I like to shop! Maybe not quite as much as Nikki or Corinne, but I do like to shop.
So this BLOG is dedicated to those wonderful stores and boutiques that keep me looking dapper while not putting too much of a dent in my man-purse! Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to present you with MY top 20 places to shop. . .
IN THE MALL
www.zara.com I first discovered Zara about 7 years ago. I became a huge fan due to the well made clothing, the cheap price tag and the overall European style and fit to all their clothes. Everything feels tailored on me and I love how good the quality is. I bought a suit in 2006, I wore it all the time, and only now in 2010 have holes started to appear. And if I’m to be honest, that’s because my belly got a little too large – so I can’t blame the material. Top Tip – their winter season is always their best season (which is funny considering they originated in Spain). Olé!
HERITAGE 1981 / FOREVER 21
www.forever21.com/heritage1981 I know what you’re thinking – Forever 21 is for girls, right? Wrong! That’s what I thought too – but while walking through the F21 at the Watertown Mall one day last year, I stumbled across a section for guys. Heritage 1981 is young, fresh and very retro in style. Once again it’s very cheap and good quality. I recently bought a faux leather jacket for only $40! WARNING – The Burlington Mall recently removed Heritage 1981 from their store. I’m starting a protest – who’s with me??
www.tjmaxx.com Ok, if anyone says anything about TJ MAXX, they are in big trouble! You’ve seen the commercials on TV! “Designer Labels for Less” – and that’s exactly what it does. If it were not for TJ MAXX I would not have a Ralph Lauren Polo shirt in every colour of the rainbow or a nice pair of Dolce & Gabbana trousers for under $40. God bless you TJ MAXX and all who shop in you.
NORDSTROM – THE RACK
www.shop.nordstrom.com/c/nordstrom-rack If you feel like splashing out on something a little more ‘debonair,’ then Nordstrom may tickle your fancy. But wait!!! Did you know that The Rack (at the Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers) is Nordstrom’s very own outlet centre? There are seriously big discounts on past and current seasons. I bought a gentleman’s silk pocket-square (originally $50) for just $10. And a pair of Armani Exchange sunglasses for just $20. Deal! Sold! Nice! Done!
TOPMAN / TOPSHOP
www.topman.com / www.topshop.com There was a lot of hype in the US when Topshop introduced a flagship store in NYC. The reason? It’s good stuff! I’ve been shopping at their little brother store ‘Topman’ for many years. It’s a great place to buy basics, shoes, accessories and even suits: All at a low price and all to the latest trends. If you can fight through the hoards of teenagers – there are some great purchases to be made. Just hop on the Fung Wah and you’ll be shopping in no time. Top Banana!
www.aldoshoes.com I’ll keep this short, because generally speaking men don’t care a lot about shoe shopping. I like buying shoes at Aldo because they last me forever, they are reasonably priced and it is one of the few places I can buy shoes and boots with a decent ‘point’ to the end. I hate shoes with flat ends – give me a pair of winkle-pickers any day! Aldo is also good to pick up a few basic cheap accessories, such as hats, jewelry and sunglasses. Hop to it!
ON NEWBURY STREET
www.hm.com I think H&M are just getting better and better and better. They are really hitting the mark (and in some cases setting the mark) when it comes to seasonal trends. I would agree that the women’s department is a lot better than the men’s in terms of choice – but guys have some great options to compliment their wardrobe and there are always lots of accessories to choose from. Let us not forget, that if it weren’t for H&M we men would not be secretly wearing novelty superman pants underneath our trousers. Hooray for novelty underwear!
www.marcjacobs.com Marc Jacobs, like many clever fashion designers has produced those clothes you can afford and those you can’t afford. But if you head over to Newbury Street, you will find a happy selection of menswear at affordable rates. Remember this guy is at the top of his game in the fashion world; it’s rare to see stores of this caliber exclusively for men, so make the most of it I say! Top Marcs!
RALPH LAUREN – RUGBY
www.rugby.com I like to walk around this shop. It makes me feel like I’m slightly posh! However I cannot bring myself to actually make a purchase here. It’s just far too expensive! So why is it on my list I hear you cry? Well, because I love the clothes. And I love them so much – I source them out at consignment shops and sales! That’s what I call a Nice-Try!
www.benshermanusa.com “Look out, the British are Coming!” To be honest I’d never wear Ben Sherman in England. It’s too over exposed and worn by scruffy teenagers who stand around street corners or given to Dads at Christmas time. But in America, I like Ben. I really like Ben. It has a totally different edge to it, it’s cooler – it just seems to work better over here. Check out the shoe section of the store on Newbury Street – they have an amazing Union Jack footstool made of leather. I put in an offer one day, but sadly they wouldn’t sell it to me.
