What are Stores for These Days?


A few weeks ago, I was patrolling some of New York’s best multibrand men’s stores reporting a story that has now appeared in the New York Sun. Actually, since the story was first assigned back in December, I was re-reporting – all of the winter clothes I had first seen have now, to the retailers’ relief, left the building.

New York should have more good ones than it does. I count a dozen, of which I chose half (the sixth, cut from my story, ended up on my blog), but all of this professional shopping raises the question: what are stores for?

The best stores are more than warehouses: they are embodiments of taste. Even if you have some yourself, they have more. From the Lilly-Pulitzer bright superluxe preppiness of Peter Elliot to the monochrome futuristic goth robes of Atelier, someone in charge has a vision of how you can live as a clothed person. Even the same lines, and the same pieces, can serve very different masters. A shawl collared cotton twill vest from Engineered Garments, for instance, comes in a black stripe to suit the dark palette of Hollander and Lexer in Brooklyn, where hangs with matching coat and pants that make up a “There Will Be Blood” era suit, while Odin in Soho sells it in a lighter plaid, and by itself as an accent piece.

The holy grail, or rather founding point, of these ‘sensibility’ stores is 10 Corso Como in Milan, Japan and now Seoul. Men.style.com’s Tim Blanks appreciates the flagship here.


Aaron Mack Schloff writes about clothing and theater in New York City, and blogs at schloffshow.blogspot.com.


  1. It seems like they’re becoming products themselves these days.