The internet has been a saving grace for many guys who just loathe shopping. Click, browse, add to cart. Wait 2-12 days and – ta-da! – new clothes. But for all the annoyances that online shopping helps, spending an afternoon in a crowded mall, scavenging through hangers looking for your size in the right color only to find it out of stock, telling the 5 people at Banana Republic, “YES, I'M GOOD THANKS.” – there are two very important parts of buying smart that shopping in person provides.
First, I always seem to find things that aren't featured on the website. They're there if you look for it specifically but just browsing around they get glossed over. As someone who, in some ways, “shops” for a living both online and in-store, you'd be surprised just how much this happens. So by only shopping online you're missing a lot of great stuff, especially sale stuff or really solid basics that don't make for eye-catching photos on websites.
Second, it's hard to tell the fabric, texture, feel, and drape of a piece of clothing from a product photo. These are all important aspects of how a garment looks and wears that can prove the difference between loving something you bought and hating it.
So on a recent outing I decided to document the finds that caught my eye, providing in-person photos and the website photos along with some notable context caveats.
Amazon Style Store
We've been praising the knit polo hard for about three years (here, here, here) and they've only become more mainstream thanks to the likes of Chris Evans, The Rock, Ryan Gosling, Donald Glover, Simu Liu, Michael B. Jordan and countless others. The only problem? The difference between a dorky polo and A-List Affect is in the details, and often, the details are what budget-minded clothing gets wrong. There are, actually, very, very few affordable vintage-inspired knit polos available currently.
Todd Snyder is crushing it with the vintage knit polos but, guess what? They're $200. The Tie Bar releases some, but they sell out quickly. The most common one you'll come across on social media is a brand called Paul Jones, which has a ton of options on Amazon for a decent price.
The look is good, the price is good – but they're synthetic. That most noticeably impacts the feel, being less soft than cotton counterparts. However, if you're interested in trying the style without blowing your whole date night budget on a shirt, this may be a good entry option until we're able to nail down some more balanced alternatives. If you're a guy who doesn't like synthetic materials, steer clear.
The texture on these shorts stood out to me right away in store, and I think you'll agree that did not translate to the product photo. Simple, lightly textured, 7″ inseam, thousands of reviews, and a decent price. It'll look great all day while on vacation, whether with a tank top at the beach or a button up linen shirt at dinner.
I'm a sucker for a western shirt, and I stumbled across this one that's on deep discount, heckuva buy for a Levi's shirt. The denim versions go for over $60. I also found myself responding to the plaid pattern in person more than I do to the product photo.
If there's one thing I just can't wrap my head around for how expensive they are, it's workout pants. Seems unless you get a premium version on sale, the budget-friendly options all swish, shrink, or pill. I picked these up, have washed and dried them once, and worked out in them and they're my new go-to gym pants. Good, slim fit, premium-feeling material and zippers. Only bummer is there's no back pocket but the front pockets do zip.
Summer doesn't have to be all t-shirts and linen button ups. A short sleeve chambray shirt like this upgrade version from one of our favorite brands, Buck Mason, makes for rugged, textured warm-weather option.
What do you get when you combine the aesthetic touches of a Barbour jacket, bomber jacket, and Harrington? This handsome green, lightweight jacket: The perfect jacket for the season made of twill weather cloth that has a water repellent finish similar to waxed canvas. The collar is corduroy for a contrasting texture to the body’s smooth finish.
Embrace a relaxed, comfortable, loose style this summer with this unique linen, deep placket polo with a camp collar. Men need more options in their shirting – especially in summer.
The marriage of your skatepunk middle school roots and your put-together adult style, the Old Skool is one of Vans' most classic styles and in this handsome tan suede is a smart casual shoe that works with many personal styles including minimalism, utility, preppy, and more. It will look great with pants or shorts for all year wear. Also available in high top, if you're into that kind of thing.
I've always appreciated Gap and Banana Republic's leather jacket offerings. They consistently balance cost with a decent real leather construction and design. I love the details on this suede trucker jacket.
The whole look on the mannequin in the window is a masterclass in low-key, classy menswear. The striped linen shirt adds a touch of visual interest to the suede's texture and the white chinos bright minimalism.
Chinos from the future: high-stretch fabric that resists wrinkles and water in a natural straight fit.
I've been digging Banana Republic's leaning into their safari aesthetic roots, and this olive green suede safari jacket is the cherry on top. Plus if you remove the belt you've converted it into a quasi suede field jacket.
Big collars, buttonless placket, big florals, and cashmere…it's a bold polo if I've ever seen one, but that makes for an interesting summer outfit when all you have is a shirt and shorts.
The twill rugged suit has been popping up in a few places like Buck Mason and now Banana Republic. While I don't see myself wearing the two piece suit at the same time, both of the items separately are pretty go-to options for me: A chore coat and chinos.
Cotton Poplin Shirt, $59.50
The simple white button down shirt has increasingly returned to my quick-grab list. It's so easy to pair with most jackets, from leather to blazer, and dress pants to jeans.
J.Crew's suede Harrington jacket really caught my eye on the mannequin in a way the product photos didn't. A great, slouchy drape with a collar that almost acts like a popped up denim jacket collar. And as you can see on the mannequin outfit, it pairs effortlessly with a preppier aesthetic if the whole leather biker jacket thing never aligned with your style.
Not nearly as fun as the Todd Snyder options but a third of the price. 100% cotton.
A classic keyhole design at a price that you won't kick yourself if you sit on them.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Seems like out of nowhere this vintage-looking embroidery on drape-y shirts has become a big thing and I'm here for it. A fresh take on the summer floral shirt.
The perfect summer pants for the man who hates wearing shorts.
Want to see more like this? Chat with me in the comments!