Slim Pickings AKA What’s a Guy to Do?: Thomas’s Menswear Online Shopping Guide

Some of us live in cities/towns that (arguably) have their charms but definitely do not have a plethora of boutiques and affordable alternatives to said-boutiques. (SOME OF US are currently living without their regular museum-y walkthrough of Barney’s where they never actually shopped except to buy a tie once but some of us like to know that it’s there, looking nice, for whenever we want to waltz through its hallowed atrium-like floors).

 Some of us wear mens’ clothes but have chests that get in the way, yet we do not want to swim in our shirts. Some of us are kinda big, some of us are small. Some of us are really, really small. Some of us are thin and bird-chested. Some of us are artists or academics or service employees and, despite our economics, we would prefer to not look like shit all the time. Some of us have money on occasion or all the time and still have nowhere to physically buy anything that is not tacky/boxy/boring/otherwise ugly. Wherever you fall on this Venn diagram of problematic possibilities, I am here for you and so is the internet.

All of these options fall within the style-forward section of the pie (obviously),  so here are a few that address other bits of real estate on the diagram. They are labelled for easy reference. You’re welcome.

THE KEY

Size Concerns = XS-XL

Funding Concerns = $$

Size and Funding = ♠♠

Topman ♠♠

Example piece:

Blue Jaquard Cable Sweatshirt, $62

Despite the fact that Topman has not worked out their international shipping situation and, thus, regularly loses shipments, they’re still my go-to place for menswear on the internet. Their whole concept is to look to what’s big in design and make it affordable, and their size range is excellent (they even have XXS and XXL).

(If they lose your shit, by the way, you can write them a stern email and they’ll send you a refund. Sometimes it even shows up a couple weeks later and it’s free!)

The other major benefit to Topman is that their sales are regular and generous–you can find deep discounts on things you actually like and that are still available in multiple sizes. They’re also awesome for accessories, like so:

Grey Aztec 5 Panel Cap, $28

And, since it’s summer, I’ll emphasize that their shorts are consistently an excellent alternative to big box stores and boutique-priced stuff:

Blue Tick White Stripe shorts, on sale for $30

Barney’s Co-Op Xs-XL

Theoretically, Barney’s Co-Op is cheaper than the rest of Barney’s and, therefore, “cheap.” I guess it’s relative but if you’re anything like me, what you find here will be out of your everyday price range. However, for a few nice/special occasion pieces in a range of sizes, this is a good option.

You can find great stuff on the (relatively) less expensive end by designers like Rag & Bone, Gant Rugger, Marc Jacobs, etc. like so:

Rag & Bone Raglan Sweatshirt, $150

But for the real deals look at pieces produced by the Co-Op “label,” which–like Topman–is basically off-label generic versions of this season in menswear. The benefit of Barney’s is that it’s made better–so a smart shopper can get some great basics here that will last for many seasons.

This is also my go-to place for ties. I got married in a Co-Op tie. This is different than the one that accompanied my nuptials, but I like it, too:

Barney's Co-Op Chambray Solid Tie, $55

Context Clothing (Sale Section) ♠♠

Like the Co-Op, even Context’s sale section can be pricy. However, for the patient digger there are some great finds hereand the sizing follows the general high-end principle of including XS and XL (though beware that “XS” will likely be too big for slimmer people with narrower shoulders. I recommend you find yourself a tailor. Shelling out a few extra dollars now and again to make your clothes fit you perfectly is well worth it. Though a tailor can’t perform miracles, s/he can make adjustments on clothing that’s off by an inch or less here or there).

Anyway, for the XS population out there, I found this great shirt in Context’s sale section:

Gitman Brothers Vintage Pattern Oxford 63 in XS, $83

And, also in XS:

B:SCOTT Denim Double Mock Pullover Black for $45

I might just buy that shit!

Gilt Man ♠♠

Finally, if you haven’t done so already I suggest joining Gilt. The process is unnecessarily “VIP”-ish, but the thrust is that you sign up and then they eventually send you an email to “invite” you. Once you’re a member, you have the opportunity to take part in limited-edition design sales that take place at noon daily (EST). I have found some really great stuff in my size this way.

The sales are hit or miss and the sizes depend on the designer, but today I like this:

Corpus Work Shirt in XS, $69

Okay, friends. I hope this solves some style quandaries. Internet shopping is the new thrifting! Get on it.

About Thomas Page McBee

Gentleman first, always. James Dean is my patron saint, poet is my gender. More about me here: www.thomaspagemcbee.com

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