I'm a proud American living in Europe, but on a recent visit to family in Atlanta, I was reminded of how poorly American high-end retail performs relative to European. In Atlanta, I visited Guffey's and Neiman-Marcus. First, some praise. Neimans has substantially raised its brand quality relative to when I last lived here in the 1990s. It stocks a great suit selection including Brioni, Kiton, Isaia, and Zegna. Pants featured Incotex. And shoes include great brands like Mantellassi, Kiton, and John Lobb. Guffey's has mostly traditional American cuts like Robert Talbott and Hickey-Freeman, but they also stock some Santoni shoes. My understanding is that these are the two best menswear retailers in Atlanta, an affluent city of 3.5M+ citizens. Here are the disappointments: The shoes on display could not have been a less inspired selection of the respective brands. Neiman's one Mantellassi was the lamest that I've seen. The Lobbs and Kitons looked like they had been beaten with a Johnson & Murphy stick. Guffey's Santonis were worst of breed. Dull dull dull. Buyers can do much better than this. I contrast this to most European capitals, which have one or more shoe stores with selections that melt even the strongest of men. In Luxembourg, a city of 80,000, there's a store with a dream collection of 4-10 well-chosen models of each of the following brands: Lobb, EG, Santoni, JM Weston, StefanoBi, Heschung, Fratelli Rosetti, Loake, and Alden. I have never seen an American shoe department/store come close to the assortment of the great, dedicated shoe stores in Europe. Sizing, as usual in the US, didn't serve anyone 5'8" or shorter. Neimans didn't have a single item in stock to fit a <32" waist or <38 jacket. Granted, this is the tail end of the menswear bell curve, but European stores do stock these sizes. To buy quality items in my size, I need to custom order or hope that Neimans has that single item in some other store somewhere in their system. I contrast this with Italy or France. On a recent visit to a store that carried Incotex, I was able to buy 6 pair of 30" waist Incotex pants, in-stock and on sale. Fit, also as usual in the US, did not come in slim. Admittedly Americans do tend to prefer the box shape, but stocking exclusively this in a Kiton or Brioni seems criminal. These suits shine best when sculpted. I asked the salesman about stocking a more Italian cut for their Italian suits, and he basically said that that's what alterations and made-to-measure are for. One might justify the differences between the US and Europe by differences in taste (for fit, style, quality) and size. But I would argue that anyone in the market for the brands of suits and shoes that I've mentioned would appreciate the original, non-Americanized aesthetics. I simply don't understand why American high-end retail buyers make the decisions they do. In general, American retail blows away that of any other country in terms of selection, efficiency, and value. But when it comes to high-end, Europe has our number in a big way. At some point, I'll return to the States, hopefully stocked with a decade's supply of great items bought in Europe. Until then, I hope that the progress that stores like Neimans are making continues to its full potential. Folks paying this kind of money for high-end clothes deserve better than what American retail buyers are presenting them.