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Men's Shopping Made Easy In Philadelphia

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Style-wise, most cities are melting pots. But when it comes to menswear, Philly’s fashion mash-up comprises a dynamic dichotomy. At the one end of the spectrum are long-established—even historic—men’s clothiers. At the other resides a youthful, independent, urban movement toward retro street style and local indie brands. Sure, there’s a little in-between, but even Philly’s menswear middle ground is made up of mix: sporty yet sophisticated, tailored yet tattooed. Take a look across the landscape, from tony Rittenhouse Square to grittier South Philly to historic-yet-artsy Old City, and discover the distinctively dual dapperness of Philadelphia men.

Rittenhouse Square’s Tailored Traditions:

  • Boyds – For the greater part of 75 years, the polished tiers of this Rittenhouse Square family business catered to men and only men, with a battalion of salesmen and dozens of tailors known for their take-charge, can-do philosophy. Today, there’s an equally polished women’s department, but men rule still, via power suits, shoes and refined sportswear from vaunted labels such as Trussini, Brioni, Armani, Canali, Etro, Hickey Freeman, Valstar, Paul Smith and Kiton. Among Boyds upper-crust services: free valet parking; interpreters in Portuguese, Russian, Korean and more; and shoe shines and repair by the Rossi family (who’ve been at it for a century). 1818 Chestnut Street, (215) 564-9000,
  • Commonwealth Proper – In the spring of 2008, attorney Craig Arthur von Schroeder was disappointed at the local dearth of modern-yet-retro, stylishly form-fitting business suits, so he took matters into his own hands. Today, the tattooed von Schroeder measures clients for affordable-yet-investment-worthy, bespoke-yet-modern suiting and topcoats made from English glen plaids, basic navy wool and linen, at his studio. Commonwealth Proper also offers a variety of fabric choices for custom dress shirts and offers a retail line of ready-to-wear ties, pocket squares and brass collar stays. 1839 Chestnut Street, (267) 319-1741,
  • Distanté Clothing – Distinctive custom shirting—with tall, strong collars and French cuffs—
    is the hallmark of Charlie Morrotta’s men’s shop, a Philadelphia staple since 1983. Morrotta has each shirt made in one of two small factories (there’s one in Naples, Italy and another in the U.S.)—typically in less than three weeks. Distanté also offers suiting and sports coats and ready-to-wear shirts and accessories. The shop’s in-house tailors gladly and expertly perform alterations and adjustments on pieces purchased elsewhere and have become known for their same-day turnaround—not to mention their ability to reproduce favorite pieces, seam for seam and button for button. 1510 Sansom Street, (215) 545-2850,
  • Duke & Winston – Seun Olubodun launched a line of Brit-inspired, bulldog-emblazoned T-shirts back in 2009. Today, his anti-ironic approach to modern preppy dressing also includes baseball caps, bulldog-motif ties and bow ties, dog wear and weekend bags, all sold from a rustically lounge-like, 2,600-square-foot walk-up, where the focus is predominantly on the guys. 1822 Chestnut Street, (267) 639-5594,
  • Ikiré Jones – Nigerian-born Afrobeat musician, attorney and menswear designer, one of Esquire’s“Best Dressed Real Men in America,” put down his American roots in a Rittenhouse studio, where his business turns out cut- and sewn-to-order Neapolitan-style jackets known for their roped shoulders and West African wax canvas prints. Definitely not for the shy, the boldly patterned pieces, including scarves and pocket squares, stand out as exceptionally stylish. More conservative clientele can order jackets made with patterns found only on linings and lapel interiors. Online and by appointment only. 131 N. 21st Street,
  • Henry A. Davidsen – Custom is the name of the game at this elegant, hidden showroom known for its classic lines, perfect fits and flawless formalwear. Owner and image consultant Brian Lipstein offers four levels of suits, from first-time investments to hand-sewn works of wearable art. Each creation requires multiple measurements and six to eight weeks lead time, and, if the wearer so chooses, can be accompanied by custom shirting (including custom polos), silk ties, overcoats, denim and extras such as Bulova watches, cuff links, magnetic collar stays, pocket squares and pocket rounds. By appointment only. 1701 Spruce Street, 2nd floor, (215) 253-5905,
  • Mettler’s American Mercantile – American-made goods are the only stock-and-trade of this co-ed newcomer, a Michigan staple that deemed fit to establish its first East Coast outpost in a historic church in Center City. The shop provides a warm backdrop for three-piece suits, Madras shirts, Shetland sweaters, motorcycle jackets, wingtip boots and nautical T-shirts and accessories, all proudly designed and manufactured within the 50 states. 2129 Chestnut Street, (215) 587-2129,
  • ToBox – Locally exclusive shoe lines—by Scarpe di Bianco, La Cordonnerie Anglaise, Yanko, John Lobb—are the key features at Tung To’s boutique. But the owner, a veteran of Nordstrom’s and Boyd’s shoe departments, also offers clients luggage, Italian socks, handmade pocket squares and lapel pins, leather repair and shoe shines. As a bonus, the shop’s vintage furnishings are for sale too. 25 S. 19thStreet, (215) 644-9435,

