Who doesn’t like saving a buck or two? That’s one of the main reasons why this site exists. But every so often there comes along a product that delivers well above and beyond its asking price (whether that’s thanks to sales and promos, or… *gasp* even at full price). Here’s our favorites that land in that category. The best of the best when it comes to the cost to value ratio from the world of men’s style.
One of the best values out there, without a question. Factory 2nds are shoes that have slight cosmetic blemishes to them that can’t be sold at full retail price. So? They go to the magical land of the “shoebank.” And if you’re willing to take the risk of a $10 restocking fee for returns, they can net enormous savings. Most of the time the blemish is barely noticeable, and probably something you’d pick up with normal wear. They’re also just as good in terms of the physical construction, and you can absolutely have them re-crafted once it’s time for a new sole. Price range above reflects when the Shoebank is running a sale. Popular dress shoe models will drop to a starting point of $198, with boots topping out in the mid $200s.
Sale/Clearance Brooks Bros. Sportcoats $200 – $298 ($448 – $498)
Almost always made from impressive Italian fabrics, offered in a number of fits (Milano = true slim, Regent = tailored but better for the broader guys), and while they’re “imported,” the construction and attention to detail is quite nice. Sometimes they’re lined, sometimes they’re not. Sleeve cuff buttons are almost always non functional and thus, easy to tailor. And tail length/button stance is timeless. Brooks Brothers makes a wide price-range of sportcoats. Skip past the cheap “Red Fleece” collection and don’t go quite as far as the super spendy luxury sportcoats. What you’re looking for is that perfect mid-point. The sportcoats that normally retail for around five hundred. (Above: two Regent fit sportcoats, purchased from the sale section, in 41R. On the right is the half lined grey check that was featured in yesterday’s Tripod.)
The “core”/entry level line of Spier and Mackay’s suits are incredible value for the money. These are the best value in men’s suits out there. Half canvas, nice wools, easy to tailor non-functioning sleeve cuff buttons, and two fits (slim, and a more athletic contemporary). The only trouble is that they can have trouble keeping the things in stock. Sometimes (but rarely) they’ll even go on sale. Spier does make some higher end suits, but look for those priced in the low $300s. Those are the core line. Can’t go wrong with those.
Not cheap, but built to last and goes with absolutely everything. A toned down, more subtle shape compared to the 1980s-tastic original wayfarer. Linked above to a 55mm non-polarized option. Also available in 52 and 58mm, but average sized heads should be happy with the 55mm. Polarized will cost you quite a bit more. Want to save a boatload of cash, and you’ve got a Costco membership? Try to search out their Kirkland wayfarers. Pretty sure those are still made in Italy, and go for around $25 – $30.
For somewhere between $40 – $45 you get 200m of water resistance, a stainless steel case and rotating bezel that feels much more expensive, and classic looks that at a glance look like this thing cost a heck of a lot more than a quick trip to the ATM. Even the stock rubber strap that it comes on is decent (soft-ish, not rigid plastic). Throw an aftermarket strap on there to boost its already good looks to the next level.
For those that work in a more formal than smart-casual work environment, these things can be wallet-savers. Nice, lighter weight merino wool. Lots of colors to pick from and you can have em’ hemmed before they leave the warehouse. Also available in a traditional fit. Lands’ End runs a lot of 30% off codes and pins, but there’s almost always another 40% off code and pin coming ’round (ha, see what I did there?) the corner.
Mrs. Dappered and I got married in a park. It looked like it was gonna rain, on our wedddddinnnggggg dayyyyyyy… so we bought some umbrellas, last minute, in case it did. And we wanted them to look nice, since everyone was all dressed up. We dropped by Macy’s, and bought these curved wood handle “gentleman’s” umbrellas. We still have them and they work great. That was almost a decade ago.
Nordstrom knows what they’re doing. Especially when it comes to their in-house brands and the goods that they crank out under those labels. 1901 and Calibrate shoes are made in China, but boy they deliver. John W. Nordstrom shoes seem to be made in Italy. As always, they ship and return for free, and they can often be had on sale.
Obligatory. In-house movements, tons of styles to choose from (dress, sport, diver, and more) and can often be had for the mid to low $100s depending on the model. Shown above is the somewhat spendy, but awfully nice Orient Mako USA.
Lightweight. Some might even call em’ thin. But strong as hell and available in a ton of different colors. A must-have, go-to for many of us. Heck, you can even (allegedly) machine wash the things. Often drops to $29.90 during sales.
Multiple colors, a couple of different fits, and a price that’s just right when they’re (almost always) on sale. What else do you want from a pair of cords?
The best. Bar none. Merino blend is lightweight yet still protects your feet a bit. Breathes great too. Close to indestructible, as long as you don’t over cook them in the dryer. And since they’re calf high, they won’t slouch down around your ankles as the day wears on. Sadly, the Allen Edmonds wholecuts shown above are not included with your purchase.
As long as we’re in the top-drawer department, let’s tackle underwear. They aren’t as cheap as all cotton, sold by the 6-pack undies might be, but they’re exponentially more comfortable and durable. They breathe, wick, and have anti-stink properties. You’ll never want to go back to cotton underwear ever again. They’re also great for travelling. If you like to pack light? You should be able to pack just an extra pair (while wearing a pair out the door) and get by on the road. At the end of the day, wash the pair you wore that day in a sink/tub and hang them up to dry. Rotate with the other pair. They’ll be dry (and clean thanks to your scrubbing) by the time the next pair needs to be swapped out.
