Ask Menswear: Where can I buy clothes online that fit my style requirements?
December 29, 2010 12:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to figure out if it's possible to buy reasonably priced mens clothing online. To be a little more specific, I am a college student who doesn't have a ton of money to spend, but I'd like to get the largest bang possible for my buck as far as clothes go. The sort of stuff I'm looking for fits somewhere on the spectrum between what Urban Outfitters has to offer, and what Tom Waits wears - if that makes any sense. I'm mostly covered in the pants department at the moment, so stuff like shirts, shoes, and socks are what I'm interested in.

I like simple stuff, I'm not looking for graphic tees or skinny jeans in neon colors. I've had some bad experiences with the house brands that Urban Outfitters has - mostly an incredibly sad state of affairs in the seam department after minimal wear, same with stuff from H&M - and I'm no longer happy to pay for bullshit. I am wondering if I can get clothes in similar styles for reasonable prices elsewhere that will last me a decent amount of time.

Am I silly for thinking this might be possible? I have no idea what I am doing!
posted by mister-m to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you can order online, but Zara is pretty affordable, and I find their quality to be higher than H&M's.
posted by neushoorn at 12:35 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's not just the clothes, it's the fit: "Whether in a suit or a denim jacket, the armholes are cropped and tapered, resting in the perfect spot on the shoulder. The bodies of his jackets fit close and snug, and the trouser legs sport a perfect taper. The importance of fit is evident from looking at Tom, and he uses fit and proportion to make his gangliness work for him, rather than trying to hide it."

Some poster at this forum suggest The Gap: "Just look hard."
posted by iviken at 12:36 AM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]

MeFi's own youngamerican runs Put This On, which is aimed at folks like you who want good-quality looks. PTO does a lot of "here's a nice EBay item" and "here's a great sale."

(Lands End Canvas is doing 40% off right now, if that's your speed.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:44 AM on December 29, 2010 [3 favorites]

Seconding Put This On if you want to be more dapper in general.

It's lame that I can only come up with a specific recommendation for socks, but Gap has really perfect men's socks, in my opinion. So perfect that I buy my socks in their men's section even though I have lady feet.

Also, for shoes, Clarks. Clarks are so great they make me wish I had big honking dude feet.
posted by Sara C. at 1:16 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Once you become more familiar with which brands fit you well, you can sulk around for some deals.
posted by The Whelk at 3:50 AM on December 29, 2010

Although I've never bought anything off eBay, my husband is a real afficionado who impresses me with his ability to find bargains there. He has a very particular style (think Elvis Costello in a suit or cardigan), and has amazing luck buying usually new and sometimes slightly used things like new handmade Italian shoes for and luxury undershirts from England. For cheap, cheap, cheap.

I suggest you determine your desires using the blogs others mention, and then go wild on eBay.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 4:37 AM on December 29, 2010

ebay also has an alert system that you can set up for "brooks brother's tie" or whatever
posted by The Whelk at 4:52 AM on December 29, 2010

Lands End is generally a good choice, particularly if you don't have a lot of time to invest. They have coupon codes a lot (just Google around), a huge clearance section, and anything you buy from Lands End in my experience (including shoes) is at least 75% of what you want it to be.

If you're a dude, dressing nice doesn't have to be about money. Mostly, it's about being conscious of what you're wearing (making sure colors match nicely, making sure your clothes fit, wearing clothes that are appropriate to the occasion, wearing clothes that are primarily functional, one "outrageous" thing or less per outfit and, eventually, developing what might be called a personal style). Once that prerequisite is down, you can:

a) Invest time - go to lots of thrift stores, study up on this stuff
b) Invest money - just buy really nice stuff; or
c) Sacrifice a little on quality for really decent affordable new stuff.

Doing two of those things is ideal, but you can do one of them and nobody will ever know the difference.

One last note: don't buy too much. As long as you invest in a similar color palate and pick quality stuff, you do not need a lot of things. Just make sure you really like what you have.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 5:52 AM on December 29, 2010

This might not apply directly to the style of clothes you've descried, but I have had very good experience buying mid-range suits on Ebay and then going to a local tailor to have them adjusted to fit me. (Oftentimes the tailor's fee is greater than the auction price.)

Tailoring probably does not make sense for the lower-end pieces on your list, but it might make a noticeable difference on the higher-end pieces.

I have had friends who have had great experiences in getting fitted for a tailored shirt, and then sending that shirt to Hong Kong with the instructions "copy these measurements exactly". Never tried that myself, tho'.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 7:26 AM on December 29, 2010

tailoring will make a difference to medium quality stuff, most men's dress shirts are way too blouse-y, go a bit up and have it taken in.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 AM on December 29, 2010

eBay is a great resource. The thing is to measure your favorite, best-fitting clothes and then go by the specific measurements given, not by the sizes. If the seller doesn't give measurements, do the "ask seller a question" thing.

There are lots of people selling high-quality clothes with very little wear on eBay, including drycleaners who are selling great stuff that has never been picked up (one seller with the handle "parisvegas" has some astonishing things, for instance).
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:30 AM on December 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

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