The J.Crew men’s shops are best experienced in person, but I thought that instead of documenting the new store on Madison Avenue (at 79th Street) in the usual manner, it would be cool to team up with Mr. Sean Sullivan to put a little video tour together. If you don’t live in New York and were curious what this whole J.Crew men’s thing was all about, I think this gives you a good impression of what the company is doing. If you do live in New York and are too lazy to go that far uptown, this will save you $2.25 in train fare. I’m impressed with what J.Crew is doing and like it or not, you have to salute a company that is giving guys their own shopping experience, separate from the ladies.
Take the train from Grand Central to New Haven and go straight to J. Press at 262 York Street. A few years ago I had the great pleasure of working for the company (sort of a dream come true at the time) and I would occasionally make the trip up to New Haven or Cambridge for business. When we went to Yale we would go by the Yankee Doodle and have hamburgers. The great part of the J. Press store in New Haven was the fact that it still exists. The New York store sort of moved around and never felt perfect (even when it was around the corner from 346 on 44th Street), but New Haven always felt right. In the store there would be nary a student in sight — save maybe someone on an errand for a school boy scarf during the colder months or a guy in need of a repp tie.
The clientele has aged with the company, but the bones of the brand are still there. And never call it preppy. J. Press is “Ivy League style,” because this isn’t prep school. The sack suit is like acid in the eyes of “the kids,” a name my friends and I have for the younger style-set that don’t necessarily get J. Press. I’m not yet an old man, but I have a certain fondness for the sack — even if it is unflattering. I like the natural shoulder too, because that’s about as American as it gets. Like most things, many feel that J. Press isn’t the same chap he was 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago — though some still swear by it. Likely, more the former than the latter. The Japanese have owned it for years and years, but still Press carries on. You can’t say that about a lot of companies or clothing lines. When you think about it, many a mighty brand have fallen and disappeared during Press’s watch. Even the Doodle is gone, as is Mory’s…yet Press persists.
On a recent adventure to the Badger State I made a long overdue visit to Context, one the best independent shops in the country. Owners (and brothers) Ben & Sam Parker, and Ryan Huber have built a truly unique destination for menswear aficionados in Madison, and of course for the rest of us across the internet. It was a real pleasure to finally check the place out and see first hand how nice the shop really is.
When I was in L.A. a few weeks ago I stopped by to see the gents from Baxter of California at their then unfinished barber shop on LaCienega. Well today the veil has been lifted, and the new spot dubbed Baxter Finley, Barber & Shop, looks even better than I had anticipated. It is opening officially tomorrow, if you want to stop in for L.A.’s newest (and possibly best?) wet shave.
Baxter Finley, Barber & Shop | 515 N. LaCienega Blvd. Los Angeles, CA.
The folks at GANT brought their Rugger range downtown to 353 Bleecker Street with their new industrial inspired shop. This new store is one of only two places (in the U.S.) where you can shop the entire collection of Rugger gear (something we showed you a while back). The collection —which I really like — was put together by GANT designer (who is a Swede by birth, but an American patriot in my mind) Christopher Bastin. The new downtown store is all inspired by GANT’s industrial past, with all sorts of factory like decor and a fitting room fashioned as a foreman’s office complete with archival order forms and historical press clippings. Good stuff.
A few weeks ago I wrote a little something for GQ about one of my favorite stores on earth, Cuffs Clothing in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. The store has a stocklist to end all stocklists and carries everything from Barbour to Charvet, Southwick to Oxxford; basically everything a gent could ever need. Seeing as GQ couldn’t use all of my images, I thought I would share them with you here. But you can read more about the Cuffs over at GQ.
This week might have to be “Texas Week” on ACL. Meet STAG, a new men’s shop that opened this past weekend in Austin. The shop is the brain trust of friends Don Weir, Steve Shuck, Ted Allen, Bobby Johns and Joel Mozersky (ed note: alt name Five Guys) who put together an impressive stock list (Apparel: RRL, Burkman Bros, Oliver Spencer, Penfield, Dunderdon, Oxen, Rockmount Ranchwear, Vintage Denim Jackets, Vintage Chambray Shirts, Vintage Pendleton overshirts. Shoes: Frye, PF Flyers, Clarks, HELM Handmade Boots (new Austin company), Vintage Workboots. Accessories: Tanner, Hill Side, Wild Duck Totes, Beckel Bags, Randolph Engineering, Welch Suspenders, Hamilton Watches, etc. Plus, brands like Filson, Civil Smith and Universal Works among others coming in the Spring). Since all of the guys involved in STAG have antique dealer backgrounds, expect a lot of vintage furniture, collectibles and ephemera. STAG looks like yet another reason to visit Austin, well done gents.