Not sure which shops to hit first? The many apparel companies out there usually fall into two groups: well made but expensive clothes or cheap and low-grade. You (usually) get what you pay for. However, it’s becoming increasingly easier to find stores with great styles while still keeping quality and price in mind. To add to whatever you may have in your regular list of go-to stores, here are some (of my personal) staples to watch out for:
(Not ranked in any particular order)
H&M; this store is loaded with low-priced, stylish goodies. Their quality has been reported to be questionable and occasionally hit-or-miss, but their prices are absolutely stunning. They carry shorts, oxford shirts, t-shirts of both the crew and v neck variety, cardigans, blazers, etc. Any sales they have going on will reduce their already unbelievably low prices. If you have a store near you, I definitely recommend you go check the place out and get a feel for their fitting.
Cotton On; A clothing company that, I believe, had its roots in Australia. They carry clothes very similar in style to H&M – shorts, oxford shirts, chinos, etc. Again, I recommend finding a store near you and trying on their fit before you purchase online. And if you do purchase online, make sure to check their return policy in case you order the wrong size.
Uniqlo; A great store with staggeringly low prices on classy styles. If you can find a store near you, count yourself lucky. They carry v-neck and crewneck t-shirts that can be purchased for ~$5, and feel and fit great! In addition, they have the typical oxford shirts, jeans, shorts, and chino pants. They also carry a line of raw denim, which I’ll talk about in a later article.
Target; You might be dumbfounded by this one, but bear with me. Target carries a few gems inside its massive doors. Two brands they carry – Merona and Mossimo – are the major players that put them on this list. I’m a big fan of the fit of the Mossimo t-shirts ($10), both the v-necks and the crewnecks. In addition, the Merona Ultimate Polo is the best-fitting yet cheapest polo I’ve ever found. Their base price is $15, but on sale they’re $12. Target also carries some nice shorts under $20 that you should definitely check out.
GAP; If you ever watched the movie “Crazy, Stupid Love”, you’ll recall Ryan Gosling telling Steve Carell to never, ever shop at “the GAP.” But don’t listen to him. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not interested in spending as much money as Mr. Carell spent that day on clothing. GAP carries everything a man will need to casually dress in class and style: oxford shirts, shorts, chinos, sweaters, polos, and t-shirts. Oftentimes, their sales lead to irresistible prices that include $20 collared shirts, $20 chino pants, and $15 shorts. You just gotta keep an eye out! (or keep an eye on this site)!
Old Navy; A lower-priced branch of the GAP company (Banana Republic being a higher branch – but I don’t purchase from that store very often due to their higher prices). Old Navy often carry oxford shirts, chino pants, shorts, and polos (~$12) at exceptionally low prices, especially on sale. Of course, their quality and feel isn’t as good as GAP’s, but it’s easier to find cheaper clothes here. Make sure you’re looking at the “Slim Fit” if you have the physique to wear it well.
Marshalls; A retailer that carries multiple brand names at lower prices. Significantly better than its counterpart, Ross, but you can check that out too. They often have chino pants by Docker’s called “Alpha” chinos, that you should all definitely check out when you have the chance. Otherwise, they’ll occasionally have a nice pair of jeans, some shorts, and some oxford shirts.
Nordstrom Rack; the main place that I pick up footwear. They have shelves and shelves of shoes at reasonably low prices. Not only that, they also carry a wide range of clothes – suits, ties, bowties, shirts, jeans, chino pants, everything. I’ve also found in-store prices to occasionally vary from the online postings, so be sure to check out a nearby location (I would recommend 6PM and Endless for online footwear shopping).
J. Crew; A bit of a price increase from the previous retailers, but I’ve begun to purchase more and more from this store. J. Crew Factory stores (you can access it online or find one close to you) carry especially low prices. Their quality is superb and their clothes are simply a definition of class and style. J. Crew carries everything you’ll need, just at a higher price than the previous stores (yet also at a higher quality). They have 9″ chino shorts, pocket t-shirts, polos, countless oxford shirts, sweaters, and chino pants. I’ve heard great things about their Urban slim fit chino pants. Definitely browse their sale section/factory store often – there are plenty of steals to be had.
Note: If you can, always shop in store rather than online. No shipping fees, no screw-ups with fitting, and the ability to feel the quality of the material = less hassle. If the deal is an online exclusive, see if you can go into the store and try on that particular item first before purchasing it online.
Well, that sums up my own personal list (I probably forgot one or two, but I’ll add them as I remember). Keep in mind, these choices are my own opinion and you may or may not agree with my selections. Feel free to take my advice and browse some of these stores’ selections. You might be surprised!
- Classy Chap