Old City’s New Heritage:

  • Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – Brought to Philly by the (local) distillers of Root, Snap and other vintage-inspired spirits, this rustic boutique is all about giving props to creators of things and revivers of lost inventions, which makes for a lush, insightful and totally hip shopping experience. Founding owner Steve Grasse stocked the space with locally made art and furnishings, plus heartily constructed, casually on-point clothing for men and women, including new and been-around-forever menswear labels like Tellason Denim; Penfield jackets and Gitman Bros. button-downs; leather utility pouches; hand-tooled leather pouches; worn-in chukka boots; hand-stitched leather totes; and original artist-printed T-shirts. 116 N. 3rd Street, (215) 922-2600,
  • Briar Vintage – Like Don Draper’s closet (if Don Draper’s dapper period had lasted for a couple of centuries), this well-outfitted vintage shop sells the finest in men’s fashions, dating from the 1960s back to the 1800s. Find hand-knit varsity sweaters, classic bowler hats, mint-condition oxford shoes, impeccable bow ties and traditional suiting that guys have gone for forever. 62 N. 3rd Street, (215) 627-1990,
  • Charlie’s Jeans – Jeans guru Sebastian McCall may be best known for fitting women, but he doesn’t shy away from getting men looking good in denim either. He’s got two places for guys to shop. He first set roots down in Old City and later opened a well-trafficked location near Rittenhouse Square. Both spots offer tops and dresses, too, but are best known for McCall’s own eponymous line of perfectly sized dungarees. 1735 Chestnut Street, (215) 564-2495; 233-237 Market Street, (215) 923-9681,
  • Lost + Found – Mother-and-daughter Sandy and Jenny Martin know guys. They know what they like to wear—laid-back but still-styled plaid Penguin shirts, grown-up skater looks from Obey, urban-prep separates by Ben Sherman and standout vintage pieces—and they know what they like to spend on their clothes—not a lot. Although the greater portion of their Old City shop belongs to well priced, on-trend women’s styles, the can’t-miss guy’s section is for those who want to look good without looking like they’re trying too hard. 133 N. 3rd Street, (215) 928-1311
  • Sugarcube – Vintage mixes with vintage-looking pieces at this marvelously designed Old City repository of modern-yet-timeless men’s and women’s fashion. Coveted small-label looks—classic menswear from Farah 1920, casual-chic separates from Rag & Bone and Paris’ A.P.C., plus hard-wearing-yet-fashion-forward standbys from Levi’s Vintage Collection, Dunderdon, Feltraiger, BLKSMTH and Williamsburg Garment Company—provide an all-American vibe with a subtly artsy edge. In short: It’s the perfect place for a guy to dress himself without the slightest risk of missing the mark. 124 N. 3rdStreet, (215) 238-0825,

South Street & South Philly Finds:

