Where to Shop: The 10 Best Stores for Finding Affordable Men’s Style

Finding stores that stock good looking, affordable men’s clothing is surprisingly difficult. We list some of our favorites, with specifics on what to look for at each.

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://www.landsend.com/shop/canvas

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 & Amazon Fashion

http://www.amazon.com/http://www.amazon.com/fashion

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.  Amazon Fashion is similar, and more often than not their shoe selection seems to mirror each other.  But sometimes the prices and shipping options are majorly different.  Amazon Fashion 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.

BONUS:

11.  Express

http://www.express.com

What it’s good for: The Express 1mx shirt, trim fit sweaters

After the age of 25 walking into an Express can make you grimace.  The neon, the pounding music, the sales associates with more product in their hair than you’ve used in the last month.  It’s a lot to handle.  But the Express 1mx button up and the non logoed sweaters are worth it.  Get on their physical mailing list and you’ll get coupons in the mail every month.  Despite sometimes questionable quality, the Express 1mx basic button up shirt can be worn with just about anything.  I’ve got four hanging in my closet and wear them all almost every week.  It also comes in two fits, one of which is trim enough that you might not even have to get it tailored.  The sweaters are decent, and won’t make you look 10 pounds heavier.

That should be a good start. Ten stores, some big department stores, some brick and mortar standards, a couple of online stalwarts, and a few surprises.  Good luck.  And may the clearance rack be filled with items in your size.

Got any additions?  Leave em’ in the comments section below.

Joe Weber is the founder and director of Dappered.com. Focusing on affordable men's style, Dappered is a source for men who want to look good, but also value not going broke in the process. You can reach him at joe@dappered.com.

  • micah d

    I found a blog that frequently updates men’s suit deals. I don’t usually read blogs but this one is nice http://www.formalforless.com

  • http://www.thedowntowndweller.com/ Alexander Hendrickson

    H&M isn’t on here. Without a doubt it’s one of the best locations for great, affordable, well-made club wear and suits.

    • http://www.primermagazine.com/ Andrew

      I like H&M but the quality is hit or miss. Some things shrink a lot.

      • http://www.thedowntowndweller.com/ Alexander Hendrickson

        It can be, yes.

        I never buy the LOGG branded stuff, or any other stuff that doesn’t explicitly have the original H&M logo on it. Very thin fabrics typically do shrink, however their suits and all their linen items (hard to find good, lightweight, affordable linen that fits well) have stood the test of time. I prefer their dress clothes to Express, as they seem to have gone “ghetto-chic” over the past few years.

  • Vaismania

    Crisp and Famous is great for jeans – they’re $35 a pair, plenty of colors and 3 fits. Checkthem out http://www.crispandfamous.com

  • momo

    saks is not here ?

  • Jo

    Do you know where I can purchase Mr.Browne instant tan? My husband has been looking for it everywhere.

  • Stacy Crash

    Great list. You’re not going to believe this, but I have one more for the list: Target. I know, I was laughing, too. But check out what I found on Squareknot: http://www.squareknot.us/gearforguys/phillip-lim-collection/

    • Ryan N

      Target makes up most of my basics and a lot of my lighter sweaters and polos. Excellent fits on their Merona and Mossimo lines.

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  • Manohar Singh Aakeli’B’

    the person who created this post surely knew the subject well..thanks for sharing this with us Nehru suit

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  • boomboom

    BACHRACH is another Great clothier out there I think was overlooked .

  • TELLMEWHATYOUWANT

    this aint really affordable aside from gap.

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  • amyearl

    The spring is almost over and the summer is coming, so I bought my first dress for this summer. Am I too eager? Let’s have a look at my dress. It’s White Blue Chiffon Sleeveless Dress with Unique Collar and Belt. Here’s the link -http://www.nextshe.com/dresses-c-1.html

    You may say, the new released clothes would be very expensive. Oh, I’m not rich, and I’ll leave it behind if it’s expensive. Actually, the dress is less than 20 dollars. Is it cool?

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  • Cj E

    The pretension of some of these sites is astounding. For example, the term ‘shirting’ means fabric for making shirts, not the shirts themselves. I suppose that hipsters and people ignorant of the term might …oh, whatever. Drown in your ignorance.

  • Suitup-instyle

    Hangrr is also a very good online men’s suiting company. Check out their collection : http://www.hangrr.com/Suits/?aff=FUQsIiq

  • TheSaleScout

    This is a great list! I recently started a blog where I hand pick top men’s fashion items on sale. It may be helpful for some readers. It’s called http://www.thesalescout.com.

  • http://sklep.thomaswaxx.pl/ Thomas Waxx

    If You looking for unique mens shirts try this http://sklep.thomaswaxx.pl/

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  • Captain Usopp

    American Eagle, Pacsun, Aeropostale, JC Penney, and H&M are all good too. Of what I just listed my favorite are American Eagle and Pacsun. I can’t really describe American Eagle clothing. It’s just casual wear–sweaters, t-shirts, polos, button-ups, etc. Pacsun sells more laid-back, Cali-influenced type of clothing like chinos, tank tops, and stuff like that.