In early June, I touched down in Dulles after spending a few days in England. It was my first time in the U.K. and I can admit, I may have gone a little shopping crazy. I took an extra carry-on to stuff full of new clothes and, yes, I even had to pay that pesky little fee for an overweight bag.
I really didn’t know what to expect in the retail landscape of London. That’s not to say that I thought it would be a sartorial wasteland, but I had the preconceived notion that it would be stuffy, tweedy, and full of tailored suits. And, yes, while this era of English-ness still exists on Savile Row, the majority of London has a buzzy, almost relaxed sense of style about it.
Latitudinally speaking, Pennsylvania (where I live) and England aren’t too different. While England winters are a bit milder, the summers are comparable to my own. Because of this, I was able to rejuvenate my wardrobe with pieces I could immediately incorporate into my outfits back home. This also meant, of course, that nothing was off-limits when it came to which shops I ended up visiting.
While London may not have the pizazz of Paris or the sprezzatura of Milan, there is a lively, engaging, and growing menswear community that’s redefining English style and bringing it into the 21st century.
The Best Menswear Shops in London
With locations in London and Zurich, Trunk Clothiers is able to source some of Europe’s best brands to stock at its Chiltern location. It would be hard to walk out of Trunk without at least a few swipes of your credit card, given the sheer quality of the brands it stocks. From buzzy newcomers like Doppiaa to as-classic-as-they-come brands like Merz b. Schwanen, Trunk is able to balance a well-stocked store through the brand’s own discerning eye.
Address: 8 Chiltern Street, London, W1U 7PU
On both sides of the pond, Drake’s is known for its impeccably styled campaigns and for bringing a breath of fresh air to the stuffy menswear field. The Drake’s store on Savile Row is able to accommodate a wide variety of clientele, from menswear fans like me to, say, a couple MPs who need to pick up a snazzy new tie.
Address:9 Savile Row, London W1S 3PF, United Kingdom
Liberty London is a department store with a nearly unparalleled menswear department. The shop has been around, in some iteration, for more than 150 years, and in that time it’s amassed a bit of a cult following. The menswear section itself warrants some fanfare. By really digging into the customer base’s interest, Liberty has been able to make their menswear department feel inviting and not as run-of-the-mill as traditional department stores stateside.
Address: Regent St., Carnaby, London W1B 5AH, United Kingdom
With a minimal design aesthetic and focus on quality over quantity, Goodhood seems to only stock the best of the best. The store itself feels a bit more New York to me, like something I’d find on Canal Street, but the brands stocked show the depth that Goodhood’s buyers go to in showcasing and highlighting new and buzzy brands.
Address:151 Curtain Rd, London EC2A 3QE, United Kingdom
I’d be remiss to not talk about one of my favorite London brands, TOAST, and I was happy to visit the Mayfair location to check out the brand in person. It’s sometimes hard to tell quality and fit from just looking online, so seeing the brand in person gave me the chance to fully experience TOAST (and, let’s be honest, spend quite a bit).
If you’re not familiar with the brand, TOAST’s menswear line is sort of like cottage-core aesthetic for the discerning gentleman. With a muted tonal palette and a focus on natural fibers, it’s a seasonless, aesthetic vibe I can’t get enough of.
Address: 25-26 Dering Street, London, W1S 1AT
I would recommend a few things if you’re looking to visit the Harrods mens department. The first is to go during an off-time to avoid crowds. Another is to bring water and a snack, as you’ll probably be there for a while. And third, perhaps pack a ball of yarn, Theseus-style, to avoid getting lost. It’s massive. The entire second floor is devoted to menswear and is sectioned into various sub-departments with varying degrees of luxury and cost. While I didn’t find anything to buy here, it’s an institution in and of itself and I definitely got some styling inspiration from the dozens of mannequins dotting the floor.
Address:87-135 Brompton Rd, London SW1X 7XL, UK
With ties to one of Japan’s leading menswear magazines and a focus on Americana, Clutch Cafe is especially tipped to be one of the top menswear shops in London right now. With a focus on heritage brands and a workwear aesthetic, the stock at Clutch is a timeless, seasonless example of curating a store for everybody’s tastes and needs.
Address:78-80 Great Portland Street Fitzrovia London W1W 7NT