AskMen Selects: Barret’s Buys for September 2019
15 Fall Finds Under $100 Handpicked by Our Style and Grooming Editor
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I have always been one to get excited for the advent of autumn. The crisp air, the fall smells and most importantly in my line of work, the addition of stylish layers to my standard top and trousers.
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This season, however, I have been thinking more and more about what adding those layers really means. Whether I like it or not, I play into fast fashion, like most of us. I also appreciate the aspirational high-fashion investment pieces I see walking down the runways, but here’s the honest truth — one not often admitted by those of us holding fashion editorial roles — I like to be comfortable (It’s a priority). Plus, I live in New York, so nothing is cheap, and I like to spend what frivolous extra money I have on my three rescue dogs.
So what’s my point? My job is literally to make clothing look the best it can, no matter the cost, and for the sake of everyone reading this, I try to keep that cost low. That’s not to say I don’t know what to invest in — tailored suits, well-crafted dress shoes, hell, good running shoes at my age — but on the whole, I’m not dropping cash on items just because they’re #trending.
I believe a foundation of stylish clothing should allow me to look sharp while also remaining somewhat timeless. Accenting classic neutral pieces such as navy cashmere, gray cotton fleece and dark denim with fall colors and textures including durable umber corduroy, vegan burgundy canvas and soft, American-made, olive green striped Scout wool.
So this month, my picks are those that are meant to bring the best of both worlds together. Affordable stylish clothing that will last season after season.
Everlane just debuted Uniform — a collection of 12 everyday basics that can serve as the foundation for every stylish man’s wardrobe. Rigorous quality testing, 365 day guarantee and under $100 each; all these items pair easily together and will always be in stock. These jeans I chose have a great stretch and look great with anything — week or weekend.
With H&M online shopping being a lot easier than dealing with a store full of tourists, it’s a no-brainer you can find some stylish items from the site toot suite. I stuck to the CONSCIOUS Collection to make sure I was participating in the brand’s most positive sustainability practices. By not buying a trendy one-off piece and instead picking out something that will age well, I’m still enjoying the fast-fashion price without a disposable disposition.
I added an eco-friendly, recycled plastic bottle fill J.Crew quilted vest that will basically never go out of style with the fabric of fall — corduroy — as the upper of the throwback style SeaVees Legend sneakers.
Finally, I was floored to find the limited edition Faribault Woolen Mills Company and Bradley Mountain Coal Tote coming in under $100. Knowing that I may not always need a tote bag, I always prefer to use one if I can over yet another plastic alternative. The added small-batch wool pocket — Made In America — just reminds me I’m helping support U.S. manufacturing — at under $100! (I still can’t get over the good price.)
H&M Regular Fit Oxford Shirt, $24.99 at HM.com
J.Crew Sussex Quilted Vest, $98 at JCrew.com
Everlane Uniform Jeans, Avaliable at Everlane.com
Faribault + Bradley Mountain Coal Tote, $85 at FaribaultMill.com
SeaVees Legend Sneaker Cordies, $78 at SeaVees.com
Denim and corduroy always look good together. Two iconic fabrics that have rich histories and are perfect layers for fall’s dipping temperatures. This season, Gap has launched its Denim Through The Decades collection celebrating the best styles since its founding 50 years ago. With the shapes of the ‘90s returning in full effect, it only made sense to grab the oversized washed denim jacket from the era.
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I paired the soft-yet-thick cotton work shirt from Madewell under my new favorite sweatshirt from Frank And Oak. It’s made using some of the brands minimal and sustainable fabric techniques such as hydra-less manufacturing and recycled Tencel fibers. The list of better-for-the-Earth clothing at shockingly affordable prices goes on and on. I finished off the sleek yet stylish top combo by adding soft mid-whale comfy cords from Uniqlo and a pair of burgundy retro-inspired Gola Classics sneakers from the brand’s new super stylish vegan collection.
Madewell Button-Down Workshirt, $79.50 at Madewell.com
Frank And Oak Fleece Crewneck, $69.50 at FrankAndOak.com
Gap ’90s Originals Oversized Icon Denim Jacket, $98 at Gap.com
Uniqlo Ezy Corduroy Ankle-Length Pants, $39.90 at Uniqlo.com
Gola Classics Tennis Mark Cox Sneaker, $65 at GolaUSA.com
The bros over at Untuckit know how to make a damn good shirt that just happens to come in under $100. As I move on from my soft, lightweight summer linen, I grab my crisp fall chambray — which really works any time of year. I upped the cozy comfortability by pairing it with a $75 cashmere sweater that doesn’t make me feel guilty (cashmere is notorious for being bad for the animals as well as the environment).
Naadam shows unparalleled transparency when it comes to their practices and policies, which is worth it’s own price, but at $75, they are practically forcing me to spread the news of how much better it is compared to competitors cheap cashmere options.
If cashmere wasn’t enough to keep me warm on a chilly September night, I found an awesome trendy-meets-classic double breasted trench coat from UK brand ASOS. Mango, another overseas brand and headquartered in Spain, offers a ton of stylish clothes built to last a lot longer than the affordable price tag may suggest. These joggers-cum-trousers work equally well in a business-casual setting as they do out for a weekend brunch and errands.
Now, my personal pièce de résistance has to be the perfect pair of vegan leather sneakers. Here’s the deal: I love a white sneaker, but I have never been a fan of a white canvas sneaker, I much prefer leather — or I did. Understanding more and more about what goes into lacing up the leather on my feet, my eyes continue to open to the moral responsibility I have to skip out on cheap leather shoes and opt for something better for the world.
I know … these come in just over my $100 budget, but they’re worth the extra dollar, trust me. I’d be lying to you if I said there were any other options close to this price that compared to these high quality, well designed, faux-leather bad boys. Will’s Vegan Store is a London-based certified carbon neutral vegan company that ethically produced in Portugal under European Union employment. Basically — these embody the future of footwear, and I’m super psyched to be able to suggest them to you.
Untuckit Penfolds Light Blue Chambray, $88 at UntuckIt.com
Naadam The Essential $75 Cashmere Sweater, $75 at Naadam.com
Asos Design Shower Resistant Trench Coat, $95 at Asos.com
Mango Slim-Fit Structured Flecked Pants, $79.99 at Mango.com
Wills Vegan Store NY Sneakers, $101 at Wills-Vegan-Store.com
Have you tried any of these before? Are you looking for more info on these or other products? Check back every month for my favorites, keep reading all our content on AskMen and ask us anything in our guyQ forum. Follow Barret Wertz and AskMen on Instagram and AskMen on Twitter and Facebook to tell us some of your favorite products. Or email us directly at Editorial@AskMen.com with “AskMen Selects” in the subject line.
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