The days are getting colder, so why shouldn’t your wardrobe do the same? Chicago boutique owners give us the lowdown on some of the biggest menswear trends of the season
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FOR HIM: Men's store proprietors (from left) Lindsay McKay, Adam Beltzman, Brad Habansky, Phillip Williams, Ralph Fasano, and Jeff Worth
Compared with its urban brethren—New York City, Paris, and Milan—Chicago is the sartorial stepchild in the men’s fashion world. For a time, it seemed that most men in the Windy City preferred jeans, T-shirts, and baseball hats to tailored, form-fitting clothes, and would sooner see their beloved Bears lose to the Packers than go shopping.
Now the typical Chicago man knows that soap and water alone are not acceptable substitutes for shampoo and shaving cream but still won’t spend hours at Sephora looking for products. “Men are learning that not every guy who dresses well is a metrosexual,” says Adam Beltzman, the owner of Haberdash in Old Town. “Just because a guy is fashionable doesn’t mean he gets his back waxed every week.” “He likes change and likes to look good,” says Ralph Fasano of his typical male customer. “We’re finding that when men look good, they get rewarded.” Fasano, along with Jeff Worth, owns His Stuff in Andersonville.
The rise of boutiques in the city is also encouraging men to develop their personal styles. “As long as stores like these pop up, Chicago men’s fashion will continue to come into its own,” says Lindsay McKay, the owner of TK Men in Bucktown.
Although the typical Chicago man might not be likely to wear furry Gucci boots (hot off the Milan runway), boutiques in the city continue to offer fresh fall options for men who are style curious but cringe at words like “manscaping,” “manbag,” and “metrosexual.” (Trust us, we do, too.) When it comes to sorting through the trends shown on the major runways, these boutique owners have got your back—waxed or not.
WHAT MAKES OR BREAKS A MAN'S STYLE?
OUR CONNOISSEURS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS
“I’m attracted to stronger colors and pieces put together in
an effortless way.” —Lindsay McKay, the owner of TK Men
“I respect a guy who has a personal sense of style and can rock it.”
—Adam Beltzman, the owner of Haberdash
“What I notice is the cut of the clothes. I will notice the way a man walks, the jauntiness, the sense of confidence. Clothes play such an important part in that.” —John Jones, an owner of George Greene
“It turns me on if somebody makes it his own as opposed to a generic, out-of-the-mall look.” —Jeff Worth, an owner of His Stuff
“I’ll notice a cool pair of jeans.”
—Brad Habansky, the owner of Guise
“Some guys will come in and ask, ‘What’s your most popular jean?’ We hate that question. Just because a jean is popular doesn’t mean it will look good on you.” —Phillip Williams, the manager of Haberdash
“Inappropriate, not properly shined shoes.” —John Jones
“If the clothes don’t fit right, guys can look ‘schlumpity.’” —Ralph Fasano, an owner of His Stuff
“True Religion jeans, Oakley sunglasses, concert T-shirts, embroidery on blazers and shirts.” —Brad Habansky
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