Inexpensive, Attractive, Well-Fitting Shirts
July 18, 2007 12:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm 6' 5" and wear an 18 37/38 dress shirt (or an XL Tall). I'm looking for some more shirts to round out my collection, but the catch is -- they have to be inexpensive.

I buy 80% of my clothes from Gap. Sure, the quality isn't great, but I know that their sizes always fit, and I appreciate the wide variety of colors. But I'm a college student, and too poor to buy even their shirts at original prices -- I realize that $40 is not considered a lot of money for a shirt, but it is for me. I usually shop online and snag a bunch of fun, nice-looking shirts for between $10 and $20 each from the Gap clearance section. This is awesome. 80% of the time, I wear the shirts untucked with jeans and nice shoes; I will occasionally wear them tucked in with slacks if I'm "dressing up" (If I'm wearing a suit and tie, I usually wear a solid-colored shirt). A Gap XL Tall fits me great; not too boxy or slim in the chest and waist, and plenty long.

But lately their selection hasn't been so hot, and I'm in need of a couple of shirts. I'm at a loss as to where to look. The usual selections seem to be --

>> H&M. We don't have any in Seattle.
>> Thrift stores. This would be fantastic, but I never find anything in my size at any of these places.
>> Lands End/Eddie Bauer/L.L. Bean. Good sizing, but really very little in the way of styles that I'm interested in. I'm a college student, not a 45-year-old golfer. Lands End is great, though, if I'm looking for dress shirts in "conventional" colors (blue, white, pink).
>> A place like American Eagle or Abercrombie. No thanks. I don't need to look like a high schooler or frat boy.

As you can imagine, I never find anything in stores, so I'm looking for places I can get this stuff online. I refuse to buy clothes that don't fit me well in the sleeves (I have enough "XL" shirts that I don't like to wear because they just hang weirdly on me).

I realize that conventional wisdom says I should buy fewer pieces of higher-quality clothing. This is great, but my budget is $100 or so. I'd rather get 4 pretty nice shirts than one really great one.

Any suggestions? I've read this thread but most of the suggestions are out of my price range. Am I asking for too much? I'm afraid I might be.
posted by rossination to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
JCPenney has a Big & Tall section. They are usually running sales that will keep you within your price range.
posted by chiababe at 1:44 AM on July 18, 2007

There's a higher percentage of tall men in Northwest Europe. A lot of mainstream shops in the Netherlands f.i. order specially for extra long shirts from factories.
If you decide to go online shopping here you should know that shirts on the continent are sized according to neck circumference in centimeters, f.i. 42, and extra long sleeve option. This extra long sleeve is often called sleeve length 7.
This should be long enough; I'm 6' 6" and it's perfect.
posted by jouke at 3:11 AM on July 18, 2007

Seconding JCPenney. I'm exactly your size, and I bought 7 shirts there earlier this year. They averaged out to about $25 each, including shipping, and they are all pretty nice--some silk, some linen. You could go even cheaper if you shopped carefully.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:44 AM on July 18, 2007

Banana Republic, big brother of the Gap, has shirts on sale all the time. Right this second they have a number of XL Tall shirts on for $30. Check their web site as they don't stock tall sizes in the stores.
posted by GuyZero at 6:22 AM on July 18, 2007

You're in Seattle? If you can drive up north a bit (past Everett) this place has some great bargains. You can get Ralph Lauren, Polo, Puma and Lucky and other higher-end brands there at much lower prices. Sometimes you have to hunt for a while, but my husband, who's in your size range, found some great shirts there.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 7:13 AM on July 18, 2007

Sorry it's not an online suggestion, but get thee to the outlet mall. There's one in Seattle. I go to Concord Mills here in NC and they have Factory Outlets for Banana Republic, GAP, and lots of other stores. Usually off seasons, overstocks, or 'seconds' that didn't past muster. There's rarely anything noticeably wrong with anything, usually just things like ragged seams or the sizing might be slightly off. Don't let the whole outlet thing fool you, it's the same stuff you'd get in at your regular mall store.

I'm just on the edge of wearing an XLT (a long torsoed 6'2) and I've found great deals on things that actually fit at our local outlet mall. Wilson Leather is in our outlet mall and in the spring they had a 60% off sale on top of a 75% sale (60% off the 75% off price). $30 for a $300 leather jacket is nothing to sneeze at.

A note on buying from Banana Republic either online or in store though... if an XL fits you at GAP, you may need to move up a size at Banana Republic if you're toward the higher end of the size range. BR's clothes tend to be more fitted than GAP. Their younger corporate sibling, Old Navy, tends to have downright baggy clothes.
posted by aristan at 7:23 AM on July 18, 2007

aww, TochterAusElysium beat me to it
posted by aristan at 7:24 AM on July 18, 2007

Have you ever tried TJ Maxx or Marshalls? I've never really paid attention to their larger sizes, but they've got a great selection of brand-name shirts for $20 or under, many with coordinated ties (if you like that sort of thing...). Ralph Lauren, Nautica, you name it.

Seconding outlet malls; they often have extended sizes.
posted by Madamina at 7:47 AM on July 18, 2007 [1 favorite]
posted by rxrfrx at 8:50 AM on July 18, 2007

Decent list here:
I'm similarly sized and share your frustration. Gap for mildly stylish polo shirts, JC P for dress shirts, LL Bean and Ebay for most of the rest.
I've been looking for a good fitting cheap extra long undershirt brand - they're necessary to keep dress shirts nice.
posted by enfa at 9:08 AM on July 18, 2007

JC Penney. It's where my big and tall hubby gets his shirts. And they go on sale often enough.

Get a Penney's card and wait long enough and you can get a discount for using the card sometimes, too.
posted by konolia at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2007

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