Yes/No List of Menswear Brands (Pt. 1: Clothing)

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November 10, 2012 by Wayne.

Updated: 13 May 2017

Part 2: footwear here

Primarily streetwear. Based on personal experience only. Plenty of other brands I haven’t tried. Since 2012, I’ve pretty much stopped buying sick clothes so some of this may be outdated.

Selling clothes on Grailed here.

YES:

  1. Acne – More of a Maybe than a strong solid YES nowadays. I like the cutting of some of their jeans. Tried on a few items at Gravity Pope, Edmonton. Not really worth the price IMO unless it’s on a good discount. Fabric quality isn’t the greatest. I had a pair of Lanvin x Acne jeans from the female collection tho, and they were pretty sick.
  2. Alexander McQueen – It’s McQueen. It’s also overpriced as all hell so you do you.
  3. All Saints – I still have an All Saints V-neck cardigan which is incredibly uncomfortable. Beautiful hue though. Fairly overpriced and mediocre quality – but if you get it on sale, probably one of the cheapest ways to get a gothninja-ish wardrobe. Just don’t expect anything spectacular.
  4. Alternative Apparel – Awesome t-shirts, very light and comfortable. Pretty good fit too. Best to get them during sales (as with everything else, usually).
  5. American Apparel – Not as nice as Alternative Apparel but they tend to go on sale more often. Not worth getting at retail prices IMO.
  6. Ann Demeulemeester – Dark shit. Also expensive like all gothninja gear.
  7. APC – Price has been steadily increasing for basic raw jeans, but they do have very flattering cuts. I much prefer APC back pockets to Naked & Famous’ stuff. Hardly goes on sale though. Most of their other clothing is pretty meh. Had about half a dozen pieces of outerwear/shirts etc from them and didn’t really like any. Very mediocre quality and fairly ugly cutting. Some of their stuff for women is alright though.
  8. Attachment – The waxed jeans I had was still one of my favourites. Fantastic fabric, and the cut was a work of art.
  9. Band of Outsiders – Very slim fitting shirts in some really nice colours/patterns. Have to stomach the non-sale prices.
  10. Burberry – In general, grossly overpriced and overbranded (read: tacky). I’ve owned several of their scarves though, and some of the more subtle designs are worth it if you pick them up on a good discount. Burberry Prorsum is, obviously, pretty awesome. You pay for it though.
  11. Carol Christian Poell – No, I haven’t tried anything from CCP. But judging from the circlejerk that is StyleZeitgeist, it’s good enough to list without trying.
  12. Cheap Monday – Only cheap during sales, but they do get pretty cheap. Worth it when heavily discounted, as long as you stick to the non-gaudy basics. Had a nice parka from them with ninja-like thumb glove detailing.
  13. Cheese Denim – Decent denim at decent prices, Malaysian brand. I’ve only one pair of slim straights, they’re cut somewhat like the N&F skinny guy albeit roomier from the knees down (read: not very tapered). I haven’t tried the N&F Regular Guy, but I’m guessing the cut should be somewhat similar. Not the worst choice if you need denim on a budget.
  14. Club Monaco – Price is somewhat similar to Zara (pre-sales), but the quality and variety is much better IMO. Most of the clothes usually go on sale, and the sales are very much worth it (in general). Their shirts fit slim, but somewhat longish. The pants are quite odd, they’re only produced in even sizes. Very annoying.
  15. Comme des Garçons – I had a CDG moleskin blazer once that was rather fetching. Bit too long though, so I had to sell it off. Some CDG pieces are interesting, some are pretty strange/boring.
  16. COS – A more refined version of H&M with vastly superior quality. Think Jil Sander at a fraction of the cost. Basics with a focus on fit and tailoring, especially great if you’re looking for quality colourblocking without breaking the bank. Although if you’re earning MYR, it’s still slightly steep. RM 800-900 for blazers that fit fantastically off the rack though! Take that, Ah Loke.
  17. Depressed – Singaporean high-concept clothing brand. A couple of interesting silhouettes available in their collection. Gothninja with a twist, I suppose. Head to toe Depressed looks pretty boring, IMO, it’s best to pick out a couple of pieces to add to your wardrobe.
  18. Dior Homme – Dior jeans aren’t really THAT high quality, the main draw is the branding. And the fit. They have some truly great fits for skinny folk. Expensive and overpriced most of the time, but some pieces are definitely worth it during sales.
  19. Egg – Malaysian brand. The designer’s usually in the Bangsar shop (next to MUSA). Decent quality material, slim fits but nothing great in terms of colours, patterns, texture etc. Several semi-interesting picks: lightweight linen blazer, cream linen pants, long body-hugging T-shirts (grabbed one in green).
