The central reason diehard menswear dudes dismiss mainstream retailers is not a matter of quality, it's more that the high-pressures of a multi-million dollar business typically force brands to play it safe. Rather than offer up good looking product that will dare men to be better, mall brands would rather play into what they know men already like. Ultimately, this has lead to an American way of dressing that still, even a few years after the #menswear movement, is fucking terrible—oversized, over-detailed and straight up fucking lousy.
Club Monaco, lead by its Vice President of Men's Design Aaron Levine, is changing that. Aaron knows that men deserve better than to have their needs simply met, that they want to look their best and are willing to entrust a retailer who is doing things differently than everyone else. That's not to say Club Monaco's aesthetic is directional. It's merely grounded in American classics, never veering too far into the stale, murky waters of Americana. All the rough edges have been smoothed out, shoulders have been made softer, cardigans drape a little longer and the outerwear simply looks better than anything in its class.
Is Club Monaco cheap? Well, by the standards many menswear dudes have become accustomed to, yes. A beautiful, made in the USA camel hair topcoat will run you around $900, but, like I said, camel hair, made in the USA, etc. As for shirts, those are always in the incredibly reasonable range of $60-$80, while F/W 2013 also sees a vast Italian-made cashmere movement (hoodies, sweatpants, cardigans). Aaron used the phrase "affordable luxury" and we're more than on board. We expect you will be as well.
What we saw from Club Monaco last night solidifies them as the unequivocal champion of mainstream menswear brands. We hope that their strategy of offering more challenging pieces to average men pays off because with a company of their size they have the potential to actually shift the way American men dress for good. That right there is a cause worth supporting.