Yes, men, you can buy taste.

It used to be extremely hard to find good quality, wearable but classy off-the-peg clothing for men. Fortunately, in the last decade, a wide range of independent menswear labels and retail outlets have sprung up making life for the style-seeking male shopper a whole lot easier. With this in mind – and, ladies, these are a great a resource for Christmas presents this year too – we’ve rounded up what we think are some of the best independent menswear sites out around.


Launched in 1995 by Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins, YMC (which stands for ‘You Must Create’) has made a name for itself as a destination label for timeless, modern and well-made clothing. Its range of menswear is exemplary offering classic staple pieces for the male wardrobe including white and black t-shirts, sheepskin, leather and duffle coats, a fantastic selection of boots, loafers and brogues and much more besides.


This independent men’s clothing company recently won ‘Best for Men’s Fashion’ at The Telegraph’s Best Small Shops in Britain awards and the recognition is well-deserved. Tailored, simple and understated yet modern and stylish, the range has been carefully considered with everything from hand-crafted cable knit gilet cardigans and elegantly tapered cotton chinos to 100% cotton Italian checked shirts and twill blazers combining good taste with high quality.


There is a fantastic range of men’s cable knit jumpers and cardigans at Present London and, happily, the collection doesn’t stop there. From the Beams Plus Hooded Parka Jackets and Gitman Vintage Ties to the range of accessories, which include woven belts, quirkily decorated boxes of matches (because a man should always have a light) and sturdy yet stylish bags, Present delivers every time.


This clever independent shop for men (and women) offers a wide range of original brands, which in turn deliver an original array of clothing. Browse the menswear categories to find a variety of accessories including hats, scarves, boots, belts, wallets, glasses, sunglasses, socks and ties as well as jackets, trousers, jumpers, shirts, t-shirts and shorts. The formula is clothing that looks cool but doesn’t try too hard and we all love a bit of that.


Sisters Louise and Georgie opened the Hub womenswear boutique in Stoke Newington in June 2002 and a menswear shop followed shortly afterwards. Since then, they haven’t looked back. Home to an in-house menswear label, YARN, which offers an elegant selection of handmade ties, Hub menswear just ‘gets it’ when it comes to choosing brands and clothing that appeal to the fashion-conscious but understated male dressers out there.


When it comes to the best menswear fashion brands, Hip clothing is right on the money. Stocking a mix of trendy brands such as Liam Gallagher’s Pretty Green, well-known brands such as Barbour and Levis and more obscure brands such as Napapijri and Uniforms for the Dedicated, it offers a rich browsing experience for the man in pursuit of a look that is distinctly his.


Another independent menswear outlet that is well worth checking out, Tonic labels are carefully chosen for their heritage and craftsmanship. John Smedley, for example, celebrated its 225th birthday last year, Sunspel has made t-shirts for almost 150 years, Edwin crafted its first pair of jeans in 1961 and Red Wing has made shoes since 1905. With such long-standing brands on board, Tonic makes for a very reassuring shopping experience.


The Buttery Store is great for well-made staples made by well-respected brands such as Dr Denim, Vans and Dockers. The broad collection is laid out clearly across the site and shoppers will have no trouble finding something they want to buy. With an emphasis on practical, wearable styles, this is the sort of place to find a jumper or coat that you’ll end up wearing non-stop for the next 20 or 30 years.

Emily Jenkinson

8th November 2011