My friend Clark replied to our e-mail string: “have you heard about this place?” —with a link to a Tampa Bay Business Journal article.
10 minutes later, I’m thrilled, because (apparently) there is a new place to shop for menswear, away from the mall, that isn’t country club casual. (I love that Hyde Park Village has a Brooks Brothers, but even their extra slim fit is like wearing a sheet…)
I also felt a tinge of jealousy. How dare someone open a modern menswear boutique before me?
So then I’m aware of London Philips. It’s a race to meet the makers, and check out their offerings, and write a review before Never Have I Ever!
One fear I always have with new shopping or restaurant ventures is that they will bite off too much at first, and then find it impossible to chew and swallow. That’s not to say don’t put heart and taste into it, just be aware of the market’s limits.
Conservatism, in terms of investment, is always prudent.
I was happy to see that LP is an attractive, pleasant, ‘just right’ space filled with enough stock to cover the trends, but not so much that they end up having to write off tons of stock at season’s end.
This is in part thanks to a compact space. If I was to do something similar, I would go small too at first, and then expand slowly as business dictates.
The TBBJ previewed LP’s owners and the brands it carries, most of which I already knew I liked: GANT Rugger, Jack Spade, Billy Reid. In person I also found Shipley & Halmos, Wings + Horns, Barque NY, and Vince.
These are all accessible/near luxury brands that are tailored and geared toward weekend chic, and as of yet mostly unavailable on the ground in Tampa Bay.
As I discovered, Sasha Fruitticher has curated a mixture of pieces that reflects Tampa: more shorts, more tees and polos. With any brand, but especially some of the ones they carry, she could have found plenty of sweaters or blazers to buy. But who wears those, really? It’s just too damn humid outside.
Come fall, though, with the right response from the community, I am sure she will get more adventurous, buying the pieces that maybe Nordstrom is afraid to buy.
Though I usually sit on my wish list until sale time, I was enthusiastic on principle to purchase a simple white cotton pocket tee from GANT. My love of local overrules my need for a deal.
Looking forward, I’d ask: will the store develop an online presence? Maybe they should, through Farfetch. Will they expand into other lines? James Perse is a favorite of mine, though evocative of California, not New York.
London Philips seems to have every base covered, without drama, which is exactly what most men want. Simple organization, little clutter, spacious fitting rooms (thank god!), and of course…a bar. Bourbon anyone?
Skip the mall, and check out this freshness, on par with the new wave of Tampa cool, detailed in depth here.
Can’t wait to spend more money there!