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The Everything Guide to Man-Clothes Shopping

The city is swarming with new high-end haberdasheries, un-stuffy bespoke tailors, and handcrafted-boot peddlers.

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Observe the guys walking down Madison and Bedford Avenues, and it’s clear that something’s happened since Don Draper first appeared in his close-fitting flannel two-button: Men who aren’t necessarily Suits are wearing suits—and an array of layered, accessorized, decidedly non-zhlubby looks. Since last year, sales of luxury menswear in the U.S. rose 14 percent, according to Bain & Company, double that of womenswear. Not surprising, then, is the glut of guy-centric emporiums that have emerged in the wake of trailblazing multi-brand boutiques like Odin, Goose Barnacle, Nepenthes, and the Brooklyn Circus, as well as J.Crew’s men’s shops. Here, a tour through the newest stores, a look at what it takes to open a men’s boutique circa 2013, and advice from local bloggers on where to bargain-hunt for boxer-briefs.

The Americana Importer:
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12 Extra Pl., nr. E. 1st St. 212-420-8900
What started in 2009 as a Vancouver-based alt-menswear magazine (Monocle for the urban-woodsman set) evolved this March into a minimal-leaning boutique on a tiny street off the Bowery. Manager (and editor-at-large) Philip Watts encourages East Village regulars to lounge on Artek stools, banter with the chatty staff, and go home with high-quality imported goods—traditional British knits from Margaret Howell ($325 to $550); sweatshirts from the Real McCoy’s out of Japan (from $215); plus other updated takes on American vintage from Workers and Sassafras, two lines previously unavailable outside Japan. Accessories are plentiful, too, with brogues by Trickers ($525) and wool hats by Ebbets Field Flannels ($50).

The Brick-and-Mortar Disrupter:
Bonobos

35 Crosby St., nr. Broome St. 212-343-4235
This new “guideshop” is more a showroom than a retailer: A few days prior to visiting, book a one-on-one consultation with a friendly staffer. She’ll figure out which fits, sizes, and styles of business-casual basics like washed chinos ($88), striped dress shirts ($85), and slim suits ($685; new this month) flatter you best. Then go online using one of the store’s mounted iPads to its website—­bonobos.com, where the brand started—to order and have your new wares delivered. After your first visit, you can theoretically replenish your stock with a few clicks, though you’re always welcome back in-store to touch and feel the whole line and try on anything in person.

The Ivy-Style Updater:
J.Press York Street

304 Bleecker St., nr. Seventh Ave. 212-255-6151
More than a century after the prep stalwart was founded on Yale’s ­campus, J.Press has collaborated with the upstart brothers behind Ovadia & Sons—CFDA Fashion Fund Finalists this year—to update scion wardrobes for the Silicon ­Valley age. There’s none of the fusty dad tweeds for which the brand was once known; instead, the store is dedicated to an entirely new line that uses similarly preppy motifs (herringbone, flannel, rugby stripes, and so on) but cuts them into modern, slim-fitting silhouettes for a more youthful effect. Gray-flannel sack suits ($1,450), throwback football shirts ($195), and navy duffle coats ($695) appeal to post-Abercrombie urban twentysomethings.

The Mix Master:
Gentry

127 N. 6th St., nr. Berry St., Williamsburg; 718-599-7091
Owing to a trademark battle, the year-old store formerly known as H.W. Carter & Sons is now Gentry, a multi-brand megashop. The heavily textured, highly patterned heritage-inspired goods range from $100 T-shirts by Our Legacy to $500 coats by Engineered Garments. A strong boot collection brims with British Grensons and Chicago-made pairs from Oak Street Bootmakers, both “bench-made,” by hand, to last (and, thus, starting at about $300 per pair). Additionally, a nattily dressed staff and one big central mirror mean you aren’t likely to check out without someone—employee or fellow shopper—chiming in on your potential purchase.

The Next-Gen Jeans Dealer:
Raleigh NYC

211 Elizabeth St., nr. Prince St. 212-334-1330
Owners Sarah and Victor Lytvinenko named their line after the North Carolina capital, where they first learned from retired factory workers to make their handmade jeans one at a time. Here, their blues ($215 to $330) are housed in a space inspired by a traditional southern home—a foyer leads to a parlor room—and was created in partnership with OMA, Rem Koolhaas’s avant-garde architecture firm. T-shirts ($40 to $80), outerwear ($195 to $450), and suit jackets (from $450) are also on offer, plus there’s a women’s range. Only the pants come with free in-store hemming, done—of course—on a vintage Union Special chain-stitching machine.

The Accessories Clubhouse:
Fine & Dandy

445 W. 49th St., nr. Tenth Ave. 212-247-4847
Patterned silk and tweedy woven neckties ($45 to $65) are piled by the hundreds into vintage trunks—with dozens of suspenders ($49 to $69) nearby dangling from curtain rods—at this jam-packed 300-square-foot shop. After launching online in 2008 and opening a brick-and-mortar store late last year, co-owners Enrique Crame III and Matt Fox now focus exclusively on menswear minutiae. Up to five times daily, they offer impromptu tying lessons with their locally made bow ties ($49 to $65) while also selling hard-to-find men’s spats ($69)—they have six varieties to choose from—plus cuff links ($39 to $49), business-card holders ($19 to $26), and printed silk pocket squares that female patrons have been known to repurpose as head scarves.


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