SECOND TIME AROUND
www.secondtimearound.net Great little shop on Newbury street that sells ‘vintage’ (loose use of that word) mens and womens clothing. They also have a large selection of high-end fashion items and I like how the staff members have their own rack of recommendations based on their own personalities. It’s a good shop to find a few ‘out of the ordinary items;’ however it can be a little over priced. I guess…time is money!?
www.buffaloexchange.com If you have never heard of this place – I fully recommend you hop on the Red Line and get off at Davis Square. You can do two things at Buffalo Exchange – buy clothes, or sell clothes (for hard cash or in-store credit). It’s a great way to get rid of your old wardrobe and exchange it for something new. Think along the lines of Aladdin and his lamp – that sort of thing. But what surprises me the most about B.E – they get a fair share of big designer labels which they sell for very reasonable prices. I was recently very tempted to buy a Juicy Couture Men’s Kilt for $30! But then I thought to my self…”Where would I wear Juicy Couture?”
THE SALVATION ARMY
www.use.salvationarmy.org When you go to a Salvation Army, be prepared! You should go with a plentiful supply of hand sanitizer in one pocket, wet-wipes in the other, and always make sure you wear dark coloured clothing. But if you are willing to brave the musty smell and take time to sift through racks and racks of rejects – I promise there will be some incredible items you never thought you’d ever find. One of my most proud purchases from a Salvation store was a Ralph Lauren Rugby shirt (current season, originally sold on Newbury Street for over $80) – and I bought it off the rack for less than $1. Now that’s what I call Salvation!
BOBBY’S OF BOSTON
www.yelp.com/biz/bobby-from-boston-boston Bobby’s of Boston is a famous, vintage emporium based in the stylish South End of the city. Although it is a little pricey at times – Bobby’s clothes are real vintage and real nice! When you walk in, Bobby himself may greet you at the door and welcome you in to his wood paneled, Macho Man Randy Savage of a shop with a full size pool table in the middle of the room, and the best of male vintage draped from the walls. This is a piece of Boston’s shopping history – don’t miss it!
THE GARMENT DISTRICT
www.garment-district.com Based in Cambridge, the Garment District is a popular place to get all your Halloween costumes. However there is a large section of second hand clothing for men and women. It’s worth stopping in there from time to time to do a little bargain hunting. You can stock up on your wigs and novelty sunglasses at the same time.
www.bdgastore.com/blog/ Bodega is a secretive little shoe shop in a secret location behind a secret door. But if you manage to track it down, you’ll find yourself wandering around Willy Wonker and the Shoe Factory. There are enough rare and limited edition sneakers and shoes to get any man excited about shoes. Did you ever hear of a pair of Kevin Garnett sneakers designed in conjunction with the British Soccer team Chelsea Football Club? Well, Bodega had a few pairs last year – it turns out Kevin loves Soccer and he’s a supporter of Chelsea FC. He had these shoes designed and a few lucky people had the chance to buy them exclusively from Bodega. My friend Kevin bought a pair (a different Kevin)!
BEST OF BRITISH
www.harveynichols.com I just wanted to throw a few British stores in to the mix. I love shopping at each of these places whenever I’m back in Blighty. The famous Harvey Nichols is a treasure trove of ‘off-the-runway’ fashions, designer labels and a haunt by almost every celebrity in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood are three of my favorite sections to walk around. And if I feel like spending a small fortune – I may just have to buy something too.
www.camdenlockmarket.com If you ever go to London, please avoid the tourist traps. London is never more real than in Camden. The famous market has a wealth of alternative fashion boutiques and vintage stores. There are giant shoes stuck on the walls, chandeliers hanging in the railway tunnels and a real mix of London’s alternative scene. A great place to shop – but a better place just to hang-out!
ARMSTRONGS VINTAGE EMPORIUM
www.armstrongsvintage.com Armstrong’s is a special type of vintage clothes shop. Based in Edinburgh, fashion designers from around the world come here to source inspiration for their coming seasons. Designers such as Prada and Gucci have both sent their buyers and sample stealers to delve deep into the racks and boxes of Armstrongs incredible array of vintage clothing. One day I went in there and a young guy was playing the guitar – it was most pleasant!
RUE LA LA
www.ruelala.com Rue La La is probably the best shopping experience I’ve ever had online. First of all – you have to be invited by someone you know in order to join. So already I feel exclusive and part of a secret shopping club. Then, I get updates about special sales they are having with top designers. Just a couple of weeks ago, Rue La La were selling off Valentino cheaper than if it had been stolen by a bunch of gypsy’s! They also do feature events like wedding sales (where you can buy anything from wedding dresses, tuxedo’s and even the gift registry). Oh and that reminds me, it’s not just clothes, Rue La La also sell home goods and novelty items.
The next time you visit Rue La La – check out the gorgeous models. Chances are they will be Model Club models. That’s right – we work a lot with the wonderful people at Rue. So when I shop there, it’s like buying clothes from my friends. The catch is – even you get the benefit of ‘mate’s rates!’
Hopefully I came out of that still looking somewhat stylish????! Thanks for reading!