it’s good for: Casual shirts, chinos, and cords.  Unbelievable sales too.

Land’s  End Canvas hasn’t been around for more than a couple of years, and it  seems like so far they’ve been a screaming success.  It’s the younger  leaning, more fitted version of Lands’ End.  Their t-shirts don’t billow  at the sides, their fabrics are a little slimmer in thickness but plenty  strong, and they’ve got accessories available that are interesting but  not loud.  During sales you can get a polo for under $10.

6. Amazon.com & Endless.com

http://www.amazon.com/ / http://www.endless.com

What they’re good for: Watches, shoes, CDs, and electronics

Amazon really is the world’s largest online marketplace.  You could waste  hours scrolling through what they offer, and their “related items” lists  seem hell bent on making that scenario a reality.  Endless is owned by  Amazon, and more often than not their shoe selection seems to mirror  each other.  But sometimes the prices and shipping options are majorly  different.  Endless usually offers free two day shipping even on top of  big sales.

For buying watches, beware third party dealers who just use  Amazon for their marketplace.  Either buy direct from Amazon, make sure  the purchsae is “fulfilled” by Amazon (meaning it’s stored in the Amazon  warehouses and Amazon has put more of their reputation on the line)… or  at the very least extensively check out their seller rating.  Don’t  waste your time looking for clothes on Amazon.  It’s a chore.

7. Zappos

http://www.zappos.com/

What it’s good for: Shoes of all kinds and incredible customer service.

Amazon actually purchased Zappos a few years back (for almost a Billion dollars) but they still feel  like separate entities.  There once was a time when buying shoes online  seemed beyond stupid.  Don’t you have to try shoes on first?  Not with  Zappos.  They carry… everything.  Prices are pretty good too.  The 360  views, videos of employees showing the shoes, and extremely kind  shipping policies make these guys one of the best in the online retail  business.

8. Boden

http://www.bodenusa.com/

What it’s good for: Outerwear, blazers, and decent clearance sales

Boden is a bit of a well kept secret.  They’re based out of the U.K., they appear to have a conscience,  and their models look so happy they could be intoxicated.  In fact,  they just might be a little tipsy.  Beer and wine often show up in the  pics, and when’s the last time you saw a couple of guys doing shots in a catalog?  A lot of their stuff is extremely bright,  and can get expensive quick.  But their blazers and coats are reasonably  priced and full of unique style you won’t find anywhere else.

9. Overstock.com

http://www.overstock.com

What it’s good for: Just checking before you click “buy” somewhere else

My  current go-to Navy suit is a Kenneth Cole New York all wool number I  bought off Overstock for… $110.  I saw the exact same suit in Macy’s a  few months earlier for somewhere north of $350.  Their selection isn’t  always the most current, nor is it the best place if you’re of an  average build (sizes tend to run in the extreme)… but just check in  every once in awhile if you’re in the market for a larger purchase.

10. Indochino

http://www.indochino.com/

What it’s good for: Custom suits

You’ve  seen Indochino a few times here on Primer.  And if you haven’t tried  them, consider it.  With their re-tailoring credit (up to $75) and money  back guarantee… you could end up getting a custom fit suit that’s  incredibly dialed in for around $300 – $400.

Aside

Fashion industry has a lot of secrets we don’t know. Here are just 10 of those. Some are funny, others are simply interesting.

Fact 1. Everyone has seen buttons on sleeves of jackets but few people know that it was Napoleon Bonaparte who introduced this idea. He ordered his tailors to sew buttons to sleeves so that soldiers didn’t mop their running noses using sleeves.

jacket sleeves

Fact 2. Kids’ fashion now is as important as women’s or men’s one because every mother wants her child to look beautiful and trendy. But did you know that kids’ fashion was first started only around 200 years ago? Before that happened children had had to wear the smaller copies of men’s and women’s designs.

kids fashion

 

Fact 3. Up to the 19th century there were no models, and designers had to use little dolls to demonstrate their creations to customers. It was a good idea because designers didn’t have to spend a lot of money for runway shows and little fabric was necessary to make those garments.

fashion dolls

Fact 4. Many celebrity men wear beards now (Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, etc.) However, if they had lived in Russia when Peter the Great was the tsar they would have paid a special tax for their beards. This tax was introduced to make Russian men shave their beards and look in a more European way.

brad pitt

Fact 5. Modern tanga and thong were first made in New York by order of mayor Fiorello Henry La Guardia. The mayor felt outraged when saw that dancers performed without underwear and ordered to sew tiny panties for them to cover the nudity.

thong

Fact 6. Hand-made items are considered very fashionable and valuable now because these are absolutely excusive. But up to 1850 70% of people used to make clothing for themselves. Fashion was not important, comfort was what mattered.

hand made

Fact 7. Modern women can’t live without jewelry. But it was men who started wearing jewelry in the first place to demonstrate their social status.

men jewelry

Fact 8. Short haircuts are pretty ordinary nowadays and no one gets surprised when a girl with short hair passes him by. Nevertheless, it hasn’t been always like this. Some time ago only unfaithful wives used to wear short hair. The hair was cut short to mark the stamp of infamy.

rihanna

Fact 9. You might have noticed that being pregnant is very popular in Hollywood now. (Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes, Kelly Preston, Christina Applegate, etc.) However, this trend is not new actually. In the 15th century pregnancy was so fashionable that girls who didn’t expect babies used to put small pillows under their clothing to create the illusion of baby-bumps.

pregnant women

Fact 10. Today natural bushy eye brows are in vogue, but during the Renaissance period fashionistas used to shave their brows off. A good example of this trend is Mona Lisa picture.

mona lisa