Editor’s Note: This one was written by Brett R., Dappered’s newest correspondent. You think I (Joe) can be thorough? Brett gets into detail. Don’t miss his footnotes which open in new windows. Brett’s Vitals: 5’10” 175lbs.
To a lot of you, Uniqlo is like the Bigfoot of male fashion. You’ve heard of it. You’ve seen pictures of it. But you haven’t been able to see it, touch it, try it on or smell it. It’s not your fault. They just opened a store in San Francisco, but until now, only those living in New York have witnessed the beast first hand. You can’t even buy clothes from their website! (I did hit 88 miles an hour on the way to work this morning, but I’m pretty sure I’m still in 2012). They’re not the only company without an e-commerce site and I’m sure there is a good reason for it. HOWEVER; rumor has it, like Zara, they are unleashing an e-commerce site on the American public this fall. And, there are ways around this current dial-up era hiccup. More on that later.
Known for affordable basics, Uniqlo feels similar to H&M and Zara at first glance. Most people’s first impression of these stores is formed around the heavy use of Polyester and Rayon in their clothing. Uniqlo isn’t completely innocent on this front, however if you pay attention and do some research, you can find some great, slim clothes made from quality fabrics. If you dig just a bit deeper, you can own these great pieces for a steal.
One store, one outfit, let’s do this.
The Blazer: Uniqlo Premium Linen Slim Fit Jacket – $39.90 ($79.90)
The Sun speaks to me (#1). It can be difficult to find an unlined linen blazer on the cheap. This blazer is cheap. It’s on sale right now for $39.90. (I’ll explain how I know this in a bit). Regularly $79.90 and only the sleeves are lined. 100% linen shell and minimum shoulder padding. It’s possibly the lightest blazer I’ve ever draped over my shoulders. Like, feel the breeze blowing through it, forget you’re wearing it light. One of the drawbacks of being so light is that it wrinkles easier than other linen jackets. This can add character, but you may need to steam it occasionally to keep it from getting out of control. The button stance is a tad high but not as high as their Tasmanian Wool Suits. Passable if you work in a business casual office and great for a night out in the Summer. Nothing but compliments from everyone. Trust me.
IS IT WORTH THE COST? Absolutely! Check the measurements listed on their UK site for very detailed measurements of their S, M, L, XL, etc… sizing. If you know your measurements, you can trust the listed measurements to point you in the right direction. Those over 6’2” may find it a bit short.
The Shirt: Uniqlo Easy Care Check Long Sleeve Shirt – $19.90 – $29.00
Think of Uniqlo Easy Care shirts as button down, 100% cotton versions of Target’s Merona Ultimate Dress shirt (#2). It has wrinkle reducing qualities while still maintaining the 100% cotton feel. They aren’t the slimmest shirts in the world so they may need some tailoring. Try the purple. It’s an underrated color that works well in all seasons.
IS IT WORTH THE COST? Depends. I lean towards Yes. I should have sized down on this one and didn’t and will the next time I buy one. Make sure you look at the UK site for measurements. If you are a close match to the measurements listed then they’re absolutely worth it. If you have to get it tailored, then there are other shirts in this price range that may be slimmer. In that case, I’d lean towards No.
The Pants: Dry Flat Front Pants in Houndstooth – $39.90
They’re made of 56% Cotton and 44% Polyester (check the UK website for composition). This will be a big drawback for some. HOWEVER, they’re called DRY Flat Front Pants and supposedly have “Moisture Wicking” properties. They do keep you much cooler than a pair of toasty wool dress pants. Another drawback with most Uniqlo pants: Most of them only come in size 34 length. If you live in New York, they offer in-house hemming. Everybody else is on the hook for another $10-$15 per pair to have them hemmed. For me, it was worth the $39.90 risk (Hemming included). I was pleasantly surprised. The Houndstooth itself is very small. Small enough that even Alabama fans (#3) won’t notice. It also gives the pants a nice texture. They fit slim with a slightly tapered leg.
ARE THEY WORTH THE COST? For me, or anyone in a warm climate that needs somewhat dressy pants? Yes. Even with the added $10 for tailoring, $39.90 for some lightweight pants that you can wear to the office is a good deal.
The Shoes: Allen Edmonds Player’s Wingtip in Walnut – $335.00
Uniqlo doesn’t make shoes. I mean, they do, but they really don’t. We all know about Allen Edmonds quality and the Players shoe is a sleek wingtip that works well in a variety of scenarios. These were marked down, drastically, during the Anniversary sale. Try Nordstrom Rack if you’ve got one near you. What’s difficult about Allen Edmonds Walnut colored shoes is finding a belt to match them. There aren’t many out there in the first place, let alone many that can be considered affordable……
The Belt: Uniqlo Italian Leather Stitch Belt – $19.90
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an Allen Edmonds belt. It doesn’t have the highest quality buckle and the leather isn’t amazing, but I’ve had it for 3 months and it’s held up well with regular wear (2 or 3 days a week). It works well with a suit or with khakis. Jeans may be a slight stretch, but it may be up to the challenge.
IS IT WORTH IT: $19.90 for a belt that matches Walnut shoes almost perfectly is a dream come true. A resounding YES for this one if you don’t want to spend $50 or more on a belt.
The Bottom Line and How to Order:
Overall, I’ve been impressed by the quality you get for the price when it comes to Uniqlo, and the brand has more often than not met if not exceeded my expectations. Just so I don’t sound like a shill, I bought a Slim Fit Shirt from Uniqlo that I would say No on. The material was very thin and it wrinkled pretty easily. I would say No to this Blazer as well. It was boxy and the material was sub par.
WAIT. WITH STORES ONLY IN NEW YORK AND NO E-COMMERCE SITE, YOU LIVE IN THE SOUTH SO HOW…..
Very perceptive! The e-commerce site is coming out in the Fall according to rumors, but in the meantime:
HOW TO FIND OUT WHAT’S ON SALE: Two options here. The best one is to email Uniqlo USA Customer Service and ask them what’s on sale this week. They usually respond within 24 hours. If they respond with a list of items and no prices, just reply back asking for the prices and they’ll oblige. You can also email customer service at a company called Suddenlee…….
HOW TO ORDER SOMETHING FROM UNIQLO AND HAVE IT DELIVERED: Suddenlee is your friend here. They have a browser plug-in that allows you to build an order sheet. Just make sure to include the sale prices instead of the normal prices. You’ll pay for your order via Paypal and one of their shoppers will get to work for you.
If they can’t find something in your size or color, they will let you know and provide you with the alternatives that are available. If you decide to remove or add anything from the order, they’ll adjust it accordingly. You can find a list of their markups on their website and they base it on the total order amount. It takes about 2 business days once they’ve shipped it to get to my front door in the South. Delivery times may vary, but they have a great map on the bottom of the pricing screen that shows you what to expect based on where you live. Overall, I’ve been happy with their service.
Thoughts on Uniqlo? Have you used Suddenlee or another proxy shopping service? Leave it all in the comments…
About Brett R.: Realizing that looking 7 yrs younger than his actual age isn’t an advantage, Brett changed his style so he’d be be taken more seriously. His Threads user name is bere09. He does not do cardio in a blazer… often.