God Dress Ye Merry Gentleman
I love giving gifts and I love receiving them. Bright paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things. What I adore about a gift is that is someone took time, the most precious commodity, to choose something just for me. Even more so than receiving shiny parcels, I love discovering the ideal something special for my family and friends. The ultimate gift does not have to be extravagant, but should be something that makes the receiver feel valued or will make his or her life easier or more enjoyable.
When prepping for the gift-giving season, I make my list, check it twice and know what all the females, tweens and toddlers in my life will receive. However, when it comes to unearthing the ideal gift for my menfolk, this stylist is stumped. Fortunately, I have found a few elves around town to assist in this gender-specific conundrum. The subsequent suggestions of where to shop have in common impeccable customer relationships, unique items and specialty services that will make any husband, brother, boyfriend, boss or uncle feel appreciated.
Fit for a King
Henry Torrence is a menswear boutique that specializes in bespoke clothing. “Bespoke” is an English term most commonly used in men’s fashion that simply means “custom made.” To have an item made in bespoke fashion means that everything about the piece, from the fit to the design to the fabric, was chosen at the discretion of the customer or buyer. There is a high degree of selection and involvement regarding the features and production of the garment, both by the tailor and the customer. The shop is owned and operated by Henry Torrence himself and has a full line of men’s bespoke suits, jackets and dress shirts. Torrence carries only fine Italian fabrics and uses top-rate tailors. For those in need of immediate gratification, the shop also features handcrafted ties, luxurious wool socks and cashmere in many forms.
2036 Magazine Street
Get your Shine On
Tucked in the back of Henry Torrence’s bespoke clothing shop at 2036 Magazine Street is Patina Shoe Parlor. Owner and cobbler by accident, Alexander Bourne, started shining shoes after he purchased what he thought was just a “really cool wood box” at a garage sale. Upon a twist of fate, Bourne had a gala to attend one evening and his shoes were in dire need of a polish. Something tempted him to open that interesting container and since then this 22-year-old English and pre-dentistry major from Minnesota has been buffing and shining away. What sets Bourne’s work apart from other local craftsmen is that he does pick-up and delivery from your home or office. Bourne will gladly come to your closet or place of business and shine all your shoes, take away any worn-out handbags and briefcases and return them as good as new. He can make your pocketbooks and fancy shoes appear as if they just came out the box.
Patina Shoe Parlor
2036 Magazine Street
Rooted in Tradition
At NOLA Fashion Week I came across a menswear line called Tradition by Laurence Kennedy. Kennedy, the designer, draws inspiration from East Coast academic apparel and adds a modern twist. Tradition is reminiscent of prep school aesthetics (think vintage Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger), yet has subtle details that make each item current and unique. The genius behind this clothing line is how men across generations can wear Kennedy’s pieces. Tradition has sophisticated jersey pullovers ideal for cooler temperatures that are equally stylish over a dress shirt or a tee for a casual brunch. The line also features an array of bow ties in non-traditional fabrics such as corduroy and chambray. Sleek oxfords and jackets are also available for purchase.
If it Ain’t Broke
Tried and true. You can never go wrong with the selection and service at Rubenstein’s. The staff has perfected the art of selling men’s fashion to every male regardless of his size, shape, fashion sense or lack thereof. Rubenstein’s is not your grandfather’s store. The staff—from James, your complimentary valet on Canal Street to Allison Marshall, Rubenstein’s marketing director— truly understand the psychology of the modern male shopper. The store caters to all men, from the most discriminating fashion-forward clothes horse to the man who believes anything other than a football jersey is “dressed up.” If you are on the verge of a gift-giving crisis, call Rubenstein’s salesman extraordinaire, Kelly Doyle, to come to your rescue.
Corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue
Wishing all my well-heeled elves very merry shopping!