Amazon has been quietly expanding its menswear private labels, which are available exclusively to Prime Members. We break down three of Amazon’s menswear lines, Amazon Essentials, Goodthreads and Buttoned Down and the company’s many other house brands including Brass Tacks, Denim Garage Classics and Trimthread.
From everyday staples for men including cotton t-shirts, slim fit chinos and button-down shirts to unique bags, accessories and footwear, Amazon is positioning its Prime Brands for men to compete alongside established menswear brands and innovative menswear startup brands on its site. Here’s a quick-and-dirty guide on how to differentiate Amazon’s menswear brands.
(We also developed a guide to Amazon Prime Brands for women including Lark and Ro, Daily Ritual and Wild Meadow.)
This post was first published in August 2018 last updated on February 23, 2019.
Amazon Essentials features basic, affordable clothing staples for men
Amazon Essentials is the online retailer’s entry line, featuring everyday staples that find some compromises. Men can nab a slim-fit 100% cotton polo shirt, extremely affordable pajama pants or a 2-pack of short-sleeve crewneck t-shirts at an attractive price point. Classic fit, wrinkle-resistant, flat front chino pants are another solid option, though the pants are a 40% polyester / 60% cotton blend.
Amazon Essentials looks like a fast-fashion version of labels such as Dockers, Old Navy and JC Penney house brands like St. John’s Bay.
Goodthreads is Amazon’s answer to Banana Republic
Amazon invites fans of J Crew, Banana Republic and Izod menswear to try its Goodthreads line, which is a step up from “Amazon Essentials.” The company advertises Goodthreads as a “go-to for wardrobe staples with the style you want.”
Goodthreads sports a really attractive combination of style and fit — and with decidedly more variety than the Buttoned Down line — across dress and casual button down shirts, chinos, shorts, t-shirts and socks. Goodthreads’ button down shirts are particularly attractive, from plaid cotton poplins to their two-pocket Chambray button-collar shirt to Goodthreads’ grey, two-pocket cotton button-down work-shirt.
Other favorites? Goodthreads 5 pocket chino pants feature a hint of spandex alongside 99% cotton twill — certainly an upgrade from the polyester blend of Amazon Essentials — and a “jean-inspired silhouette.” We also like the look of the shawl collar cotton cardigan sweater, which comes in an interesting range of colors (and has pockets).
Buttoned Down is Amazon’s affordable luxury line of “elevated menswear”
Amazon styles its Buttoned Down line as its affordable luxury line featuring superior materials like Supima cotton button down shirts. It advertises a “feels-like-custom fit without the wait.” Offerings like super-affordable cashmere v-neck, crew neck, half-zip and full-zip sweaters, even more affordable button down Supima cotton shirts, neckties and bow ties, and attractive chinos suggest attractive price-points for a luxury line that has to be positioning itself to compete with Brooks Brothers, Nordstrom and Bonobos.
We are particularly fond of the 100% cashmere full-zip cardigan sweater.
Buttoned Down also offers an unconditional lifetime satisfaction guarantee that provides a full refund to customers if not completely satisfied “at any time.” That’s rare for any company, let alone Amazon, who has been protective about its return policies.
Brass Tacks Leathercraft offers gorgeous leather bags and accessories
Brass Tacks Leathercraft offers super-attractive leather bags and accessories, including a waxed canvas travel bag, leather briefcase, waxed canvas briefcase and, our favorite, a large capacity Leather Utility Classic Doctor Duffel Weekend Work Bag. Many of the line’s products are made with vintage “Crazy Horse” or saddle leather, which has a waxy, vintage appearance.
Trimthread features sleek business casual pieces
Amazon’s Instagram ads have been promoting Trimthread‘s jackets and overcoats for men — think military bomber jackets and casual corduroy trucker coats — though the brand also offers button down shirts, slacks and other tops and bottoms focused on business and business casual pieces.
Amazon Prime Brands for jeans: Denim Garage, Rugged Mile, Comfort Denim Outfitters, Nothing but Denim, and more
Here is a quick guide to differentiating between the denim jeans offered on Amazon.com via its Prime Brands:
Denim Garage Classics is designed to be your favorite jeans featuring premium fabrics, washes and whiskering to produce classic denim for men and women at a mid-price point. These relaxed, straight leg jeans for men in deep blue have a hint of elastane stretch and button fly, as well as 3D fading and (purposly) ripped details on the knees. Nothing But Denim seems a little edgier, with detailed stitching – evident on this cool pair of black jeans – and in some cases more aggressive washes, fading, tearing and even patches.
