By Shayna Miller, Special to   Published Oct 01, 2008 at 2:27 PM

For many guys, shopping involves stopping in a department store and picking up what they need (and only what they need) in 10 minutes. But with a tighter economy, guys might want to rethink the whole "I-only-have-10-minutes-to-shop-so-I'll spend-however-much-this-shirt-is" philosophy.

Men's dressing this season combines two key ideas: style and affordability. In other words, it's quite possible for guys to pick and choose what they want to spend their hard-earned cash on this fall in the wardrobe department: perhaps it's a smart suit, cozy sweater or debonair pair of jeans. Local retailers advocate investing in foundation pieces while spending less on trendier items, like T-shirts.

So, what to save on and what to splurge on? Read on.

Day and Night Denim
C'mon, did you really think we wouldn't talk about jeans? Jeans are about as crucial to the male wardrobe as picking out his fantasy football team is every fall.

"We're seeing a vintage work wear vibe in clothing this fall," says Jason Meyer, co-owner of Detour. "And there are two distinct styles of denim: a dark, clean, raw rinse and a very vintage look. Kind of like you went into your grandpa's attic and found some jeans from the 1940s."

Laura Lutter Cole, owner of Aala Reed, echoes Meyer's denim assessment.

"People are updating their closets-and purging the really trendy things and filling it in with a dressy, dark denim for night and a more casual, relaxed pair for daytime."

She likes William Rast's (Justin Timberlake's line) lighter, looser-fit jeans with pocket details and Buffalo's blue/black indigo pair for night.

Tim Ryan, owner / president of Harleys: The Store for Men, says they've got washes from distressed, casual looks to dark and dressy as well.

FIND IT: A.P.C. dark denim, $155 and Kicking Mule vintage-look denim, $250-$275, both from Detour; William Rast jeans, $225 and Buffalo denim, $110-$150, both from Aala Reed; Agave, Stitches and Chip & Pepper denim, $195-$295, Harleys.

A Sharp Button-Up
Military style and plaids ruled the runways for fall. Bonus: for a nice shirt, you won't have to pay an arm and a leg. Some styles, like Shades of Greige's military shirt, ring in under $100. Look for military styling like shoulder epaulets and patch pockets. In general, button ups should have a sleek, tailored fit.

Meyer suggests pairing a military style button up or gingham check shirt with a dark pair of denim and rolling up the sleeves for a relaxed look.

"Since there's this hiccup in the economy, people are going back to what they're comfortable in," adds Meyer.

FIND IT: Shades of Greige military shirt, $79 and Rag & Bone gingham check button up, $195, both from Detour.

Updated Outerwear
Women's and men's fashions are seeing shorter silhouettes this season and coats are hovering toward more fitted styles. Whether it's Report's black goose-down jacket with a bomber jacket cut or a chocolate brown wool peacoat that hits at the waist, fits are well, more fitted.

For a longer option try a three-quarters coat with shoulder epaulets (again with the military styling), also available at Aala Reed.

Larger collars will keep the neck warm and add style and options abound in heft of coat, whether you pick up a heavier sport coat for nicer days or a full-on wool jacket.

FIND IT: Spiewak chocolate brown fitted peacoat, $198, Detour; Report goose-down jacket, $325, Aala Reed.

A Statement Sweater
Something worth spending money on: a sweater that's warm and makes you look good. Simple, right? Meyer loves the Cheap Monday shawl-neck sweater for its "old-school style." It's been so popular they've had to reorder it twice ("We usually don't do that," he admits) but it's such a great sweater. Perfect for pairing with a T-shirt or the aforementioned gingham button-up, getting dressed has never been so easy.

Yes, neutrals go with everything, but bust out of that gray slump by picking up a sweater in Bordeaux, rust or green, says Lutter Cole. Her favorite is Ted Baker London's "Scram" brushed cotton sweater with epaulet detailing. Pair it with chocolate brown herringbone slacks (brown is the neutral of the season, according to Lutter Cole) for a polished look.

FIND IT: Cheap Monday shawl-neck sweater, $99, Detour; Ted Baker London "Scram" sweater, $165, Aala Reed.

A Tailored Suit
Ryan of Harleys thinks men are dressing up more, so accordingly, they're emphasizing the suit and everything that goes with it.

"Gray has become the new black in suits," affirms Ryan. Shades range from charcoal to pearlized gray and in patterns and stripes. Look for side vent jackets and flat-front trousers.

Lutter Cole is excited about Aala Reed's Ted Baker London suiting trunk show: the boutique is offering four sample sizes and three colors (brown, navy, black and a tuxedo) of Baker's slim fit, high quality suits, for customers to try on. Guys pick their color, get fitted and the suit arrives in a week. Alterations are done in-store.

"That way customers can see it, feel it and touch it. It's special-ordered for them," she says.

Look out, GQ.

FIND IT: Ermenegildo Zegna Italian suiting, $695-$2495 (also find shirts, neckties, trousers and more by Zegna), Harleys.

Shop At:
Aala Reed, 1320 E. Brady St., (414) 226-2252
Detour, 1300 E. Brady St., (414) 273-5156
Harley's for Men, 4009 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 332-3404