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Opinions on Jay Kos in NY, please

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
A recent posting on recommendations for a shopping trip to NY didn't appear to mention Jay Kos. I found the east side store very unique (although as a sale shopper I couldn't afford anything more than a tube of A. Harris almond shave cream), and walked by the midtown store that certainly looked larger. What do people think of Jay Kos stores, and what do they offer that others may not?
post #2 of 15
When I went to the Jay Kos store on Lexington the last time I was in New York, I went for one and only one reason: to look at their Edward Green shoes. Consequently, I can't comment on their merchandise in general. As for their EG shoes, they're wonderful (of course -- they're EG.), but they're much too expensive. As I recall, they had a Dover on 606 in dark oak antique for around $1100 when the same shoe was available at Polo with trees for $850 and at Saks without trees for $750.
post #3 of 15
jay kos has beautiful things, edward green shoes not least among them. you should definitely stop there if visiting new york. however, the thing i find most breathtaking about jay kos are the prices. for what he's selling, the prices are high, even by new york standards. of course the success he's enjoying indicates that there are plenty of customers who are comfortable paying above-market prices for service of a certain kind in a certain setting.
post #4 of 15
I would agree with everyone here. Prices are somewhat insulting, not only Jay Kos believes his customers are not savy enough to take a plane overseas but also are incapable of crossing a block to find the exact same clothing or shoes for much less and on Madison. The owner himself was not the most pleasant individual, when I inquired about the price of a beautiful cashmere 3 buttons jacket, he gave me an outrageous price. I sighted and thanked him and moved on to another rack, he looked at me and said "Your hermes briefcase cost much more than this jacket, why not try it?". I snapped back that at that price the jacket should not be tried on but made for me. He retreated to the back of the store. That was 2 years ago and I will most likely never set foot again there.
post #5 of 15
Excellent retort-I like that.[b]
post #6 of 15
I might be preaching to the choir, but there are definitely better places in New York if you prefer the small boutique for high-end, artisan-grade quality clothing.  Cenci is generally less expensive for same-quality goods; Vacca is on par in price with superior service and quality--the salesrep insisted that I try on an Attolini simply for fit when I mentioned that I liked the drape of Isaia but couldn't even afford a $1-1.5k asking price; while the other big name labels (Kiton, Brioni, Oxxford, etc.) stock dependable mainstays at expected, if not inflated, prices. If you're interested in Edward Green, I highly recommend the Sak's shoe department; they doubled the number of models offered within the past twelve months (around 8-10 at present).
of course the success he's enjoying indicates that there are plenty of customers who are comfortable paying above-market prices for service of a certain kind in a certain setting.
I still find this hard to believe.  The salespeople at Kos were pleasant but not overly receptive nor excited about their products.  In general, I find that service at Madison Ave. stores are hit and miss for a 20-something shopper.  Kos wasn't terrible as described in pasts posts, but I've never left with the feeling that I should have purchased a pair of socks or something.
post #7 of 15
norcal, i agree with you 110% on cenci. it's one of my very favorite stores. my one experience with vacca was a little off-putting thanks to the arrogance of the salesman who "helped" me, but that was probably due to my youth. i'll give it another try. finally, you're dead-on with your tagline. i've never felt the need to purchase a thing from jay kos. however, it's clear that there are people who do, for reasons that thus far seem to have eluded all of us. i was simply trying to guess at what those reasons are.
post #8 of 15
Jay Kos is a great place to shop if you want to pay large sums of money for the privelege of being condescended to. Like the Andover shop, but New York style instead of New England style. I'd rather spend the money for a few sessions with Mistress Cruella.
post #9 of 15
I was impressed by the sophistication of the merchandise at Jay Kos. They sell private label suits by Castangia, one of my favorite makers, also, great ties. As for the prices, I can't afford to buy high end clothing at retail, anywhere, so I didn't give them much of my attention.
post #10 of 15
I find that the stuff is nice, but not earthshattering. I also find Peter Elliot to be in a similar vein as Jay Kos, but the people seem much nicer there.
post #11 of 15
Actually, I just visited Jay Kos on Saturday, and was very pleasantly surprised at the friendliness of the staff. Very helpful, very low-key, no pressure to buy anything. When I mentioned that I was interested in something that they didn't have in stock, they immediately ran it over from the other store, and didn't bat an eyelid when I later said that I wasn't ready to buy it. They also had a very impressive collection of over the calf socks, one of the best I've seen outside Italy. The only real disappointment was the rather limited range of Edward Green shoes. There were quite a few models, but virtually all of them were in the 202 last. A real pity, if you wanted to try some of the other lasts that are mentioned frequently on this Forum.
