Men's Shopping In Philly Guide

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Style-wise, most cities are melting pots. But when it comes to menswear, Philly’s fashion mash-up comprises a dynamic dichotomy. At the one end of the spectrum are long-established—even historic—men’s clothiers. At the other resides a youthful, independent, urban movement toward retro street style and local independent brands.

Sure, there’s a little in-between, but even Philly’s menswear middle ground is made up of mix: sporty yet sophisticated, tailored yet tattooed.

Take a look across the landscape, from tony Rittenhouse Square to grittier South Philly to historic-yet-artsy Old City, and discover the distinctively dual dapperness of Philadelphia men.

Rittenhouse Square’s Tailored Traditions:

  • Boyds – For the greater part of 75 years, the polished tiers of this Rittenhouse family business catered only to men, with a battalion of salesmen and dozens of tailors known for their take-charge, can-do philosophy. Today, there’s an equally polished women’s department, but men still avail themselves of power suits, shoes and refined sportswear from vaunted labels such as Trussini, Brioni, Armani Collezioni, Canali, Etro, Hickey Freeman, Paul Smith and Paul Smith. Among Boyds’ upper-crust services: free valet parking; interpreters in Portuguese, Russian, Korean and more; and top-notch custom shirting. 1818 Chestnut Street, (215) 564-9000, boydsphila.com
  • Commonwealth Proper – Attorney Craig Arthur von Schroeder was disappointed at the local dearth of modern-yet-retro, stylishly form-fitting business suits, so he took matters into his own hands in the spring of 2008. Today at his studio in Rittenhouse (with satellites in New York and Atlanta), the tattooed von Schroeder and team measure clients for affordable-yet-investment-worthy, bespoke-yet-modern suiting and topcoats made from lightweight summer wools, robust Harris tweeds, Loro Piana milled cashmere, Swiss tech fabric and limited-edition finds. Commonwealth Proper also offers a variety of fabric choices for custom dress shirts and a retail line of ready-to-wear ties, pocket squares, brass collar stays and a rough-and-tumble, all-seasons, made-in-Philly blazer. 1839 Chestnut Street, (267) 319-1741, commonwealthproper.com
  • Distanté Clothing – Distinctive custom shirting—with tall, strong collars and French cuffs—is the hallmark of Charlie Morrotta’s men’s shop, a Philadelphia staple since 1983. Morrotta has each shirt made in one of two small factories (there’s one in Naples, Italy and another in the U.S.)—typically in less than three weeks. Distanté also features suiting and sport coats and ready-to-wear shirts and accessories. In-house tailors gladly and expertly perform alterations and adjustments on pieces purchased elsewhere and have become known for their same-day turnaround—not to mention their ability to reproduce favorite pieces, seam for seam and button for button. 1510 Sansom Street, (215) 545-2850, distanteclothing.com
  • Duke & Winston – Seun Olubodun launched a line of Brit-inspired, bulldog-emblazoned T-shirts back in 2009. Today, his anti-ironic approach to modern preppy dressing also includes baseball caps, bulldog-motif ties and bow ties, dog-wear and needlepoint accessories, all sold from a rustically lounge-like, 2,600-square-foot walk-up, where the focus is predominantly on the guys, and the stock also includes non-D&W sunglasses, hats and phone cases. 1822 Chestnut Street, (267) 639-5594, duke-winston.com
  • Henry A. Davidsen – Custom is the name of the game at this elegant, hidden showroom known for its classic lines, perfect fits and flawless formalwear. Owner and image consultant Brian Lipstein offers five levels of suits, sport coats, tuxes and topcoats, ranging from first-time investments to hand-sewn works of wearable art. Each creation requires multiple measurements and six to eight weeks lead time and, if the wearer so chooses, can be accompanied by custom shirting (including custom polos), silk ties, overcoats, denim and extras such as Bulova and Tissot watches, braces (suspenders), cuff links, magnetic collar stays, pocket squares and pocket rounds. By appointment only. 1701 Spruce Street, 2nd floor, (215) 310-0219, henrydavidsen.com
  • Stars and Stripes Ltd. – American-made goods are the only stock-and-trade of this patriotic co-ed outpost in a Gothic church in Center City. The shop provides a warm backdrop for sport coats, Madras shirts, Bills Khakis, Shetland sweaters, leather bucks and boots and nautical T-shirts and accessories, all proudly designed and manufactured within the 50 states. 2129 Chestnut Street, (215) 587-2129, mettlersamerica.com
  • ToBox – Locally exclusive shoe lines—by Scarpe di Bianco, La Cordonnerie Anglaise, John Lobb, Carmina and Rancourt—are the key features at Tung To’s boutique. But the owner, a veteran of Nordstrom’s and Boyds’ shoe departments, also offers clients leather bags and belts, Italian socks, handmade pocket squares and lapel pins, leather repair and shoe shines. As a bonus, the shop’s vintage furnishings are for sale too. 25 S. 19th Street, (215) 644-9435

