Before we get started here, yes, I know you know about Ragstock. I know that’s where you get all your purple flannel shirts and American-flag-print tank tops. It has taken over as the number one place for twenty-somethings to go when they need new threads. And not for nothing—Ragstock features a great selection, friendly employees, and relatively low prices.
But you’re still spending too much if you do all your shopping there.
Yes, friends, it is possible to complete your quest for fresh menswear without the help of Ragstock. Come with me and allow me to expand your horizons, and save you money while you do it.
Your first step when buying clothing should be making a list. I know, it’s boring and lame and I sound like your mom. Do it anyway. Anybody who goes to Target for a case of beer and leaves with a gigantic beanbag chair, Captain America graphic t-shirt, and Pikachu piggy bank knows that having a plan can help avoid spending more than you have budgeted out. List off items you need, and then items you want, or could use more of. That way, if you see something you dig that’s off script, you can at least make a note of it and keep that kind of thing to a minimum.
The second step is optional, but before I go shopping, I usually make note of the color of some of my favorite clothing items, and take a look at a color wheel. This website goes over some basic color theory, and is worth a quick read, but suffice it to say that when figuring out which clothes go with each other, a color wheel can help a lot. Similar colors are next to each other, while complementary colors are opposite each other on the wheel. Contrasting colors are separated by three colors on the wheel. Again, having an in-depth knowledge of color theory isn’t necessary for you to look fresh, but it definitely helps.
So, where do you shop? Good question. Depends what you’re looking for.
Elliott Consignment is a great menswear place, offering name brand consignment items that skew preppier or more business-casual. You’ll find boat shoes, polo shirts, and shorts with little palm trees on them. Prices range, but since it’s consignment, you won’t be paying much more than $20 for a nice dress shirt. Plus, this is a great place to unload any clothes you want to sell.
If you’re looking for something more casual, Plato’s Closet and Crossroads both sell new and used items more geared towards everyday style, and in my experience, both offer lower prices than Ragstock for items that aren’t, like, old band t-shirts. The only issue is that the menswear department in both of these stores is fairly small. You may have to hop around a bit if you’re looking for something in particular. Both of these stores will also take in-season clothes off your hands and send you away with cash.
The problem with all of these options is that if you’re looking for something in particular, it’s always going to be a crapshoot. And while shopping for clothing online is always a bit more stressful, given that you’re never really sure whether or not things will fit just right, there is a time and a place for it.
Enter JackThreads. They sell all new clothing, so some of it will skew pricey, but once you sign up, you’ll start receiving emails from them to tell you that oh, by the way, all suits are 50% off today.
If you’re looking for, say, a mint green shorts suit, it’s worth signing up for JackThreads’ email alerts, because more than likely, it’ll go on sale and you’ll be able to pick it up for like 60 bucks. I have personally bought 3 suits and 3 dress shirts from JackThreads and the total was a little bit over 200 dollars. Oh, and most of their items are fully returnable for either cash or store credit in case things don’t fit just right. If you can be patient, it’s worth monitoring your emails to see if the site is having a sale on something you need, because chances are, they will. Just know that if you’re looking for something super fancy, like a 100% wool suit, you’ll need to be prepared to spend a bit. They don’t really have much of it, and what they do have doesn’t often go on sale.
Or, hell, you can just go to Ragstock. I know you will anyway.