Approved Brands

Sorting through the online world of men’s style can be pretty daunting at times — especially if you don’t have many places to begin. That’s why I’ve rounded up a list of great men’s style “starter” brands or companies you can (and should) look to for awesome style purchases and seasonal inspiration— some of them do one or two things well, and others do many things very well. This list isn’t definitive or comprehensive (a good number of higher-end brands are mostly left out, and the list isn’t divided into specific clothing categories, for example). For more on excellent brick-and-mortar brands, check out this series. Any brands that I missed? Let me know and stay stylish!


The Brands

Huckberry — For a full set of rugged-refined style essentials, from chambray shirts to slim tees and chinos to trusty gear like bottle openers, pocket knives, masculine wall art — you name it, Huckberry has it.

Taylor Stitch — For heritage-inspired classics that combine modern style, terrific construction and standout quality — the brand’s monthly collection launches are killer, too.

J. Crew — For just about anything you can think of — dress staples, slim sweaters, casual washed & chambray shirts, jeans, soft T-shirts & polos, nice shorts and killer shoe collaborations.

Frank & Oak— For monthly collections that pack a serious punch, tailored specifically to the time of year. A mix of dress items, sportswear (solid knits & neutral layers) &  casual staples (chinos, jeans, tees). Click here for a full review.

Todd Shelton — For quite possibly the best white Oxford shirt you’ll own, and a heck of a pair of black (or blue) selvedge denim — all made in America, to boot.

Thursday Boot Company — For fast service and reliable shipping on a stellar collection of boots for the price.

J. Crew Factory – For budget suits (try the Thompson line), ties and dress shirts, knitwear, great socks and near carbon-copies (for cheaper prices) of J. Crew pieces.

Arcade Belt Co. — For belts that can’t be beat — seriously, the smallest style accessories can make a big difference. These ones are made with comfort and stretch. Plus, they’re sold at Huckberry.

Jack Erwin — For an excellent and nicely varied array of dress shoes and boots at solid prices.

Combatant Gentleman — For a nice range of starter suit, shirt and tie offerings, as well as stylish and affordable blazers and more fashion-forward suits — all very fairly priced.

Banana Republic — For better-than-expected outerwear, quality blazers, modern office staples (dress shirts, ties, pocket squares) and the occasional on-sale pair of shoes.

Bonobos – For nearly as many items as its (slightly) better-known brethren above. Great slim chinos, printed casual shirts, slim sweaters, well-made knitwear, excellent  (if pricey) suiting, and third-party shoe deals.

Express — For those staples that would be too expensive at Banana Republic or J. Crew — patterned dress socks, a slim dress shirt or two on-sale, the occasional sweater or polo (sans logo) and crewneck & V-neck T-shirts.

Warby Parker — For outstanding glasses in a variety of styles and an outstanding Web & in-store experience.

Club Monaco — For more expensive pieces with continental flair, like colorblock crewneck sweatshirts, slim printed shirts, soft knitwear and outstanding third-party shoe collaborations.

Ben Sherman US — For world-class outerwear with lots of heritage and history behind it (particularly the brand’s Harrington jackets as seen here).

Huckberry — For all the cool gear you could ever need in your life, including rugged outerwear, dressy chinos, casual buttondown shirts and an extensive selection of grooming and homeware products, from both its own lines and excellent third-party retailers (get $10 off at Huckberry here).

Grayers — For a simple mix of preppy staples, like comfortable yet polished buttondowns, seasonal items (baseball jackets in the spring, heathered cardigans in the fall and winter) and well-made knitwear.

Uniqlo — For great Oxford-cloth buttondowns, lightweight polos, the occasional pair of socks and jeans in a variety of washes with a hint of stretch.

H&M — For those slightly more fashion-forward items you want to try (like brown suede Chelsea boots or a floral buttondown) on an extreme budget.

JC Penney — For budget shoes (boots or wingtips to start) and budget outwear (like their Stafford topcoats).

Macy’s — For the odd steal like suit separates, accessories like casual & dress belts and solid-for-the-price outerwear.

Levi’s — For all-American jeans in a variety of fits and washes, often on-sale for around $50 or less.

Florsheim — For a wide selection of all the men’s shoes you could want, everything from wingtip boots to affordable suede loafers.

Dockers — For slim khakis (try the Alpha line) and more conservative dress pants & chinos.

The Tie Bar — For the widest selection of ties on the Internet — knit, cotton, wool, linen — you name it, they have it.

Greats Brand — For outstanding casual sneakers in all kinds of silhouettes, all at extremely wallet-friendly prices. For a full review, head here or here.

Apolis — For sustainably and ethically-made outerwear (like wool chore coats), seasonal blazers, sturdy chinos and drool-worthy boots.

Pistol Lake — For well-made, sturdy and durable knitwear — ranging from henleys to V-neck tees and sweatshirts.

Owen & Fred — For those lifestyle items that can complete an outfit or aesthetic — even if you might not think as much about them. Witty and beautifully-made home, bar & bathroom accessories, stationery & desk supplies, and awesome luggage tags. To get $10 off via the brand’s site, click here. For more picks, head here.

Brickell Men’s Products — For a full line of very well-done face and skincare products that won’t break the bank. Full review here.

Amazon — Yes, that Amazon. Swing by for great deals on watches through third-party vendors or the companies themselves. Top picks (and more info on where to start) can be found here.

That’s all on this list for now — thoughts? Drop me a line via email or Twitter

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  1. Great list! I think all these brands are great because they are very dependable and consistent. To elaborate, with a brand like J.Crew, you are always excited for their new lines because they’ve developed a reputation that they support with every single one of their items. While I like finding a great piece at an unknown store by serendipity, shopping at places like J.Crew saves a lot of time and money.


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