  20. Gap – There’s a guy on Styleforum who wears a number of Gap items with more expensive clothes and makes them look sensational. I think that’s the real key to fashion – blending different pieces from all sorts of price points to obtain a cohesive outfit. Having said that, most of the clothes from the Gap fit horribly. Steer away from branding of any sort and keep a discerning eye out for good bargains (decent quality clothes, not super cheap ones).
  21. H&M – The quality is shoddy but it’s hard to argue with the price. Some pieces are extremely worth it, especially since most items regularly go on sale. Had a peacoat from H&M that I actually used a fair number of times. Average fit but it looked good and didn’t feel that shitty. Personally wouldn’t get shirts from them though. They ARE, however, great for socks and the like.
  22. Helmut Lang – I’ve a dark purple bondage shirt from Helmut Lang that I love. They have a whole range of (quirky? eccentric?) clothes that add a whole different angle to your wardrobe. Important to note that quality has largely plummeted in recent years though.
  23. Hermès – They’ve nice scarves. And I like the Terre D Hermes scent.
  24. In Aisce – Never tried In Aisce before, but they consistently have fantastic looking collections.
  25. Iron Heart – Iron Heart jeans are interesting. They don’t technically have the heaviest jeans (N&F currently does) and the cuts aren’t that flattering, but there’s something solid and comforting about that. The construction is, of course, top notch. Thick fucking jeans, basically. Don’t attempt wearing in the tropics.
  26. J Crew – Do I like them? No. But I’m glad they’re bringing a bit of refinement to the masses. Having said that, most of their stuff is well overpriced. Pretty decent quality though.
  27. Jil Sander – Colourblocking and awesomeness, basically. Had a pair of jeans from them in a really weird fit, but the fabric looked amazing.
  28. Johnston’s – Probably my go-to scarf brand. They’ve a wide variety of beautiful scarves.
  29. Kitsune – Kitsune cable knit / cardigan from Rag and Bone
  30. Kohzo – I’ve had the privilege of owning a pair before and it was pretty awesome. Had to sell it because I didn’t like how lightweight it was but other than that, it was pretty damn amazing.
  31. Lanvin – Well, I’ve a pair of jeans from H&M x Lanvin lololololo
  32. M / Addict – Malaysian brand. Baffling propensity towards incredibly garish shoes, but the more conservative ones are fantastic. Handmade with good-for-the-price quality leather. During sales, the calfskin oxfords dropped down to a paltry RM330 or so, which is ridiculously worth it.
  33. Maison Martin Margiela – MMM is, of course, amazing. Their GAT replicas are entry-level baller sneakers but they’re still comfortable as all hell. I also like the blazer I have from them.
  34. Muji – Largest contributor to my wardrobe at the moment. The brand that keeps on giving. Quality has remained constant while Uniqlo plummets down a cliff. Not exactly cheap but very much worth the price tags given the material, the cuts, and their longevity. Highly recommended. Fits me perfectly off the rack too (usually).
  35. Naked and Famous – One of my favourite clothing brands. Relatively cheap offerings with one of the most inventive line of jeans available out there. I’ve had oxford shirt, one chambray shirt, one flannel shirt and at least 6 pairs of jeans from them. Among some of the crazy jeans they had/have for sale: glow-in-the-darks, blanket lined, silk blend, kevlar blend, reverse fade, scratch-and-sniff. The raised denim was the most comfortable pair of jeans I’ve had the pleasure of wearing. READ MORE HERE
  36. Never Follow Suit – Malaysian label. One of the co-founders, Joe Chia, is typically in the store (located in Bangsar) every time I head over. Very interesting concept store divided into three sections, with matching interiors to boot. The gothninja section is rather underwhelming for guys, though. Most of the pieces are for women. Nice drapey black/white/silver if you can find a piece for yourself though. Very nice Jil Sander-like colourblocking in the women’s side of the colourful section. A retro section rounds off the store.
  37. Nudie Jeans Co. – The brand that first got me into raw denim. The quality of the jeans range from terrible to decent, depending on a variety of factors. Generally a pretty okay buy if you get it during sales. Many different types of fits, Grim Timm is one of the most popular. I personally only have 1 Nudies left with me – a Slim Jim dark indigo (I think that’s what it’s called).
  38. Patrik Ervell – Come on, it’s Ervell. Club collars and all that fun stuff.
