You’ve probably heard about the “pink tax” — a term that refers to how products for women, like razors in “feminine” colors, are often more expensive than the men’s equivalent. From everyday items like deodorant, haircuts, dry-cleaning and clothing, all of the aforementioned cost more for women than men.
If you’d like to get the most bang for your buck while shopping for clothes, here’s a tip: Stop buying everything in the women’s section of your favorite stores and spend some serious time shopping the men’s department.
One of retail’s dirty little secrets is that many options in the men’s department are either better made or cheaper than very similar items stocked in women’s. And the reason for this is that retailers allot budgets to spend on menswear and womenswear, and because menswear usually involves many fewer styles than women’s, retailers often have a lot more budget for materials (yes, this is why men’s sweaters feel so good…and last longer).
There’s also clearly some price discrimination at play—plenty of instances exist where the same exact women’s offering is more expensive than a men’s piece. Take for instance, the fact that a women’s Hanes white t-shirt costs more than the same exact men’s t-shirt.
To beat the system (if you will), here are the things you should consider buying from the men’s department when you shop.
- Button-front shirts – The men’s department has button-front shirts down to a science, and I’m all about the look of a slouchy men’s dress shirt paired with jeans or shorts. Plus, men’s shirts are made without the weird seams women’s clothes have (located right on the sides of your rib cage) that make garments appear more fitted and dated. Just be ready to remove all of those pesky pins.
- Oversized Sweaters – This is one of those items that is often times of better quality in men’s than women’s. Consider lightweight cardigans for Spring.
- Duffle or Overnight Bags – Because most men aren’t buying handbags, brands fill the gap offering guys pitch-perfect overnight bags, many of which have a more relaxed and broken-in vibe than conservative women’s styles.
- Blazers – A woman in an oversized blazer is chic. Wear it over anything or even belted by itself as a dress. If it’s too big, get the arms taken in by a tailor, or drape it over your shoulders.
- Real Boyfriend Jeans – Why buy an imitation when you can buy the real thing? Head to the men’s department for the perfect pair of worn in jeans. Cuff the jeans if they are a little too long, and embrace that they are oversized.
- Watches – Oversized men’s-inspired watches have been a huge trend for women for a while now—there is something just so sophisticated and powerful about a woman with a large watch on her wrist, not to mention that they are great for stacking. Hit the men’s section at department stores to get the look. Too big? Take it to your jeweler to get the band made smaller.
- Denim jackets – Check out this men’s denim jacket from Balenciaga on Keke Palmer (Gigi, Star). I love the oversized look as opposed to a cropped or more fitted women’s jacket.
What else would you consider buying out of the men’s department? Share your comments below.
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