I never knew I would see the day where this statement was true...men are taking over the fashion landscape. No longer relegated to five or six male models serving only as partners to the women, designers are paying just as much, if not more, attention to their male centric offerings. As always, anything happening on the New York runway will show up in the store fronts of Houston. Men's high end retailers like M Penner and Hamilton Shirt Co. have always had a presence here, but it members of the new guard that are responding to the call and bringing the trends from up North to down South.
Sometime between Home Improvement and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, men started seriously considering the way they present themselves to the world. Male bloggers began popping up on the interwebs as shepherds to this new flock and male grooming and fashion lines began eating up store shelves previously owned by women's items.
"There's a massive change in the way that men groom. There's a whole different movement than there was ten years ago. They have a regimen. Even if the regimen is to look constructively like a lumberjack, there is still a regimen involved now," said president Sarah-Jayne Smith of Magpies and Peacocks a nonprofit focused on fashion up-cycling.
Founded by Smith in 2012, Magpies and Peacocks shares its revenue with other service based organizations doing great work in the community. Originally focused just on women's fashion, Smith and her team took the leap into men's accessories with the launch of Field Refined this month. The new line's community partner Career Gear Houston assists men in crisis with clothing and life skills training in order to help them get back on their feet.
The launch of a men's line is a bit outside of M&P's normal, but the expanding men's market made it a lot more attractive an option. "I never ruled a menswear line out," says Smith, " ... and there is a bit of graying between men and women's fashion anyway, you know its ok to be the masculine girl and feminine guy. It makes it easier for us to be who we are and do what we do making vintage accessible to both women and now men."
Houston has a slew of local menswear retailers, but a handful are seriously making a mark on the market. Catering to the new male shopper in their own way, each strikes a chord with their Houston guy.
The Urban Gentleman
The Classroom Arguably, The Classroom team is leading the charge of the shifting men's market. Weekly events like Whiskey Wednesday and frequent food truck hostings in their parking lot prove that, though the Rice Village spot is a grade A retailer, the store caters to the new men's lifestyle, not just their need for clothes.
Sir Chic Street
Urban Assault Southeast Houston is not known as a fashion center, but that did not stop Daniel Gonzales, and David Ruiz from launching Urban Assault smack dab in the middle of Pasadena. The streetwear store carries a multitude of East and West coast designers coveted by their clients and strives to give new artists a platform for their work. NAMES has also become a mecca for hard to find designer tennis wear available through pre-order.
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Mr. Stylin' on a Budget
Men's Resale by the Village Yes, men have high end resale options too and the fact that menswear is a lot less flashy works in your favor. A well tailored black Hugo Boss suit from Spring 2011 will look just as good recycled in 2015. With designers like Prada at an up to 75 percent discount, Men's Resale by the Village is the perfect place for the gentleman with champagne dreams and a Kool-Aid budget.
The Moto Man About Town
Reserve Supply Company Imagine that really cool bearded dude that brews his own bear, rides a bike, is a mixologist, and lives in an impossibly chic but homey loft in EaDo, that guy shops at Reserve Supply Company. A self described center for the lover of vintage motorcycles, skateboarding, and bicycles, Reserve is all about the man living the well put together alternative lifestyle.