  39. Paul Smith – Generally overpriced but some pieces are actually worth the hype. I think. Actually, I’d only really get shoes from Paul Smith, there are some really nice ones on the market.
  40. Raf Simons – Raf by Raf by Raf by Raf by Raf. Not one of my favourite designers. The runway collections generally look pretty interesting, but I’ve never been tempted to kop any of the pieces available.
  41. Rag & Bone – Overpriced but nice quality, well-fitting clothes. Their shirts come with the ‘signature’ distressed buttons. They basically look like there’s paint peeling off the buttons. I’ve tried on a pretty cool blazer and some jeans from them before. Worth purchasing on discount to add a few basics with a twist to your outfits.
  42. Rick Owens – stepdaddy of gothninja? Not the originator of the look, but one of the earliest proponents. In comparison with the myriad designers copying the look, Rick Owens’ collections tend to look far less intensely avant garde. Is gothninja even avant garde anymore?
  43. Robert Geller – Typically produces fairly boring pieces, ie. ‘basics’. Has the odd interesting shirt or pants here and there, but they are usually far and in between. Basically, 90% of the output is dull but the remaining 10% is very much worth taking a second look at.
  44. Soia & Kyo – Had a double layer coat from them that kept me warm through -30 Albertan winters (usually with 2 other layers underneath, of course). Quality is so-so, but a good step above Zara etc. Actually a bit better than APC clothing, IMO. The styling isn’t SF-approved, but I personally like a lot of their coats.
  45. Sifr – Interesting Singaporean brand that mostly does basics, from what I’ve seen. There’s a very, very promising cotton jersey ‘lazy’ suit incoming for spring/summer 2012 though – promising enough for me to actually list the brand here without having seen/tried the suit in person.
  46. Stephan Schneider – Schneider looks superb in real life. The fabrics really need to be felt and experienced in person to truly understand them. It’s all about subtle details as opposed to being visually striking and offensive.
  47. Sterlingwear – Decent, cheap peacoats. Quality is better than H&M at almost the same price point (can get them a bit cheaper too, if you’re lucky). Fit is a bit hit and miss.
  48. Temple of Jawnz – Made to measure leather jackets and other such sartorial slickness. Had a varsity jacket from them that was beyond insane. The fit was 100% perfect, it felt amazing to wear, and the leather sleeves felt fucking soft as hell. Sadly, never had the chance to own a TOJ leather jacket though the circlejerks at SF and Sufu are typically in love with them.
  49. Theory – Quality is about APC-level, I’d say, but the fit tends to be a bit better. Some interesting colour choices and patterns etc, but mostly not worth purchasing.
  50. Topman – Decent high street store. Inclined to hate them if only because of the skinny Topman chinos overkill going on in Malaysia, but there are some alright pieces if you look beyond that. Stuff not worth buying: shoes, T-shirts, jeans. The suits and blazers are actually pretty worth the money, though probably not at the higher prices in Malaysia. If you can get a decent fitting suit on sale (read: fits the shoulders), take it to the tailor to alter and you should have a decent enough suit without the bespoke premium.
  51. Undercover – Fantastic stuff.
  52. Uniqlo – Interesting brand. One of the best stores for cheap-ish basics. 2017 update: Quality has gone downhill very quickly, noticeable from collection to collection now. Stuff worth getting: collab items (+j, Opening Ceremony, the upcoming Undercover), a few shirts, the selvedge Japanese denim (not available anymore in Malaysia, if I’m not mistaken) – update: don’t think the denim is worth it anymore, they’re mostly shitty ‘jeggings’, plain T-shirts (the stupid graphic bullshit they have is for commoners) and socks. The blazers and suits are pretty much on a case by case basis. Some are worth buying, most aren’t. Some of their more recent chinos and shorts are quite nice too, though they tend to be somewhat overpriced without sales.
  53. Unis – Most magnificently fitting chinos from them. Very expensive though.
  54. Versace – 99% of pieces are overpriced garbage. Some are decent, which is why it’s on the list.
  55. Wings + Horns – Basically a nicer version of Reigning Champ. Wonderful loopwheeled fleece hoodies that feel shockingly soft and luxurious. Their crewneck shirts / T-shirts are relatively cheap, but everything else represents the steady creep up in pricing. The fit is usually perfect – slim without being restricting. Very good clothes, but not excellent.
  56. Wolf vs Goat – A bit expensive, mostly because they hardly go on sales. The chinos are very much worth it though – great fit and awesome fabrics. The shirts look similarly good.