Suitsupply only throws the doors open to their online outlet twice a year, but when they do? Man is there some cash to be saved. All sales are final though, so, be careful with that credit card. Suits can be a bit funky in terms of patterns and cuts, but sportcoats, shoes, and accessories can be real steals. Shown above is a soft tweed sportcoat and a pair of suede double monks that have appeared in the Suitsupply outlet in the not too distant past.
B.R. Rapid Movement or Traveler Denim – $70.80 when 40% off ($118)
Is seventy bucks cheap for jeans? Heck no. But these things are game changers. Mostly cotton but woven with a ton of engineered fibers which create absurd amounts of stretch, they are incredibly comfortable. Rapid movement is the evolution of their Traveler Denim. A bit less stretch, but feels and looks more like “real” denim. Still, some prefer the original. Often excluded from codes and promos, but will go on sale with some regularity. Shown above is the Rapid Movement in a straight fit.
From super simple movements that don’t hack or hand wind, to robust 200m water resistant cases with hacking and hand winding movements, Seiko makes one (many) hell of a watch(es) for the price.
If you’re searching for the perfect, super versatile, timeless yet still somehow contemporary casual sneaker… you can stop now. Here they are. Oddly good quality leather, construction, and details (laces, reinforced eyelets, cushioning, etc.) for the price. Will get mentioned later on today in the next installment of the $1500 wardrobe.
A legitimate steal. UNIQLO seems to have discontinued their button down collar polos, and JOMERS has picked up the slack. And then some. Made in Peru, super soft oxford cotton (it’s not oxford shirt cloth, but instead an oxford weave) and just twenty five bucks. Four colors to pick from, but, as is always the case with Jomers, you gotta jump on them when a new batch of stock drops. Sizes are scattered now, but here’s hoping they bring more back in the spring.
Rapid Movement Chinos – $58.80 when 40% off ($98) multiple colors/fits
Definitely has more stretch than your average stretch chino. Maybe not as stretchy as the rapid movement denim, but, more flexible. 90% cotton, 8% poly, 2% spandex. Clean hook and bar closure front. Tons of colors and fits. Size shown above is a 33×30 in the Emerson straight fit.
Belts sure can get pricey… which is strange, being that these belts will fulfill the smart-casual wardrobe wearing dude’s needs 90% of the time. Excluded from most codes and promos, but does drop in price every so often.
Speaking of stuff that can get oddly expensive, yet doesn’t have to be… I mean, take the pocket squares for instance. Some people will spend over $50 on a pocket square. It’s a piece of cloth. Folded. Now, I understand the allure of a spendy, Italian made, thick silk necktie. I get that. It ties better and drapes amazing and… but for $20-$25 a pop, TheTieBar can fill your rack with some variety for not much cash.
J. Crew has had its fair share of troubles as of late, but they still know how to make one hell of a sportcoat. J. Crew has the better fabrics and construction, while Factory makes reasonable facsimiles of Big Brother’s sportcoats on the cheap. Plus, the non-functioning sleeve cuff buttons stand out (in a good way) at this price point. Other affordable to downright cheap brands insist on putting functoning sleeve cuff buttons on their sport jackets, which is downright dumb, because often tailoring the damn sleeves will cost just as much if not more than the sportcoat.
Yes, they changed the fit. And that peeved off plenty. But that move from a true slim to a more standard fit, while keeping the midweight oxford cloth, was happily appreciated by many. Not all. Some. Will go on sale for $19.90 with some regularity.
Merino or Lambswool is more than fine for 90% of your body, but for your head? Where it can get a bit itchy up there? Cashmere can be the right play. Here’s your hat. All cashmere. Inexpensive, so, you won’t freak out if you lose it. Plenty of colors.
Skeptical, he who uses a vibrating, laser guided sextuplet razor equipped do-hickey? Head here for the argument as to why this really is a solid bang-for-the-buck switch.
There continues to be hardly a better deal in the men’s style world than a pair of Levis in your preferred fit, in the dark and versatile “tumbled rigid” shade.
Do they have a stitched sole? Probably. Maybe? Even if they don’t, the quality of the suede, the decent construction, and the styles they make these shoes in seem to far out-pace the asking price. Might want to steer clear of the smooth leather options though. As is almost always the case, cheap suede > cheap smooth leather.
Not sure how many of you are holding out on investing in a Prime membership, but… good gravy does it save a lot of time. I used to run errands. I don’t run errands anymore. Might not be all that hot for style, still, but it absolutely delivers on the bang-for-the-buck factor (gas, wear and tear on your car, time spent running all over town), and you do get a bunch of extras, plus access to some pretty sweet deals on “Prime Day.”
Good enough for astronauts, good enough for you and me. Plus the competition is well into the triple digit price range.
Made in the USA out of Horween leather, comes in 4 colors (sometimes, currently just offered in the nut brown shown above) and it costs less than a Filson Original. Impressive. UPDATE: Looks like CXL #8 is back!
And? What’d we miss? The problem with lists like this is that while potentially useful for those searching out high quality gear for a more than fair price… the author (hi!) is almost always gonna miss something obvious. Send those tips into firstname.lastname@example.org.