In honor of this month’s menswear-oriented style section, I wanted to explore some of the stereotypes about gender and shopping. Conventional wisdom states that women enjoy shopping and men hate it; that women are budget-conscious, while men care more about speed; and that men opt to shop online and women prefer brick-and-mortar. Are these assumptions true? And is there something women can learn from men’s shopping habits? To find out, I tapped some of the most stylish guys I know to find out how they shop.
They’re loyal. Musician Peter Bregman is loyal to certain brands, and regularly checks their websites to see what’s new in his favorite cuts, colors, and styles. “The dude has got his buying down to a science,” says his wife, Brianna.
They’re creatures of habit. They find a style or brand they identify with, a fit they like, receive a compliment, and decide to stick with it. John Mark Hostetler, a local stylist and choreographer, says, “If I find a brand I like, I often try to identify what I like about it and search the internet for more options in the same family.” Christian Erickson, co-founder of Minneapolis creative agency Zeus Jones, adds, “I tend to buy a small set of brands that I like and know exactly how they fit.”
They shop with purpose, and don’t browse. Instead, they tend to go out shopping with a specific need in mind, such as a suit for a wedding. “It doesn’t matter if I’m shopping online or at a store,” says Carter Averbeck, owner of Uptown shop Omforme. “I focus on what I need and then I’m done!”
…Except when they do. Chris Larson, a graphic designer for Aveda, says that he browses but mainly while visiting other cities. “Although there’s quality menswear here,” he says, “it’s mostly centered around basics and heritage, which isn’t really my thing.” He adds, “I don’t trust sizing alone for a good fit, so I rarely shop online unless I own something similar from the brand already.”
They buy fewer, nicer things, but they commit to what they like. “A lot of ladies have closets full of things they don’t love and therefore never wear,” says Larson. “I think the difference is that ladies have way more options at low-to-moderate price points than men. While the lack of options annoys me sometimes, it’s also gotten me to appreciate quality, and not buy crap just because it’s on sale.” Kyndra James, who works as an associate at North Loop retailer Kit and Ace, says that her male clients are particular about details, and only purchase what they love. “And if they absolutely love it, they’ll buy 10 of them,” she says.
They live for convenience. The past two years has seen a trend toward online subscription services for menswear, such as Trunk Club and Five Four Club, which are similar to the female-focused Stitch Fix. A subscription typically includes a mystery box of goods, based on your style preferences, delivered on a monthly basis. Drew Pearson, co-founder of new Minneapolis-based menswear subscription club Lewk (pronounced “look”), explains, “Generally speaking, men hate to shop but they want to look good, so they want a convenient way to refresh their wardrobe.”
They’re decisive. Kevin Kunz, a data scientist for a Minneapolis hedge and mutual fund group, has a simple approach: “If you like it, get it.”
As I update my spring wardrobe, that’s advice I’ll take to heart.
Photo by 2nd Truth Photography
Jahna’s March Style Picks
Photo Courtesy of Sota Clothing
Show your Minnesota pride with this cozy crewneck unisex sweatshirt by Sota Clothing. $59 @ sotaclothing.com
Photo Courtesy of Saucony
Saucony sneakers, a runner’s favorite during the ’80s and ’90s, have made a comeback, and their retro, unisex designs are now a street-style staple. $55 @ Buck + Fir, buckandfir.com
Photo Courtesy of Thread & Supply
Menswear staple, the buffalo-plaid shirt, gets a stylish update in this slightly oversized women’s version by Thread and Supply. $42 @ Buck + Fir