There are tons of iconic menswear brands out there, but did you know there are several underrated brands that actually fly under the radar?
What Do We Mean When We Say Underrated?
What we mean by underrated are brands that have offerings within the umbrella of classic menswear. They could be otherwise popular brands, but are not conventionally associated with classic style. For example, L.L. Bean is more known for its sportswear, rather than its sweaters and cardigans, which is why they’re often overlooked in this context.
1. L. L. Bean
I suppose this one was an easy one to guess, considering our reference to it. As we mentioned, L. L. Bean is more known as an outdoorsman brand that is best recognized for their Maine hunting boots and hiking equipment. They have an excellent array of cotton, wool, and cashmere sweaters that can be worn in a business casual context with chinos, jeans, or flannels. These have solid construction methods and good materials and are fairly inexpensive for what you get.
A lot of the jackets in outerwear are on the more casual end, but these can still mesh with classic style, such as their shacket, parkas, and utility jackets. If you prefer a rugged casual look, they’re a great option with impressive overall value.
Consider this outfit: L. L. Bean cardigan, L. L. Bean flannel, jeans, and Chelsea boots.
2. Lands’ End
This company originally got its start as a yachting supply company you know like you do. But later moved into casual men’s clothing. It was later acquired by Sears, and focused on e-commerce and mail orders.
Much like L. L. Bean, it’s their casual offerings that really shine. They have excellent seersucker shirts, OCBDs, and sweaters. Their seersucker shirts are especially nice, since it’s a rare summer fabric that can be hard to source. They’re also one of the few brands that offer quality classic pajamas. Their selection is large and fairly inexpensive, with decently made clothing that fits a wide variety of styles, making them perfect for this list.
Consider this outfit: Lands’ End seersucker shirt, chino shorts, boat shoes, or loafers.
3. Murray’s Toggery Shop
This brand is well-known amongst prep enthusiasts, though they may prefer being called UHBs, although it is not as prominent to the greater public. They’re best known for their Nantucket Red trousers, and have a variety of whimsical prep-style chinos, jeans, and corduroy pants. We also love their Harrington jackets, and overall Nautical-themed offerings, from their ring belts, to the rowing blazers. Very old money, very hot right now.
“Old Money” is NOT the Same as “Classic Style” (Here’s Why!)
This brand also partners and does frequent collaborations with more well-known brands, like Peter Millar, Barbour, and Bonobos, to bolster their offerings further, giving them even more classic cred.
Consider this outfit: Nantucket Red trousers, OCBD, casual jacket or blazer, Fort Belvedere knit tie.
4. Kit Blake Trousers
This brand is more well-known in London and the UK, but is less prominent internationally. Their signature trouser offerings are high-rise, pleated, and side-tabbed trousers, but still have a tapered, more contemporary cut.
What we enjoy most about them is the rich patterns, colors, and materials they use, with flannel, high quality, cotton and linen, being especially nice, and it will be far more luxurious and have more character than your standard mall-brand garment. They’re also not overly expensive, which we appreciate as well.
Consider this outfit: Kit Blake flannel trousers, fall sport coat or leather jacket, and Chelsea boots.
Most menswear enthusiasts will be familiar with classic Italian brands like Brioni, Isaia, Kiton, and Attolini, who are renowned for their high quality clothing but d’Avenza never gets the same level of credit against its Italian contemporaries, despite offering, in many ways, a similar quality product, combining Italian and British tailoring, using impressive high-end materials and construction methods, with blends like cashmere and even corduroy. The brand is especially great to acquire secondhand for your wardrobe.
25 Tips & Tricks for Thrift Store Shopping
As their lack of marketing has made their name far less recognizable, just finding a website that sells their product is difficult. Seriously. Meaning, you can get a top-of-the-line jacket for a fraction of the cost.
Consider this outfit: d’Avenza sport coat, Fort Belvedere tie and pocket square, chinos or dress pants.
6. John Varvatos
This brand is more well-known for its rock-and-roll aesthetic, but did you know Varvatos was originally the head designer for Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein? This influence sneaks into some of their offerings, leading to some really unique designs, like their lapel waistcoats and bomber jackets that are slightly fashion-forward but are still classically inspired and can be seemingly layered onto dress shirts, button-downs, and Henleys–all without looking out of place.
They’re going to be much more pricey when purchased new since they’re more of a fashion house, but still can be found at decent prices secondhand. If you like clothing that’s a little different and trendy, they walk an excellent line without straying too far from their classic roots.
Consider this outfit: John Varvatos waistcoat worn as an odd vest with a suit or by itself, chinos or dress pants.
