While the rise of fast fashion has made looking sharp easier than ever, developing your personal sense of style can still be tough.
Because with new collections being pumped out constantly, there are bound to be some great options. But for every good piece, there are generally at least twice as many bad ones. Luckily, a few fast fashion retailers have stepped up their game, and consistently release solid collections month after month.
So if you’re just starting to test the waters of the menswear scene, you might want to consider looking past your usual stops in favor of these minimalist menswear powerhouses.
Uniqlo is one of our favorite places to shop, and their clothes have a place in almost anyone’s collection. Whether you’re just starting to develop your own sense of style or you’ve got an established wardrobe to add to, Uniqlo’s lineup offers consistent quality on a massive selection of styles.
We can’t think of anywhere else that has a better pair of basic black jeans for the price — especially considering how long they last. Their oxford cloth button down shirts come in a wide range of colors, fits, and styles, and they’re perfect for casual wear or for dressing up. From socks to rain jackets, Uniqlo’s impressive quality control keeps us coming back, and we’ve yet to be disappointed.
Muji’s minimal aesthetic and great value stem directly from the name. The brand started out under the name “Mujirushi Ryohin,” which translates to “no-brand” and “quality goods.” Today, they still stand by their mantra of “No brand branding” which gives their products a distinctive look, and minimal packaging, advertising, and marketing helps keep costs low. While Muji’s price point is a bit higher than Uniqlo, the higher-quality materials and unique shopping experience more than justify that jump in price.
Even if you’re not all that interested in fashion, chances are you’ve been inside or at least walked by a Topman/Topshop outlet at some point in your life, especially if you’re reading this from across the pond. While we’ve definitely come across some, shall we say, less desirable pieces at Topman, we’ve also found some gems.
We’d recommend stopping by Uniqlo for your basic tees, jeans, underwear and whatnot, but if you’re looking to add a little something extra to your repertoire we suggest you give Topman a chance. They make up for their lack of consistency with a wide selection of perfectly cut shirts and jackets in a variety of styles. From simple brown aviator jackets with classic fur collars to thick flannel over shirts in cozy fall tones, Topman is bound to have something interesting you can work into your closet without breaking the bank.
The last brand we wanted to mention is a bit lesser-known than the rest. They go by the name of COS, which stands for Collection of Style. Launched in 2007 in London, COS is one of H&M’s five individual concept brands. Their minimal designs are inspired by architecture, graphics, and design. The style is defined by more timeless characteristics to stray away from the widespread on-trend inspiration seen in many popular labels.
That being said, they have recently collaborated with various artists and high fashion houses such as Donald Judd and Jil Sander. The seamless design at COS’s 139 stores is replicated in their repertoire of refined menswear classics like pleated pants, Mandarin-collared button downs and perfectly cut tee shirts.
Discover why you should not get your fashion and style advice from GQ.