Hey gents,

So, I think you’ll be able to relate with me on this.

The one tough thing about shopping online is that you can’t physically touch / feel / try on what you’re buying until you order and receive it.

Am I right?

I think online companies are getting more and more hip to this shortcoming and are compensating by offering a risk-free shopping experience, i.e. free shipping, free returns, free exchanges, generous return policies, etc.

And this is really great. After all, when you have no barriers keeping you from trying the product, what do you have to lose?

How Bonobos is doing it better

There’s still that issue of waiting times. For example, if you size yourself incorrectly or choose the wrong fit, you have to send the return package back.

Then wait.

Then get an exchange processed with a company.

Then wait for that to clear.

And then they ship it! Yay!

Then you have to wait more.

And finally… it’s in your hands.

Waiting sucks.

That’s exactly why I like buying books using Amazon’s 1-click and having it sent to my iPad’s Kindle app. It’s instantaneous!

I find a book I’m interested in, I look it up on Amazon, I buy it, and I’m diving in 2.6 seconds later.

Anyway, back to my point.

Bonobos started opening up Guideshops around the US. Who knows, there may be one near you.

Here’s what’s cool about the Guideshops. You’re able to experience the freshness of bonobos.com, but in real life. And you leave the shop with confidence, knowing your exact size and fit.

In a nutshell

Essentially, the Guideshops are a beautifully-curated, by-appointment showroom where you receive one-on-one attention from a Bonobos Guide. They walk you through the available product, take your measurements, and give you a few pieces to try on.

From there, the Guide takes note of your measurements and equips you with the knowledge you need to place an order.

Oh, you’re not sure which washed chinos to pick? Maybe you can’t decide between two shirts?

The Bonobos Guides have tons of product knowledge and great style to boot, so you can easily ask them for their opinion and that should help you make your decision.

Not your typical shopping trip

Be prepared to have a superb shopping experience paired with awesome customer service.

After the time you spend talking with your Guide, trying on clothes, and nailing down your fit, you feel like you just made a new friend. It’s weird.

You might consider adding him / her on Facebook.

You might even feel compelled to give him / her a hug before you leave! I know I did, haha (Hi Jess!)

If you leave ANY shop feeling like you just became friends with the shop owner, that’s some damn good customer experience. Just sayin’.

A few favorites

Here are four items I saw at the Guideshop and really liked.

Travel Jeans in Blue

Travel Jeans are made from super comfortable bull denim with a good amount of stretch. You can sit on a plane (or a boat, or a train, or a DeLorean) for hours and not feel confined and restricted like you normally do in stiff, rigid denim.

My Guide Jess told me these are being released in a slim straight soon, which will be awesome! Be sure to size down one in your waist, so if you’re typically a 32×30, you’d be a 31×30 in the Travel Denim.

Greenbacks in Evergreen

I also tried the basic chinos in a slim straight. In my opinion, I like the fit of the slim straight better. Give them a try.

Checkmate slim fit in Plum / Gray

Bonobos started rolling out a slim version of their shirts as well. They have a bunch of casual shirts you can check out. Here’s one that caught my eye.

Dunmore Harris Tweed Blazer in Gray / Red

I saw quite a few Harris Tweed blazers in the Guideshop, but they seem to only have this one online. Perhaps they’ll release a few more in time, but this one is pretty killer.

“Is there a Guideshop near me?”

Um, I don’t know. Where do you live?

You can find out if theres a Guideshop near you by checking out this page.

You can also book appointments through the site, and on your chosen date, simply show up!

Sad that there isn’t a Guideshop near you? Well, they’re probably reading this article right now. So post your thoughts in the comments and let them know they should open one in your hometown 🙂

Online-only, still an option (and with 20% off)

Don’t forget Bonobos offers free shipping and free returns within the US, so if there’s no Guideshop near you but you still want to take their clothes for a test drive, you have nothing to fear (but fear itself… or something.)

By the way, the folks at Bonobos are nice enough to hook up EG readers, because we tight like dat.

Anyway, you can get 20% off your purchase by using code “EFFORTLESSGENT” at checkout.

Not a bad deal for being an EG reader, yeah?

Over to you

Have you had a chance to book an appointment, or maybe you already hit up a Guideshop near you? What was your experience like? Any thoughts on the clothing in general?

Would love to hear what you have to say.



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27 Responses

  1. Chris Jones on

    This is a pretty cool concept. Maybe once I can fit into Bonobos clothes, I’ll try it! 😉

    I wanted to address your mentioning of the wait times for exchanging clothes online, by pointing out that one online company already known for its legen-wait for it-dary customer service, Zappos.com, who already does free roundtrip shipping, will actually do an advanced return for you.

    This means that if something doesn’t fit, just hit up their online chat, ask them to send you the new size in advance. Often you’ll have the new item before you get around to sending the old one back! It really makes the exchange process suck a whole lot less.

  2. David X L on

    I’m in love with Bonobos. The customer service is amazing, and the pants fit like a dream. I don’t even bother looking at pants from anywhere else.

  3. Chris Mosier on

    Bonobos is a great place to fulfill your recommendation of brightly colored pants as well. I agree with David – all of my pants are Bonobos now. Excellent customer service and superior fit.

    • Barron on

      I know, right? They have a ton of colors. I actually have an orange pair from quite a few years ago, but back then they didn’t have a slim straight model.

  4. Jack on

    I went to the Palo Alto Guideshop in November. My experience was just like your description. Well worth it to really explore the proprietary Bonobos cut with a knowledgeable guide.

  5. Markus on

    Bonobos customer service is top botch. Want to exchange/return an item? That’s only a few clicks away and you’re done. I would definitely love to see them bring a guideshop to Oklahoma City, the closest one so far is Chicago and I definitely can’t justify an 11 hour trip!

  6. Andy on

    I love Bonobs, great oxfords and pants, but I wish they would lower their dang prices! I would fill my closet with all their stuff if it was priced like BR/GAP.

    • Barron on

      I’m with you in the sense that I love a good value, but sometimes things like really great fit (which you mentioned below) is enough for me to spend just a little bit more… even if I can’t have EVERY pair in every color, and instead only 1-2 pairs.

  7. Barron on

    Yeah, that’s some serious trust Zappos has with its customers 🙂 That’s why in all my shoe recs, I always link to Zappos. Amazon is another good example of simply replacing things that might’ve been lost in the mail, or always honoring exchanges, etc.

  8. Bradley Smith on

    I picked up some clothes from the New York showroom a few years ago (I think just a bit before they started calling them Guideshops). Great experience all around, and I am in love with the fit of the pants. They are pretty much the only thing I wear for pants now. (I may be slightly biased. Full disclosure: I used to work for Bonobos.)

  9. Matt on

    Yea so I got the Travel Jeans to Jakarta a few days ago. I normally wear a 36 and that’s what I ordered but it fit too big and the pants length was 34 and unhemmed. Great looking jeans though. Is there anything I should know before I buy another pair?

    • Barron on

      All I’ve heard is that for the Travel Jeans, you should order one size smaller than you typically buy. Interesting they’re unhemmed though; the pair I tried on was hemmed to my length. I’d hit them up and do an exchange.

  10. Ryan N on

    I’ve had the same thing happen with Bonobos, actually.

    I’ve hit them up for an exchange and more often than not, the new size hits the mail before mine even gets a chance to leave my house!

  11. Len Geiger on

    I was able to get 20% off my first order by signing up for email. Very fast delivery. Great customer service!