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The Strategist Guide to Shopping at Uniqlo

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

Anyone who has shopped at a bigger-box store knows it can be hard to figure out where to begin. There are dozens upon dozens of options that all seem as worthy as the next, but the reality is that products from any given brand are not all created equal. When you shop as regularly as we do, you learn that many brands just do some things better than they do other things. Uniqlo, we’ve found, is one of those brands — its massive inventory needs to be carefully picked through to find gems like expert-recommended undergarments, affordable layers to buy in bulk, or celebrity-approved jackets. Here, we’ve corralled every single piece of clothing from Uniqlo for men and women that our writers and editors — as well as fashion editors, celebrity stylists, Alaskan cruisers, art directors, actresses, and other cool people like Chris Black — have recommended on the Strategist. One other thing we’ve learned from all our shopping at Uniqlo: Its website can be a bit wonky, so if you click on a product and it appears to be out of stock, be sure to check all colors and sizes before taking the website’s word.

For everyone

$15 for 3

“Though it has three layers, including a built-in filter, the Airism mask is as breathable as we hoped,” we wrote after testing Uniqlo’s reusable cloth mask, which made our list of the best face masks you can buy online. Not only is the fabric lightweight (as its Airism name suggests), it’s also self-deodorizing and even has a UV-blocking mesh.

This Uniqlo jacket has been a longtime Strategist favorite for being packable, super-lightweight, surprisingly warm, and highly affordable at just slightly over $50. Strategist writer Lauren Ro pairs hers with her Barbour and says “the combination has always kept me toasty.” Associate editor Louis Cheslaw also appreciates that it’s thin enough to “slip (relatively) unnoticed under a wool or canvas coat, adding a layer of warmth anytime you’re worried that your stylish jacket alone won’t be enough.” After eight years of wear, it has pretty much run its course, he says — “the down has just about fully flattened by now” — but eight years is “a hell of a run,” he adds.

For men

According to Chris Black, two photographers, and one cool guy who works in coffee, Uniqlo’s simple and affordable Supima cotton boxer briefs are superior even to Calvins. “I wore Calvin Klein for a minute, but at this price and comfort level, I can’t pass up Uniqlo,” photographer Sam Schmieg told us. “They’re soft, breathable, and keep their shape well even after many washes.” While there are various colors and sizes available, stock appears to be disappearing, so act fast if you like them.