Comfort Denim Outfitters is a really affordable price point for premium fabrics sourced from some of the world’s best mills in India. The brand offers a slew of washes and detailing including selvedge edges on raw denim.
The Rugged Mile brand from Amazon focuses on “ethically sourced and sustainably produced” wardrobe staples, and their jeans are advertised as “edgy-meets-sleek cuts and fits.” These men’s slim fit performance jeans are constructed from cotton and “LYCRA dualFX technology” (aka T400 Elasterell-P nad LYCRA Elastane), which were developed to improve fabric flexibility and recovery and are found in denim from American Eagle.
Amazon’s Quality Durables brand features, according to the company, “authentically washed and lived-in essentials, timeless denim, and rugged work wear,” and their jeans appear to focus on comfort, with some jeans featuring a stretchable waistband and elastane for stretch.
Amazon Essentials supplies other options including these men’s straight fit stretch jeans made of 98% cotton and 2% elastane, and Goodthreads has upgraded essentials like this pair of straight fit cotton/elastane blend dark blue rinse jeans as well as more densely-woven selvedge jeans.
Franklin Tailored was Amazon’s first effort at suits and sports coats
Back in February 2016, Amazon launched a series of clothing and footwear brands as it moved more directly into the retail apparel business. One of those brands was Franklin Tailored, Amazon’s initial, well-received entry into affordable tailored clothing for men, complete with nailhead sports coats, wool trousers and tuxedos — some of which were made in Canada. As of this writing, however, the selection of Franklin Tailored merchandise on Amazon appears to be limited. Curiously, Franklin Tailored is no longer listed as one of Amazon’s brands in its filtering function. This suggests that Amazon may be winding down its Franklin Tailored brand. Amazon now offers suiting options, like this Italian-wool suit through its Buttoned Down brand.
Franklin and Freeman was Amazon’s first shoe brand
Amazon launched its in-house men’s shoe brand Franklin and Freeman at the same time as Franklin Tailored in 2016. The shoes and boots are made in China from leather or suede and tend towards the dressier side. As is the case with Franklin Tailored, Amazon appears to be winding down the Franklin and Freeman brand. As of this writing, selection is spotty and the company does not list Franklin and Freeman among its house brands on its website.
A Shorthand Guide to Other Amazon Menswear brands
Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Amazon’s ever-expanding stable of fast-fashion menswear brands. Amazon has quietly rolled out a series of new brands over the past several years including:
- Badger Smith (super-funky button down shirts in bold plaids, stripes and colors),
- Cashmeren is focused on cashmere basics. The brand’s densely-knitted, long-strand wool resists pilling. Sizes run small, according to the manufacturer.
- Casual Terrains features vintage and hipster-inspired pieces including a short sleeve camp shirt, a hidden placket button down, and printed vintage dress shirt with a fit similar to slim-fit shirts from J.Crew & Banana Republic
- Chain Stitch carries sweaters, flannels and more “for a well-stitched life”
- Clifton Heritage (button down shirts and chinos),
- Comfort Denim Outfitters and Denim Garage Classics (jeans),
- Flying Ace (comfortable, stylish, affordable casualwear and fitness gear, including t-shirts, jersey tops and pants),
- Good Brief (underwear and cotton stretch basics),
- 28 Palms and Isle Bay Linens (island-inspired linen and cotton shirts, pants and shorts),
- Linz Pure and the Knitwear Lab (sweaters),
- Peak Velocity (performance athletic wear),
- Portland Plaid Co. (rugged outerwear for men and women),
- Quality Durables (“casual lifestyle”),
- RADHYPE features performance athletic wear,
- Rebel Canyon (“more than just a streetwear label, it’s a way of life”),
- Something for Everyone (“streetwear classics for men and women”),
- Trailside (hiking, ski and outdoor clothing and accessories) and
- Wood Paper Company features modern takes on iconic workwear, including stretch chinos and an understated button-down Buffalo Plaid Cotton Shirt
Sometimes the launches are a little splashier, as in 2018, when the company put out a press release to announce the launch of Amazon label Meraki, a European fashion brand focusing on “simple, modern essential” pieces, including thin, v-neck sweaters for men.
Amazon appears to be testing a number of different concepts and supporting the ones that see traction, though some of the lines could use some additional baking. For example, Chain Stitch specializes in striped crew neck sweaters, though the branding reads like it was written by someone whose first language is something other than English. This is their “story” from Amazon’s website: “We use cotton as the main material to produce clothing – adding some fashion elements to make you wear cozily and worrilessly. It’s made for everyday wear, in the name of fashion.” Yikes.
Have you tried Amazon’s private label menswear brands? What has your experience been?
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