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Quick Note: All of this is aimed AT MALES. The whole layout changes for females. Girls, GTFO- I can't write something like this for you, so go shlick to Yaoi or something.
Table of Contents
Abercrombie and Fitch is the main store brand of the company of the same name, who operates a long line of teen-savvy clothiers all over the United States. This company has spent the majority of it's time aiming toward the 14-25 demographic, though it has managed to pull in your older and younger groups with it's hip styling and sex-imbued advertising campaigns.
Abercrombie and Fitch is like MySpace. When you get so old (I personally would say 18 or so), wearing Abercrombie and Fitch makes you look childish, much like having a MySpace. The reason for this is because it makes you look like you're trying to pull off the "youthful look"- and anyone looking to look refined and decent is going to look like a fuckwad in expensive stone washed shorts.
However, you can pull this look off easy if you're just with a bunch of friends (ergo not trying to look too decent). While wearing too much of the logo will make you look cheap and stupid, a little bit of A&F can be worn by anyone under the age of 25 without causing too much of a ruckus. Just watch out- too much will make you look like a fuckwad.
Aeropostale is a clothier that aims itself at the 11-18 demographic that is looking for a cheaper version of trendy clothing. Because the company works so hard to remain cheap to the average consumer, the clothing itself tends to err on the cheap side- not insanely cheap, but not exactly wonderful either.
It would be my personal recommendation to simply avoid Aeropostale unless you're looking for teen style on a budget. Aeropostale shirts (like the one I'm wearing as I type this) are stupidly cheap, their shorts are ragged, and the clothing itself is just generic. While the clothing is no doubt cheap, it is also made cheap. Just save up extra cash and skip this store.
American Eagle is another stop in the line of the big teen retailers (A&F, AE, Hollister and Aeropostale). Considered generally more "clean cut" than the other outfitters because of it's lack of sexual advertisements, American Eagle tends to target the more athletic demographic as a whole. This kind of clothing is seen often on those considered "jocks", as it is generally tailored to fit athletic bodies well- though the clothes, much like other brands, tend to be designed for the super skinny (so bodybuilders from our Exercise chapter will have to do some serious hunting for good clothing from here).
American Eagle makes decent clothing- sometimes. Much like other teen clothiers, the clothing quality tends to vary depending on what you buy. Buying a polo from American Eagle is by far a good choice, but buying something a bit more specific (such as shoes) tends to result in absolute failure. And, of course, this is a TEEN RETAILER- so if you're trying to look older or just are sick of seeming preppy, avoid this shit like the plague.
Armani Exchange came out of the Fashion world and surprised the fuck out of everybody. A spiritual brother to Giorgio Armani (see below), Armani Exchange is a much cleaner cut teen-and-twentysomething retailer that has no qualms about charging you an arm and a leg for their designs. Armani Exchange clothing can be as much as double that of other retailers, which will certainly put a hurt on your wallet if you like their clothing.
Personally, I like Armani Exchange best of all of the teen retailers, but the price is just too much. Paying upwards of $40 for a t-shirt is fucking stupid, no matter how rich you are. With that being said, Armani Exchange is a wonderful place to find ideas and concepts for your clothing, but never a good place to actually purchase the clothing. The Website contains a virtual dressing room that is like your core tool for designing decent clothing mixes- so play around with it, but never pay them for your time.
Banana Republic was once a store and catalog business (somewhat like Sears Roebuck) that made quite a bit of money on playing the "safari" look of it's stores and catalog. Eventually, it was purchased by The Gap Inc, who transformed it into a "Casual Luxury" store- that is, relatively decent priced clothing, with a more refined look to it.
I've recently begun to like Banana Republic because they have done a fairly good job of managing their clothing and keeping things stylish. Banana Republic clothing is your step up from Hollister/A&F/AE so far as price and quality goes, as well as the general maturity of the clothing itself. You can get quite a wardrobe from Banana Republic and not go wrong, as most of their clothing is stylish and classy enough to be worn even into your late 30s.
Big Dogs is a
clothier embarrassment of a company that primarily sells "funny" t-shirts and clothing, featuring graphic prints of dogs usually parodying pop culture or some other stupid shit.
This is the kind of shit that you see fat people wear to appear funny, but is such a train wreck that you want to break their beer bottle, take a shard of glass, rip their heart from their chest cavity, and shove it down their mouth. I'm not fucking kidding.
Buckle is a company that originally started out as Mills Clothing, Inc in Nebraska. As the clothier grew, it slowly morphed into "The Buckle", a company that aimed at the teen demographic. The company rarely makes clothing of it's own anymore, spending the majority of it's time selling other popular brands (such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Dr. Martens, etc).