post #12 of 15
Some thoughts: 1. It's encouraging that a youngster (30 something) has entered classic men's clothing and seems to be making a go at it. He entered a field which many had considered a dead end. He is a go-getter. E.g., he has many placements in fashion spreads in Town and Country and Gentlemens Quarterly and other magazines. When he started out he did his own public relations. He gave up denistry to become a clothier, and he is in it for love of clothing and to be a success. 2. His store is a welcome addition to the classic/traditional scene. His store has been an anchor in the mini-mens clothing center of Lexington Avenue. (Peter Elliot Blue has joined the scene.) I have not been a big customer, but I have been happy with select purchases. 3. He has an excellent hat department with an excellent representation of Lock hats. I special ordered one when he had a Lock representative at the store. 4. I don't know if Rod Springer still works for him on a part time basis. He used to work at JJ Hats and Tripler (hat department). He's a first class gentleman, and you cannot find a better hat salesman. 5. I view his shop as more a haberdashery than a tailored clothing establishment. However, I believe that he has a custom tailor on staff at the Lexington Avenue store (his first store). 6. He has a good deal of English goods which you cannot buy elsewhere. E.g., he has Cristallis coats which can be special ordered. I believe that he carries New & Lingwood RTW shirts. 7. I cannot comment on his RTW and MTM tailored clothing except that it is very expensive. His RTW is his own design and exclusive to the store. 8. His other prices are very expensive. There are RTW shirts for $300-400. I found the same experience with his pricing on Edward Green shoes. It seems that sales are not advertised, but he places items on sale from time to time to either "move" them or make room for the new. As compared to Peter Elliot, sales are never advertised except for a tiny sign in the window. On the whole, this a full price store, therefore, don't come looking for a deal. 9. His taste level can be a bit weird and needs maturing. But, on the whole the taste level is good, and classics are offered. You have an easy comparison on taste levels by going across the street to Peter Elliot Blue. Each store is the product of an individual's taste, and in this world of the vanishing independent store, I applaud that.
post #13 of 15
When he first opened he carried Lock hats, and then he stopped for some reason, citing that "the quality control was awful". I really have very little faith in someone who denigrates a line that he was pushing just a year before. It indicates that some poor sucker got stuck with the merchandise that the salesman now no longer considers worthwhile stocking. It makes one feel that one could be this year's sucker. Furthermore, Jay seems to believe that if he doesn't sell it, it's not worth buying. Again, not a person I'd like to buy something from -- especially at his prices.
post #14 of 15
Along those same lines, on my first time in the store, he pestered the heck out of me. First he asked about all the clothes I was wearing, and then proceeded to tell me why his were so much better. It fine to be proud of what you sell, but it came across as really tacky, asking me about what brands I was wearing. And by telling me that his were better, it was a subtle insult at the clothes I happened to be wearing at the time. I finally relented and let him put a suit jacket on me, which was totally unflattering on my body. I could tell this in an instant, after 10 years of buying custom and MTM suits. He proceeded to tell me why I looked so good in his jacket, etc, which really annoyed me, since it was so obvious that it didnt. As far as not carrying Lock hats anymore, I dont see what is so bad about saying, in a very mature and straightforward manner, that we discontinued the relationship because of quality issues. Actually, id want to know if there were quality issues, so I would know in advance when seeing these goods in another store. I think its all in how you say it though. I went into the Oxxford store in NYC about a yr ago to look at the Edward Green shoes, and they were gone. After asking what happened, the manager went into a tirade about the quality of EG shoes, the nightmarish delivery times, etc. He then told me that they would be carrying Crockett & Jones handgrades, which in his estimation were a "much finer" shoe then EG. Now to me, that is NOT the right way to end a business relationship. On top of that, he was full of shit, since anyone who knows a thing about shoes knows full well EG's are a notch about any line of Crockett & Jones. It came across as sour grapes, as well as a bit deceiving.
post #15 of 15
Dear Phil: I can tell you a little about Oxxford and Edward Green shoes. The Oxxford store stopped carrying it because they weren't selling. They did not have the room to hold all of the models. The store decided to drop shoes because of the difficulty of carrying inventory. Alan Bennett of Davies & Son, London, used to carry shoes, but he dropped them for the same reason. In other words, unless you have the selling space and built-in business of Brooks or Barneys, it is better to specialize and build on your strengths (i.e., tailored clothes) than try to be a general mens store. Ironically, when Jay started he carried some private label shoes and RTW New & Lingwood. He dropped the shoes since they did not sell, and it was too hard to keep a inventory of various sizes in a small store. That was done before he expanded his Lexington Avenue shop. Jay once told me that he felt that the Lock hats were inferior to Borsalino hats. He told me that some of his customers prefer Lock because of tradition and the British look. Jay can be very opinated and pushy. However, the traditional clothing scene would be less interesting without this "young Turk."
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