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The 5 Best Menswear Shops in NYC

Hidden gems and independent brands

The 5 Best Menswear Shops in NYC Hidden gems and independent brands

New York is the US capital of fashion and Manhattan is a microcosm of those unique stylistic choices, but when it comes to menswear-specific shops, the city, as with most places, is still fairly limited in standalone spots that don’t push mainstream or uber-hyped brands that can often be found in other shops at every other block. The Ssense and Selfridges of the world are certainly leading the charge when it comes to curation, leaving a huge void in the market for physical stores that replicate their level of meticulous sourcing, buying, or partnerships. However, after scouring the city, I can confidently say these 5 shops are worth adding to your guide, as they will expand your fashion arsenal and make sure your looks will be different from the next bloke, whatever block or borough you’re in. Here are the 5 best menswear stores in New York


Hidden in plain sight in NoLita on 1 Rivington Street is Antithesis, a shop covered in black paint and small lettering that on the outside might not scream at tourists but, for those in the know, its selection is next to none. While nearby stores tout redundant graphic tees or hoodies, Antithesis has aligned itself with more provocative, cult brands. Browsing the shelves you’ll find a healthy dose of up-to-date Acronym, Cav Empt, Tightbooth, and Salomon footwear, usually the better color palettes if you catch my drift. The Japanese influence is felt within the store, as it highlights refined streetwear and the gorp-core genre. The center of the store, featuring a large pillar, doubles as a cool fitting room, and thanks to a whole wall of mirrors welcoming you as you enter the shop, no fit will go unseen. 


Found in NoHo on 2 Bond Street, this 12-year-old shop goes unseen thanks to its placement on the lower, basement level, making it challenging for those not intentionally looking for it. For the IYKYK crowd, C’H’C’M is an opportunity to enter into something of an exclusive style club, as once inside, the small space touts a well-balanced mix of contemporary and classic brands with a minimalistic eye for color, silhouettes, and material. Owner Sweetu Patel, an incredibly friendly and knowledgeable curator, describes the shop’s mission, «Often guys tend towards their safe areas, the styles of things they are used to, but my core customer mixes things up - it always has. It’s that kind of styling that I’ve always found most interesting.» This mindset has led to the specific curation of brands like Veliance, Aurelee, Taiga Takahashi, and Margarett Howell amongst others not easily found in other stores. The shapes and silhouettes of the pieces work well with the body and exemplify a higher level of taste. It is worth the visit if you want to quiet garments that loudly scream quality.


Nestled in the eclectic Lower East Side (LES), Colbo isn’t defined as a shop but a multi-disciplinary space and in-house fashion label. The name, from Hebrew origins, literally translates to "everything in it.” Colbo serves more as a hang-out spot, featuring a strong selection of staple garments from some of the most sought-after independent brands, as well as a cafe with fantastic coffee and tea options. The racks house brands like Adish, Karu, and Camiel Fortsgens, names that are almost impossible to find in most of New York's menswear stores. Even the muted color palette of the clothing selection, furniture, and art speak to the clear intentionality around minimalism and simplicity. Further back in the space is an area devoted to a selection of vintage clothes and records doubling as an event space, serving as a destination for those self-aware creatives who don’t have to try too hard to be cool. The vibes are just right with this store, so if you find yourself in the lower part of the island, I highly recommend popping in, even if it is just for tea.


Cueva, founded as an online-only retail store in 2020, has held down 86 Christopher Street for the past 2 years. The quaint store on the basement level would be easy to miss if not for the black and white sign perfectly contrasted against the red brick. The store, which is the only one of its kind in the West Village, an area known for incredibly basic yet very affluent crowds, uplevels the available menswear selection amidst the sea of sameness. Owner Justin Felizzari believes that there are no rules to menswear and wants to see people explore more brands and styles. Felizzari says, «Our selection revolves around the pillars of craftsmanship, originality, functionality, and value. We aim to align ourselves with brands that prioritize quality throughout the creation of every product.» He adds, «We pride ourselves in celebrating all types of Menswear and try to focus on keeping a diverse mix by curating a truly unique mix of brands from around the world.» And uniqueness itself spills off the racks with beautifully curated garments ranging from 4SDesigns to NN07, all the way to others like Studio Nicholson, Eastlogue, and Vinny’s. Each time I go into the store I learn more about the garments and the stories behind them, as Felizzari takes time to personally highlight the details along with insight on how to style or put the things together. For what’s next for the shop, Felizzari says, «We’re excited to announce the addition of 10 new brands over the next two seasons. We hope to keep the brand mix fresh and special for seasons to come.»


The newest and biggest shop of them all at roughly 7,000 square feet launched this year and can be found on 140 Essex Street in the LES. There is a creative energy about the store that is immediately felt when walking in, from the layout to the cool employees to the much-needed curation of well-known but hard-to-find brands IRL stores like Martine Rose, 424, Wales Bonner, Mowalola, and Han Kjøbenhavn. Additionally, when you walk in, on the right-hand side is an enclosed room with partially see-through glass housing vintage T-shirts from an anonymous seller - super mysterious but also way cool. The shop appeals to those looking for «advanced contemporary» options, as according to co-founder and retail director Laura Baker the ideal customer has «a strong sense of style, creativity and a lot of individuality,» she explained in an interview with Fashionista. ESSX also touts a hidden VIP fitting room with a hidden champagne bar, as well as space for a gallery and a cafe, both set to open later this year. If anything this space has the potential to fill a void that has been screaming in NY since the hit of the Pandemic in 2020. Customers, forward thinkers, and style aficionados crave the “discovery” of new things, and to be able to experience the clothes in person, which is exactly why ESSX is off to a blazing start. Despite the rampant sameness across physical stores in the city, it is a breath of fresh air to know that physical shops are taking a stand and doing things differently because, while hype does sell, there are endless brands that deserve their flowers, so the work to highlight and build a community that cares about them will always be relevant.