Clad MenThe brief, bumpy journey for the Esquire-backed online men’s shopping destination CLAD has ended as the company halted sales of its deeply discounted inventory. Too bad. The site had potential and the liquidation sale was fun while it lasted.

Esquire magazine, which partnered on the venture with JC Penny’s Growth Brands Division, hyped CLAD as early as July 2011, but was slow out of the gate.  It finally launched in November, leaving Esquire subscribers wondering for months why we had received a coupon code for $50 off a purchase in August.

The site quietly launched “a damn good sale” after the holidays that inspired great hope.  Having deeply discounted a chunk of its inventory, it made brands like Billy Reid, Cole Haan, and Hickey Freeman a much better value proposition.  Even better, there was a wide range of sizes in stock. (At the time, this was all well covered by Dappered.com.)

The selection and discounts warranted a serious look, and I pulled the trigger on a light brown plaid suit from Hugo Boss that had been marked down 60 percent to just under $400.

Several weeks later, it was clear something bigger than a good sale was up.  On February 2, the site slashed prices on 400 new items and, on February 7, put the few full-price items remaining on clearance.

Ironically, I probably would never have gotten so attached to CLAD but for the fact that JC Penny’s decided to shutter it, but it turns out that CLAD customer service was top-notch.  Speedy shipping, no-hassle exchanges and prompt emails and phone calls made for easy transactions.  More broadly, the concept was solid, the site’s design was clean and the multiple-angle, high quality photos were outstanding.

Even without the deep discounts and coupon codes, CLAD turned out to be a good addition to the digital landscape of men’s style.  I suppose I will just have to go back to reading Esquire and pecking through outlet sales for bargain designer suits.