  • ARMOUR Philadelphia – The fashion project of corporate world escapee David Grimes sophisticatedly peddles its independent-minded sartorial choices along Fabric Row. Among the rare and wonderful finds here are Circle of Gentleman’s trademark dress shirts, Howe’s SoCal-spirited blazers and hoodies, futuristic separates from NativeDanger, coveted excerpts from Hyden Yoo’s line, plus handmade totes, newsboy caps and classic Goorin Brothers hats.704 S. 4th Street, (267) 928-2002,
  • Cheesesteaktees – This South Street shop designs and sells apparel that shows how Philly sports fans really feel. While Cheesesteak stocks classically worn-in licensed Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and Sixers T-shirts and caps, the real stars of the store’s show are its clever (and sometimes borderline inappropriate) printed pullovers—“Doc&Moses&Toney&Cheeks” recalls a 76ers shirt; “I’ve got a Chip on my shoulder” says an Eagles tee; “I Got 99 Problems, but a Pitch Ain’t One,” says a Phillies shirt; and It’s Better Downtheshore,” says a summertime tank. 506 South Street, (215) 238-5880,
  • Metro Men’s – Ben Sherman, Fred Perry, Scotch & Soda and Report Collection are among the fast-moving brands at this youthful retail closet, one of the anchors of South Philly’s trendy East Passyunk neighborhood. Owner Tom Longo stocks everything from brightly striped business socks to soft-washed Phillies T-shirts, bright bathing trunks to plaid golf umbrellas. 1600 E. Passyunk Avenue, (267) 324-5172,
  • Ps & Qs – In October 2012, the guys behind Abakus Takeout invited indie designers and heritage brands such as Norse Projects, Penfield, Naked & Famous, Pendleton and Topo Designs to hop aboard the racks and shelves of this playful modern shop for the urban outdoorsman. Owners Ky and Rick Cao (they’re brothers) and Joseph Lardizabal also stock accessories (the Hill Side scarves and ties, Herschel Supply Co., plus Ray Bans and Oakleys) and shoes (Thorocraft, Cole Haan, Saucony and Treton), along with small-maker soaps, candles and hair and skin care—all in manly scents, of course. 820 South Street, (215) 592-0888,
  • Totem Brand – Classic, rustic, American. That’s Totem Brand in a few words. The store carries men’s clothing—from Wolverine, Danner, Raleigh Denim, Rogue Territory, Billy Kirk, Taylor Stitch and Pointer Brand—plus candles, soaps and incense that appeal to the outdoorsman in everyone. The USA-made or -manufactured promise means people feel good about their purchases. 535 South Street, (215) 440-9922,

Street Wear All Over Town:

  • Mitchell & Ness – Founded more than a century ago as a sporting goods store, this indie operation turned into an international powerhouse after its former owner convinced the estates of Babe Ruth and his contemporaries to allow reproduction and sale of their uniform jerseys. Soon, MTV, then Puff Daddy caught on, and the shop’s pro baseball, then basketball, football and ice hockey shirts were showing up in pop videos and hip-hop lyrics. Today, having a jersey, cap or warm-up jacket re-issued here is a sign of athletic dominance. In 2007, the company became a very cool subsidiary of Adidas. Their flagship store still calls Philly home. 1201 Chestnut Street (on 12th Street between Chestnut and Market Streets), (267) 273-7622,
  • Ubiq – To say that Ubiq stocks new and vintage sneaks (Nike, Vans, Reebok, Converse, Adidas, Asics), along with New Era caps, endless T-shirts and hoodies, is to vastly undersell this streetwear merchant. Ubiq’s Walnut Street location occupies a rambling old brownstone where retro Casio G-Shock and Nixon watches, striped Stance socks and preppy Head Porter Plus chinos and shirts are displayed like wearable, collectable, limited-edition, often vintage-inspired works of art. Among them: the store’s own line of apparel and kicks. 1509 Walnut Street, (215) 988-0194; The Gallery, 10th & Market Streets, (215) 238-8005,
  • Urban Outfitters – The most recognizable member of this list is homegrown in Philly. Born of a few post-grads’ venture into retail, Urban has grown into an iconic American mega-retailer. Its stock-in-trade: affordable streetwear-like skinny jeans, flannel shirts and T-shirts with messages that are meant to shock. (Plus, great gag gifts.) The retailer has two Philly locations and more in the surrounding suburbs. 1627 Walnut Street, (215) 569-3131; 110 S. 36th Street, (215) 387-6990,

Made-In-Philly Looks, Online:

  • 611 Lifestyle – A few years after this idolized South Street record store closed its doors, founding DJ Nigel Richards re-launched his clothing line, named for the route that runs north and south through Philadelphia (also known as Broad Street). Even without a bricks-and-mortar location, Richards’ throwback varsity jackets, mixed-patterned collared shirts, fitted v-necks and accessories that include scarves and belt-buckled emblazoned with the company logo (plus jackets, tanks and tees for women), has taken off.
  • Kings Rule Together – Dapper iconoclastic-about-town Curran J. Swint turned his style blog into a brand in 2011, and now the likes of Jaden Smith and Lebron James are rocking the KRT. Tanks, T-shirts, hoodies, varsity jackets and sweatshirts comprise most of the hand-screened line. Each piece bears a king’s (or queen’s) crown, and/or a message of inspiration: “Inspire,” “Unity,” or “Young King” are just some examples.
  • Live Breathe Futbol (LBF) – A couple of soccer-obsessed Temple University grads founded this off-the-field street wear label in November 2010. Today, partners Ebun Olaloye and Domenick Cucinotta call their creation “a power brand for the passionate fan,” and count futbol fanatics worldwide among their own fans—Brazilian soccer star Alexandre Pato recently posted a photo of himself in LBF’s George Best T-shirt. Known for its limited-edition, soccer-news-inspired runs, the line includes T-shirts, track jackets, hoodies, scarves and crewneck sweaters, all manufactured in the U.S. and printed in Philly.
  • – A hyper-local web store created by specialty retailers of 50s, 60s and 70s kitschy memorabilia takes old-school to the next level. In addition to merchandise like T-shirts and caps emblazoned with vintage Philly foods, relics, playgrounds and neighborhoods, the company offers a full array of T-shirts with fashionably dated versions of regional school names and logos. (610) 668-6896,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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Philadelphia Street Style: Zack, Art in the Age, 3rd St

