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Buying your clothes online is essential. The internet is one of the only places where you can track that bank-account-crushing grail, find a nice shirt and tie you always seem to need for that one thing, get driven to the point of insanity by sneakers that sell out instantly, and eventually settle on a reasonably-priced T-shirt or sweater, all in one afternoon.
Without the internet, you might actually have to leave your house to experience all this. On the internet, you can vacillate between feeling enamored, enraged, and eventually broke, all in the span of 30 seconds.
So, yes, shopping online is essential, and some stores make it more essential-er than others. Here they are, broken down by category.
The (Relatively) Normal
Mr Porter: Mr Porter is an indispensable shopping site, and its stock of expensive labels like Prada, Gucci, Tom Ford, Raf Simons, and Balenciaga is second to none. But the site is also a destination for friendlier-priced brands, like Levi’s, Club Monaco, and Saturdays NYC.
Unionmade: Unionmade would be the least helpful website if you were a time traveler trying to decode what decade you’ve landed in. The stark-black site is stocked with all things "timeless": beautiful sweaters, Sunday T-shirts, and denim — lots of denim — in the form of jackets, shirts, vests, and pants.
Totokaelo: This is where you’ll find the best-possible version of whatever you’re looking for. Shirts, trousers, tees, and sweatshirts from brands like Comme des Garçons, Dries Van Noten, Acne, and Issey Miyake are treated with the utmost importance. And if you venture into one of the retailer’s beautifully minimalist stores, you’ll see them treated like art hanging on the racks.
East Dane: Amazon-affiliate site East Dane is the shop you’d recommend to someone who’s not really into capital-F Fashion but is open to experimenting. Here, they can get coaxed in by a gentle stream of familiar unintimidating brands — think Club Monaco, Fred Perry, Alex Mill, and Gitman; then, East Dane hits them with AMI, Patrik Ervell, Billy Reid, and Y-3. The next thing you know, they’re talking about "fire ‘fits" and "copping" some new "jawnz."
Kamakura Shirts: If you need a nice, inexpensive shirt that fits well, look no further than Kamakura Shirts. The Japanese brand gets the job done, and since most of its shirts clock in at only $80, you can buy a couple.
Sid Mashburn: The Atlanta-based shop and its outposts offer legendary customer service, and founder Sid Mashburn brought that same principle online. The company’s purpose is to offer well-made clothing to more people than other retailers are often able to reach; here, nice shirts and ties hover somewhere between $100 to $200.
Hickoree's: Alongside the house label, The Hill-Side, Hickoree's carries an eclectic mix of Japanese labels for the shopper who wants to be buttoned-up but still a little wacky. For example, the selection of pocket squares, ties, and other items (the shop has a whole section dedicated to handkerchiefs, for God’s sake) will help you get noticed around the office.
Saks Fifth Avenue: If your idea of dressing up means budget-breaking, beautifully-made suits, Saks is the place for you. The department store has a very large catalog of brands and designers, but its selection of tailored pieces from labels like Isaia, Brunello Cucinelli, Thom Browne, and Ermenegildo Zegna is what really sets it apart.
Très Bien: Très Bien might be the most beloved shop on this list. While other retailers can feel like a buffet with a trough of food you’d never be able to finish, Très Bien is more like a tasting menu. There’s a relatively tight selection of designers, which ensures only the coolest of cool gets through. And as of 2014, that includes Très Bien’s excellent in-house label. The shop is so important in the menswear world that it’s the subject of someone’s thesis paper.
SSENSE: Montreal-based retailer SSENSE has a stranglehold on everything strange (in a good way). Here, you can find OG boundary-pushers like Rick Owens right alongside the next generation of weirdos. Plus, the site delivers editorial content and exclusive collaborations; highlights include a recent interview with Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty and a capsule with Los Angeles-based brand Fear of God.
Barneys: The most seductive section of Barneys is its list of cutting-edge, capital-f Fashion brands; the department store has an extensive selection of Off-White, Maison Margiela, J.W. Anderson, and Rick Owens, and is especially worthy of your time because it stocks exclusive items from Vetements, Alexander Wang, and Burberry, to name a few.
Haven: You know that thing in cartoons where a character digs a hole and pops out on the other side of the globe? We’re pretty sure that’s how the buyers behind Toronto’s Haven get all their gear. The shop offers a lot of Japanese brands that aren’t stocked at other places, like Takahiromiyashita The Soloist, Unused, and Bed J.W. Ford.
Farfetch: Clicking through the Farfetch site is like neatly opening 438 different URLs all at the same time. The retailer stocks clothes from boutiques around the world — like Japan’s Monkey Time, Belgium’s Renaissance, and Australia’s Assin — that would otherwise be inaccessible to anyone who can’t just hop on a PJ.
