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New store online

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
http://www.francos.com/men.htm the selection is slim compared to the store; no item descriptions either. But they do have some items for sale you rarely see online and their Zoom function is the best I've seen on a website. At worst it's another site to breeze thru at work.
post #2 of 11
I took a look. Fairly good collection of suits and shoes. Nothing that would really recommend them compared to Neiman Marcus online, though. The product is about the same, but with much less to recommend them to the younger market. Definitely nothing there for the bargain hunter, but I don't think that's what they're going for. My main complaint is the the site is not very attractive, especially for a purveyor of high-end goods. I have a question for the board. Why are Axis and Tommy Bahama so often found in the sportswear sections of more conservative men's stores? The cuts are overly generous, Axis in particular is inordinately fond of really ugly microfibre, and in both cases, the styling can only be described as staid. Surely, there are alternatives?
post #3 of 11
LAG: I think it is because us conservative types are challenged when it comes to sports wear. It's hard NOT to look good if you are wearing a navy Corneliani suit, a red Charvet tie and C&J laceups, but the weekends -- now that's tough. So basically, we don't know any better. VBG
post #4 of 11
I've never understood the appeal of Tommy Bahama. It's a farce. I usually wear Faconnable, RLPL, or Dunhill polos and shorts as "sportswear", whatever that means. I guess that's still pretty conservative though.
post #5 of 11
I'm wear a designer faux-army shirt (Dsquared2), jeans, a $8 t-shirt from urban outfitters (a guilty pleasure, I admit) and Chucks, so I guess that I'm the opposite extreme of the spectrum. I don't think that advocating that conservatives switch to Dubuc and Ra:re is going to get me anywhere, so here are a few alternatives for "conservative" sportswear: -\tKnitwear by Malo for a more urbane look, Bruno Cucinelli for a more countrified (is that a word?) Agnona also makes some wonderful knits, and has a very vibrant, but conservative, palette. Cashmere is expensive though. I would also throw in "modern" classics like a Helmut Lang black v-neck (also in navy for those afraid to wear black) and a couple of John Smedley striped knits. -\tShirting by Coast or Two Flowers. I prefer Coast - some interesting details, but nothing really crazy, and a fairly reasonable pricepoint. I bet that you could throw in some Dries van Noten without rocking the boat too much as well - great fabrics. -\tOutwear by Paul Smith - honestly, most of the stuff is pretty conservative. The cuts are generous enough to account for bulging bellies as well as bulging back accounts, and the innovation is in the details - interesting linings and button, etc... No more Allegri and/or Sanyo raincoats. I'm so sick of that stuff. Oh. Barbour outerwear is nice though. I'd also throw in some Orlando jackets for the really fashion forward conservative (Log Cabin Republicans, perhaps?) -\tNearly all the pieces in the Hlam and John Varvatos collections will also suit the bill - classics, with a twist, blah blah blah. -\tAllen-Edmonds, Paraboot, and Samsonite all make conservative but stylish casual shoes and boots. Conservative and stylish getups: 1) White shirt under Navy v-neck with chocolate brown cords or flannelled pants. Paraboot Norwegian shoes 2) Striped Coast shirt under a Malo zip cardigan with the same pants and shoes. 3) John Smedley knit with relaxed fit jeans by Zegna (okay, I would never, ever, wear Zegna jeans, but we're not talking about me, are we?) Samsonite sneaker/shoe hybrid. Wow, now you guys are slumming it. 4) Bruno Cucinelli mockneck with John Varvatos cords with a self-belt. 5) Two Flowers denim shirt under a John Varvatos chocolate corduroy sportscoat (great one this year - and much better for bigger guys than for me) with relaxed straight leg Hlam pants (they're really baggy. Hey. You can even get the right size and not have to use pleats.. Uh, they look better too.) Allen Edmonds lace-up boots 6) Paul Smith Striped shirt under a slim black suit - perfect for the night. My problem with conservative men's stores is that I always get the idea that the proprietors actually don't like clothes. They just try to get what they know will sell, and stick with that. It may be a problem with the clientele too. It must be hard to get some 50 year old guy to switch from 2-button suits to three, or from pleats to flat-fronts, much less get them to try out an Etro suit with a brilliantly striped lining. As opposed to directional stores, who know that the guys who shop there are into the whole fashion thing, and actively challenge their customers perceptions. They don't always succeed (thus the wierd things that linger on the sales racks) but the endeavor seems much nobler.
post #6 of 11
LA Guy, Nice write up. I have been challenged by my dad to help him buy classic casual wear that doesn't scream young designer, trying too hard, hip clothes. He has purchased 2 pairs of Zegna Jeans (1light, 1 dark) some great striped button up shirts (think Paul Smith and Etro, but not too crazy), great cashmere sweaters (Barney's house label suits him well) and my favorite most recent shoe purchases of his (Costume National slip ons in black suede and Tod's drivers). It's been fun to kick things up a bit. Granted, he has always been a great dresser on the formal side. He has alot of fantastic suits from the likes of Brioni, Zegna, and even a Kiton sportcoat in the mix. It's the casual stuff he comes to me for and the tailored things I look up to him for. Seems like a great match. Pete
post #7 of 11
Nobler, and riskier -- I wouldn't want to sit on $1 million in inventory that isn't moving off the floor at a profitable rate.
post #8 of 11
I have a question for the board.  Why are Axis and Tommy Bahama so often found in the sportswear sections of more conservative men's stores?  The cuts are overly generous, Axis in particular is inordinately fond of really ugly microfibre, and in both cases, the styling can only be described as staid.  Surely, there are alternatives?
