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If you’re itching 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 there’s a reason for this. 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).
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.
Price and quality aside (though those are definitely biggies) one of the best perks of shopping the men’s department is simply the cool factor of borrowing from the boys. Boyfriend jeans, oversized sweaters, cocoon coats—fashion is definitely having an androgynous moment that’s easy to recreate using pieces made for dudes.
Here, 8 things you should seriously consider buying from the men’s department every time you shop.
1. Button-down shirts.
The men’s department has button-down shirts down to a science at this point, and we’re all about the look of a slouchy men’s dress shirt paired with jeans or leather leggings right now. Plus, men’s shirts are made without the pesky seams women’s clothes have (located right on the sides of your rib cage) that make garments appear more fitted and dated.
H&M oxford shirt ($29.95; available at H&M).
2. Oversized sweaters.
You don’t have to spend a ton of time or money looking for the perfect oversized sweater this season—head over to the men’s section and you’ll hit the jackpot. Plus, this is one of those items that is often times of better quality in men’s than women’s.
Joe Fresh men’s crew neck sweater ($20; available at Joe Fresh).
3. Overnight bags.
On the hunt for that perfect overnight bag? 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.
J.Crew Abingdon weekender ($198; available at J.Crew).
4. Tuxedo blazers.
Something about a woman in an oversized tuxedo blazer screams chic—wear it over anything from a pair of jeans to a gown. Head to the men’s department for the perfect option—if it’s a little bit too big, get the arms taken in at a tailor, or drape it over your shoulders.
Zara black velvet blazer ($189; available at Zara).
5. Real boyfriend jeans.
Boyfriend style jeans were everywhere this year, but 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.
Gap 1969 straight fit jeans ($89.95; available at Gap).
6. Flannel shirts.
Scope out some great flannel men’s shirts for this winter (go oversized) and trust us when we tell you, you will end up living in them—pair them with jeans, layer them under dresses, and even wear it like a sweater at your office.
L.L. Bean wrinkle-resistant mini-tartan shirt ($44.95; available at L.L. Bean).
7. Oversized coats.
The fall runways were awash in oversize cocoon coats. Can’t spend upwards of $3,000 on your dream designer coat as much as you might be tempted? Head to the men’s department to get the same look, while saving a ton of money.
Uniqlo Mens Chesterfield wool cashmere coat ($149.90; available at Uniqlo).
8. Men’s 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.
Bulova Men’s 98H51 leather dress watch ($175; available at Amazon