People have asked:
Which clothing brands do you recommend for me?
I can't give an answer.
There's no ONE perfect brand for everybody.
What's right for me isn't necessarily right for you.
The bottom line:
I can't pinpoint how you should dress…
Because I'm NOT you.
But – the BEST brand for you does matter.
It enhances your image…
And makes life easier when it comes to your wardrobe.
So instead – let me give you 5 tips on how to find the best brands for your own needs.
This post is brought to you by Peter Manning.
They design clothes for men who are 5'8″ and under… so they can get QUALITY & WELL-FITTED items at AFFORDABLE prices.
With the help of this brand – shorter guys will never have to:
- Wear oversized jackets & shirts with lengthy sleeves
- Walk in baggy pants that look like you've “shrunk”
- Get every piece of clothing tailored
- Shop in the Boys department
Tip To Find Your Brand #1 – Fit Is King
If a brand or store doesn't offer items that fit you right (or adjustable to one size down) then it's not the place for you. You'll have to move on.
A bad fit is a bad fit – no matter how well-known the brand is, or even if the item is 99% off. You need clothes that don't just “slide” onto you. They must complement your frame and emphasize certain features. So you're able to look your best with the body you've got.
Now brand-hunting gets more challenging for (A) guys who are too tall or (B) guys on the short side but rather heavy. They're among the 5-10% which not all brands actually cater to.
And if you're below 5'9″ (the average height of the American male population) you're considered a “not-so-tall” guy. You might struggle with getting “short enough” clothes from a lot of brands.
But thankfully, you can get pretty much anything from Peter Manning. They target those shorter guys who make up roughly 30% of men in the US. But taller guys with smaller legs would also enjoy their stuff – specifically their shorter inseams.
Peter Manning produces clothing items under a unique sizing system – 1, 2, 3, 4, 2X and 4X. Your own size is determined by their size calculator (based on height and weight).
Why do they bother with that? Because they know every not-so-tall man deserves:
- Dress shirts/t-shirts that do NOT reach down to the knees
- Suits/jackets with a great fit (especially at the shoulder points)
- Shirt/jacket sleeves that do NOT cover up the hands
- Pants that have no excess fabric and fit nicely into the crotch area
Tip To Find Your Brand #2 – Look At The House Style
Finding the perfect brand means you really need to know yourself.
Why? It boils down to the fact that clothes represent who you are (whether you like it or not).
You should pick a brand that reflects your lifestyle, your profession, your status – as well as your personal wants or needs.
The brand's house style has to match your image. Example: a “skater” vs. a “Wall Street” type of guy.
Different clothing brands let different things come to mind. It's not only based on their clothes – but also their accessories or other goods.
So naturally – the house styles of Ermenegildo Zegna, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, and Volcom are not the same. Each brand has its own aesthetic that influences the design of their products.
But remember that the “look” of a brand may even change over time (this happened to Brooks Brothers due to a change of ownership). That makes it trickier to tell if their stuff can still work for you after a year. Maybe you just like their current collection.
Those changes happen all the time. So do some research (see #4) on a particular brand before you become a loyal customer. Find out if it has kept its core design consistent throughout the years.
Tip Tip To Find Your Brand #3 – Check The Build Quality
Here's the general truth about clothes…
What you see is what you get – IF you know what to look for.
So it's crucial that you take your time to inspect the quality of clothing from any brand. Especially if you want items that last a good while.
The build quality is about way more than deciding whether something is worth buying or not. It shows the effort and money that a brand puts into manufacturing the clothes. How well they pay attention to details (even on the inside parts) without “cutting corners” whatsoever.
What exactly do you check?
- Shirt stitching – Shirts should have single stitching (with 12-14 stitches per inch).
- Fabric – Relaxed and supple fabric translates into quality.
- Topstitching – Is it evenly done?
- Jacket pattern – A classic pattern works best.
- Buttons – How well are the buttons sewn? Are buttons on the jacket sleeves set closely together (as if they're “kissing” each other)?
- Seams – Do you see multiple seams on the garment? Do they lie smooth and flat? Does the pattern of the suit or shirt match the one at the seams?
Tip To Find Your Brand #4 – Research On The Brand's Reputation
You may be the ideal customer of a brand. And maybe that brand offers the right style for you.
But if it turns out the brand you're buying from has a poor reputation – all of that becomes pointless. That's why it's important to do your homework.
Understand the brand's history and what people said about it years back. Look at the dates of forms and reports that have been put out there.
Compare that information with today's reviews (online and offline). Visit sites like Reddit or Styleforum to seek advice from other men who've been there, done that. They can provide a fair assessment of that brand.
You can also ask your friends or trusted influencers about it. Try to gauge the difference between negative and positive comments in the market.
If the feedback is mostly negative – there's a reason for it. Is the brand going downhill? Perhaps it's a company that's guilty of cutting back on quality after it was bought out. Or it could've fired its top artists and artisans to save up on costs.
In short: knowledge is power. You should be well-informed before paying good money for any brand.
Tip To Find Your Brand #5 – Look At The Company's Price Model
It's not that obvious, but you'd learn quite a bit about brands from how they SELL – not their low prices.
So look closely into the company's selling tactics:
• Do they offer coupons or incentives?
• Do they “mark it high” and then go low in terms of price?
• Do they have discounts? Or did they remove discounts so as to show more transparency?
• Do they use the “club model” where you must be a member to avail of exclusive discounts?
By answering those questions – you can figure out how much investment really goes into a brand's clothing (besides inspecting their build quality).
The problem with the big names these days is either (A) they sell disposable, not-so-ethically built clothes for rock-bottom prices or (B) they spend so much on marketing and branding while not putting in enough for the quality.
Despite falling under category B – some high-end brands and custom clothiers still have an edge. They create this sense of “prestige” that's carried over to their products. And that's great for most people.
But there are up-and-coming brands which actually work on maximizing quality. They're not household names so they focus on the best products possible. They rely on making each customer happy. That's how they stay in business.
That's why direct-to-consumer brands like Peter Manning are one my favorite ways to hack the system. You can count on them to make sure every zipper, button or tiny detail is done perfectly. They produce clothes that can solve your “hard to fit” issues.
Not only are those brands more likely to sell awesome clothing – but for affordable prices too! So do hunt them down in the best menswear stores near you.