Where would a man of a certain aesthetic (and wallet) shop for his suits, sports jackets, casual clothes, and accessories? Hugo Boss? No, too trendy. Brooks Brothers? No, too snooty. Bloomingdales? No, too many escalator rides past perfume counters and anatomically surreal mannequins.

Just right
The best fit for this gentleman is more likely to be Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (Nasdaq: JOSB), the spry 106-year-old up-and-comer, which opened in 1905 as a tailor shop. The company went public in 1994, but its stock price stagnated until 2002 when it started its steady climb. Since its 3:2 split last August the price has jumped over 35%. This is a centenarian on steroids.

The company competes against the likes of J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP), Macy's (NYSE: M), and Kohl's (NYSE: KSS), but its pure-play retail rival for men's mid-price clothing is The Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW). Compared to Jos. A. Bank, The Men's Wearhouse is a relative baby, but one that has grown up quickly. From its first store in Houston, Texas in 1973, it has expanded to over 1,000 stores today. While Jos. A. Bank has only half that many stores, it has seen its stock do nothing but climb since the 2008 meltdown. The Men's Wearhouse, though, has recovered only about half its losses.

How can that be?
One indication is same-store sales growth: Strong and steady for Jos. A. Bank, but spotty for The Men's Wearhouse, even declining three years straight until last year.

Company

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

Jos. A. Bank

7%

6.3%

8.9%

3.8%

4.3%

The Men's Wearhouse

4.7%

(4%)

(9%)

(0.4%)

3.1%

Source: Company 10-Ks

Look also at the margins for the two companies and some peers. They clearly indicate which has greater operating efficiencies and control over cost of goods.

Company

Gross Margin (TTM)

Operating Margin (TTM)

Net Profit Margin (TTM)

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers

62.6%

16.6%

10%

The Men's Wearhouse

42.7%

5.5%

3.2%

J.C. Penney

39.2%

4.8%

2.2%

Macy's

40.7%

7.7%

3.4%

Kohl's

38.2%

10.4%

6.1%

Source: Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

What's in your closet?
Jos. A. Bank has been flying under the radar for quite a while, but it is certainly being noticed now. With steadily increasing earnings over the last ten years, and an industry competitive P/E of 17, buying Jos. A. Bank looks like a reasonable bet.

Questions for investors to ponder: Can this company keep performing as it has while continuing to increase its number of stores? And with The Men's Wearhouse still out there, does it have enough room to grow?

Add Jos. A. Bank and The Men's Wearhouse to your Watchlist and het all our Foolish content on these stocks deliver to you.

Fool contributor Dan Radovsky owns none of the stocks mentioned in this article but does have a soft spot in his heart for tailor shops; his great-grandfather was a tailor in the czar's army and continued his trade in the New World. Comments are always welcome. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.