Despite the push in popular media, we must still agree that men and women are different. Need proof? Just catch a pair of them with their pants down. See... different! While the differences are distractingly interesting, I am here today to talk about subtler things. Most men will read this and nod their heads, but this isn't just for us guys. Stay tuned ladies, I am about to explain the mysteries of shopping from a man's point of view.
As men, we give women a hard time about their shopping habits. The gals flock to sales, buy up tons of clothes, and spend a mint on beauty products. If we ask them why, they will explain that it is so they will look pretty for us. As ogres, it is our manly responsibility to point out the fact that the new clothes will get torn up while choring, or get dirty while tilling the garden. Why do we attempt to bring down such wrath upon ourselves? Men are grounded in a utilitarian world with little room for frivolity. Now that I have yanked the bang switch that inspires many household arguments, let me point out a reality.... Men's clothes are more expensive.
Why is it that a woman can buy 3 pairs of pants on sale for $40, but each pair will cost a man the same? A man wears a pair of $200 boots, while a woman opts for 6 pairs that cost 30 bucks. A woman will have a jacket to suit every color, temp, and condition, but a man spends the same amount for 1 coat he wears until the cuffs fall off. Is it possible that men get ripped off by high priced clothes? Yep, but there is a trade-off.
Typically, men's clothes are just plain tougher. They last longer and therefore cost more. A man will buy 2 or three pairs of jeans per season. One pair can be worn for several days while the others stand by themselves in the corner of the laundry room waiting for a rinse. That is a man's full collection of pants. Please note that men have evolved to realize that there are different seasons. OK, not as many seasons as women recognize. We tend to focus on two... Cold and warm. I am not saying that we change clothes with the seasons, we just switch from saying, "I am cold in these pants" to "Dang, these pants are hot!"
It has been a bit circuitous, but we have come to the point. Men just don't buy that many clothes. Supply and demand requires the price to be higher for rugged man pants. As manly men, we don't even want new ones! When catastrophic fabric failure requires us to purchase new leg covers, we want something that doesn't need replacement when the seasons change. Thus begins my unpaid plug for my new favorite clothing company.
Value is getting hard to find. The folks at Duluth Trading Company seem to have nailed down a great mix of price vs. quality. My first product from Duluth was some Buck Naked underwear. The wide elastic band is comfortable, and I appreciate the support and dryness the fabric delivers. As a side benefit, my wife gets a break from seeing me prance around in "tighty-whiteys". At this point, I need to spill the beans (rhetorically). It was my wife, who was tired of the mono-colored-undie rut who actually made this first purchase from Duluth. I decided the folks at Duluth Trading Company had some sense, and ordered some man pants. Men's Carpenter Twill pants to be exact. Perfect fit and better fashion than I expected. I ordered two more pairs as they did a great job replacing khakis in an office environment. I must lodge a small grievance at this point. I am a tall guy. Only 2 colors are offered in tall sizes for these particular pants. If I had 14 pairs of each color, ladies in the office would still assume I was a neanderthal and only owned two pairs of pants!
Duluth's long-tailed T-shirts are great for those of us above average height. The No-Polos are another great addition to the office wardrobe. I had a sizing issue with a polo shirt. A call to Duluth Trading Company, and the replacement was on the way. Speaking to someone fluent in the native language is a refreshing experience today. Let me reiterate, they have excellent customer service.
If I were to stop here, I feel I would be granting access to some good advice for manly attire purchases, but I am not done. Duluth Trading Company is stepping up their game in the women's clothing department. Anyone of the feminine persuasion should take a few minutes and peruse Duluth's women's clothing. If I am correct in my earlier hypothesis and there is a deviation in quality between men's and women's clothing, Duluth Trading Co is working hard to close that gap.
During a recent 1200 mile round trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, I fibbed a bit and told my wife that Duluth was only a few miles off from our travel route. "We need to stop at a physical, brick-and-morter Duluth Trading Company store", I prodded. It was not a hard sell. My wife had purchased some of Duluth's Dry on the Fly pants for the canoe trip. My trusty GPS led me through construction and switch-backs that would have impressed the Swiss. By the time we rolled into downtown Duluth, it was obvious that a truck and RV trailer did not fit well into the local scene. While I am sure parking is better than the days when they were headquartered on a barge, Duluth Trading's downtown store did not have enough space for those of us who "brought our house to town". We made 6 lefts, 4 rights, and ignored the cursing taxi driver as we headed South out of town.
Once back on the open road, I searched for more Duluth store options and found a new location in Ankeny Iowa. Since Ankeny was dead ahead, I stomped the accelerator and grinned as I saw someone's front bumper with the license plate "BEEMER" dislodge from the back of the toyhauler and tumble into the median. Somebody back in Duluth with the name of Beemer was probably annoyed, but I was happy to have a second chance at a visit to an actual Duluth Trading store. I was not disappointed. At the Iowa location I found enough (tall) clothes to make the earlier episode worth it. My wife purchased some shoes and a fetching Women's Crusher Packable Sun Hat. By the time we returned home, she wanted to mow the yard to test it out. Quality with added benefits!
I had concerns with releasing my women's clothing observations. We men are not well known for our expertise in this area. Just when I considered dropping the subject due to modesty and a general lack of knowledge in womanly ways, I caught a break. I found a post by Dairy Carrie on her interactions with Duluth Trading Company. Take a look and you will see that women agree. There is something for everybody at Duluth's website.