Stroll into any retail clothing store focused primarily on menswear, and you'll likely find a few things: an assortment of clothing, staff trained to be stylists as well as salespeople, and some kind of cafe serving drinks and often food. It's a one-stop shop that's curated so that anything you pick up is stylish and current.
And it all seems to be targeting one man: the kind who actually likes to shop and who has the money (but not necessarily the know-how) to do it often.
Today's man, after all, is more particular about his appearance, and stores are hoping that extra perks (like a putting green, for example) could help move that process along. Gone are the days when a man's mother or partner did his shopping for him. This kind of man — in retailers' minds, at least — actually spends money on clothing and shops for himself. An additional reason to come in, like a large cappuccino made with name-brand beans, or a glass of Pinot, might just be the ticket to lure him in.
The product has to be right, too. This theoretical man isn't so particular that he knows exactly what he wants. In retailers' minds, he doesn't necessarily have time to do the research online, so he wants to come to stores where the selection is pre-edited. Everything looks cool, so theoretically there's no "wrong choice" in the store, compared to a larger department store where choices are endless and landmines abound.
That, along with the friendly "Here, have a drink!" vibe, could lead to more men stepping in off the street just because they know they won't be intimidated by the selection.
Many stores, especially in New York City, have been following this trend. Todd Snyder's new store, which opened late last year, is maybe the quintessential version. Though its front-of-house cafe and barbershop are not yet open, it also has an optical area, small watch boutique, and tailoring services, on top of a myriad of in-style clothing options.
"[We want to] make the experience memorable, and make it a place people want to hang out trust and come to as a resource," Snyder told Business Insider in January.
Snyder originated the idea when he was head of men's clothing design at J.Crew, where he pioneered the brand's men's-only "liquor store" concept. Unlike the building's previous occupants, the "liquor store" didn't serve food or drink, but it did serve up an artfully selected line of clothing from both J.Crew and collaborators.
Saks Fifth Avenue just opened its first menswear-focused store in downtown Manhattan. It has its own putting green and will eventually have its very own in-store Fika coffee bar and Sharps barbershop.
Brooks Brothers carries both men's and women's clothing, but it's perhaps best known for its menswear. The brand's location on Broadway in New York City hosts a happy hour in its basement Red Fleece cafe.
Retailers are realizing that with the rise of ecommerce, customers need another reason to come into a brick-and-mortar store. Part of that includes making the store a focal point for a community, in a similar way Lululemon has done with its in-store yoga classes. Another part of that is having a staff that is knowledgeable enough to steer guys in the right direction.
These new stores even look similar, with more rustic, wooden interiors eschewing the high-gloss sheen seen in a typical department store.
When these retailers are asked who they're targeting with these stores, the answers are always nearly the same.
"[It's] this average guy who isn't afraid of fashion, not afraid to go shopping, not afraid to try on things," Snyder said. "Especially in New York City, there's a lot of them."
Marc Metrick, the president of Saks, told The New York Times something similar.
"Men are having a fashion moment. Probably for the first time ever. Right now, they don’t have a base," he said.
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