Many men dread shopping and seemingly have to be dragged to their nearest chain department store when they need to update their wardrobe. They then proceed to rush through the purchasing process as quickly as possible, repeating the process only when it is absolutely necessary. I generally only shop at small specialty stores and true men’s haberdasheries, but my recent trip to a major chain department store made me understand why so many men view shopping as a painful chore, and not as an opportunity to buy clothes they truly like and that make them look good. We live in an increasingly image-based society but many men find themselves trying to achieve a GQ look by going to the wrong clothing stores. Surely, you’re thinking that these fine men’s haberdasheries are only for the well-to-do, but the truth is that many of these stores stock a good amount of inventory that falls at the same pricepoint as those anchor stores at your local mall. Here are four reasons you should consider your local men’s haberdashery for your clothing needs.
If you go to a standard mid-range department store, you will get okay service, but nothing tailored to your needs and it will certainly feel like the sales associate is merely working for the corporation, not really with you and your needs. A specialty men’s store’s sales staff is paid on commission but don’t fear that they will steer you to the most expensive offerings. This performance-based pay means these sales professionals go above just being a clerk. They will hone in on your clothing preferences and understand that the level of service they provide to you will affect their income. You think personal shoppers are just for the one-percenters? Think again. A sales associate at a men’s specialty store can act as a personal shopper if you allow them the chance. They will put together shirt and tie combinations for you, they will call you when something you want comes in, they will make you feel like they are working for you, as opposed to the clerk approach to service that defines most major department stores’ men’s sections.
Proper Fitting and Complimentary Tailoring
Fine men’s haberdasheries also build their reputations on the way their customers look in their clothes. The attentiveness to the details helps them build a word-of-mouth referral network of sorts. While the big department stores will focus on merely altering the sleeves and hemming the pants, a true specialty clothier will want you looking like a million books because they know that is how they can build repeat business. They will focus on finding the right cuts for you and on altering the jacket and pants to make sure that everything fits just right. These stores have sales staffs that are professionally trained on alterations and they will often take in that coat or let out those pants at no extra cost, alterations that could cost between $10-20 each at some department stores. For non-tailored clothing like sport shirts and casual pants, the employees at these men’s specialty stores know the fit and cuts of different brands and can steer you in the right direction, possibly getting rid of that gut you’ve built up while working in the office all day.
Do you have an odd body type or do you have discerning taste regarding how a shirt should fit? These specialty stores typically have a sales associate dedicated to made-to-measure programs. They will take your measurements and establish your preferences, allowing you to make custom shirts for just a few dollars more than those off-the-rack shirts. If you are wondering about the options available to you from these specialty made-to-measure programs, check out this piece I wrote about the level of customization available at proper haberdasheries. This is a level of service that you cannot find from a big corporate chain clothing store and the personalized service and attention to detail will make you feel like you were previously shopping at Wal Mart.
Support Your Local Businesses
While department stores and chain specialty stores pop up in every city in America, the family-owned haberdashery risks becoming a distant memory. You try to support small businesses for other goods so why not support your locally-owned men’s specialty store? The employees of these stores are usually paid a decent commission, meaning that they enjoy a respectable standard of living. Wouldn’t you rather buy a Polo shirt from a store where their employees offer you impeccable service and in exchange they are rewarded with a living wage, instead of being treated like a number at a chain department store where the profits are funneled into the pockets of a major corporation only interested in separating you from your money? These family-owned specialty stores are also far more likely to use local businesses for their printing, advertising, and maintenance needs. Heck, the business you own could be their next provider of floor tile or radio ads.
More from this contributor:
Reasons Why You Should Buy a Vintage Swiss Watch Instead of a New Timepiece
5 Men’s Summer Shoe Styles for Hot, Gentlemanly Looks
Summer Clothes: Four Alternatives to Seersucker Suits and Sport Coats