Take a look in your closet or dresser. How much crap do you have in there that you’ve hardly worn? Exactly. Not only is that a waste of money, but it’s also fueling an industry that tends to produce poorly made junk from non-sustainable textiles sewed together by exploited workers.
For all these reasons, you’re better off taking more time and spending a bit more (per article) on stuff you know you’ll wear, and that will last for more than a half-dozen wash cycles. You’ll find those kinds of goods—many of them made in America—in each of these boutique men’s shops.
Philadelphia’s famous South Street corridor is hit or miss. But this gem of a store is definitely the former. From shaving and home accessories to jeans, boots, packs, shirts, shoes, and jackets from small-market clothiers and craftsmen, you’ll feel like the owners tapped into your brain and then collected in one space every piece of gear you ever wanted (but couldn’t find).
You know there are hundreds of clothing manufacturers out there, but somehow you always end up at the same stores for your stuff: Gap, J. Crew, Macy’s, etc. Like all the shops on this list, Mevyn is the antidote to that mass-market poison. Of the 50 plus brands featured in-store, you’ve probably heard of zero of them. Prepare to have your eyes opened and your hair blown back.
Los Angeles, southwillard.com
Once you’ve owned a Gitman Vintage button-down, you’ll never go back to the cheap, poorly cut oxfords and faux-flannels of your youth. Gitman is just one of the enlightening brands stocked at this thoughtfully curated men’s shop. Ceramic goods, artwork, and other goods also make South Willard worth the trip.
Whatever you do, don’t accept a beer from one of the store clerks. Like pre-prohibition era bars that offered a “free lunch” in order to encourage beer consumption, these guys know the longer you hang around and peruse their wares, the more you’re going to spend. Every damn thing in here is cool.
Kansas City, houndstoothkc.com
This place is the perfect marriage of everyday casual gear and special-occasion bespoke formalwear. You’ll find mostly American-made apparel and grooming products, along with the option to have suits and shirts made to measure.
One of the countless appealing things about boutique shops—as opposed to national chains—is that they stock items that will attract locals. So, like accents and craft beers, the styles at The Webster highlight many of the cultural flavors that make Miami the vibrant, ostentatious, and occasionally snobby (but in a fun way) place that it is.
Located in the heart of Williamsburg, this shop could be dismissed as hipster-nip. But there’s just so much distinctive, unconventional stuff here—Japanese “farmer coats,” selvedge scarfs—that you can’t justify skipping it because of your aversion to rolled skinny jeans and PBR-saturated beards. This place rocks.
Iconic brands like Pendleton and Barbour are interspersed with esoteric Scandinavian clothing manufacturers. Kurt Cobain would have shopped here. Eddie Vedder probably does now.
Less pretentious (and precious) than some of the other shops on this list, Atlanta’s Wish boutique is a great mix of moderately priced and hard-to-find-elsewhere urban staples like sneakers and hoodies mixed with higher-end couture menswear.
More old school than the other shops on this list, George’s is the kind of men’s clothier your grandfather visited before department stores took over. Some might consider the styles a little staid, but that’s not a bad thing. You’ll look sharp when you walk out.