I've never really seen Buckle as anything but an extension of some of the brands it sells. If you like any of the brands it sells (PS: Volcom is fucking stupid), then by all means, go for it. However, do note that it really isn't the top of the top when it comes to sales or anything, and it's not exemplary when it comes to style either. Use your own judgment as to how this store fits you.
d.e.m.o is a hip hop inspired brand by the people at Pacific Sunwear (Pacsun). It is generally a large outlet for men's wear such as Ecko or Sean John, and for all intents and purposes, mainly targets the African-American community. The clothing is generic and typical of your average gangster (or in this case, gangster-wannabe), and generally costs more than even higher end brands in other stores.
This is one of those things that you would only touch if you were into hip-hop and whatnot, and could actually pull this shit off. If not, just go to the website for two seconds and have yourself a good laugh at the white models on the page. Then get off, before that shit infects you.
Eddie Bauer is a clothing company mainly aimed toward 25-40 year old people. It's history comes from the original "Eddie Bauer's Sports Shop", where much of the clothing was designed for the outdoorsy- and that trend has generally carried to this day. Nothing of this style has ever really taken off in any insane way, however, the store continues to grow at a large pace as many search for reasonably priced clothing that looks decent on middle aged people.
Eddie Bauer clothing can be great- but overdoing it is death. Eddie Bauer pullovers and sweaters are generally wonderful (Eddie Bauer did invent the first down Parka), but their pants and other clothing is a bit old-man-ish for me. Many can pull it off- just don't overdo it or you'll look TOO old.
The Gap is a company that has been around for ages, always targeting older teens to about the thirtysomething crowd. The name itself refers to "The generation gap", the Hippie movement- which is kinda dead by now, but the stores still remain. Gap clothing is FAR more urban than the majority of clothing in malls now (The Gap has yet to adopt the "Miami Beach" look- good for us, bad for it's stock value).
Gap sells what is often jokingly referred to as "Suburbia Clothing", meaning that it's clothes typically follow low beta trends and typically avoid high ones for better profit margins. This, much like many department store outlets, typically means that Gap sells fairly quality merchandise that lasts quite a while, yet often can be considered stereotypical due to it's own popularity.
I actually like some of the Gap clothing, and a lot of more classical people do. The Gap is a very urban company (style-wise- and I'm talking about upper NY urban, not Gangster urban), so it looks decent on people trying to give a more tailored or refined look. The Gap clothing tends to vary in quality, which can be a problem, but their staples (Pants, shirts, etc) kick ass.
Hi I'm George Zimmer founder and CEO of the Mens Warehouse (insert copypasta here) I guarantee it. Like it or not sometimes in life you need to dress to impress as they say. Mens Warehouse is nice because they offer the cheapest rentals out of all the mens suit stores. Also its always nice to buy a suit or two for job interviews or other shit.
Hollister is a teen-oriented brand of Abercrombie and Fitch. This basically means that the clothes are the same in soul, but differ in that they tend to be a bit smaller, a bit less overtly sexual (to garner more parental approval), and to be affordable enough for the teen budget. This brand has taken off, much like A&F and Aeropostale, as people are moving toward the California/Miami Beach look.
Hollister can be good, and Hollister can be bad. If you are over 18 (you should be if you're reading this), Hollister is too young for you, get out. However, if you are younger (doubt it), this isn't something too bad to go for. Much like A&F, you'll end up looking like a carbon copy... but it works.
Also, much like AE, the clothing tends to fit more athletic bodies better. Fatties need not apply. Ever.
You probably know Hot Topic. Established in 1988, the stores are mainly based around any given music trend of the time, selling dark clothing, band merchandise, and anything that could possibly fit in between. As the store has grown to over 600 stores nationwide, it has slowly evolved to encompass "otaku" wear (Weeaboo shit), Emo wear, and basically anything that teens or twentysomethings would buy into. However, a simple band shirt here and there shouldn't be too much trouble.
Hot Topic is a no-no for most Well Cultured Anonymous. And I'm fucking serious. If you have any feeling that you don't look good in this stuff, you should take it off. Once you hit 18 or 19 or so, wearing t-shirts with bands on them goes from "haha cool" to "haha stupid". Let's be honest with ourselves- when you're looking for a job or dating, wearing excessively skinny pants and a haircut that covers half your face is stupid.
Look, just break the habit. Hot Topic may be music-related, but the entire world does not revolve around punk/emo music. Just like Hot Topic once was a big (mall)goth retailer (and dropped it like a hot potato), they will with YOUR favorite style. Stick with more normal styles and you won't look like an idiot, and hopefully you will be able to keep your clothes for longer than six months. But if you must dress for an alternative style, then you'd really be much better off checking out your local leather shops, thrift stores, costume/theatre shops, etc. Just keep that shit in clubs, social events, and concerts if you don't want to be a laughing stock in the workplace. (Coming from an anon who has been dressing goth for a long while)
J.Crew is much like Polo Ralph Lauren in it's style, but is special in that it is a primarily catalog and internet based company. J.Crew is much like Lands End in this- it tends to stick to traditional styles, and simply do minor modifications whenever it is "safe" to make more sales.
