These days, we hardly buy anything in real stores. Why get off the couch when you can have everything you need delivered with a few taps on your phone? But while that works just fine with toilet paper and potato chips, it can be a little trickier when it comes to clothes. If something doesn’t fit, returning it can be a hassle. If you are unsure of a garment’s quality, you can find yourself paying for something that ends up in the garbage a month later. That’s why you’re better off staying away from the online equivalent of big box retailers and sticking to specialty shops that focus on menswear and have established a reputation for doing it well.
Whether you’re buying for yourself or someone else, chances are you will be looking at some clothes and clicking “Add to cart” in the very near future. Thanksgiving not only means the start of holiday gift-buying season but also the arrival of holiday party season, for which you will want to look your best.
No matter your personal style and taste, there is an online store that suits your needs. Some also have brick-and-mortar shops, while others exist only on the Internet. We found the 10 best that will keep you looking on point this holiday season and beyond.
1. MR PORTER
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for all your sartorial needs, then Mr Porter is the way to go. The clothes aren’t cheap, but they are infallibly sharp and the customer experience is unparalleled. On top of the excellent selection, which includes everything from Saint Laurent and Tom Ford to J.Crew and Polo, Mr Porter creates excellent stories, such as a recent interview with comedian and underground fashion standout Aziz Ansari.
Even though all of its items are not made in the U.S., Unionmade nails that quintessential Americana look. The clothes are not flashy or loud, but they do attract attention because of their impeccable craftsmanship and attention to detail. With brick-and-mortar stores in San Francisco and Santa Monica, Unionmade filters a classic East Coast wardrobe through a West Coast and Japanese-inspired lens. The brand’s collaborations also stand out because of their storytelling aspect, such as a recent project with Levi’s Vintage Clothing on a pair of 501 jeans based on a design from World War II.
It makes sense that a shop located near Harvard’s Cambridge campus would have one of the smartest selections of sneakers and streetwear. No other retailer has consistently knocked it out of the park with its sneaker collaborations the way Concepts has, whether it’s an ugly Christmas sweater-inspired Nike SB Dunk or a New Balance 998 reminiscent of a $100 bill. Concepts’ apparel offerings rise to an equally high standard, including designers like John Elliott and Uniform Experiment.
4. NEED SUPPLY
Need Supply is another awesome menswear destination based in an unlikely location. Located in Richmond, VA, the brand got its start in 1966 selling vintage Levi’s. After launching its e-commerce operation in 2008, Need Supply has really lived up to its name, supplying goods that guys need in their closets. Stocking top North American brands like Red Wing Shoes, Saturdays Surf NYC and Reigning Champ alongside European and Japanese labels like Han Kjobenhaven and Neighborhood gives Need Supply a diverse selection of garments that are destined to live in your closet for years. And its blog is a great source of information and inspiration on everything from fashion to cheese.
If anyone could give Concepts a run for its money, it’s Kith. The brainchild of Ronnie Fieg, Kith brings the heightened design aesthetic of its retail locations in New York City to its web store. The photographs of sneakers sold on the site are excellent and the lookbooks created for the Kith clothing line rival that of any fashion magazine. The site is a great place to find the most wearable offerings (i.e. the ones that go best with the Nikes that Kith also sells) from high fashion designers like Balmain and Public School.
The phrase “Don’t mess with Texas” holds true when it comes to menswear, too. In addition to its three stores in the state (and one in Venice, Calif.), Stag has emerged as a real player in the online menswear world. The store specializes in newer brands with a heritage approach. Brands like Faherty and Alex Mill feel like they’ve been around forever with their fresh takes on classic pieces. Stag does a great job of discovering and curating the top pieces from brands like these.
7. TRES BIEN
People talk about the intersection of high fashion and streetwear all the time, but few nail that concept the way that Tres Bien does. Whether it’s a $40 T-shirt from Montreal skate brand Dime or a $1,605 overcoat from Raf Simons, Tres Bien curates the clothes that the cool kids in every international capital are rocking. Not content with selling other designer’s gear, Tres Bien also creates highly-coveted styles under its in-house label.
8. SID MASHBURN
Sid Mashburn was a designer at J.Crew and Polo Ralph Lauren before decamping to Atlanta to start his own line and open a retail store that was more of an experience than a marketplace. The online store is no different. The vibe is classic Southern gentleman and features the kind of tailoring that makes you want to wear a jacket and tie more often because you look so damn good when you do. The best part is you don’t have to fret about what goes with what because everything works so well together.
Based in the style capital that is Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northern England (we kid), End still manages to stock some of the coolest styles anywhere on the globe. They consistently have the freshest Nike releases and seem to have inventory long after other places sell out. And their collaborations demonstrate a refined sensibility, whether it’s a proper duffle coat with Gloverall or a handcrafted Tricker’s boot.
Not to be confused with Unionmade, Union is a Los Angeles-based shop that started selling the top brands from Japan long before that became a cool (or easy) thing to do. From Visvim to WTAPS, Union doesn’t have everything, they only have the right things. It’s one of the few places where you can feel confident picking up something from a brand you haven’t heard of, because you know that for Union to carry it, it has to be good.