Derek Rose, Drakes, and Purple Label all dominate the high-end sleepwear category for men and demand a premium in price for it, where there’s this German company that offers quality robes and pajamas for men called Baturina, that while not cheap, is much more affordable than the brands mentioned above; Even if most would raise their eyebrows at $200 pajamas.
Men’s Classic Pajamas, Slippers, & Robes (Dressing Gowns)
What’s unique about them is their offerings are heavily made to measure focused, and include robes, pajama tops and bottoms, and even smoking caps. Meaning that you can get a pair of Golden Age-inspired pajamas that fit you perfectly. Smoking pipe and champagne are an optional accessory but a nice touch.
There’s also a high level of customization in materials. Not many brands offer silk, wool, or cotton pajamas. Period. Let alone ones that are customizable, giving them a unique niche that no one else quite fills at this price point.
Consider this outfit: burgundy dressing gown, smoking cap, and velvet slippers, optional.
Belstaff, Schott, and The Real McCoy’s are often regarded as some of the best leather jacket brands, but Aero has a number of unique offerings that are also high quality. They often use Cordovan and models like their Hooch Hauler are directly based off patterns from the 30s and 40s. So, you can live out your fantasies of a 1920s bootlegger.
But, seriously, cordovan jackets are especially sought after by leather jacket enthusiasts, since cordovan has a unique sheen and superior durability when compared to calfskin, making their offerings at the $1,000 mark quite reasonable, considering what you get.
Their accessories, such as flat caps, luggage, and other leather goods also are fairly impressive. They also offer a made-to-measure program, meaning that you can get a perfect leather jacket, if nothing else fits you off-the-rack.
Consider this outfit: Aero leather jacket, OCBD, chinos, Fort Belvedere knit tie.
There’s another Italian brand out there that often gets overlooked. Belvest is a great manufacturer that has a number of full canvas jackets, with unique styling details, with bolder colors and patterns – quintessential to Neapolitan tailoring.
Neapolitan Style: Why Men from Naples Are So Dapper
They also are hybrid between British and Italian tailoring styles with how their silhouette is structured, with some great casual field jackets and relaxed tailoring to boot. They have some bolder colors and patterns as well that aren’t readily available, making for a great statement jacket.
This is another amazing brand to look for on the secondhand market that often can be found on places like eBay for far less than you’d otherwise get at their quality level.
Consider this outfit: Belvest sport coat, denim or casual OCBD shirt, Fort Belvedere pocket sqaure, jeans or chinos.
The world of Japanese selvedge denim can be an expensive one. Thankfully, there’s one brand that does an excellent job of balancing cost and quality. Uniqlo isn’t as prominent as other big retail chains in the US. It does offer a solid array of casual menswear at very affordable prices.
Their raw denim, in particular, is offered at an excellent price if you’re okay with the slimmer fit. But they do offer some pairs of jeans that are more classically cut for those of us who can’t wear slim clothing, and it’s a great alternative to Levi’s. They also offer solid sweaters that are made of wool and cashmere that can make for great layering pieces during the fall and winter.
For being a trendier clothing brand that is better known for graphic teas and sweatpants, they also have some classic overcoat options that are better quality than most mall Brands like Zara or H&M. But is it ever a good idea to buy fast fashion? We’ve got a separate post to answer that.
Is Buying Fast Fashion Clothing EVER A Good Idea?
While some of their offerings do end up on the hyper-trendy end, there are some hidden gems in the classic sphere that are extremely affordable for what you get.
Consider this outfit: camel hair overcoat, jean jacket or raw denim, polo shirt.
11. Bills Khakis
Khakis might unjustly be the butt of fashion jokes at times, but they have a thankless job as a key foundation piece in men’s wardrobes. Bills Khakis is a US brand that is heavily inspired by the styles popularized by Britain and America during World War II.
Their khakis come in a variety of fits. They provide a good amount of leg room without being baggy or poorly cut and will fit a larger amount of men than most brands out there, for the versatility of their cuts. They are also made of a higher quality twill than most, making them much more comfortable to wear. That comfort is one reason Rafael likes to wear them so much: because he has large thighs – as he likes to mention all the time.
Those khakis work especially well with sport coats, sweaters, or other business casual pieces. If you find it harder to find casual pants off-the-rack and still want to brand with an eye for detail, few can compare.
Consider this outfit: water blue OCBD, Bill’s Khakis twill trousers, loafers, or dress shoes.
Classic menswear isn’t just name or iconic brands, and we hope these underrated brands helped you think outside of the box, especially when considering these classic menswear items.
Feel we missed an underrated gem? Let us know in the comments what your underrated brands would be and why.
As far as my outfit, I have a navy blazer with a red and white striped button-down shirt, a Fort Belvedere pocket square, denim, brown dress shoes, and Fort Belvedere socks, and I’m wearing Blue Suede Shoes by Roberto Ugolini.