The target demographic for these stores is the mid-30s (and up) suburban male.  Most of the men in this category are "off the market" and therefore have little to no incentive to look good.  (Why spend good money on clothing that can otherwise go toward a big-screen TV and the DirectTV NFL package?)  Most of these men are also overweight, and fashion-forward clothing generally requires one to be naturally skinny or attend a gym several days a week.
post #9 of 11
Nobler, and riskier -- I wouldn't want to sit on $1 million in inventory that isn't moving off the floor at a profitable rate.
Sure, but, and I don't want to insult your intelligence with a Finances 101 analogy, its good to have some risk in your portfolio if you are to keep at the top of the game.   Actually, I think that it's a miscalculation on the part of a lot of traditional men's clothiers to not have some (allegedly) edgier stuff it their inventory.  Look at the currently most successful of the big high end retailers, Neiman Marcus.  Look on their floor, and ask any of their people, and you'll find that most of the (men's) sales are suits and "conservative" sportswear and accessories.  But they also carry a selection of high profile runway designers, and a very limited but well edited selection of Young Men's clothing.  Some boutique stores do the same successfully.  Look at Scott & Co. in LA, which carries Paul Smith (occasionally) and C.P. Company and Mason's alongside their suits. The younger stuff brings younger clientele with a significant amount of disposable.  These younger clientele will either retain their present tastes, in which case they will remain customers for that type of inventory (since you have the very best anyway,) or their tastes will evolve, in which case they will naturally gravitate to your other lines, which they now associate with the best designer stuff.  On the other hand, the old guys might not buy the stuff, but they don't want to be geezers either (can a man who loves Kiton be a geezer) and putting an Axis shirt alongside the Oxxofrd suit that he is about to buy, and he will feel a little like a geezer.   I think the secret is to make the younger shopper feel that the designer and streetwear stuff is validated by their proximity to Brioni, and to make the older shopper feel that his Oxxford suit is not dowdy, that it is in fact worthy of a fashionista who wears Dior Homme most days. Carrying Dries van Noten alongside Oxxford does that for the whole continuum of shoppers.
post #10 of 11
Regarding Finances 101 and taking risks: Au contraire, mon frere. If I could have it my way, I'd much rather have 0% risk in my portfolio. Risk to me is putting money on the line in a game about which I know nothing. In a way, risk is inversely related to knowledge: Risk = 1 / Knowledge The more knowledge I have about the game and its potential outcomes, the less risk I am taking. The less I know about the game and its potential outcomes, the greater the risk I am taking. I'd much rather have the knowledge about the potential outcomes and use the reduced risk to make more money on my money. Stupidity, a close cousin to risk, is knowing that the potential outcomes suck but still playing the game anyway. This is why I never gamble in casinos or play the lottery, because I know the potential outcomes and they indeed suck badly -- odds are I'm going to lose the money I put at risk the majority of the time -- it's the way the house designs the games. So, why even play their game? It's far less stupid to put my money where I know I'll make money on my money the majority of the time. LA Guy: what you have discussed above about stocking a few edgier items amongst many conservative items is really the store owners hedging risks, not taking risks. They hedge their risk on the edgier stuff (it may never sell and they might have to mark it down and lose margin on it) by stocking the store with conservative items they know will sell day in, day out, bringing them cash flow, paying the rent, and keeping the store open for business. Stocking a full store with $1 million in edgier items when they don't know whether or not the items will sell and convert to cash would be extreme risk-taking for sure. The risk of losing their entire principal amount of the investment is astronomical. And, even if they got lucky and the edgier items sold and got converted into cash, I seriously doubt they would receive any reward commensurate with the risk they took -- the margins would have to be sky-high to justify the investment in the "risky" inventory, and the higher the prices, the less likely they would move the volume needed to create the risk-adjusted reward. But, by buying $950,000 in conservative items they know will sell, and then buying $50,000 in edgier inventory they are willing to experiment with, the store owners hedge their risks tremendously. And, they learn a little about the edgier items and how well they sell. I guess that's why Neiman-Marcus is still in business to this day. They have immense organizational knowledge about what will sell and what won't, thus reducing the risk of losing the capital they investment in inventory each year. Secure in the cash flow from the large number of conservative items flying from the shelves, Neimans can afford to experiment and learn more about riskier inventory, thus gaining even more organizational knowledge, creating a feedback loop, building a knowledgebase, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum, more consultant-speak here, blah, blah, blah. But, alas, I digress...
post #11 of 11
"Hedging".  That's what I wanted to write.  Just couldn't come up with the word.  It's been so long since classes... My point remains, if you don't experiment somewhere, especially in the fashion game, you will lose your touch and become irrelevant.  Happens to retailers all the time. I know boutique owners who don't keep abreast of the industry. One whom I talked to recently didn't even know what an Attolini was, and this was someone who stocked Barba and Borrelli - unforgivable gaps in knowledge, in my opinion. People in the industry should be gobbling up as much knowledge as possible.
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