Shopping for clothes can be a major pain in the butt. Having to deal with long lines, unhelpful sales associates, and other zealous shoppers is not how most of us want to spend an afternoon. In the past decade, however, more and more curated men’s shops have popped up across the country, specially tailored to men who don’t want to deal with all the headaches that come with shopping at department stores. These are places where you can go and enjoy a glass of fine scotch, relax on a killer leather sofa, and, oh yeah, buy some new threads while you’re at it. Below, we’ve rounded up seven of our favorite shops across the country, from New York City to Los Angeles and plenty of places in between, where shopping is just one part of the experience.
We’re starting off in our hometown of Brooklyn with one of our favorite shops located in the heart of DUMBO. Partners John Marsala and Becka Citron, both of whom also operate a full service interior design firm, founded the store as a “retail experiment in progress.” The duo’s design background certainly shows in this beautifully staged space, stocked with a great lineup of clothing and men’s accessories, furniture, and a killer array of vintage knick-knacks that could win anyone over. Even cooler is that everything you see in the store, from their cushy leather couches to their vintage desk lamps, is for sale. They’re also the only brick and mortar shop in America currently stocking our line of American-made straps, so next time you’re in Brooklyn, stop on by.
Mississippi-raised Sid Mashburn and his wife Ann founded their eponymous outfitter in 2007, inspired by stores they’d encountered in Europe and Asia that offered an experience beyond just retail. The couple set out to create a “true men’s club without the air of exclusivity or pretentiousness.” What they ended up with accomplished their goal ten times over–a shop stocked with booze, vinyls, vintage furniture, a ping-pong table, and some of the finest curated goods around. Mashburn, a designer by trade who worked for Land’s End, J. Crew, and Ralph Lauren, also produces an in-house line of suits, footwear, casual wear, and accessories. His suiting is particularly popular, beloved for its mix of Italian sophistication and a wholly American sensibility.
Opened in 2011, Askov Finlayson is a 1,000-square-foot men’s shop located in a restored warehouse in the historic North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. The small retail space forces co-founders and brothers Andrew and Eric Dayton to focus on a select repertoire of brands, among them Apolis, Frost River, Rancourt, and Weiss Watch Company. The brothers also have an in-house line that they design themselves and produce entirely in the United States.
But beyond the clothes, the Daytons also operate The Bachelor Farmer and Marvel Bar–a restaurant and bar, respectively–both of which are located in the same warehouse as their retail shop. The Bachelor Farmer was a James Beard semifinalist for Best New American Restaurant, and was voted as one of Bon Appetit magazine’s 10 best new restaurants in 2012. The three businesses have been so successful that the brothers are making plans to expand the space in the next couple of years. All in all, a visit to Aksov Finlayson is not a bad way to spend a Saturday.
Texas-born STAG provisions prides itself on being a modern-day men’s general store. At any given time, their inventory includes menswear staples from the likes of Gitman Bros., Filson, Chippewa, and Imogene & Willie, all of which are available alongside an eclectic mix of furniture, artwork, vinyl albums, and assorted apothecary. It’s been a lucrative concept for founders Steve Shuck and Don Weir, who just opened an outpost in Houston this past march (they operate three other locations in Dallas, Austin, and Venice, CA). And when you do visit, ask for a beer. As they put it, “We’d love to share a drink and shoot the shit with you.”
If you’re on the hunt for a new pair of jeans–and you’re not satisfied with what your local GAP or Levi’s shop is peddling–then there is no better place to look than the Japanese denim paradise that is Self Edge. The store was founded in 2006 by husband-and-wife team Kiya and Demitra Babzani. Big fans of what the Japanese were doing with denim, the duo decided to bring Japanese-made jeans to the American market at a time when Japanese denim was largely unheard of in the States. In doing so, Self Edge has sole exclusivity in the U.S. for most of the brands they carry, which include Imperial Denim, Iron Heart, and The Flat Head. Kiya and his team are all self-described denim-heads (the equivalent of a WIS in our little world), and they’re super nice to boot, so they’re sure to steer any prospective customer in the right direction.
Beyond jeans, Self Edge also sells men’s casual wear and accessories, which include cordovan leather goods, wallets, boots, jewelry, shirting, and outerwear.
Founded by Mark Bollman, Ball and Buck began as a company selling American-made tee shirts online and across college campuses. Eventually, Bollman was able to open a brick and mortar location in Boston, stocking it with exclusively American-made products and brands. Bollman has since built up the Ball and Buck brand to include an in-house line of American heritage wear that includes shirting, sweaters, outwear, bottoms, and accessories–all made in the United States, of course.
Ball and Buck’s Newbury Street location is a den of awesome, styled after an old American hunting lodge packed with a huge leather couch, vintage industrial lighting, and an on-site barbershop ready with a vintage porcelain and chrome barber’s chair from the 1920s. It’s the perfect spot to pick up some well-made threads along with a haircut and a shave.
In the midst of luxury stores along Chicago’s Oak Street is Independence, a small men’s shop founded in 2012 by George Vlagos, who also happens to own one of our favorite brands, Oak Street Bootmakers. Besides selling his own line of boots and hand-sewn moccasins, Vlagos stocks his shop with a fantastic mix of American and Japanese-made wares from brands like Imperial, Engineered Garments, Makr, and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. The store also stock a small selection of womenswear, so both you and your better half can pick up something nice.