This, by all means, does not mean J.Crew is a bad company. In fact, you may find some of your best stuff here. Go hunting around for the basics- even underwear and socks- and just load up on the very simple stuff. I wouldn't really promote purchasing any kind of shirts or pants here, but I can imagi
Nordstrom is actually a department store more than an actual clothier. Generally stylistically better than your average department store (Macys, Dillards, et al), the stores tend to be much more affluent than your regular old clothing place. Much like many other upper class companies (Nintendo, Starbucks, Amazon.com), Nordstrom is based out of Seattle.
Nordstrom, much like any other mass clothier, has hits and misses across the board, so it's hard to define their stuff by any major definition or term. Personally, I think Nordstrom is probably one of your best stores for up-and-coming consumer trends, but it also comes with a slightly higher price tag than you would find in other stores. But this is fine: their service is absolutely phenomenal and their clothing is well made.
PS: Nordstrom is rocketing up in the stock market right now like a cat with a firecracker up it's ass.
Oakley is a company that originally started out designing sunglasses and ski goggles. Their popularity has slowly risen for various purposes, namely the quality of the glasses. However, these glasses have recently taken on a small niche, and tend to all appear the same (The "Oakley Look"), with tinted (red or orange, typically) lenses and plastic/metal frames. The company has recently gone into other markets due to this popularity.
Okay, I'm going to say it. Oakley sunglasses are for retards. The same goes with their clothing. Oakley is far from being interesting or masculine, and rather reminds one of a dumb teenage dropout who tries to look "hardcore" as he flips burgers as McDonalds. I'm just saying.
Old Navy is a company run by The Gap that aims specifically at lower and middle middle class people. While that sounds confusing, the translation is that Old Navy clothing is clothing similar to that found at The Gap, just a little bit behind the style curve and a bit cheaper. Other than this, the clothing is much akin to the stuff found at The Gap- albeit much cheaper and less sturdy.
Old Navy is too much of a gamble, style-wise, to even bother with. Old Navy has more of neutral style, where you will probably blend into a crowd. While some would enjoy this, others may be looking for a more bold look. The clothing rarely, if ever, changes style in any fundamental way, and tends to be the same kind of stuff year after year. This would not be so bad, would it not be for the quality of the clothing, which is shitty- at best. The Jeans tend to hold up fairly well, but anything cotton or linen (especially their chino pants) falls apart in a few washes. There are some good buys at Old Navy, just not often.
Pacific Sunwear (abbreviated to PacSun) is a California based retailer of California-inspired clothing- namely stuff related to surfing and/or skateboarding. For the most part, PacSun operates as a store full of existing brands (Volcom, Billabong, etc), rather than a clothier of it's own right- however, the clothes tend to come specifically from those stores rather than competitors.
PacSun is another Hollister/AE/A&F clone in that it's the same old bullshit: California or Miami Beach wear. Look, about 90% of the United States is "too far" from any major ocean to justify surfing in it (or in the case of NYC, Atlantic City and Philly, nobody's stupid enough to jump in). Dressing like you want to be out grinding a surfboard is thus fucking stupid, especially when you carry the look of an urbanite. If you're into this, go ahead- but this looks neither mature nor original.
Puma is a high end clothier for athletic goods (primarily shoes and running gear). Based in Germany, the company is largely based in Europe, however, it has slowly found it's way into the United States over the years, and has become a common sight on many people.
Puma clothing is obviously for sports, and should stay that way. For their intended purposes (soccer, running, etc), they do well. However, in any other circumstance, it makes you look as if you got lost from a gym- an actually very bad look. A lot of people in England tend to wear this look (from what I've seen)- so if you're a Brit you could pull it off, if you don't mind looking like a thug from a council estate- but I doubt you could in the USA.
Tommy Bahama is a clothier that makes high end Tropical-themed wear (thus the Bahama, though no one in the Bahamas actually wears the shit). The clothing is often seen either sold in special retail stores (rare in the US and Canada), and sometimes in various department stores.
It should be of note that Tommy Bahama stuff is aimed at older men and women, ergo not you.
Wilson's Leather is what it says it is- leather. It originally started as Berman's Leather, but eventually morphed into what is now known as Wilson's Leather, which operates a handful of stores nationwide. This company sells leather coats, handbags, shoes, and gloves- but also tends to dabble in other areas.
For the most part, there is no good or bad about this company. Leather Jackets are fairly flexible beings, so they can work for many different kinds of styles. Just test their stuff out, but watch out- leather stuff is expensive.
- Big names in fashion are people or brands (such as Hugo Boss) that are in the public view, but do not have stores per se. These people/brands may or may not be available in stores, or may only be in more upscale areas (such as bigger mall stores or something). Obviously, these brands are much more expensive.
Coach Giorgio Armani
House of Chanel
If you're reading this wiki, chances are you can't afford it. Just leave it at that.