Quality, Affordable Menswear – Online Options.
While it’s fun being able to write about and commission bespoke tailoring, as well as unique non-clothing items (like last months article on a couple of pieces we have from Cedes), I know that for a lot of readers, these are aspirational items, but not necessarily realistic purchases in the short term. Plenty TimelessMan’s readers are younger, in the early days of a career, still studying, or just on a more limited budget for non-essential purchases (just like I was up until my mid/late 20’s).
So, writing about these things are informative (hopefully) and interesting (really hopefully) but for a lot of us, it doesn’t help with buying quality menswear on a budget.
I thought it might be useful to include a list of a few websites which I’ve come across over the years and had direct experience with, who make quality products, which look good and aren’t expensive. The key point here being “quality”. There are a thousand shops which will make cheaper versions of the products found on the sites below, but they’re often poorly made or fashion focused, meaning they’ll fall apart as soon as you turn your back and will date just as quickly.
Further to the issue of cost, if you don’t live in a major global city, you’re chances of having a retailer down the road who makes a wide range of great classic menswear, are slim to none, meaning the internet becomes your only option for finding the clothes you like.
None of these products are “cheap” as such, they’ll still cost you more than a lot of the high street brands (though in many cases, they’ll cost a lot less), but they’re at very fair prices for the quality with which they’re made.
Berg and Berg: www.bergbergstore.com
Norway based Berg and Berg was started by Karin and Mathias Berg 8 years ago and they carry a mix of classic tailoring (trousers, shirts, ties, socks etc) and classic casual items (knitwear, tailored chino’s, t-shirts, accessories). They work directly with manufacturers (usually based in Italy) and release a couple of collections each year (spring/summer, fall/winter). Because they work directly with the manufacturers, prices are kept down and, as their collections are geared towards classic staples, you’ll always find a number of good options. I own some of their ties and pocket squares, as well as some sweaters and cardigans. They have a couple of sales a year, also, and if the prices weren’t already very good (they are), they get even better.
I’ve covered Kamakura before here about New York’s hidden gems. They make great shirts (made in Japan) and they’re very well priced. The range is extensive and it’s updated constantly. If you’re slimmer, buy their “Tokyo Fit”, if you’re more heavy-set or want more room, the “New York” fit is better. It’s an Ivy inspired aesthetic, so you’ll see plenty of button-down’s, but their cutaway collar pattern is perfect for every day in the office, or with jeans and loafers/sneakers or under a jumper (just change to a more casual weave – oxford/cashmere blend etc). They also have some casual options, if that’s more your style. I have about 10 of their shirts, have owned them for a couple of years and have never had an issue with any of them.
Shop The Finest: www.shopthefinest.com
Outlet store for a broad range of manufacturers, including Brunello Cucinelli (link is to our visit to Solomeo), Kiton, Brioni, etc. Significantly discounted, and covering everything from suiting, to knitwear, to accessories. Have purchased a few things here over the years and never been disappointed.
Good range of accessories, following a more classic aesthetic. Similar in some ways to the Berg and Berg range (albeit more expensive). Never purchased directly from them, but have heard good things.
Blackhorse Lane Ateliers: www.blackhorselane.com/shop
I only wrote about Blackhorse Lane a fortnight ago, but they deserve to be on this list. Admittedly, they’re not cheap, but they could easily be charging more than they are for their jeans, and for what they do cost, they’re great value. Brilliant story, made in London, nice people, very fairly priced.
Quality Shop: www.quality-shop.com
Based in the Netherlands, Quality Shop carries a range of brands, across tailored and casual menswear, including Private White V.C., Barbour, Drake’s etc, as well as some of their own range, made directly through manufacturers (William Lockie knitwear, as an example). There are some more expensive options on there, too, but those which are, are from brands which can justify it (i.e. Private White V.C. which is made in Manchester and still good value, anyway). As with the others on this list (excluding Shibumi) I personally own multiple items from Quality Shop.
Drake’s London: www.drakes.com
I’ve covered Drake’s before (factory visit here, and bespoke tie here). More expensive than other options included here, but still excellent value for money, made in England and their expansion in recent years, from primarily ties and pocket squares, to a comprehensive menswear offering, has brought so much new life to what was already an English institution. Recently, they’ve worked on a series of collaborations with other makers (including Boncoura denim and Blackhorse Lane, listed above) which has been great to see as it’s helped to introduce customers to some makers they may not have heard of otherwise. I own ties, jeans and knitwear from Drake’s and they’re all wardrobe favourites of mine.
Viola Milano: www.violamilano.com
Again, a more expensive option, but I don’t want to leave Viola Milano out. A very well curated range of everything from ties and pocket squares to shoes and bracelets. They have a very good eye for pattern and design, with a focus on classic style, meaning just about everything on the site will steer you in the right direction.
I’ll cover these separately, as they need their own article altogether.
From any of these stores you can be confident that you’ll receive well made products, which are fairly priced for what you get, until you have the capacity or interest to buy from more expensive retailers/manufacturers.