When the word “boutique” is spoken, the first thought is not usually menswear. Although they are not as prevalent, men’s boutiques exist throughout Philadelphia and serve stylish men on a daily basis.
Many male college students need less than a suit, but more than their school-spirited garb, and a variety of shops throughout Philadelphia are in existence to serve college students.
Duke & Winston, located in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, serves a varied clientele. The brand, which is named after the owner Seun Olubodun’s bulldog Duke, as well as the influence of Winston Churchill because of Olubodun’s upbringing in England, portrays a proper, yet casual line of predominantly graphic T-shirts.
“I think that it is kind of a great brand for kids in college before they graduate because they want to step it up a little bit,” Olubodun said. “This stuff is still graphic, but it means something.”
Clothing brands such as Duke & Winston can represent a college student well, despite the fact that they may still be wearing a graphic T-shirt. It is more than just that — Duke & Winston’s shirts offer a more pulled-together, potentially preppy look.
Kembrel, with locations on both Chestnut and Locust streets, is a boutique aimed at both men and women. Kembrel hosts weekly pop-up shops featuring local designers, including local brands like Duke & Winston.
Kembrel carries a stock of men’s clothing suitable for a college student looking to sharpen his look. Brands that the store carries include Ben Sherman, JD Fisk shoes, Fred Perry and WeWOOD, among others.
“Boutique” is not a representation of something feminine, but is instead a selection of well-curated and chosen pieces that are more unique than most big-named stores.
Although any guy can walk down Walnut Street and simply buy from the selection of stores, it can seem a bit overwhelming to sift through such a large selection at so many shops.
“[There are] great brands on Walnut Street, but guys in general are not willing to do that kind of search unless it is a particular item that they have to have,” said Tom Longo, owner of Metro Mens Clothing. “We’re just not shoppers by nature…sometimes it can be overwhelming.”
Metro Mens Clothing, located on East Passyunk Avenue, is a boutique with a selection of clothing suitable for businessmen and college students. When entering the shop, the selection of vintage-style sports T-shirts is made prevalent, along with some laidback and dressier options for a college student.
“I think if we were in a town that had a lot more stores like mine it would be a lot more of a comfortable word, ‘boutique,’ but it mostly has been used with women’s clothing,” Longo said. “A lot of times I’ll say, ‘I’m a smaller men’s clothing store.’ It truly is a boutique, but it is not the best word for it.”
Although the word “boutique” may continue to scare off men, there are other stores, or boutiques, that present a nice selection of clothing for a guy who wants to dress well.
Sugarcube and Lost + Found on North Third Street and South Moon Under at 17th and Chestnut streets, all offer clothing options for men in addition to clothing selections for women.
Although those shops are not solely for men, the clothing is well-chosen with brands like Scotch & Soda, Penguin, Ben Sherman, Obey, Williamsburg Garment Company, A.P.C., Levi’s Vintage Clothing, Pendleton and Herschel, among other brands.
“Philly is definitely a T-shirt town, but I do see that changing a little bit where people, even younger people, are wearing a nicer shirt out,” Longo said. “In college, you always have those comfortable clothes, but I feel like nowadays there is that introduction of real life in with everything, you’re expected to show up like it’s a job.”
Although there is not as much of a selection in menswear as there is in womenswear, there are many suitable options throughout the city for the young male college student looking to present himself as being pulled together and stylish.
Taylor Farnsworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.