After releasing my free guide last week, “7 Common Style Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)”, I got a lot of emails from guys asking where I personally shop.

I don’t know why the hell it never crossed my mind to share specific shops I buy my clothes at, so I’m doing that today.

A few things that might surprise you:

1. I don’t really get clothes custom made – A lot of style sites love telling you you should go custom. I’ve worked in fashion for over 10 years, most of the most stylish people I know buy clothes off the rack.

Custom can sometimes be overkill and unnecessary.

It takes longer to make and cost more. Custom, bespoke stuff is nice and makes sense for some occasions (like if you are reeaaallly short or reaaallly tall, or, you know, your wedding). But for the most part, you can get really amazing clothes that fit perfectly off the rack.

2. I don’t buy all cheap or all expensive clothes – Unfortunately I’m not swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.

However, working in design has helped me identify good and bad quality. I buy a lot of basics from places like Uniqlo, but I often wait to save up and spend a bit more on the serious things like shoes and suits.

Why?

Because it’s just extremely difficult to make good quality clothes at low prices. Hell, it’s hard to make ANYTHING really good with a small budget. It’s not marketing, or designer brands trying to pull a fast one on you, it’s just math.

I like to tell people “Expensive things are expensive for a reason, and cheap things are cheap for a reason.” Just remember, you do “pay for the brand name”, but a brand name is built on reputation. And reputation isn’t something that can be bought.

For My International Readers: I know I’ve been getting a lot of message from guys outside the U.S. asking for some alternatives to stores I recommend. I’m currently gathering some more info on what’s out there. Since I don’t have firsthand knowledge, the last thing I’d want to do is recommend a place for you that sucks. Don’t worry, I’m working on it!

Ok, now let’s get to it. Here are the places I personally shop at and what I get at each:

Quick key
Price Range
$ = Great Value
$$ = Better Quality But Won’t Break The Bank
$$$ = Worth Saving For
$$$$ = Luxurious Splurges and Items You’d Want to Pass Down

 


THE BEST MEN’S SHOP ONLINE
MR. PORTER

If you’ve been reading my site for a while, you’ll know I often link and recommend products coming from Mr. Porter.

What I love about Mr. Porter, and what a lot of men don’t realize, is that it’s not just pricey brands. They have a wide range of brands that fit almost any budget. They even stock things from my “go to” brand J.Crew. In my opinion, it’s not only the best shop online for men, it might even be the best shop for men, on or offline, period. If you’re in a major city like New York, you can even get 1 hour delivery if you’re in a pinch. And don’t get me started on the packaging…

This was just for a hat, btw. (via @theessentialman)

Website: www.mrporter.com
Price: $-$$$$
Shipping: Free shipping & returns in the U.S.
Do They Ship Internationally? Yes, 4-7 Days average. Expensive (~$55USD)
What I Usually Get There: Almost anything, from jackets, scarves, t-shirts and jeans.

 

MY “GO-TO” SHOP
J.CREW

When I was younger, my “go-to” shops were fast fashion places like H&M and Zara. But as I got more familiar with quality, those places didn’t make the cut. (No pun intended). Now, for my readers and clients, I often recommend J.Crew as a first place to start when you shop. Why? Because their designs are classic but still a little forward (translation, they’re not boring), and they are great quality for their price. (I also may be a little biased as a lot of my friends I went to design school with work for them.) 

While I still prefer to buy my outerwear and suits from other places, what J.Crew really does well are pants and shirts, particularly my favorite, chambray.

Website: www.jcrew.com
Price: $-$$
Shipping in the U.S. Free Shipping in the U.S.
Do They Ship Internationally? Yes. 5-11 Days Standard shipping.
What I Usually Get There: Pants, such as chinos. Dress shirts and casual shirts like chambrays.

 

BEST SHOP FOR SUITS
SUIT SUPPLY

I first learned of Suit Supply after I was invited to a VIP dinner at the very last minute and was in need of a proper suit. My old suit didn’t fit anymore. A friend of mine recommended I go to Suit Supply in Soho. 

