25 High-Quality Clothing Brands Most Guys Can Afford


According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, most people only wear 20% of the clothes they actually own. (source)

In other words, people spend five times the value of the clothes they actually wear simply because of impulse clothing purchases. As one Redditor aptly put it, “It isn’t a ‘deal’ if you never wear it.”

For many, it makes more financial sense to buy durable, high-quality garments that they actually love.

If you are sick of buying junky clothes that seem to last about as long as toilet paper then you’re in the right place. While quality will cost more, there is no need to pay crazy luxury brand prices.

Nailing the right balance between price and quality is key. The best method is to buy high-quality garments only when they go on sale.

Below are three lists across apparel categories. Familiarize yourself with these brands. If you do, you’ll be way ahead of the crowd.

TIP: Learn to recognize these brands so you can snipe killer deals at second-hand shops.

Outdoor BrandsWorkwear BrandsLifestyle Brands
Arcteryx1620 WorkwearResort Co
PatagoniaCarharttUniqlo
FjallRavenDuluth TradingFilson
Outdoor ResearchPatagoniaEverlane
Mountain HardwearFilsonTodd Snyder
RABRag & Bone
The North FaceJCrew
BerghausClub Monaco
CotopaxiRag & Bone
Marmot

IMPORTANT: Most brands carry multiple tiers of quality.

For example, Ralph Laurens Purple label Polos are much higher quality than their entry-level polos(so is the price.)

This is often why you’ll get mixed reviews on a Brand’s quality. For example, one online commentator curses the quality of Uniqlo T’s, while the other sings their praises. The difference? Uniqlo has two quality tiers of regular and premium weight T’s.

Master The Pricing Curve of Fashion

To borrow an example from the automotive world, you are looking for the “Toyotas.” They cost a bit more but offer much higher quality than the rest without BMW or Mercedes prices.

The trick to getting the best bang for your buck is to understand the value curve in the fashion industry. Your goal is to find a garment on sale in the “affordable luxury” or “entry-level luxury” category.

Folks who are familiarized with entry-level luxury brands and know how to spot quality garments, often score insane deals at second-hand clothing stores.

Take a look at the chart below.

Consider these takeaways from the example above:

  • There is a 6x price increase from the consumer category to the affordable luxury category
  • There is a 48x price increase from the consumer category to the luxury category.
  • The quality difference between consumer and affordable luxury categories is significant in relation to design, materials, and workmanship.
  • The difference between the affordable luxury and luxury categories is not nearly as significant in relation to actual material quality and workmanship. Rather, you are paying more for fine detail work, edgy and unique stylistic designs, brand prestige, and rarity.

Remember, most people don’t wear 4/5th of the clothes in your closet. A lot of those items are probably Costco jeans that eventually choke landfills.

Fact: A well-tailored pair of jeans are constructed from premium selvedge denim, fits better, looks better, and lasts much longer than a pair of cheap stretchy jeans that will be in the garbage one year from now. When you go to your closet you will look for them first and you’ll do that year after year.

The quality difference between a pair of Costco jeans and Madewell’s true selvedge denim jeans is significant. Madewell uses far superior fabric, thread, and stitching. Their tailors take the time to do it right and, as a result, their jeans will feel better, look better, and last far longer than Costco jeans.

By the way, here’s a great guide to buying super-durable jeans.

List of Affordable Luxury Brands

When it comes to clothing brands, you’ll want to focus on “premium” and “moderate” brands sometimes called “affordable luxury brands.”

Affordable luxury brands” serve as a bridge for consumers looking for the quality that luxury brands offer without breaking the bank. Similarly, luxury car makers such as BMW and Mercedes offer entry-level luxury cars to value-conscious customers.

Top 10 High-Quality Outdoor Clothing Brands

1. Arcteryx

Credit: Arcteryx
  • Headquarters: Vancouver, Canada
  • Top Pick: Atom Heavyweight Jacket Mens/Womens
  • Raw Opinion:You don’t have to be a climber, skier, or backcountry trekker to appreciate Arc’teryx products. Once you’ve worn them you’ll probably understand why it has a high price point.” -reddit

Arcteryx is a very well-respected premium brand in the outdoor apparel space. However, they are pricey, to the point of being borderline almost “prestige.” They are well known for a no-compromise commitment to quality and durability. The Arcteryx brand name does carry some prestige in the outdoor world so you can expect to pay more for the prestige factor.

Hack: Save big money by visiting their outlet site for big discounts on last season’s models.

