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A couple of weeks ago I posted a column outlining the mall stores at which I regularly shop. Those spots contribute a good portion of the clothes I tend to grab on a daily basis for work and weekends. Their scale allows them to cover every base well. As such, they’re usually great places to find basics like tees and shorts, but I’ve also found unique linen tees from Club Monaco, Fair Isle knits from J.Crew, and a gorgeous tuxedo that was near-perfect straight off the rack from Bonobos.
Today, I’m diving a little deeper to break down and highlight some brands that have attempted to disrupt the industry behemoths. The companies that I’ve listed below all revolve around the same basic principle of cutting out the overhead and the middlemen to offer you better products at lower prices. While these labels won’t always provide the breadth of options or range of colors and prints like a Bonobos can, they’re great options for finding high quality and streamlined pieces that fit seamlessly into a wardrobe. The styles offered generally lean towards Scandinavian minimalism, so if you’re the type of guy that doesn’t want to think too hard about putting together an outfit, these are great places to start shopping.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out my new podcast, Club Cool. We’re six episodes in, and we cover all sorts of topics like the one I’m writing about today. Ross Bolen, Will deFries, Phil Battaglia, and I sat down to answer a week’s worth of listener questions on v4, wherein we doled out sneaker shopping advice, addressed the rise of designer fanny packs, and gave our thoughts on the current state of the Hawaiian shirt. Then on v5, I listed my favorite TV shows of the year so far, broke down rappers into hierarchal tiers, and took some listener voicemails. The newest pod features Producer Micah, and we talked amping up your wedding style, how to look dope at a pool party, and even offered up some packing tips. Tune in here.
Alright, here we go:
Everlane was at the forefront of the online direct-to-consumer wave when they set out to provide high-quality T-shirts that didn’t cost fifty bucks or more. They succeeded, and since then they’ve expanded the line like crazy to cover all of the go-to pieces in your closet. Oxfords, jeans, jackets, and even bags are all available at incredibly reasonable prices, and they continue to develop exciting new products each and every season. If you like to keep things simple and clean, where every item in your closet goes together, this is the no-frills spot for you.
If you’ve always struggled to find button-ups or dress shirts that fit well off-the-rack, you need to give Proper Cloth a try, especially if your job requires you to be well put-together in business casual every single day. Basic dress shirts start at just eighty dollars and are essentially made-to-measure, plus you even get to pick the small details like collar style and cuff type. The site will ask you for some pretty specific measurements, so get a friend or significant other to record those properly with a soft measuring tape. If you think something is off about your first shirt, they’ll redo it for you at no additional cost. Once you have your fit locked in, it’s as simple as checking out at any other online store, except that the shirt you order is being cut to fit you flawlessly. Some of the cooler casual fabrics are imported from Japan or Italy and can get up to about $150, but that’s still an absolute steal for a shirt that was built to your exact specs.
If Everlane and Proper Cloth had a baby, it would look a lot like Asket. The overall aesthetic and style is very similar to Everlane, but the sizing options allow you to create a more specified fit. Tees, button ups, and even hoodies come in three different lengths, while pants are offered in two to three inseam lengths per waist size. The prices at Asket begin to creep up into the contemporary brand range, but that’s due to the Italian fabrics, Japanese hardware, and Portuguese production. Transparency is another trait they share with Everlane; each product page includes an exact breakdown of where each piece of the garment is from and what their total cost was on the garment itself (although their markup doesn’t seem to make as much sense as Everlane’s). That being said, Asket covers the basics in a very straightforward manner with a hint of luxury.
Grana flies under the radar here in the U.S. because it’s based overseas, but it’s easily categorized with the aforementioned Everlane and Asket — so much so that there’s really not a ton to add here. They’re offering higher-quality garments at more affordable prices than you might find at Nordstrom, for example. Wade through Grana’s selection for a few minutes and you will see that several pieces offer a little extra flair, like ottoman texture on a sweater or single pleats on a cropped pair of pants.