Top Menswear Shopping Experiences in LA
by alexandra calamari
Alex Maine in WeHo offers flat-screens, a foosball table, a functioning bar, and more, in addition to a well-rounded style selection.
It’s a well-known stereotype that men hate to shop, one that stores like Venice Beach’s The Stronghold, and West Hollywood’s Alex Maine hope to shatter. With young stars like Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon Levitt making men’s fashion, well fashionable again, increasingly more men are turning toward specialty boutiques where they can find heritage brands, high-end suiting, and maybe even a vintage tee or two without having to plow through an enormous women’s section or endure insufferable mall music. Here are five of our favorite Los Angeles spots that have fine-tuned the male shopping experience.
At Alex Maine, comfort doesn’t just come by way of their signature pants—the whole store is tailored to make a man at ease. Boasting a cushy 20-foot leather couch perched in front of two flat-screen TVs, plus a foosball table, corn hole, and even a functioning bar, Alex Maine’s store might feel like your best friend’s living room…if your best friend also sold expertly crafted American-made sportswear.
The fall collection focuses on wine hues, and upholds owner and SoCal-native Bron Heussenstamm’s theory that denim isn’t everything. “We take the most comfortable pant fabrics and put them into familiar five-pocket cuts,” Heussenstamm says. “This allows guys to be much more comfortable, much more stylish, and not have to change the rest of their wardrobe.” Make sure to pencil in enough time for a visit; at Alex Maine you’re likely to sit down and stay awhile. 8025 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 323-798-4652
For the discerning male shopper, Confederacy offers a carefully curated selection of high-end menswear in a vintage-inspired environment that would make any gentleman feel at home. With designers like Todd Snyder, Band of Outsiders, Rag & Bone, Billy Reid, and Michael Bastian showcased in the store, plus a few women’s items scattered throughout for any gals not side-tracked by the Rebecca Minkoff outpost up front, the focus is on quality not quantity here.
Confederacy’s coup de grâce though, is their exclusive line of suiting by Albert Hammond Jr. (starting at $2,125) of The Strokes renown. The slimly-tailored suits are handmade in Brooklyn and shot to fame when Ryan Gosling sported them in the film Crazy Stupid Love. Confederacy is not only about their community of designers but also their surrounding community of patrons, so follow their Twitter feed for fun events like barbecues and parties where you can socialize in the store and on their outdoor patio. 4661 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz, 323-913-3040
Imagine if your local shopping mall featured only hip brands like Band of Outsiders, Acne, and Nom de Guerre…fortunately for you, there’s Opening Ceremony. Housed within the former dance studio of Charlie Chaplin, the 10,000-square-foot boutique sports Opening Ceremony’s signature private label collection, as well as various shop-in-shops featuring the aforementioned brands, where visitors can explore full collections in individualized retail environments.
Look out for a multinational collection curated by owners Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, who opened the original Opening Ceremony in New York, as well as OC’s 2013 line, featuring nylon and mesh fishing and bomber jackets, multi-colored and floral chambray dress shirts, striped cardigans, and more. 451 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-652-1120
A heritage shopper’s paradise, The Stronghold on Abbott Kinney is all about classic American brands like Redwings, Alden, and Filson—basically if it’s something your grandfather would have loved back in his day, they carry it, and yes it’s cool again, and will probably still be cool when you have grandchildren. Case in point: Although The Stronghold’s owner Michael Paradise tells us that the store will expand with more accessories come spring, the majority of brands The Stronghold sells were founded before World War II, and the oldest label they carry goes back to 1797.
The Stronghold is best known for their custom selvage denim made completely to measure with a variation of washes and style-portfolios to choose from (approx. $350 and up). Resurrected from its original 1895 iteration by owner Paradise in 2004, the brand stays true to the original vision with all products made in the USA. And with alterations guaranteed for life, this is the go-to spot for a pair of pants that will literally never go out of style. 1625 Abbott Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-399-7221
Everyone looks his best after a haircut, and it’s only natural that one is more inclined to shop for clothes while looking his best. Killing two birds with one stone is General Quarters, a hip West Hollywood boutique that offers an array of clothing and lifestyle products, as well as a full barbershop in the back.
With a focus on hard-to-find Southern California brands like Rogue Territory, Shades of Gray (no, not the same 50 shades), Baxter of California, as well as their own signature line, General Quarters is a store curated for the local shopper who appreciates a classic “James Dean”-like aesthetic. Their barbershop, run by Chrissy Phelan, is open Tuesday through Sundays and appointments can be booked via their website. 153 S. La Brea Ave., West Hollywood, 323-937-5391
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.