2. Patagonia

Credit: Patagonia
  • Headquarters: Ventura, CA
  • Top pick: Better Sweater Mens/Womens
  • Raw Opinion:Patagonia stuff has been very reliable for me. One of my top 3 most reliable outdoor clothing brands.” –reddit

Patagonia is the grand-daddy of premium outdoor brands with a long-standing reputation for producing expedition-quality apparel geared for hard-core adventurers. They are an activist brand focused on preserving nature.

Tip: You can score some sweet deals on second-hand Patagonia apparel through their WornWear program.

3. FjallRaven

  • Headquarters: Sweden
  • Top Picks: Keb Trousers Mens/Womens
  • Raw Opinion:  “Fjällräven is as good as it comes. Here in Sweden they are common. I know people who have used theirs for 30 years and still going strong. Buy the ones you need to wax.”reddit

FjallRaven is best known for their rugged backpacks, but their outdoor apparel is top-notch too. The brand focus has always been to design apparel with ultimate durability in mind for hard-use applications.

4. Outdoor Research

Credit: Outdoor Research
  • Headquarters: Seattle, WA
  • Top Pick: Ferrosi Pants Mens/ Womens
  • Raw Opinion: “Agree that they are one of the most respected brands and their infinite guarantee is brilliant, however, I would say other than their gloves their quality is not quite on a par with the likes of Patagonia and Arc’teryx”reddit

Outdoor Research(OR) is a favorite among outfitters, search and rescue, and geologists who work long hours outdoors. They are especially well known for their gloves. OR offers a lot of value for the money, and they stand behind their product with a strong warranty.

5. Mountain Hardwear

Credit: Mountain Hardwear
  • Headquarters: Richmond, CA
  • Top Pick: Ghost Whisperer 2 Hoody
  • Raw Opinion: Agree with other commenters. I’ve had a couple MH pieces for both mountaineering/alpinism and skiing and I consider them one of the highest quality outdoor retailers in the market (next to $ArcTeryx$)” –reddit

Mountain Hardwear is a seriously hard-core alpinist brand. Professional climbers routinely use Mountain Hardwear’s Absolute Zero suit for summitting Everest. Obviously, their forté is winter and alpine apparel, but they have a broad range of base layers, and button-up shirts as well.

7. Rab Mountain Gear

  • Headquarters: Derbyshire, UK
  • Top Pick:
  • Raw Opinion: “Top quality. Normally quite technical equipment. Mid to high end.
    I really like my windbreaker jacket from RAB. Fit is a bit slim (and/or I’m fat).”
    -reddit

Rab Mountain Gear is the UK’s premier outdoor apparel outfitter. The quality of their garments is right up there with Arcteryx and Fjallraven.

6. The North Face

  • Headquarters: Denver, CO
  • Top Pick: Denali Jacket Mens/Womens
  • Raw Opinion:My North Face full zip jacket has lasted me 17 years. The elbows are a bit matted and the wrist elastic is loose but otherwise still goes strong. I’m sure my exact model is phased out but it’s similar to their Denali model”reddit

The North Face earned its reputation as a hard-core mountaineering brand with some serious chops. Their gear is a common choice for summitting 8000-meter peaks. Their expertise in these extreme environments has led to the creation of some true classics. On the other hand, The North Face has been criticized for compromising on quality in recent years. Reddit is a great help when picking reliable North Face gear.

8. Berghaus

Image credit: Berghause
  • Headquarters: Sunderland, UK
  • Top Pick: Deluge 2.0 pants Mens/Womens
  • Raw Opinion: “Berghaus is known as a mid-tier brand in my country. It’s not up to par compared to some of the higher-tier brands like Arc’teryx, Norrona, Black Yak and RAB. But they’re not bargain bin gear either. They know their stuff, even if their designs are a bit uninspired.” -reddit

RAB and Fjallraven together with Berghaus form the trifecta of top of European outdoor brands. It is a very popular brand in the UK. While a respected mountaineering brand, Berghaus is more mid-teer. Neither bargain basement nor high-end technical gear. Some folks refer to Berghaus as The North Face of Europe.

9. Cotopaxi

Credit: Cotopaxi
  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Favorite Products: Fuego Hooded Down Jacket Mens/Womens
  • Raw Opinion: “…Every product I’ve ever purchased from them was really top quality. They don’t cut quality corners, their items are very comfortable, and practical while being stylish. I really appreciate their commitment to fair wages of their workers.”reddit

Cotopaxi has a strong emphasis on ethically sourced materials and manufacturing. They offer an excellent warranty and garment repair. Cotopaxi is particularly popular among world travelers and they also make good quality backpacks.

