Starter Style Review: Old Navy

Editor’s note: Building great style on a budget can be difficult and expensive. This is the second part in an occasional series chronicling great locations to start a wardrobe and buy affordable, good-looking style staples. Catch the first part here. Look for more in the coming weeks!

There's more than meets the eye with this brand.
There’s more than meets the eye with this brand.

Old Navy is one store that often seems overlooked when it comes to style and fashion. Maybe it’s because they fall under the large, large banner of Gap (which also includes Banana Republic) or perhaps it’s because the brand’s looks lean decidedly casual and tend to cater to a younger crowd (note the expansive kids section and back-to-school deals). However, there really are some terrific finds in terms of style essentials — in fact, a decent amount of Siblings With Style’s budget picks  for a menswear starter kit were gleaned from Old Navy. A good look through the store reveals just as many essentials in-person as online, all at very reasonable prices.

When browsing through the store, there certainly are some fantastic finds. In the local brick-and-mortar location, there was a massive clearance sale that marked large quantities of items down to as low as $5 (in this case, a selection of pique polos).

One of the store's standout selections.
A style staple at a low price.

Perhaps one of the better bargains around is the store’s selection of v-neck sweaters (for $10 in some instances). The sweaters are mostly offered in darker hues fitting winter and fall, but navy and grey v-necks as seen above are two items that can pull duty regardless of season.

Shirting also is a surprising strong point at Old Navy. As seen below, Old Navy featured a nice selection of light chambray and denim shirts, in addition to classic Oxford cloth button-downs (a tremendous polo alternative) and shirts with some interesting, subtle patterns, like pin dots and various symbols. The selection of strong plaid and striped shirts also was on-point with other brands — shirts with patterns like that are a steal at a bargain price and can even make do with little tailoring if layered under a sweater.

Winter-appropriate textures and fabrics
Winter-appropriate textures and fabrics.

Old Navy denim and trousers also earn the store significant style points. In offerings ranging from relaxed and straight to slim, the store had a variety of washes, including an inky black and some dark denim with slight distressing. At the particular store in question, slim-fit jeans were going for $35 — less than a pair of Levi’s for quality that can’t be beat for the price and fit. Corduroys also were on-sale for low, low prices, going for as little as $10. The fact that the pants were offered in a variety of darker shades (like navy and grey) helps them fall perfectly in line with the hues of the season while remaining a style essential.

Corduroys on sale at Old Navy.
Corduroys on sale at Old Navy.

The store’s selection of basic essentials is something Old Navy’s always done well, and it appears they continue to emphasize nice-fitting, basic T-shirts, henleys and thermal long-sleeve shirts (some of which can be seen next to those corduroys above). Buying these shirts in bundles can yield some nice, low prices. Old Navy’s jackets and outerwear are tremendous for the price, too — don’t forget about that essential navy peacoat.

Dark denim. Low price.
Dark denim. Low price.

Additionally, Old Nav offers some slightly trendier items, including puffer vests (now being layered above suits), a camo thermal long-sleeve shirt, and a shirt-jacket cut trim through the body and arms, in addition to a selection of jean jackets. The sale racks are absolutely worth looking over as well, as selection is actually quite extensive for most every size. And Old Navy does the basics, like boxers, boxer briefs and undershirts, at low prices, too — maybe not a bad idea to stock up there.

With Old Navy, like any store, there are sure to be magnificent finds at low prices as well as ‘duds’ at high prices. However, it’s definitely a store worth browsing to pick up style essentials and start a wardrobe at low prices.

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