Old City’s New Heritage:

  • Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – Brought to Philly by the (local) distillers of Root, Snap and other vintage-inspired spirits, this rustic boutique is all about giving props to creators of things and revivers of lost inventions, which makes for a lush, insightful and totally hip shopping experience. Founding owner Steve Grasse stocked the space with locally made art and furnishings, plus heartily constructed, casually on-point clothing for men and women, including new and been-around-forever menswear labels such as Shockoe Atelier denim, separates by Orslow, Penfield jackets, Gitman Bros. button-downs, Kletterwerks backpacks and Jungmaven hemp-cotton blend tops, plus original artist-printed T-shirts. 116 N. 3rd Street, (215) 922-2600, artintheage.com
  • Briar Vintage – Like Don Draper’s closet (if Don Draper’s dapper period had lasted for a couple of centuries), this well-outfitted vintage shop sells the finest in men’s fashions, dating from the 1960s back to the 1800s. Find hand-knit varsity sweaters, classic bowler hats, mint-condition oxford shoes, impeccable bow ties and traditional suiting. 62 N. 3rd Street, (215) 627-1990, briarvintage.com
  • Charlie’s Jeans – Jeans guru Sebastian McCall may be best known for fitting women, but he doesn’t shy away from getting men looking good in denim either. He has two Center City shops, and one in New Jersey. He first set roots down in Old City and later opened a well-trafficked location near Rittenhouse Square. Both spots offer tops and dresses, too, but are best known for McCall’s own eponymous line of perfectly sized dungarees. 1735 Chestnut Street, (215) 564-2495; 233 Market Street, (215) 923-9681, charliesjeans.net
  • Lost + Found – Mother and daughter Sandy and Jenny Martin know guys. They know what they like to wear—laid-back but still-styled plaid Penguin shirts, grown-up skater looks from Obey, urban-prep separates by Ben Sherman and standout vintage pieces—and they know what they like to spend on their clothes—not a lot. Although the greater portion of their Old City shop belongs to well-priced, on-trend women’s styles, the can’t-miss men’s section is for those who want to look good without looking like they’re trying too hard. 133 N. 3rd Street, (215) 928-1311
  • Sugarcube – This marvelously designed Old City repository of modern-yet-timeless men’s and women’s fashion is known for introducing about-to-hit designers. Current roster standouts include casual-chic separates from Rag & Bone and Portland’s Bridge & Burn, plus hard-wearing-yet-fashion-forward, small-batch, made-in-the-U.S.A. standbys from Asbury Park Clothing Co., Big Star, Feltraiger, Peters Mountain Works and Williamsburg Garment Company—all providing an all-American vibe with a subtly artsy edge. In short: It’s the perfect place for a guy to dress himself without the slightest risk of missing the mark. 124 N. 3rd Street, (215) 238-0825, sugarcube.us

South Street & South Philly Finds:

  • ARMOUR Philadelphia – The fashion project of corporate world escapee David Grimes sophisticatedly peddles its independent-minded sartorial choices along Fabric Row. Among the rare and wonderful finds here are heritage pieces from Kennington, Goorin Bros. and Fine & Dandy; international representation in Pullin (France) and Maxwell Designs (Ghana); and work by emerging designers Arthinic and Philly’s own Terese Sydonna and Danny Fox. 704 S. 4th Street, (267) 928-2002, armourphiladelphia.com
  • Cheesesteaktees – This South Street shop designs and sells apparel that shows how Philly sports fans and overall fans of Philly really feel. The stars of the store’s show are its clever (and sometimes borderline inappropriate) graphic T-shirts—“Doc&Moses&Toney&Cheeks” pays tribute to past 76ers; “I’ve got a Chip on my shoulder” gives a shout out to the Eagles coach; sneakers hanging off the word “Philadelphia” imitates a neighborhood telephone wire; and a Broad Street Line subway shows pride for public transit. 506 South Street, (215) 238-5880, cheesesteaktees.com
  • Metro Men’s – Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Scotch & Soda and Report Collection are among the fast-moving brands at this youthful retail closet, one of the anchors of South Philly’s trendy East Passyunk neighborhood. Owner Tom Longo stocks everything from brightly striped business socks to soft-washed Phillies T-shirts, bright bathing trunks to knitted neon beer cozies. 1600 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 324-5172, metromensclothing.com
  • Ps & Qs – The guys behind Abakus Takeout invite indie designers and heritage brands such as Baldwin Denim, Norse Projects, Penfield, Naked & Famous, Pendleton and Topo Designs to take over the racks and shelves of this playful modern shop for the urban outdoorsman, an exclusive brick-and-mortar stockist of lines such as Carhartt’s Work In Progress and Cantino. Owners Ky and Rick Cao (they’re brothers) and Joseph Lardizabal also sell accessories (The Hill Side scarves and ties, Herschel Supply Co., Ray Bans and Oakleys) and shoes (People Footwear, Asics, New Balance, Saucony and Treton), along with small-maker soaps, candles and hair and skincare—all in manly scents, of course. 820 South Street, (215) 592-0888, psandqs.com
  • Totem Brand – Classic, rustic, American. That’s Totem Brand in a few words. The store carries men’s clothing—Wolverine, Danner, Raleigh Denim, Rogue Territory, Billy Kirk, Taylor Stitch, 3Sixteen, Patagonia and Filson—plus GoPros, candles, soaps and incense that appeal to the outdoorsman in everyone. The USA-made or -manufactured promise means people feel good about their purchases. 535 South Street, (215) 440-9922, totembrandco.com
     

