Low-fuss shopping strategies for men who hate the mall.

shopping strategies for men who hate to shop

Will hates to shop.

Maybe that’s why he’s so pragmatic about clothes: his style is very basic. When I’m out and about, I sometimes amuse myself by imagining him wearing other men’s aggressively preppy or hipster outfits. Loud check shirts, rust-colored skinnies, Buddy Holly glasses? Imagining my husband wearing them makes me giggle every time

Recently, he was prepping for a business trip to Seattle—a culture that locals describe as “aggressively casual”—and realized that he no longer had enough jeans to get him through the week. So he took himself to the mall, braved the dressing room, and bought a few pairs at Gap and Banana Republic.

He brought them home and we went over them together. (I do this to Will all the time. I loved the tables being turned for once.)

One pair of jeans was terrific. (For Will, this qualified as a Smashing Shopping Success.)

But the two rejects languished in the shopping bag for six weeks, which was how long it took to summon the motivation to get back to the hated mall.

(I don’t love going to the mall, but it has its redeeming qualities: I like to wander through Anthropologie, and case the awesome shoe clearance room at Von Maur.)

Because he hates shopping so much, Will and I have been figuring out ways to keep him well-dressed without spending a fortune, and—most importantly—while spending as little time as possible. Here are two services that are working for him right now.

Low-fuss shopping strategies for men who hate the mall.


After Will’s trip, he was motivated to plan ahead to avoid future last-minute mall runs. We’d heard good things about Everlane; that was the nudge we needed to try it.

I love Everlane for its spare aesthetic and minimalist selection. (We’re both easily overwhelmed by too many choices, so fewer is a good thing.)

Everlane’s known for selling designer-quality goods at Target prices, with “radical transparency,” informing their customers about the factory where each product is created and its true cost.

Low-fuss shopping strategies for men who hate the mall.

Will’s first order included a few tees, a polo, and an Oxford shirt. He loved the crew necks (which have a great color selection) and the polo, but didn’t feel hipster enough for the v-neck, which was just a tad too low-cut on him. The Oxford shirt almost worked. It was nice in so many ways but the fit wasn’t quite right—a common problem for Will with Oxfords. (That’s a shame because you can’t beat the price for that kind of quality: $55 for Oxfords and $40 for poplins.)

Returns were easy, and free (but I’m not sure if that’s always the case).

(Side note: I ordered a women’s v-neck tee and love it. I hate the fit of the u-neck. I’m dying to try their cotton lawn shirt while it’s still summer.)

Low-fuss shopping strategies for men who hate the mall.

Trunk Club

Will has used the men’s personal styling service Trunk Club periodically over the course of the last year. (Read about his first experience here.)

Trunk Club matches personal service with investment-quality clothing, and that’s not cheap. But ordering clothes through Trunk Club has proven to be a very good use of time.

Because they’ve provided Will with terrific workhorse pieces that will last for years, he rarely has to think about shopping. (Although he needs some pants, so another Trunk Club experience is probably in our near future…)

Working with Trunk Club is simple. You fill out a style profile and chat with a consultant, and they ship you a box. (It’s not a subscription service; you order when you need to.) They understand men’s clothing, and in our experience their selections have been spot-on. You try on at home, pack up what you don’t want, and drop it off at a Fed Ex location.

What are your shopping tips and tricks for men who hate the mall?

P.S. There are so many great Kindle deals today I made a page for them. Remember, prices subject to change at any time!

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  1. Tim says:

    I’m not a clothes shopping fan, but the Eddie Bauer outlet is about as pin free an experience as I’ve ever had. Plus it’s not in a mall. But if I do have to go to the mall I find solace in the fact that there’s a See’s Candy store there – free samples, yum!

  2. Anjanette says:

    I just ordered an Everlane tee for me and one for my husband to try. I hope they work out for us– I’d love to support this intriguing company (and be able to stop worrying about the “Made in Bangladesh” labels on our Old Navy tees). Thanks for the shopping advice!

  3. Kayris says:

    I think it’s a lot easier to shop online for men because clothes are sized by measurements. At least for pants and dress shirts. My husband has a 29 inch waist AND a 29 inch inseam, which is nearly impossible to find in stores.

    • Anne says:

      As a woman, this is so frustrating to me! (It makes no sense that I’m a 2 at one store and an 8 at another….) But I don’t begrudge the guys their commonsense sizing.

  4. Christie Cabell says:

    J Hilburn is a consultant-based men’s clothier – a consultant will meet their client at the office, at home, wherever it’s convenient, for a 30 minute appointment to take some measurements. Then the client can decide on custom-made pieces – from dress shirts to corduroy pants – they do dressy and casual items – even socks and ties. These items are made to order – should fit perfectly, according to the measurements taken. If it’s not right, the consultant will return it. Easy and convenient “shopping”!

    • MelissaJoy says:

      Once upon a time my husband used Tom James which sounds very similar to J Hilburn. He liked the physical aspects of being professionally measured and touching the fabrics that he was considering.
      If we must go to the mall for his clothing needs we hire a babysitter and give ourselves a time limit (to avoid what we call “mall head”). We have found that BR and Gap usually hit the mark for jeans and business casual. For off the rack business attire, Men’s Wearhouse has decent options and an in house tailor.

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