Smart Shopping: Men, suit up and show your colours

Photo: John Higson

Men don’t shop as often as women. Maybe they’re smarter.

Think about how many hours of our lives are spent shopping. Think of the world’s resources—just how many clothes do we really need? While we’re running around shopping, men are chilling somewhere, just relaxing.

Men’s clothing has come a long way from basic black. You can find clothes in all the colours of the rainbow these days. So men, perhaps it is time for you to refresh your wardrobe. C’mon. It won’t hurt.

Importations J.E.A.—Polcaro is one of those secret places smack in the heart of downtown. It’s a men’s shop sporting only fine Italian labels (Versace, Cerrutti 1881, Valentino, Lubiam, Giudice, Fratelli Rossetti and D&G shoes). Suits (36-50 regular & tall) run about $475, sport jackets $295, pants $125, silk hand-made ties $25 and Egyptian cotton shirts only $65. There are beautiful designer ties by Versace & Cerrutti at $75 apiece.

You will not find synthetics here, only silk, wool, linen, cashmere and cotton—ask to see their “iron-free” cotton shirts. They also offer free espresso while you shop. 1470 Peel, Suite 120. 514-844-3014.

You can look sharp if you shop smart at Jaf Pret-a-Porter, a neighbourhood corner store that has deals on men’s clothes, some with well-known names: Daniel Hecter, Tommy Bahamas, m.e.n.s., Alberto Feraud, Jack Victor, Altea, Tombolini, Lipson, Mac, Coppley and Nautica.

Helpful salesmen will find pants (to size 50) and shirts (to 5XL) starting at $25, suits (to 56) at $175-$795, sport jackets $175 & up, sweaters, jackets and offer free, on-the-spot alterations.

There are also made-to-measure suits and shirts, and some suits for athletically built men. Ask about tuxedos and rentals, and boys’ suits in sizes 4-20. 900 Décarie, Ville St-Laurent, 514-744-0985; 619 René Lévesque, 514-877-9888; 3240 St. Martin W., 450-978-9661; Centre de liquidation, 1880 St. Martin W., 450-688-3636.

People will ask you where you bought your shirts if you shop at Babashu Couture, since they sell the most interesting and eye-catching men’s shirts. With an assortment of high-end styles and colours, it is your one-stop shirt shop. Their gorgeous slim-fit Italian couture-like dress shirts sport a lot of detail: stitching, twin and triple buttons, two-tone collars or perhaps a hidden pattern. They offer fashionable statements with decent prices. Also available are Italian slim-fit suits in super 160s wool. There are many colours in sizes 38-46, and one-of-a kind ties to complete that European look.

Sometimes they will have a quicky sale where a shirt could be $39 instead of $139. Or they might offer a promotion of one shirt for $59, two for $99 or three for $119 (regular prices for the shirts would be $129-$149). Classic 100 per cent cotton shirts (regularly $120) can sometimes be found as low as $39. 1254 Mount Royal E. 514-904-0276,