At first I was a bit skeptical at sub-$1,000 suits after my experiences with places like Club Monaco. But I was extremely impressed with Suit Supply, and it has now become my go-to for suits. The quality is amazing, and the variety of colors and patterns is a breath of fresh air compared to charcoals and navy suits at most men’s shops. 

If you drop by the shops, the staff is extremely knowledgable on fit (super important when it comes to a suit). It’s also a “one stop shop”, they sell everything from socks to belts, to boots and bags. You can come out with an entire wardrobe, from weekend wear, work suits and black tie events, without needing to go anywhere else. 

Bonus: They can do more tailoring adjustments the same day.

Website: www.suitsupply.com
Price: $$-$$$
Shipping in the U.S. Free Shipping in the U.S.
Do They Ship Internationally? Yes, they also have locations around the world.
What I Usually Get There: Suits, shoes and dress socks. 

 

BEST SHOP FOR BASICS
UNIQLO

Uniqlo just can’t be beat when it comes to basics. I love me a good, ultra soft designer t-shirt. But when it comes to my day-to-day basics, Uniqlo is where I stock up. T-shirts, socks, beanies and the occasional dress shirt. Uniqlo is a lifesaver if you live in places like New York with sometimes brutal winters thanks to their HeatTech line. While I occasionally pick up a pair of Uniqlo pants, I would personally avoid most of their outerwear. They’re always poorly constructed in cheap materials. The parkas just aren’t good at keeping out the wind. The only exception are their down puffer pieces for layering. I definitely recommend picking up one to throw on underneath a proper coat. 

Website: www.uniqlo.com
Price: $
Shipping in the U.S. Free Shipping on orders $99 and above
Do They Ship Internationally? No, but they have locations around the world
What I Usually Get There: Socks, T-shirts, Heattech basics, cashmere gloves and cashmere beanies

 


BEST FASHION FORWARD SHOP
HAVEN

A lot of style sites will tell you to avoid trends and “fashion”. I disagree. A classic style filled with basics will get you looking better than most guys. The downside is, the look can feel a little plain, even boring. Designer fashion/brands and trends can help you inject a little more life into your style. My favorite site to shop when I want to splurge a bit is Haven. Based in Canada, it’s become one of the sources for higher end, design forward brands like Visvim, Acronym and The Soloist. The downside, of course, is that you’ll be paying a premium. The upside is, you can be sure you won’t look like everyone else.

Website: www.havenshop.ca
Price: $$$-$$$$
Shipping in the U.S. Yes. Lowest rate is $20. Be aware of extra duties and taxes.
Do They Ship Internationally? Yes.
What I Usually Get There: Whatever I can afford 🙂


BEST PLACE TO GET 2ND HAND DESIGNER GOODS/MY NEWEST OBESSIONS
GRAILED

Want a Haven alternative? Let me introduce you to my newest obsession, Grailed. Think of it like eBay, exclusively for men’s clothing, started and run by a group of guys that know their shit. Here, you’ll find almost any designer brand worth paying attention to at some AMAZING prices. They’ve separated clothes into sections to make it easier to shop for designer brands, like Margiela and Rick Owens, or more mainstream brands like Ralph Lauren. 

The biggest appeal to me is that because the site was founded and run by true style fans, they focus a lot on making sure the items posted are authentic. 

The only downside is, like any other 2nd hand marketplace, it’s hit or miss. Luckily, because Grailed is such a niched site, you run into hits quite often.

Website: www.grailed.com
Price: $-$$$
Shipping in the U.S. Depends on Seller
Do They Ship Internationally? Depends on Seller
What I Usually Get There: Depends on what’s available (Right now, I’ve been looking for a lot of t-shirts, jackets and shoes)

Ok, it’s your turn. 

I’d love to hear from you. 

Where do you shop? What do you usually get there? Why do you like it? 

Leave a comment and let me know.

peter@theessentialman.com'
Author

Hi, I'm Peter. I spent 11 years as a menswear designer here in NYC. Now, I help some of the most successful men look really good as a Private Personal Stylist and writer of The Essential Man. You can learn more about what I do by clicking here