We now have four of the world’s biggest retailers in Australia: Zara, Topman, H&M and now Uniqlo. Navigating each of these can be a difficult task, especially if you’re the type who struggles with knowing what’s worth your money and what’s best left on the peg. To help soothe the struggle, I’ve put together a short guide on what I personally think the men of Australia (and the world) should be aware of when shopping at the big four.
Let’s get started.
Quick tips that apply to all fast fashion retailers
- You’re buying a product that isn’t the best quality, so be prepared for it to only last a season or two at best.
- Don’t fall for the ‘oh it’s cheap so why not?’ trap – it only fills your wardrobe with items you’ll never wear.
- Simple items help expand what’s already in your wardrobe.
- Find what each retailer does well for your tastes and stick to it.
Fast Fashion Retailer #1 – Zara
With stock turning over once every 3 – 4 weeks, Zara is my first stop for simple items to complement my wardrobe. The current stock is heavily influenced by Givenchy and that style of menswear, which isn’t a bad thing, but you will look like you’re wearing a poor cousin if you choose incorrectly.
The top picks have always been Zara’s outerwear – coats, cotton jackets and the like. They’re perfect for cooler days and often based off hot Euro designers. Zara’s jeans and trousers are a great fit, but tend to fall apart quickly. However they offer lots of colours and styles at an affordable price, so it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it.
I find that Zara’s blazers are a bit too structured in the shoulders and often look odd on me. The same goes for their leather jackets. The leather never feels quite right for me. On the plus side, sizing is good at Zara. No short bodies or arms to be seen.
Come sale time, you can often pick up some cracking bargains at Zara.
Fast Fashion Retailer #2 – Topman
Topman in Australia is a franchise, which means the stock is very good but what makes it to our shores can be limited. So what’s our top pick from Topman? I’ve said this time and time again, but young gents can’t go past a cheap suit from Topman.
The same goes for t-shirts. I practically live in my Topman basic tees and they’re top value for about $15. Yes, $15. Topman trousers are also a secret weapon of mine – wool and cotton blends that pair nicely with a more expensive jacket from someone like M.J. Bale or Joe Black.
Chinos at Topman are a dime a dozen, mostly found in hipster-approved earthy colours. BYO moustache and attitude.
Fast Fashion Retailer #3 – H&M
Though it only just opened in Melbourne, H&M is perhaps the retailer with the most variety for men. One of the first things I picked up were pieces of H&M’s active wear. They’re well designed and come in a range of neutral colourways with small fluro details. Then there’s David Beckhams’ underwear range, which is also a top-notch choice. Actually, the entire H&M underwear line is great value and often last longer than their more expensive Australian rivals.
Another can’t-miss feature of H&M are their collaborations with luxury designers like Lanvin and Alexander Wang. Jump on these collaborations to score some nice one-off pieces at a fraction of the big designer price.
Fast Fashion Retailer #4 – Uniqlo
Last on our fast fashion hit list is Japan’s Uniqlo, which opened this week in Melbourne. Yes, Melbourne gets everything first. First things first: Uniqlo’s blazers are the best bang for your buck. Right now you’re looking at tweed and wool blends for winter, but in summer their linen range is killer.
Shirts are also a top pick from Uniqlo, as they’re made from a thicker cotton and seem to last the distance. They’re perfect to wear over a t-shirt for a smart casual look. If you’re into puffa vests and jackets, then Uniqlo’s range is huge. They have almost every colour under the sun. Their light knit sweaters fit really well and are also great value for the money. Lastly, their collaborations with Pharrell, Undercover and Nigo from A Bathing Ape are all worth a look-see.
Note: Our only warning with Uniqlo is arm length. If you’re a tall sod with long arms, you may find their clothing a touch short for your proportions.
We don’t profess to know everything. What are your must buy items / tips when shopping fast fashion. Tell us below.