Fashionably Frugal: Shopping for Men

By Matt Ridge
Elm Staff Writer

Shopping can be very difficult for guys, believe me I know. In most stores, 70 percent or more of the stock belongs to the ladies while the fellas are shoved in there somewhere, with hopefully more than a corner to call our own. On top of finding places to shop there’s the worry of wanting to look good and spend the least amount of money possible. If you’re anything like me, I like to be frugal when I shop (not just for clothing but for anything and everything). While consignment and thrift shops have become popularized for their vintage, trendy clothing, I, myself, have found that even these establishments have oceans of women’s clothing and only a small little pond of men’s. Men don’t get the privilege of stores exclusively for us, and when we do it’s clothing is for the high-end, businessman who knows no expense, leaving nothing for us guys 25 and below. “Is there anywhere for us guys who want to be stylish?” you may be asking yourselves. Have no fear; I’m here to help.

In high school it was easy. We had half of the store dedicated to us when we shopped at places like American Eagle and Hollister. Notice how I said “in high school,” gentlemen. I have no objections to owning things from either of these places, in fact I am guilty of still owning clothing from both. But if you’re parading around campus in a jacket or T-shirt with Hollister, California or American Eagle Outfitters plastered all over it, that’s not being stylish; it’s called being 16.

Instead, try a store that sells similar things but isn’t as obvious about it’s brand name. H&M is probably the closest fashion-wise when compared to Hollister and AE. It’s the best place, in my opinion, to buy basic fashion staples like solid colored shirts and shorts. Jeans from H&M are also very comfortable and breathable. If you’re looking for skinny jeans, look no further. H&M sells the skinniest jeans one could possibly want. The pair I own make it look as if I painted my legs dark blue. And they are surprisingly easy to get in and out of and as easy to maneuver in. This is true for all H&M men’s clothing. It’s comfortable and affordable.

Check out H&M, 21Men, and ASOS for affordable skinny jeans and other wardrobe necessities that Matt Ridge prefers.
Check out H&M, 21Men, and ASOS for affordable skinny jeans and other wardrobe necessities that Matt Ridge prefers.

You may have expected H&M to be mentioned as it has become pretty popular over the years. But one not so well known stop for guy’s fashion is Forever 21’s men’s line 21Men. This is my personal favorite store as it offers the widest variety of clothing one could ask for. My style is a little stranger than most other guys, and 21Men has some pretty weird clothing (some even too weird for me), so if you’re looking to change your style a little bit this should be your first stop. The store offers a great selection of vintage-looking tees as well as fun button-ups with unique designs such as flowers, tigers, pineapples, and dinosaurs. 21Men is pretty inexpensive when compared to other stores but it is made a little cheaper, as is the case with women’s clothing from Forever 21. I’ve never had a problem with shrinkage or ripping and most of my clothes come from here, so though they are made a cheaply, I would say that it’s worth the price. 21Men’s in-store selection is very limited so I would suggest browsing online for the full shopping experience.

An even lesser known place to shop for unique and fashion forward men’s clothing is ASOS. ASOS is a British fashion store so the clothing is pretty different than what is typically seen in American stores. Though the full price clothing is a little expensive for my taste, the real secret to ASOS is browsing their clearance section, which is awesome clothing at prices 70 percent less than what they would be at retail. You’ll definitely want to check it out. Be aware, though, that if you purchase something from ASOS, be sure to double check their sizing chart, because I know from experience that British clothing fits your body very differently than clothing sold in America.

These stores offer just a taste of the wonderful world of men’s fashion. H&M, 21Men, and ASOS all offer great ways to explore new fashion possibilities for the right price. I’m all for trying out new things when it comes to clothes, so don’t be afraid to just go for it. With the right attitude you can look good in anything. No matter what you wear and wherever it comes from, feel confident in it. Love what you wear and bring along an attitude that shows you’re proud of your look. That’s what really matters.

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