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Buck Mason – Muted Basics for the Rugged City Guy

Ideal for guys who want to look great without spending a ton of cash, Buck Mason brings high-quality basics to men who wish to an elevated take on their usual jeans and tees.

Founded by a pair of Los Angeles neighbors, Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn, Buck Mason is all about neutrals, basics, and high-quality, American-made clothing.

Like the legions of other brands operating in this online retail space, Buck Mason set out to cut down on the markups you’ll find in traditional retail due to the various middlemen that occupy the supply chain.

The brand also makes clear that it's not there to focus on fashion, the latest color trends, and the over-the-top store experience you’ll find at the mall. Buck Mason is junk-free shopping at a medium price point. Classic shirts, chinos, and sweaters.

About the Buck Mason Brand

The brand launched in 2014, online—and in two LA stores in Venice and Silver Lake. They’re direct-to-consumer and have promised to elevate the basics market just like the full range of direct-to-consumer stores that have hit the web in the past few years.

Still, the Buck Mason guys might be best known for turning down a Shark Tank offer and for being one of those brands with a made-up sounding male name— a la Taylor Stitch, Warby Parker, you get the idea.

Since the launch, the brand has taken their wares on the road—trekking across the country in summer 2017 to show men across the US their take on the perfect tee.

It seems that the ideal tee shirt is a primary tenet of this brand’s mission, but we honestly liked some of their other wares a bit more.

Here’s a look at what we think is worth checking out, and what you might want to skip:

What We Liked

Made from boiled merino wool, the Chore Coat is a cozy alternative to being trapped in a pullover sweater and the perfect alternative to the often too-casual hoodie or your favorite fisherman’s sweater.

The coat is priced at $195 and comes in a range of dark neutrals that will likely work with a tee shirt, a chambray button up, and maybe a pair of chestnut-colored chinos. We like this one because it’s got the functionality of a cardigan without being overly structured.

Other high points included the brand’s selection of heavy-duty shirts. The field shirts, which let’s be honest, are more of a jacket, are a stylish take on the jean jacket—it's got a rugged aesthetic, drawing inspiration from trucker and military jackets—but will complement any casual look even if you never leave the city.

Buck Mason’s denim and flannel shirts—both $105—look like long-lasting, versatile pieces. Great for layering, with no plaid in sight.

What We Didn’t Love

Not super impressed by the polos. Polos are $68 and come in just three colors. While we’re sure the quality is pretty good, we’re not entirely blown away. Crew sweatshirts, too, seemed a bit overpriced. At $72, a piece, these vintage style slub shirts didn’t quite live up to the price point.

Overall, though, we didn’t dislike much about this brand. They offer a curated selection of stylish basics—but in some cases, the pricing seemed a bit uneven—like the sweatshirt as compared to more durable pieces like the field jacket. It’s a small thing, but ultimately, we see this store as a source of outerwear more than your basics.

About Those Tees

While we were initially dismissive of the tees—they do have a lot of positive reviews. The price is relatively affordable—about $30 for a shirt. It’s not as cheap as buying your Hanes shirts in bulk, but it does come highly recommended. Both from stars—Chris Pratt, Patrick Dempsey, and Ryans Reynolds and Gosling—as well as regular guys on the web.

Still, there are some detractors. Some guys mentioned that the shirts weren’t anything special—a beautiful tee shirt, but nothing to write home about. Others didn’t like the curved hemline—a style that provides more coverage but can be divisive. Additionally, some customers mentioned that the fabric was thin, like an undershirt, not so much a standalone shirt.

Final Thoughts

Overall, Buck Mason isn’t the lowest cost menswear brand in the landscape, but it’s got a lot of great press, a hint of star power, and an edited collection of clothing that looks pretty good. We liked the limited palette—rich denim and dark neutrals—and it seems that they’ve done an excellent job creating a selection of clothing that you can sort of throw on and look fashionable.

While the tee shirts seem to have gotten the most attention, due to the founders’ publicity stunts—from Shark Tank to the road trip, however, we were most impressed by the sweaters, jackets, and button-ups. These items have some staying power and versatility that make them a worthwhile investment for guys who want to level up their casual dress game.

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