These days, it's damn hard to be a stylish gent on a budget, and it's getting even harder. This week came with the rough news that Bonobos will no longer be offering free shipping. As a company that isn't really cheap to begin with, I loved the fact that I could snag that one, on sale item (out of the hundreds that, while fantastic looking, are out of my price range) and get it to my house without shelling out extra bucks that would negate the 'deal'. Now that I have to factor in an additional $8.00 (also, $8??? Not even a slightly friendlier flat $5, like at J.Crew?), it's becoming pretty unlikely that I will ever buy direct from them (eBay continues to be a decent source of New or NWOT Bonobos pants).
This comes on top of their recent decision to change their previously-awesome return policy. Couple that with a general feeling on the web that quality has gone down recently as well (maybe contributing to the much more limited return time), and it seems like Bonobos is falling in line with all of the other brands that come out as game-changers, only to change their own game to fit in with the rest of the retail crowd.
Other bad news this time of year? Well, not quite bad news, but a disappointment at least, comes from J.Crew, who teased us all with promises of 'more friendly' pricing in 2014. Where budget-conscious shoppers like myself initially rejoiced, as J.Crew has been steadily raising their prices and have quickly been stepping into un-affordable territory, J.Crew quickly amended this statement. No lower prices :-( just clearer pricing policies? Better communication as to what you are paying for? Less convoluted sales structures? I honestly can't remember what the final outcome was, but it definitely meant no brand-wide price reductions.
Long story short (ok, it's already gotten kinda long above), the options are getting more and more limited. They are still out there, but it's getting harder and harder to find decent quality goods without doing major damage to your wallet. Sigh, such is the fight of the budget shopper.
Chime in here in the comments (we had a good discussion going last week, and I love to hear from you guys). Do you agree that times are getting tougher for budget-minded stylish gents? Have you seen other examples of this, at other brands or retailers? Do you have any hidden gems that still offer the good stuff at the good prices?