Meet the hybrid site, a retail outlet disguised as a lifestyle publication. When you arrive at the homepage, you’ll find video interviews, street-style slideshows, and glossy-magazine-style celebrity profiles. But don’t be fooled: These features are intended to lure you into opening your wallet to buy the clothes that sit quietly alongside the articles. (For the record, the official fashion-industry name for this online creation is “shoppertorial/magalog.” Seriously.) The three big moneymakers in this category are Ssense (ssense.com), Mr Porter (mrporter.com), and Asos (asos.com).
Though its appearance (and prices) will prove tempting, I’d advise you to steer clear of Asos, which tends to receive a lot of negative reviews—especially for its own brand of clothing—and whose products may fall apart after only a few wears. Ssense’s problem, on the other hand, is too much quality: Its items are too fashionforward for the regular guy. (Unless you want to hit the town in a leather-studded cape from Alexander McQueen.) Mr Porter, meanwhile, specializes in menswear you may actually want: suits from Savile Row’s Richard James, sweaters and cardigans from John Smedley, and canvas swim shorts from Vilebrequin.
According to menswear guru Mickey Sery, there are exactly three lesser-known brands that every guy should have in his closet: Michael Bastian, Todd Snyder, and Band of Outsiders. Each is slightly preppy with a subtle edge—and more than any other Frankensite, Mr Porter is brimming with this stuff. Unfortunately, everything goes for full price—that is, except during Mr Porter’s twice-yearly “blowout sale.” So take advantage of the site’s “wish list” function (you can flag products by brand, size, and even color), then sit back and let the system do the work for you. When the biannual sale comes around, you’ll get an e-mail. Simply log in and mop up. Expect big markdowns on the fall and winter collections just after the holidays each December, while shorts, T-shirts and other summer staples will be discounted in July.