ARMY-NAVY SHOPPING

In the days before men scouted boutiques for luxury sportswear and $200 jeans, they used to hit their local Army-Navy stores for masculine basics. With a lot of fashion houses now channeling outdoorsman style, it makes sense to seek out the original sturdy cotton pants and no-nonsense flannel jackets. For extra points, do what the designers do and go straight to the source.

Armynavy

© Bettmann/CORBIS

Photograph by Randy Squires/AP Photo

In the days before men scouted boutiques for luxury sportswear and $200 jeans, they used to hit their local Army-Navy stores for masculine basics. With a lot of fashion houses now channeling outdoorsman style, it makes sense to seek out the original sturdy cotton pants and no-nonsense flannel jackets. For extra points, do what the designers do and go straight to the source.

THE SKILLED SHOPPER

Photograph by James Macari

Think of your Army-Navy like your favorite up-and-coming neighborhood: There's plenty to get excited about but plenty to stay away from as well.

Fit Advisory: Most of the clothes you'll find in Army-Navy shops are crafted for the carb-loading members of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union, not the Pilates-whittled elite targeted by fashion houses. Be sure to try on different sizes. You may be pleasantly surprised to find yourself in a small instead of a medium—without having done any extra cardio

What to Buy:

Classic wool peacoat

Buffalo-plaid zip-front jacket

Traditional workman pants

Snap-front plaid shirts

Thermal henleys

Zip-up hoodies

Leather lace-up boots

What to Avoid:

Any article described as "flame-resistant" or "high-visibility"

Camo field coats—make that camo anything

Dungarees

Half-zip sweatshirts

Nail aprons

BASIC TRAINING

The best Army-Navy stores are in your back yard.

Atlanta: Forest Park Army-Navy

837 Main Street; 404-366-7479

Boston: Kenmore Army & Navy

477 Washington Street; 617-292-2769

Chicago: A-Z Wallis Army Navy

4647 N. Broadway Street; 773-784-9140

Dallas: Texas Army Navy

2600 W. Mockingbird Lane; 214-902-9102

Los Angeles: Army & Navy Surplus

6179 Van Nuys Boulevard; 818-781-3500

New York: Dave's New York

581 Sixth Avenue; 800-543-8558

San Francisco: Acme Surplus

5159 Mission Street; 415-586-4343

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