Growing up, I envied my friends who had older sisters for one reason: hand-me-downs. Sometimes it seemed like half their wardrobes had been passed down (or pilfered) from a cool sibling’s closet. I got over my jealousy when I realized that I’d been ignoring a key source of borrowed duds — my younger brother had a wealth of tee shirts and sweaters that looked just as good on me.
Nowadays, I hit the men’s department myself for higher quality — and even less expensive — staples like tops, outerwear, and loungewear. After all, shopping in 2021 is way more about personal style than arbitrary gender distinctions — and who would say no to a warmer pair of sweatpants?
Here are ten items you should always be grabbing from the men’s section.
Maybe you can’t resist sorting through the racks of super-soft vintage tee shirts at flea markets. Or perhaps you want to borrow everything Off-White founder Virgil Abloh has ever worn. Whether your style is more retro-inspired or streetwear-savvy, turn to the men’s section for a broader selection of eye-catching shirts.
We’ve all increased our stock of sweatpants in the last year and a half. The best addition to my personal collection of comfy bottoms? A pair of fire-engine red Fruit of the Loom joggers in a men’s size small. Men’s sweatpants lean looser in the leg and often feature a weightier, extra-cozy knit.
On the first day of my college orientation, I caught the attention of several of my now-BFFs with an ironic baseball cap that read “Best Dad Ever.” Naturally, I scored the conversation starter in the men’s section. And quirky caps aren’t the only hats that are better when borrowed from the boys. They’ve also got a wider array of bucket hats, plus super warm, snug-fitting beanies with fewer bells and whistles.
Confession: there’s definitely a sweatshirt or two I stole from an ex still lurking somewhere in my closet. Time to ditch ’em and pick up a hoodie all my own from the men’s department, where I can choose from a vast selection of solid colors and get the thicker fabric and roomy fit without the bad vibes.
Ever don a denim jacket and have that I look cool feeling dimmed by the fact that you can’t really lift your arms? Me too, but I resist switching to stretchier styles because the quality just doesn’t feel as high. Solution? Men’s jean jackets, which feature more room in the shoulders as well as heavy-duty denim.
Easy, breezy, beautiful…button-down. Like linen or cotton shirts that aren’t nipped at the waist or pleated at the sides? Try the men’s department. I like them loose over bike shorts or tucked into light-wash denim à la Princess Diana.
I grew up in a desert and I’ve never seen a lighthouse IRL. That doesn’t mean I didn’t spend half my childhood longing for the toasty fisherman and Fair Isle sweaters filling the L.L. Bean catalogues that sometimes showed up in our mailbox (I read a lot of novels set in Maine). I’ve found that the chunky knits of my sailor dreams are best sourced in the men’s department, where cuts are a bit boxier.
Fall’s almost here — and with it, we’re likely to see a return of the academia-inspired style beloved by cool teens on TikTok. Channel your inner Ivy League professor and top a turtleneck or shift dress with suave blazers from the men’s section, which offer an oversized fit without sacrificing sharp tailoring.
Cover anything — even athleisure — with a trench or wool coat and it instantly looks chic. Coats designed for men offer excellent tailoring, plus materials like wool and cashmere at prices that are often a bit lower than what we might pay for the same quality in the women’s department.
Two words: statement jewelry. Typically larger and heavier than watches designed for women, men’s timepieces come in a broad variety of styles. More traditional, leather-banded designs lend a certain gravitas to preppy outfits, while metallic timepieces look extra quirky with details like an ’80s-esque digital watch face or an unexpected color.
What is the best menswear for women? What are your favorite pieces to shop for in the men’s section? Share with us in the comments!
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