“Let’s go shopping.” Three words that, when spoken by your other half, strike fear into the fibre of many a man. The queues. The stiflingly hot changing rooms. The guttural fear that you’ve just spent £75 on a t-shirt that your mates will laugh at.
But there’s another way. A better way.
Small menswear shops up and down the country are where you want to be to experience a nightmare-free shopping trip. Each store has personally filled their shelves with kudos-enhancing brands that you’ve never heard of, let alone that fashion-blogging mate of yours. They’re manned by staff that know their style onions, and pride themselves in making sure you walk out of their shop in better shape than when you walked in. They’re relaxing to be in. Yeah, imagine that, shopping that’s relaxing.
So don’t take a vow of shopping celibacy just yet. These 20 nationwide menswear shops will restore your faith in spending...
Xile Clothing, Glasgow
Standing in a footy stadium in the bleak winter is tough at the best of times, but doing it up in Scotland? Man, you got a death wish. That’s probably why Xile does such a roaring trade, stocking the freshest terrace-friendly clobber from the likes of Pretty Green, Weekend Offender, Luke, Lyle & Scott and plenty more.
Weavers Door, Liverpool
This Liverpudlian legend has been doing its thing, and doing it brilliantly, for more than a quarter of a century. They refuse to stock anything based on just looks – each item must be built to last, too. And we like that. A lot. Their range of limited edition Barbour jackets has just made writing our Xmas list a whole lot easier.
The Liquor Store, Birmingham
With more denim on show than a country music festival, this is where you want to be if your old faithful jeans finally give up the ghost. If you’ve got the cajones to drop three figures on a fresh pair, definitely try on their selection of Huit denim. Each pair is hand-built in Cardigan, Wales, will fit like a dream and last forever.
The Hip Store, Leeds
The man behind Leeds’ most respected menswear store, Everton Campbell, is somewhat of a legend in the game. He started his shop in 1987 aged just 18, and knows his stuff when it comes to ever-changing fashions. He stocked slick tailoring back in the eighties, sportswear and rare trainers in nineties, and now offers a more refined array of labels to reflect modern demands. Check out the Post Overalls Twill Jacket, and you’ll be a stronger man than us if you can’t bring it home with you.
The Hambledon, Winchester
In the shadow of Winchester Cathedral sits a store that, from the outset, looks like the sorta place where your girlfriend will buy one of everything to dress your flat. But at the back, down the stairs, is an underground man den of style. Treat yourself to a Filson Bag, a fresh pair of Tricker’s shoes or even a dapper Christy’s hat.
As soon as you walk into this influential menswear shop, you’ll get more than an inkling that owner Steve Cochrane likes a bit of Northern Soul in his style. You’ll also feel absolutely tiny: Psyche is a whopping 35,000 square feet and three floors of prime cut labels like Paul Smith, Hackett and Armani.
Present London, Shoreditch
When did umbrellas get ‘cool’? Answer: when we found them in Present London. Such is their rep for curating the finest menswear and accessories that as soon as we saw London Undercover’s brollies, we wanted one. Team it with one of Present’s classic Gloverall duffle coats, and you can show winter the finger.
Oi Polloi, Manchester
World-renowned Oi Polloi’s vast choice of amazingly curated eclectic threads has many a fashion-loving man adamant that this is the best menswear store in the country. Such is its success that, after 13 years of cult status in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, owners Steve Sanderson and Nigel Lawson have opened up on London’s Carnaby Street, too.
“The idea behind the brand is to offer designer products and quality garments at a much more modest price point,” says the MKI bio. They’re not wrong. Clobber that looks like you’d need a bank loan to buy, but you could afford even the day before payday? We’re in. We’re very in.
Meet Bernard, Greenwich
Greenwich is a killer weekend destination. Fill your belly with the excellent fare from the undercover market; fill your walls with art prints from the excellently stocked Flood Gallery; and then fill your drawers with classic French brand Armour-Lux’s Breton stripe long-sleeves, Scandi brand Dunderdon’s workwear trousers and British-made brogues from Loake, all available here.
Mac’s General Store, Devon
Salcombe is the beachy Devonian playground where preppy label Jack Wills first opened up shop. That means it’s got some pedigree when it comes to style, and even more so now Mac’s General Store has started trading at the top of the high street. The small men’s lifestyle emporium has enough quality garms, colognes, books and whiskies to steal the attention of a passing gent away from the picturesque beaches and amazing waterside boozers of the harbour town.
Intro Clothing, Manchester
A manly necklace is a toughy to find, but we stumbled on a right doozy at Intro in the shape of a Vitaly Sequoia Axe necklace in bronze.
The Goodhood Store, Shoreditch
When the uber trendy vibes of Copenhagen are out of reach, this is your go-to. Starting as a small backstreet boutique in 2007, Goodhood has risen to the take up position at the forefront of London’s lifestyle stores. Rarely seen labels, like Japan’s Needles and LA’s Fuct, fill the shelves upstairs, while in the basement lies a cornucopia of Scandi-influenced homewares to go nuts over.
Couverture & The Garbstore, Kensington
Slap bang in the heart of London’s world-famous Portabello market, and away from the astronomically priced Banksy reproductions, you’ll find three floors of tip-top international designers and up-and-coming labels. We’re fanboying over their well-priced stock from art collective Brain Dead right now.
This Geordie store is another that you should be acquainted with by now, due to their must-visit online site. But if modern technology brings you out in cold sweats, rest assured END. has a bloomin’ wonderful shop just down from Newcastle's Old Eldon Square.
Andrew Dick opened his doors for the first time in 2012 with the simple idea of bringing together a “carefully selection of menswear, accessories and homewares.” So if your shopping list consists of a Scottish-made Fair Isle jumper, a Groetsch wooden comb and a decorative ceramic mackerel, you’d be crazy to go anywhere else.
The Brokedown Palace, Shoreditch
Boxpark, an installation of shipping containers-turned-shops in London’s hippest district, has plenty of places to blow your cash, but this has to be our fave. TBP stocks the best bits from Patagonia, Fjällräven, Pendleton and Filson, as well as the brilliantly cool Poler. If you fancy yourself as a bit of a rugged outdoorsman, you’ll be a pig in the proverbial here.
Bored Of Southsea, Portsmouth
Remember when Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater came out in 1999 on your PS1, and the world went nuts for skateboarding? Yeah, Bored Of Southsea we’re making skating cool a good two years before then. Flash forward to 2015 and they’re the guys to hit up if you’re after HUF, Palace, Fucking Awesome and the tasty Levi’s Skateboarding collection.
If you needed any proof of Autograph’s prominence as one of the best menswear boutiques in the country, you best visit their shop quick: they’re stocking the hard-to-find Adidas x Kanye West Yeezy collection right now. If you’re not up for dropping £390 on a hoodie though, fear not. There’s a smorgasbord of Brit heritage and upcoming streetwear brands to get your teeth into (don’t actually get your teeth into them though, you’ll probably be politely asked to leave).
Three decades down and with plenty more to go, if you’ve got a little ‘un in your life that you want to dress up as sharp as you, get here to make full use of their kids’ section. Don’t leave without getting a Canada Goose parka on (just try not to cry when you see the price).