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I stopped Zack on 3rd St during Philly's First Friday last week. He had parked his Peddler Coffee wagon (or whatever you call it) in front of Art in the Age, my favorite Walter-Benjamin-inspired rustic clothing shop/craft spirit distillery. Zack absolutely looks like someone who would be riding a vintage coffee rickshaw around the streets of Old City. His beard and waxed mustache are very apropos. I approve.


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Calling All Crafty Folk: There's a Norman Porter Belt DIY Event at Art in the Age

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So we’ve given you quite a few options to help you find a gift for dad this Father’s Day (see: herehere, and here). But if you’re looking to channel your inner Martha Stewart and make your gift the old fashioned way, we found your answer. Tomorrow, June 12 from 6pm to 8pm, go to Old City’s Art in the Age for a free belt making workshop with Norman Porter. (We included their jeans in ourPhilly Father’s Day Gift Roundup.) Interested? We figured.Here's the scoop: Mike and Dave, the brothers behind Norman Porter Denimwill be on hand to demonstrate how to make a handmade custom leather belt. All materials will be provided for each participant to create one belt. Space is super limited, so RSVP to—stat.

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10 Must-Stop Shops to Explore in Philadelphia

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As vacation season approaches, we'll be rolling out guides to the best shopping in ten Racked cities. Up next: Racked Philly's can't-miss stores.

It's known as the birthplace of democracy, but Philadelphia's cobblestone streets will lead you to more than just the Liberty Bell. The indie boutique scene here is as strong as it is diverse, manned by a proud bunch of innovative self-starters who'd surely receive Benjamin Franklin's wax stamp of approval.

Whether your tastes skew toward heritage brands and vintage or you prefer your clothes straight off the runway, these 10 must-see Philly stores have what you're shopping for.

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Ethical Gift Guide: Father's Day

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Just like our mothers, our father figures probably don't need gifts and just want to spend time with us. Play video games, cook him a meal, go to the movies. But if you're far from your pop and want to send him a gift, check out these sweet and ethical options. But act quickly! Father's Day is only a week away. Check out the promo codes for the polo and handkerchief too!

Happy Father's Day to all the men in our lives who help us out and lift us up!


June 08, 2014

Rodale'sMarteneroMaptoteManready MercantileAlternative Apparelbybrooklyn.comJuniper RidgeKaufmann MercantilePatagoniaForageArt in the AgeWest Elm MarketFair GoodsAccompanyus.comCraftsman and Wolves,Urban CheesecraftFather's DayBetter World Books

CelebrateEthical Fashion

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Seasonal Sipping: Rhubarb Tea Liqueur

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We love having friends over to the house for cocktails, especially this time of year when the days are long and the weather is warming up. And so far this season, Rhubarb Tea Liqueur has been in heavy rotation. Have you heard of it?

Rhubarb Tea Liqueur is an 80-proof spirit that's a blend of rhubarb, lemon, and beets, along with spices like cardamom, pink peppercorns, and coriander. It has a slight sweetness to it and a very subtle pink color.

As for what to do with it? Mixed with just a little soda water, it makes a light early-evening drink. We've also made an interesting twist on a margarita with tequila, grapefruit juice, and splash of the Rhubarb Tea Liqueur.

My current favorite way to enjoy it though is to first muddle fresh strawberries with just a sprinkle of sugar. Next, I add 1 ounce of gin with 1 ounce of the Rhubarb Tea Liqueur, then finish it with a big splash of soda and a few mint sprigs. It's delicious, refreshing, and satisfies that strawberry-rhubarb craving that so many of us fall victim to this time of year. Happy sipping!

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