Fashion magazines – menswear ones included – stick to the idealised: The product roundups picking right from the runway and latest high-end lookbooks, all geared toward readers who can fork over a few thousand for what appears to be an ordinary T-shirt. For men, wardrobe advice guides reinforce these aspirations: Spend a bunch to get started, with the assumption that everything’s going to stay classic and last you at least five years. At the same time, you’re encouraged to stay away from fast-fashion retailers, under the assumption that price is indicative of quality. So, what happens when you’ve got high-end tastes without all that disposable income? Although some get creative with eBay and resale websites, reliable yet affordable brands are your best – and perhaps most consistent – bet. If you’re fairly new to menswear, or have stuck strictly with hit-or-miss shopping centre offerings, where do you begin?
Not quite a fast-fashion retailer but neither an aspirational brand, Uniqlo does a bit of everything and, in the process, offers an equally wide assortment. Over the years, the Japanese fashion brand has introduced accessible tech styles, produced a few fun collaborations (like those Dragon Ball Z tees), and worked with a handful of Fashion Week-level designers, such as
Ask any menswear aficionado about a good ‘starter’ brand, and
Reputation as a ‘shopping centre brand’ aside,
Rather, with its brick-and-mortar experience trumping its ecommerce store, H&M’s physical locations distinguish the dressier basics from the more streetwear-leaning pieces. As such, you can find those flat-fronts and button-downs for the office in one section, while grabbing a pair of space-dye joggers in the same trip. While the quality may be questionable, with some shirts allegedly only lasting a few washes, these aren’t meant to be investment pieces. Instead, they’re a serviceable introduction that lets you see what does and what doesn’t work for your personal style.
From basic tees to suiting,
Boohoo’s concept – first for women and later expanded to men – epitomises the fast-fashion ecommerce store. New pieces come in and sell out at record times, and much of what’s there reflects what you’ll find on the runways, in street photography, or on Instagram. In short, it’s 100-percent trendy and intends to stay that way.
Yet, more so for its men’s offering, those patterned shirts and embroidered jeans now digitally sit next to more practical styles. These days, you can shop
From how materials get sourced to where clothing gets made, the fashion industry has long kept its processes and supply chain murky. Counteracting this, higher-end and green-leaning brands have lifted the curtain just a bit, but with that decreased opaqueness comes prices often out of reach for the typical consumer. What’s a conscious shopper to do?
Mango officially dipped into the menswear market in 2008, launching H.E. by Mango. By 2014, they rebranded it as