Grailed: Before Grailed, the best way for men to find resale items was to trawl eBay. And while Grailed maintains the same treasure-hunt element that eBay has, the site is curated to make sure you always leave a winner. Even if your "grail" isn’t on the website (yet), you’re likely to walk away with something you’ve been looking for, or that you didn’t even know existed.
Yoox: Time is money, and Yoox is best for those of us with more of the first. There are a ton of items up for grabs, but the best stuff (and the best deals) go to the patient person who’s willing to dig. The site is also essential for those with a pinhole-sized vision, because Yoox lets you get very specific in terms of search: You can narrow your results by category, price, color, size, print, neckline, sleeve style, and designer. Get your Beautiful Mind on and find the formula that leads to your personal menswear nirvana.
Uniqlo: This isn’t where you’d go to digital window shop or lust after high-end designers, but if you just want some legitimately good clothing, Uniqlo can't be beat. Plus, the retailer has a knack for picking out underrated collaboration partners: It’s partnered for one-offs and longer-term collabs with the likes of former Cloak designer and current Helmut Lang creative director Alexandre Plokhov, Jil Sander, former Hermès designer Christophe Lemaire, and A Bathing Ape founder Nigo. All this at a price you won’t need to wait until payday to afford.
Everlane: Everlane pioneered the cut-out-the-middleman transparent business model, and with well-made basics at a price that you can understand, it continues to prove that the direct-to-consumer strategy isn’t a gimmick. Everlane’s catalog of items has carefully grown to include jackets, a wide variety of sweaters, bags, and pants, and lays out exactly what you’re paying for and why.
Unis: At Unis, you’re buying basics, but you’re getting something like the favorite T-shirt you’ve owned for five years. (Also, the Gio khakis could not come more highly recommended.) File this one under "relatively affordable" and "completely worth it."
Muji: Muji is as good a clothing site as it is a lifestyle and home retailer; here, you can buy a white button-down shirt and an equally elegant aroma diffuser. What’s absolutely essential, though, are the house slippers that you can get for as little as $7. Think of them as the gateway drug to a more Muji-fied life.
ASOS: If you’re desperate to partake in a trend, ASOS is the place to do it. Here’s where you can find things like bold graphic tees, wide brim hats, and the latest must-have outerwear styles, without the designer prices attached.
COS: If you want Swedish billionaire looks without Swedish billionaire status, get on the information motorväg and head straight to COS, where you can buy minimalist sweaters, coats, and trousers that look a lot more expensive than they actually are.
Amazon: The mega-retailer has really leaned into fashion over the past couple years (it’s been a NYFW: Men’s sponsor since the first season) and stocks a list of brands that make it easier and cheaper to get the staples you need from the likes of Vans, Levi's, Champion (and its collab with Todd Snyder), and Calvin Klein. Plus, who doesn’t want to get their latest jacket or pair of pants delivered in two days and packaged together with a new book, a pack of batteries, and… the last thing is personal — please don’t ask?
The Sneakers and Streetwear
KITH: Kith founder Ronnie Fieg is a machine. He started the company only five years ago as a boutique that stocked Adidas, Nike, and Pumas alongside Fieg’s own collaborations with less-revered brands like Asics and New Balance. Now, Kith has expanded into Brooklyn, launched its own men’s and women’s lines, recently put on a runway show, and is constantly stocking exclusive and limited-edition sneakers.
Concepts: At Concepts, sneakers are king. The Boston-based retailer launched in 1996 and has been releasing the most coveted sneakers — like the Yeezys, Drake’s OVO x Jordan collabs, and its own limited-edition runs — ever since. (The store’s long-standing relationship with brands opens up collaboration opportunities with the likes of Adidas, Diadora, New Balance, and Nike.) And yes, the retailer stocks clothing, but it’s basically all by brands that would go great with your new kicks.
END.: END. has an impressive catalog of general menswear, but its sneaker selection is what really makes it essential. On top of a roster of standard brands — Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Asics, etc. — the store also frequently collaborates with brands like Saucony, Reebok, Onitsuka Tiger, and, most recently, New Balance. END. also started a new "Launches" feature that allows customers to sign up in advance for the most anticipated drops, which creates a level playing field for all customers while simultaneously banishing the bots.
Notre: Notre’s inventory might be the one that best reflects the way men dress today. There’s an excellent mix of the latest sneaker releases and popular easy-to-wear brands like John Elliott, A.P.C., Our Legacy, and Aimé Leon Dore. In fact, Notre is one of only four shops to stock ALD — the other three are made up of Kith’s two NYC locations and Dover Street Market. That’s good company to keep.
Union: Union is a great place to visit for something you know and love, and then stay a while and look around. It has your menswear staples — Acne, John Elliott, Raf Simons, Visvim, and the like — but is also extremely adept at identifying The Next Big Thing.