Streetwear All Over Town:

  • Mitchell & Ness – Founded more than a century ago as a sporting goods store, this indie operation turned into an international powerhouse after its former owner convinced the estates of Babe Ruth and his contemporaries to allow reproduction and sale of their uniform jerseys. Soon, MTV, then Puff Daddy caught on, and the shop’s pro baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey shirts were showing up in pop videos and hip-hop lyrics. Today, having a jersey, snapback cap or warm-up jacket re-issued here is a sign of athletic dominance. In 2007, the company became a very cool subsidiary of Adidas. The flagship store still calls Philly home. 1201 Chestnut Street (entrance on 12th Street between Chestnut & Market Streets), (267) 273-7622, mitchellandness.com
  • Ubiq – To say that Ubiq stocks new and vintage sneaks (Nike, Vans, Reebok, Converse, Adidas, Asics), along with endless T-shirts and hoodies, is to vastly undersell this streetwear merchant. Ubiq’s rambling old brownstone displays old-fashioned Daniel Wellington watches, sturdy Stance socks and preppy Head Porter Plus trousers and shirts that are displayed like wearable, collectable, limited-edition, often vintage-inspired works of art. Among them: the store’s own line of apparel and kicks. 1509 Walnut Street, (215) 988-0194, ubiqlife.com
  • Urban Outfitters – The most recognizable member of this list is homegrown in Philly. Born of a few post-grads’ venture into retail, Urban has grown into an iconic American mega-retailer. Its stock-in-trade: affordable streetwear-like skinny jeans, flannel shirts and T-shirts with messages that are meant to shock. (Plus, great gag gifts.) The retailer has two Philly locations and more in the surrounding suburbs. 1627 Walnut Street, (215) 569-3131; 110 S. 36th Street, (215) 387-6990, urbanoutfitters.com

Made-In-Philly Looks, Online:

  • 611 Lifestyle – A few years after this idolized South Street record store closed its doors, founding DJ Nigel Richards re-launched his clothing line, named for the route that runs north and south through Philadelphia (also known as Broad Street). Even without a bricks-and-mortar location, Richards’ throwback varsity jackets, mixed-patterned flannel shirts, fitted v-necks and accessories that include scarves and belt buckles emblazoned with the company logo (plus jackets, tanks and tees for women) have taken off. 611lifestyle.com
  • Ikiré Jones – Nigerian-born Afrobeat musician, attorney, menswear designer and one of Esquire’s “Best Dressed Real Men in America” Walé Oyéjidé teamed up with tailor and musician Sam Hubler to turn out cut- and sewn-to-order Neapolitan-style jackets, coats and shirts known for their West African wax canvas prints. Definitely not for the shy, the boldly patterned pieces, including scarves and pocket squares, stand out as exceptionally stylish. More conservative clientele can order jackets made with patterns found only on linings and lapel interiors. Online and by appointment only. ikirejones.com
  • Kings Rule Together – Dapper iconoclastic-about-town Curran J. Swint turned his style blog into a brand in 2011, and now the likes of Jaden Smith and Lebron James are rocking the KRT. Tanks, T-shirts, hoodies, bucket hats, varsity jackets and sweatshirts comprise most of the hand-screened line. Each piece bears a king’s (or queen’s) crown and/or a message of inspiration: “Inspire,” “Unity” or “Great Minds ThinKING Alike” are just some examples. kingsruletogether.com
  • Live Breathe Futbol (LBF) – A couple of soccer-obsessed Temple University grads founded this off-the-field streetwear label in November 2010. Today, partners Ebun Olaloye and Domenick Cucinotta call their creation “a power brand for the passionate fan,” and count futbol fanatics worldwide among their own fans. Known for its limited-edition, soccer-news-inspired runs, the line includes T-shirts, compression shirts, hoodies, scarves, sweatshirts and caps, all manufactured in the U.S. and printed in Philly. livebreathefutbol.com
  • Retrophilly.com – A hyper-local web store created by specialty retailers of 1950s, 60s and 70s kitschy memorabilia takes old school to the next level. In addition to merchandise like T-shirts and caps emblazoned with vintage Philly foods, relics, playgrounds and neighborhoods, the company offers a full array of T-shirts with fashionably dated versions of regional school names and logos. (610) 668-6896, retrophilly.com
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