10. Marmot

  • Location: Santa Rosa, CA
  • Top Pick: Guides Down Jacket Mens
  • Raw Opinion: “They generally make good stuff, but they’ve gone downhill since they were bought out by K2. Their sleeping bags are still the best out of all the major brands (although I haven’t had much experience with the new Patagonia bags). But all in all, pretty reliable.”reddit

Marmot is famous for down-filled coats and rugged Gore-tex rain jackets. They offer some of the most affordable high-quality garments on the market. They may be a little lesser known, but it would be a mistake to ignore this brand. They make very good stuff. .

High-Quality Men Brands

Unlike women’s fashion, men’s fashion has longer cycles that last from 5 to 10 years. That means that guys can extract more value from their favorite jacket or pair of jeans over the long term.

1. Resort Co

Resort Co is entirely focused on super comfy casual wear for maximum relaxation on your next sunny vacation. For example, their super-comfy terry-looped shirt transitions easily from the poolside to an A-la-carte dinner.

If comfort is your thing then check them out!

Uniqlo

  • Headquarters: Yamaguchi, Japan
  • Top Pick: Airism underwear
  • Opinion: “Their supima cotton tees and slim chinos are amazing quality. Holds up well after many washes. Their collabs are of dubious quality” -reddit

Uniqlo is the Toyota of the fashion world. Nothing flashy or overly luxurious, just solid quality at a reasonable price. Uniqlo is a good choice for casual clothing but there are some pieces you should avoid. So, do your research.

Filson

  • Headquarters: Seattle, WA
  • Top Pick: Tin Cloth Cruiser Jacket
  • Raw Opinion: “In terms of longevity, I own quite a few of their bags, belts, jackets and trousers. All were bought over a decade ago and all still going strong. I have had cause to have a couple of items repaired under their lifetime guarantee and it was all very quick and efficient.” reddit

Trendiness be darned. Filson ain’t no city slicker brand. They nail the brawny Alaskan mountain man look. If you want rugged, comfortable, functional, and hard-working clothes this is it. A favorite among hunters, anglers, lumberjacks and guides, Filson makes truly timeless apparel.

Everlane

  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Top Pick: Premium Weight T’s
  • Raw Opinion: “I do like Everlane as a brand overall. Generally quality is good but there are a few issues also noted by others. Their sizes run big (so if you are normally a medium, get a small). Their clothing fits/cuts are on the “loose” side in general…”reddit

Everlane is primarily an online casual wear retailer with a few locations in big cities. They are generally more affordable but with multiple quality tiers. The lower-priced items are often on their lower tier so do your homework. You can still snag some excellent sales on very good quality pieces though.

Todd Snyder

Photo Credit: Todd Snyder
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Top Pick: Midweight Pocket Sweatshirt
  • Raw Opinion: “Quality is pretty good but honestly the price point remains rather high. I’d say wait for a sale if possible, or to only get statement pieces and reserve basics for somewhere else.”reddit

One person aptly described Todd Snyder as “a brand for milleniels who have graduated from J. Crew.” Others call it a “more expensive J Crew.” This makes sense because Todd Snyder used to be a designer for J.Crew. However, Todd Snyder is a more mature men’s brand than J Crew. Their strength is in classy dress clothes, quality wool jackets, and the like. As with most of these brands, it’s usually not really worth buying unless it’s on sale.

Rag & Bone

Photo Credit: Rag & Bone
  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Top Pick: Fit 2 family of jeans
  • Raw Opinion: “Their denim is really the best*. They don’t have a rock-chic edge to them like Saint-Laurent, but Rag & Bone jeans feel rockstar approved.”  – reddit

Rag & Bone started off as a men’s casual label and later expanded into women’s and footwear too. They are best known for their exceptionally comfortable jeans. Rag & Bone is known for giving a lot of attention to detail and creating very well-constructed garments. That said, I’ve noticed several folks complaining that their quality has slipped a bit.

JCrew

  • Headquarters: New York, NY
  • Top Pick: Seaboard soft-knit half-zip
  • Raw Opinion: “On sale, J Crew is a great deal, they’ve replaced Uniqlo and similar places as my go-to for cheap essentials. Especially since, like many people I think, my taste has been shifting toward J Crew’s more classic styling and away from streetwear/trend-inspired items.” –reddit

JCrew is more or less a fast fashion preppy brand, their quality is better than department stores, but don’t expect super-high-end stuff. Still, JCrew is a good step up for many who are on a tighter budget. Their sister brand Madewell is also worth looking into.

