Two towns over from my neighborhood there’s a strip mall with a few vacant units, revolving doors for small businesses that couldn’t turn enough profit to stay afloat: tattoo parlor, comic book store, furniture consignment shop, they’ve all come and gone throughout the years.
But ever since I was a kid, the one storefront that’s never turned off its lights is Red Wing Shoes. A few years back I was in the market for a new pair of work boots, and I’d heard that Irish Setters were a solid choice, a brand owned by Red Wing.
I drove to the Red Wing store, where the shop owner and I discussed a few different boot models, and then I asked the big question: Are the Irish Setters made in America? His answer surprised me. He said, “The ones you’re looking at are not made in America, but from a quality standpoint it doesn’t matter. Red Wing puts their name on the boot, which means they stand behind it. If you want made-in-America boots because it’s a moral or patriotic conviction of yours, we’ll find you a different pair, but this model won’t let you down just because they were made in Asia.”
That wasn’t the answer I expected, but it made me examine my motivation for asking the question in the first place. I’ve always believed that products made in America are simply better constructed than their foreign alternatives (and for some products, I still believe it), but quality aside, I also like the idea that when I buy a product made in America, I’m contributing towards putting food on American tables. So if I’m honest, yeah, it’s a moral thing. It’s a patriotic thing. And I’m fine with that.
Sometimes though, it’s difficult to find affordable clothing brands made in the USA, so we’ve rounded up a few style picks that are all under $100.
While designer belts are often bonded (two pieces glued together), Main Street Forge uses full grain leather, meaning it’s one solid piece. They also include a lifetime warranty, though I doubt you’ll need it.
At 13oz. this fabric is heavy, and since it’s ringspun, it’s also incredibly strong. Make sure you wash these by themselves the first few times. Dearborn uses a natural indigo dye, which can bleed.
‘Tis the season for layering, and a thermal is the perfect place to start. Wear it with a fresh white t-shirt underneath, and if you need that extra warmth, throw a shirt jacket on top of it.
A knit t-shirt with a sweatshirt cut. Perfect for a run to the store or a run on the treadmill.
Buck Mason only uses American-grown cotton for this t-shirt, which is knit in Los Angeles. It’s double washed for a pre-shrunk fit, and the curved hem looks great untucked.
This shirt from Gitman Brothers is made from poplin, a lightweight soft cotton. It’s hard to find shirts made in America, but this one was cut and sewn in Pennsylvania about three hours from my house. Wear it with jeans, or pair it with one of Gitman’s awesome ties and a blazer for a sleek, preppy look.
With its wool, nylon, lycra blend, this sock will wick away moisture while keeping your feet cool and comfortable. Darn tough is family owned and operates entirely out of a single mill in Vermont.
If you’re a grown man, then you produce grown-man sweat, and that means it’s time to start putting shoe trees in your shoes. After a long day of wear, cedar shoe trees will absorb excess sweat, helping your shoes keep their shape, and eliminating odor.
Based out of Kansas City, Baldwin was a denim company with an emphasis on made in USA clothing that lasts. They rebranded as BLDWN a few years back, but unfortunately when covid hit, the company was never able to recover. Nordstrom rack has some of their items at amazing prices. These slim fit jeans have just the right amount of stretch to keep them comfortable and durable.
Bill's Khakis pledges to cut and sew everything they produce in the US, from shirts and outerwear to, yes, khakis. These straight fit (16 inch leg opening) pants are cut like your favorite jeans but are a stretch twill for maximum around-the-house comfort.
Selvedge denim…you know, those jeans that typically cost over $200 a pair? Here’s a pair with Japanese fabric, but they were cut and sewn in America. And they’re $60.
Tech fabrics and blends are great, but there’s something about the pureness and soft hand of cotton. Throw this one on with jeans a comfy pair of brown leather sneakers for a casual chic look.
There’s probably a more eloquent way to say this: Bonobos just makes really nice stuff. A wool tie is the perfect winter style piece. The rich texture goes well with a blazer, and the silk in the blend keeps it soft and smooth.
Classic slim (not skinny) fit jeans in two colors. A svelte pair of jeans is a sartorial staple, and for $60, these are a steal.
This long-body t-shirt is perfect for hot days: the jersey knit fabric will keep its shape while keeping you from overheating.
Boldfoot uses supima cotton in their construction. Why does this matter? It’s basically the softest cotton available, and it’s in short supply (Brooks Brothers actually buys more than any other mainstream brand). They also put a 90-day guarantee on every pair.
Looking for something more casual? Maggies organic socks come in several colors and are perfect with denim and a pair of sneakers or chukka boots. Maggie’s specializes in using organic cotton, sustainably grown and harvested by fairly-paid workers.
Carhartt is synonymous with American workwear. This duck jacket is crafted from water-resistant cotton and lined with flannel for extra warmth. Go a size down; it runs large. Included in our list of Twenty 100+ Year Old American Brands Still Making Awesome, Authentic Products.
A high-quality leather wallet is a cry-once situation. Buy it today, and give it to your little boy in twenty years.
Slub cotton is unbelievably soft and somehow gets a little softer with every wash. This t-shirt from Goodlife has a curved hem, which is especially great if you’re a guy with a long torso like me.
This sweatshirt is made from 100% cotton terry cloth, which means it’ll look casual on the outside and feel like a bathrobe on the inside.
Classic board shorts which hit just below the knee. The nylon dries quick, while the triple-lace closure makes sure they stay on. Surfs up.
No, tote bags aren’t just for women; they’re for people who need to carry stuff. This bag is made from leftover cuts of denim and horween leather. And the price is right.
The price of this belt seems high, but when you consider that the buckle is made from solid brass, and the leather is from Horween, it makes perfect sense.
This understated denim shirt pairs well with a pair of chinos or a pair of jeans. Just make sure if you wear jeans, they’re indigo or rinse.
Most bars of soap are 4-6 oz., but Duke Cannon’s Big Ass Brick comes in at 10oz. There are four fragrances available, but something about tobacco leaf and leather just sounds like a win to me. Duke Cannon also donates a portion of all profits to Veterans.