Why Aren’t You Wearing More Beams Plus?
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Since opening its doors in Harajuku nearly 50 years ago, Beams has been a launching pad for some of the coolest menswear in the world. Today, the Japanese retailer boasts an armada of stores 150 locations strong, each host to an expansive array of goods from a global roster of elite makers, along with exclusive collaborations style-minded fellas outside of Japan have been proxying for decades. But Beams is also the source of one of menswear’s worst-kept secrets: an in-house line of extremely rad clothing, with a focus on gently-freaked Americana made with the retailer’s telltale attention to detail.
Since the late ‘90s, Beams Plus—the juggernaut’s most democratic menswear line—has operated as a sort of Japanese version of J.Crew, churning out neo-prep staples at prices that belie the quality involved. But the sub-label isn’t concerned with recreating identical copies of its source material; Beams Plus chinos are just a little wider and more dramatically pleated than their counterparts, its shirts a little boxier and more interestingly patterned. The whole line is a half-step more daring than what you’d typically encounter on the shelves of your local mall—though increasingly, that’s where you’ll find it.
Plenty of high-end retailers like Mr Porter and SSENSE have stocked Beams for years, but it’s only recently that the brand has found a home in mainstays like Todd Snyder and, yes, J.Crew, merchandised alongside each brand’s own riff on American sportswear. Which means your average giant-fit chino shopper can now upgrade to some made-in-Japan gear with ease—or at least seriously consider it.
And consider it you should. Because unlike some of its similarly-minded contemporaries—the Visvims, Kapitals, and Real McCoy’s of the world—Beams Plus pricing starts out approachable and never really veers into “holy shit, I can’t believe I’m about to spend this much on a jacket” territory. If you’re walking into the mall ready to pay 100 bucks for a button-up, forking over an extra $50 for one with a hang tag you don’t already have in your closet hardly feels out of the question.
If you aren’t ready yet to upgrade from the brands that’ve gotten you this far, that’s cool. (Chances are, we’re fans of most of ‘em!) But if you’re looking to jumpstart your fall wardrobe—or are just tired of coordinating with your homies when you want to wear that one flannel you all own—stop and linger here a while. There’s plenty of Beams to go around, and for now, you’ll be the only guy in your group chat wearing any of it.