Club Monaco

  • Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
  • Top Pick: Loukas Funnel Neck Coat
  • Raw Opinion: “You can stack your student discount on top of the stuff in their sales section. I got some incredible deals there 2-3 times. Quality is on par if not better than jcrew. Definitely better than Old Navy, Gap, Uniqlo or BR.” -reddit

Club Monaco is an urban casual brand for men and women, and they make very good quality stuff. They can be pricey, but you can score some excellent deals a few times a year.

Iron Heart

Photo Credit: Iron Heart America
  • Headquarters: Tokyo, Japan
  • Top Pick: 21 oz Straight Cut
  • Raw Opinion: “Naked and famous aren’t nearly as equal as Iron Heart in terms of quality and construction and the denim itself. Everybody has their own opinions on the fit of different brands. Remember that you get what you pay for. Most of the time.” –reddit

Iron Heart is a mainstay Japanese denim brand among hardcore jeans aficionados. It began as a biker denim label and that DNA still runs thick. These jeans are made for denim heads looking to develop epic fades. Iron Heat makes extremely over-built jeans with serious attention to detail.

High Quality Men’s Work Wear Brands

1620 Workwear

  • Headquarters: Amesbury, MA
  • Top Pick: Double-Knee Utility Pant 2.0. (see my full review)
  • Raw Opinion: “I have worn a ton of work pants, duluth, carhartt, dickies and in my opinion, nothing compares to 1620. They are not cheap but they have lasted so long in comparison to my other pants..”-reddit

1620 makes some of the toughest work clothes money can buy. They are a true “made in America” brand that has gained a lot of recognition despite being a relative newcomer to the workwear market. They’re apparel isn’t cheap, but overall quality is very good.

Carhartt

  • Headquarters: Dearborn, MI
  • Top Pick: Double Front Rugged Flex pants
  • Raw Opinion: “Some people expect the same level of durability out of all Carhartt products. That is where the problems start.The price premium from the outerwear is added on to most other products so it is not a crazy assumption. I have no problem paying more for a jacket i know will last a couple decades, but things like t-shirts and socks it seems like it is less worth it” –reddit

I’ve worn Carhartt for a long time and have had no problem recommending them. Some have criticized Carhartt for fudging their quality lately but I disagree. For example, Carhartt work pants have much better stitching than Dickies in key areas like pockets, crotch, and inseams.

Duluth Trading Company

Photo Credit: Duluth
  • Headquarters: Mount Horeb, WI
  • Top Pick: Duluth Flex Firehose Cargo Pants
  • Raw Opinion: “Work in a warehouse – I’m stooping and crouching all day (even on all fours at times for those annoying cases on the bottom rollrack) and the firehose pants live up to their advertised reputation. Ever since I was directed to them I’ve never bought any other kind of work pants. They’re durable as hell like described and they actually last (no rips or thinning out within a year or whatever).”reddit

Duluth Trading Company has some humourous marketing and product naming, but they do make some solid products. However, recently ditched their famous “No Bull” warranty from covering wear and tear to only covering 1 year of workmanship/quality. It was probably due to folks abusing the return policy. No clothes last forever folks.

Filson

Phot Credit: Filson
  • Headquarters: Seattle, WA
  • Top Pick: Tin Cloth Work Jacket
  • Raw Opinion: “I understand that Filson is a boutique-y American made brand, but these prices are incredibly cost prohibitive. If they want to continue their legacy of an ‘outfitter’ company that makes high quality, tough garments that stand up to the elements, they have to do better with these prices.” –reddit

Filson is worth highlighting again on this list. Their rugged Tin Cloth workwear line are time-tested classics. While Filson is primarily an outdoor outfitter brand, their work clothes are good quality and carry classic rugged styling. Some folks have criticized the brand for outsourcing some of their production but the jury is still out as to whether quality has really suffered at all.

Patagonia

Patagonia gets a second mention on this list for making some super tough stuff. Their workwear is competitively priced compared to other brands like Carhartt and Duluth. Patagonia has an excellent warranty and also offers repair services if needed. The Iron Forge line is their most popular.

Conclusion

This is by no means an exhaustive list but it’s a solid starting point in your search for reasonably priced high-quality clothing. Keep in mind that most brands have different quality tiers as well as low-quality outliers so familiarize yourself with the brand before sniping their discount deals. It’s a skill that you’ll get good at over time. Happy hunting!

P.S. For more on this subject check out this post on how to spot quality clothes.

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Don Longworth

Don was born and raised in sub-saharan Africa. Now based in Canada, his extensive experience in non-profit work has served him well over multiple deployments in Africa. Don's experiences have made him a practical "to-the-point" type person. He is a no-frills, low-key guy who appreciates quality and simplicity.

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