I was a little surprised at the fact there was no favorite shops thread so I decided to start one. I wanted to do a top ten but I don't have the stamina for this nonsense, so I'll edit and post the others as time goes on. I know that the problem with these lists is that great shops get left out as not everyone is a jetsetter. There are also some amazing shops I've dealt with, but have never actually been to including The Denimbar, South Willard and Drinkwater's, thus I thought it would be unfair to include them on my list. I'm by no means an expert, so take my list with a grain of salt. However, here is my criteria: an amazing stock combined with excellent service. As simple as that. I'm a fairly non-social guy from rural Virginia so a big part of the shopping experience, for me, is taking away that intimidation factor and making me feel right at home. So enough blabbering, here are the beginnings of my top ten list: Alife Rivington Club (NYC): So yeah, they're starting to pander to an unquestionably unfashionable audience, however that doesn't change the awesome stock or great atmosphere of this shop. An unmarked shop where you have to ring a buzzer to get in, the interior is all wood and leather, giving it a feel of a hyper-exclusive gentleman's club. Each shoe gets its own little library-style cubby, with brands ranging from Adidas, Nike and Puma to Alife's house label, BAPE and JB Classics. The service is pretty friendly, however they get a little testy if you bring your obnoxious friends who have no desire to buy anything. Understandable. Definitely the greatest sneaker shop I've been in, and as an added bonus Daniel Dumile was in the shop trying on some sneakers last time I was there. Barney's Co-Op (DC): Say what you want, but this is probably the most well-rounded shop in DC, a place that's definitely not known for its fashion sense. They carry Nudie jeans, Trovata polos, Mason's pants, Rogues Gallery t-shirts (which I don't really like, but the kids seem to love the stuff), Steven Alan shirts and a smattering of decent to good sportswear from the likes of Penguin, Raf and Rag & Bone. A mainstream but solid stock. Also, not only have I never had the experience of dealing with crass employees that comes with the Barney's name, but every time I go in there a worker comments on something I have on. A good shop that happens to be extremely convenient for me, "the man" will continue to get my dollar as long as they keep having amazing sales and decent stock. Fabulous Fanny's (NYC): My parents are antique collectors. I can remember from my youth riding around in our Ford truck every single weekend going to auctions and estate sales. Even though I had no interest at the time in pottery, literature or china, I knew what my parents were looking for and nothing was more thrilling than rifling around in a box and finding a prize. That is the exact same feeling I get at Fanny's. The place is fairly disheveled and you can have an employee help you find a shape, or you can treat it as a hunt and dig through the various dressers and boxes. They really have some amazing frames, including some vintage Italian and American (yes, there are some American-made frames) that totally outclass anything being produced today, and at really great prices nonetheless ($50-120 on average). This is a real gem of a shop. Jack Spade (NYC): How can such an unoriginal choice be such an original shop? You honestly cannot appreciate Jack Spade until you visit his shop. It really says a lot about his persona and his aesthetic, and lends a great deal of authenticity to the line that he values utilitarian quality. There is such a pile of odds and ends in this shop (from little toy glider planes to books on herbology to small tools to odd stationary and notebooks), and it's pretty much all for sale. The shop's design is crowded yet coherent, and everything has its place. The bags are amazing. I'm sure most everyone knows that. Made in China or not, my Warren Street waxwear field bag is still one of most tangibly quality things I own. It just feels...good. And gets the job done. The assortment of bags in the shop is insane, most being exclusive to the location (the tool bags are my favorite). Also, they carry Loopwheeler. That would warrant a spot on this list regardless. The service is awesome and they'll treat you like a pal in or out of the shop. Overall, a great shop. Oak (NYC): This shop would be as at home in my hometown as it is in Brooklyn. Totally, completely devoid of any pretensions, Oak gets bonus points not for having an exceptional, unique stock, but having exceptional, unique service to go along with a pretty good selection of menswear. The jeans selection is really good and includes Rag & Bone, 5EP and Nudie, and the menswear is totally eclectic and includes Marc by Marc Jacobs and Modern Amusement (totally random). However, the big draw besides the denim selection are the pieces from local designers. I wish I could name some off the top of my head, but I can't. However, the store is like a treasure hunt, with dozens upon dozens of totally unique designs by people you've never heard of. Definitely going to try and find some goodies next time I go there. And did I mention the service? They employees will literally bend over backwards for you: dig around in the stock room, hem your jeans, make you coffee, etc. A nice, little shop that I'll always hold close to my heart. Odin (NYC): By far my favorite shop on this list, Odin is a "man's shop". I say this because it seems they manage to retain a sense of the avant-garde without the femininity that is usually associated with it. The owners/buyers are genius and pull the absolute best pieces from collections such as Engineered Garments, Umbro by Kim Jones and Trovata and every time I find a new niche obsession, they seem to carry it: Shane belt buckles, Kicking Mule Workshop denim and Common Projects sneakers (for Fall) included. Even the stuff I could never, ever envision myself owning or wearing, (obscene Just Another Rich Kid t-shirts, loud Comme des Garcons wallets, Rogues Gallery bags) I still find really intriguing. The atmosphere is great (lots of wood and sparse yet sufficient lighting) and the layout is really fantastic given the small space they have to work with (haven't been to the Lafayette location yet). Absolutely no pretensions from the sales staff round out the awesome experience. Can't say enough about this place, however I'll leave you with this: I'm taking $2,000 with me to spend on clothes in NYC next month (hey, I'm 21 and poor); I want to get a Cloak field jacket, however I've committed about half of my money to Odin. If I don't have enough for the jacket, tough luck, as I know I can easily drop a grand at Odin. It's truly that good. Steven Alan (NYC): In my mind, Steven Alan is a little generic: some great pieces but overall they don't have anything you can't find somewhere else (they do have some awesome Engineered Garments backpacks I haven't seen anywhere else). However, it's my brother's favorite shop in the world so I had to put it on here. I'm sure most of you are at least aware of Steven Alan, so it's not as if an overdrawn description is going to light your world on fire. The shop itself is definitely pretty neat, with exposed brick walls co-existing with wooden floors and massive ceiling-high shelves (they have cool library ladders for self-service). They have some great denim (Corpus, 5EP, Rag & Bone and Nudie come to mind) and of course essentials from Engineered Garments, Trovata and even Comme des Garcons. Again, it's a great store; I just view it as a go-to when someone else is out of stock rather than a destination. Feels like an old stand-by with service to match.
post #1 of 19
6/30/06 at 12:24pm