Call me old fashioned but when it comes to shopping for clothes, give me a bricks and mortar store over the wonders of the world wide web any day of the week. Do not get me wrong, the internet has helped men broaden their style horizons at a faster rate – fashion flows quicker thanks to the click of a mouse – but for me, and I’d like to think most men who are out of their teens, nothing beats walking into a shop and trying the clothes on before deciding what you do and do not want at the cash desk.
Better still are independent stores, the kind where the staff know their clothes, love their clothes even; they are not there for the Saturday day job, they are there because fashion, style and looking good are part and parcel of who they are. The independents may have suffered in recent economic climes but it is up to us as conscious shoppers to ensure they are not engulfed by the fast-fashion behemoths.
Independent menswear stores are the lifeblood of menswear and thankfully, men seem to recognize this; maybe it’s because we are a little more reticence than our female counterparts when it comes to forward thinking in the fashion department but us gents still seem to hold the traditional shop in high esteem. We like to try things on, feel the fabric and know what we are getting for our money.
Where women will buy their clothes and then return half their purchases, when we buy something, we’re keeping it. This in fact helps menswear’s stores to thrive, giving them a loyal, passionate shopper who knows what they like and essentially sticks with it.
Thankfully for us men, no matter where we are or whether we are away on business or pleasure, there are a wealth of great stores dotted around Europe so if you’re on a city break or have lost your overnight bag on that short haul flight, here’s a few of our favourite stores in some of Europe’s coolest cities.
Much like Berlin itself, this store combines an old industrial building resplendent with some of the hippest brands from across the globe. From ACNE to Y-3, Adidas to Wood Wood, Voo brings together a great blend of high end fashion with contemporary street style. With a great little coffee shop and a plethora of fantastic magazines to peruse, you’ll be able to while away a considerable amount of time in this great urban space. Plus there’s plenty of womenswear so your partner won’t get bored either.
VooStore, Oranienstraße 24, 10999 Berlin, Germany
TENUE DE NIMES, AMSTERDAM
If you want to get sorted out for a great pair of jeans, look no further than these guys. Amsterdam is developing a reputation as a hub of great denim and these boys are leading the way with a host of great brands. Denim may be their specialty but dig beneath the layers of indigo and there’s a host of great brands from workwear Americana (Levi’s Vintage Clothing and Made & Crafted) to brands such as A.P.C and ACNE.
Tenue De Nimes, Haarlemmerstraat 92-94 1013 EV Amsterdam
Possibly the ultimate hipster shop (Opening Ceremony may have something to say about that) Parisian store Colette has been part of the street style-meets-fashion mix long before it became part of the mainstream consciousness. From hip skater kids to Japanese tourists looking for Europe’s latest must have brands, this store is hipper than hip.
Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honore, 5001, Paris
When it comes to great labels and a great shop, Other is one of London’s go-to stores for men in the know (and those who want to know). In much the same vain as the store itself the labels are small in stature but mighty in terms of kudos. Etudes, Common and Matthew Miller are just three of the coolest brands in this wonderful store tucked away just off the chaos of Regent Street.
Other Shop, 21 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5QA
OI POLLOI, MANCHESTER
It’s not just London that holds the fashion power in the UK you know, as I am sure Manchester based Oi Polloi will be quick to tell you. These laid back, cheeky chaps combine an array of brands that lend themselves towards football / music culture infused with a man who likes to look good. From A.P.C to Y.M.C, Oi Polloi floats easily between street wear and high end clobber to make this a one stop shop for all your wardrobe requirements.
Oi Polloi, 63 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1LQ
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS…
We men are a straightforward bunch, especially as far as our clothes are concerned – once we’ve found a brand, or brands, that we like, we generally stick to it and the same can be said for our shopping habits. Thankfully, while the world wide web does its utmost to turn every high street into a bland imagination of itself, there are a host of independent stores battling to keep cities and towns unique.
These stores are just the tip of the iceberg, there are towns and cities the length and breadth of Europe with small menswear stores just waiting to kit you out in brands you may never have heard of so while the internet will always have it’s good points, you cannot beat a trusty store and the people who provide that extra care and attention when it comes to your new wardrobe.