No:

Abercrombie & Fitch – Average quality, overpriced and overbranded.

Aeropostale, Affliction, American Eagle – All overbranded and ugly. Low to decent quality.

Aldo – Lasts a few months at most, terrible quality.

Alexander Wang – I’ve only seen most of the basics and I don’t really like them, to be honest. Overpriced for the typical slouchy oversized look. Loved the terry sweatpants though, wonderfully comfortable.

Armani Exchange – One of the most stupid fucking brands in existence. Stupidly overpriced for shit quality and ugly overbranding. Wear to complete the perfect douche look.

ASOS – In general, overpriced for mediocre quality clothes. I’ve a T-shirt that I like from them and a semi-decent pair of chinos, but all my other purchases were a complete waste of cash.

Ben Sherman – Overpriced, but I’ve seen a couple of decent-quality blazers that might be worth it with a hefty discount.

Birkenstocks – Ugly as hell, don’t even consider.

CK jeans – Terrible quality diffusion line. Also, mostly overbranded and gauche.

Crocs – No real explanation necessary.

Diesel – Mostly overpriced and ugly (jeans-wise). Quality isn’t worth the price, even at a steep discount.

Ed Hardy – Can’t stand the gauche graphics, especially at the price point.

FCUK – Ugly, shit quality.

Guess – In general, not worth the price. If you get a good discount though, some of the jeans are KIND OF worth it. I had a pair from Guess by Marciano which fit well. The fabric was terrible though.

G-Star Raw – Generally speaking, overpriced. Mediocre quality. Most of the stuff is horribly overbranded.

Hugo Boss – Terribly overpriced for the average quality. Owned a blazer and quickly sold it off.

Hush Puppies – Most of their products aim for function over form and it shows. Sort of like Uggs, except not that extreme in the looks-deficit.

Lee & Wrangler – Ugly, poor to mediocre quality. Just fucking inferior products.

Levi’s Vintage Clothing – Not that big a fan, since most of the jeans look really ugly. I did have a pair though that was too skinny to wear.

Quiksilver – Overbranded, poor quality.

New Balance – Outside of physical activity, no. Only looks good on hot models, but then what doesn’t. Having said that, they have some great light sneakers for running.

Rock & Republic – Mediocre-ish quality for the most part. Overpriced.

Skechers – Lol no

TOMs – God, just no. Terrible quality and they (generally) look terrible.

True Religion – Like R&R but add ugly styling to it too.

Yves Saint Laurent / SLP – If only because of the hype. Some pieces are nice, most are just generally overpriced.

Zara – Overpriced even though it’s around the same quality level as Uniqlo, IMO (note from 2017: a bit debatable, this. Uniqlo has gone downhill but Zara’s quality is still a step or two behind usually). Understandably, Malaysian proles go crazy over it. Relatively slim fitting clothes, though. Worth taking a look at the shirts, some blazers, the coloured chinos, and nothing else. Stay away from the jeans etc.

7 For All Mankind – Same as above.

 

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