Per Yahoo Finance (and PRNewswire), over 80% of consumers received a gift card during the 2019 holiday season, while gift card sales were up seven percent over 2018’s totals. I’d be willing to bet that a large percentage of us Dappered readers received some of that fantastic plastic. In this new series titled How to Spend It, we’re curating a bunch of items from a selection of stores you might/most likely got a gift card to (some very Dappered-y, some less so because Aunt Karen wasn’t sure). Our goal is to show you what’s worth it at various price points. You CAN spend it all in one place, dear!
Brand Note: UNIQLO is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer, and retailer with roughly 50 stores in the United States. UNIQLO, formerly Unique Clothing Warehouse, is well-known for their higher-than-average quality basics – from insulating parkas and cashmere sweaters down to their selvedge denim and amazing AIRism undergarments. Compared to their main competitors – The Gap, Zara, and H&M – UNIQLO focuses on technology and an evolving style rather than just churning out “fast fashion”. They also routinely collaborate with high fashion designers, artists, and third-party brands to bring unique garments and more progressive styles and cuts to the masses at affordable price points. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some weirdness among the racks. Their sizing issues have been well documented after they “Americanized” their fits a few years back. Getting the right fit can be a real pain.
Browsing/UNIQLO website note: One confusing aspect of their website is that you could have multiple items with the same name but under different links. Usually the items differ in color, fabric, or release year.
- Extra Fine Merino V-Neck Sweater – $39.90
- 100% Poly Harrington Jacket – $49.90
- Supima Cotton Crewneck Sweater – $29.90
- Airism V-Neck Undershirt – $14.90
- Kaihara Mills Stretch Selvedge Slim Fit Jeans – $49.90
- Chambray Workshirt – $29.90
- Pocketable Hooded Parka – $19.90 ($39.90)
- Extra Fine Merino Crewneck Sweater – $39.90
There are tons of stylish, classic basics up for grabs for less than a Ulysses S. Grant. Personally, I’m a big fan of the AIRism undershirts (which dip under $10 each occasionally), Supima Cotton tees, and the Japanese selvedge jeans.
- Ultra Light Down Parka – $69.90 ($79.90)
- Comfort Jacket – $59.90
- Cashsmere Crew Sweater – $59.90 ($99.90)
- Comfort Blazer – $59.90
- Mountain Parka – $59.90
For less than $100, you can grab some great cashmere sweaters or an updated, stylish jacket. Know that their sportcoats/blazers have a tendency to have long arms, and short tails. Not a great look for many of us. Joe (Mr. Dappered founder man himself) does NOT like UNIQLO’s blazers, sportcoats, and suitjackets. But as he’s said a million times, this site isn’t about him! Their cuts could, maybe, work better on you. Just be warned.
- Trench Coat – $129.90
- Stretch Wool “Slim Fit” Sportcoat – $149.90 (slim fit? Really? Doesn’t look so on the model?)
- “Custom” (more exact sleeve sizing) Stretch Sim Fit Wool Sportcoat – $149.90
UNIQLO doesn’t offer anything over $150, which is great for those of us on a tight budget. These Super 110s stretch wool jackets are pretty nice, even if they’re lined in polyester and the tails can feel a bit chopped.
Outfits and Style Inspirations (multiple item buys)
Since UNIQLO doesn’t sell any “grail worthy” items or anything over $150, we’ve pulled together a handful of outfits for some inspiration. It’s likely that most people do NOT get $500+ gift cards in general, but in case you do have a sizeable piece of plastic for UNIQLO, here are just a few ways to fill up your cart…
Outfit #1, North Eastern USA Business Casual – $428 total
- Easy Care “Custom” Dress Shirt – $29.90
- Spier & Mackay Goodyear Welted Suede Wingtips – $248
- Stretch Wool Slim Fit Pants – $79.90
- Ultra Light Down Vest – $39.90
- Italian Leather Stitched Belt – $29.90
This look has gained fame in the last couple of years. Some hate it, some don’t care for it, some don’t care (consider us in the latter, if it works for the person than by all means). That said, the suede wingtips really elevate the entire thing. Also, adding a slim, camel or charcoal merino cardigan would do this look wonders. It’ll clean up your sides (even the most tailored dress shirts will wrinkle a bit) AND it adds an easy to take on or off, lightweight, thermal regulating layer.
Outfit #2, South Eastern USA Business Casual – $408 total
- Slim Fit OCBD – $29.90
- Spier & Mackay Goodyear Welted Suede Loafer – $248
- Slim Fit Chinos – $39.90
- Comfort Blazer – $59.90
- Italian Suede Belt – $29.90
Super wheelhouse. Now IF you wanted to look a little different (like, less prep-school picture day) you could always swap out the khaki chinos for some lightweight wool gray glen-plaid trousers, and lose the brass/gold buttoned navy blazer in favor of something more modern. Those two switches (the glen plaid trousers and the modern navy tech blazer) would really change the look.
Outfit #3, Casual Business – $345 total
- Dry-Ex Short Sleeve Polo Shirt – $29.90
- Made in the UK Sanders Chukkas – $246.98 ($290)
- Slim Fit Chino Pants – $39.90
- “Fluffy” Yarn Full Zip Fleece – $24.90 ($29.90)
- Italian Saddle Leather Belt – $29.90
It’s not business casual, it’s casual business! So (even) less dressed up than biz casual. The super-textured, sherpa-y fleece “thing” has gotten real popular. Totally understand if that’s not for you of course. Shades of spring here.
Outfit #4, Vacation Vibes (Weekend-Dad “Dodgson”)
- Brow Line Sunglasses – $19.90
- Open Collar Short Sleeve Shirt – $29.90
- Twill Cap – $19.90
- Woven Leather Belt – $29.90
- Chino Shorts – $29.90
- Barbasol Thick and Rich Shaving Cream (or IS it?) – $4.33
Don’t mind me, I’m just facilitating the theft of frozen dinosaur embryos.
About the Author: Adam Terry is Dappered’s resident shoe & denim expert. He’s a thirty-something Technical Trainer in the heating and manufacturing industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, and raw denim. He’s also a new(ish) dad!