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Jessie Sardina | Photo: Portraits by Jeff Sciortino | August 20, 2014
Want to look sharp this fall? Take a few tips from the city's sharpest sartorial outfitters.
NICHOLAS JOSEPH: CUSTOM SUITS YOU
300 W. Grand Ave., 312.895.1577
Nicholas Hansen doesn’t want his clients to leave his showroom just looking good; he wants them to learn a thing or two along the way. Just look at the various manuals throughout the store instructing the less-acquainted on how to fold a pocket square or how to enter a cab with a lady. Hansen conceived the idea for the business almost 10 years ago after having a custom suit made for himself for the first time. He loved the concept but thought the experience could be made better, so he left his job as a technology consultant and began to hone the idea. Today, Hansen’s leather- and wood-sheathed showroom is a premier destination for any gentleman looking to dress the part.
Tailored Experience “I really want everyone to walk out of here and say, ‘Man, that was awesome; that was fun,’ because guys don’t like to shop, and they especially don’t like to try things on,” says Hansen.
Contemporary Custom With a master tailor on-site, Hansen’s services range from made-to-measure to custom-made-in-Chicago. Photos of the client’s posture and arm and shoulder position are taken, and the time-honored process of basted fitting (molding the fabric to the client’s body) is done from start to finish. A paper pattern and all measurements are kept on file to make reordering a breeze. Hansen even makes custom polos, which are made-to-measure and can be unique all the way down to the collar lining, placket and buttons.
58 E. Walton St., 312.642.9166
For Rino Burdi, great style is in his blood. For nearly 30 years, he’s been at the helm of the three-story granite Gold Coast storefront that was passed down to him from his father, an Italian master tailor who immigrated to the United States in the ’60s. Today, Burdi carries on the family tradition of outfitting Chicago’s gents in the finest handcrafted Italian styles and traveling to the old country throughout the year to find the most innovative fabrics and looks.
Bespoke Philosophy “I kind of married my dad’s philosophy in hand-tailoring with a little bit more modern-day treatments,” says Burdi.
Signature Stitching Think luxurious denim cashmere blazers with discreet interior compartments for your iPhone, and a sunglasses slit in the breast pocket—or supple hand-stitched calfskin driving loafers with rubber bumps on the sole for extra cushioning. (All of it is handmade in Italy.) Other examples of Burdi’s style-function fusion are his hand-stitched silk ties, which pack more features than you ever thought could exist in 63 inches of fabric. He lines the ties with wool canvas to maintain their shape and keep them wrinkle-free, while a thin piece of elastic around the neck adds extra comfort and flexibility. A simple stitching near the edges prevents his ties from rolling under the collar, and the tail ends are subtly weighted, complete with a button-hold to keep the tie hanging straight through blustery weather.
APARTMENT NUMBER 9
1804 N. Damen Ave., 773.395.2999
“Why menswear?” is a question that Sarah Blessing, co-founder of Apartment Number 9, has gotten used to answering over the years. “We liked that it was a little more objective,” she says. “We weren’t thinking about what I like, or what’s my style, what’s my taste. It was more like, what do we want our guys to wear?” Blessing, a former interior designer, opened the shop in Bucktown with her sister in 2001, and has been outfitting men with her signature blend of refined-casual ever since.
Curated Casual “We kind of walk the line of being comfortable and pulled together,” Blessing says. “What is comfortable on a guy will always look best.”
Easy Options It’s no surprise, then, that Blessing stocks her store with the workhorse of casual-meets-polished attire: denim. Among her favorites are Fabric Brand & Co., a Japanese denim-maker whose blues are designed by Simon Miller in the traditional cut-and-sew method. The denim is stretched and faded to mold to the movement of a guy’s body. To take the comfy factor a step further, Blessing’s appreciation for “well-fitting, not sloppy” sweats makes for a laid-back weekend wardrobe we can get behind. Think plush indigo terry sweatpants from Wings + Horns, and faded mélange crewnecks from Reigning Champ. For the guy who prefers a little more polish, Apartment Number 9 is stocked with duds to take you from Monday to Friday: quirky-cool blazers from Paul Smith, tweed pants from Billy Reid and loafers from Margiela.
607 N. State St., 312.624.8551
In less than a decade, founder Adam Beltzman and CEO Jerry Kamhi have made Haberdash the menswear mecca of the dapper-minded. With three locations in Chicago and an online store boasting worldwide sales, it’s safe to say that the duo knows a thing or two about style. Having introduced Chicagoans to such hard-to-find brands as Alden Denim and Southwick, Haberdash continues to curate an inventory that’s uniquely classic-cool. With the options of enjoying a hot shave or sipping an espresso during your shopping spree, visiting Haberdash is the furthest thing from a chore, even for the most shopping-opposed.
Beyond the Rack “We want to sort of build a community and immerse all your senses,” says Beltzman. “Everything evokes an experience. The longer you can sit and hang out and chat with passionate people about shared interests over coffee or a haircut or a shave—anything—it just lends itself to an experience.”
Style and Substance Haberdash doesn’t stop at apparel. For the skincare-minded, the apothecary is stocked with luxury goods to bolster your grooming arsenal (think olive-based face cleanser from Aesop, and pre-shave oil from Truefitt & Hill). If you’re a guy who is all about a killer suit, Haberdash has you covered with its Bespoke No. 607 line. The private label is available both off the rack and made-to-measure in Montreal, combining Italian fabrics and the sophistication of English menswear with modern-day embellishments.
49 E. Oak St., 312.654.2490
“Oak Street is to Chicago as Rodeo Drive is to Los Angeles, Madison Avenue to New York, Via Condotti to Rome,” says John Jones, George Greene co-owner. But what sets the store apart from the other glistening shops on the street is what happens when you dial the store’s phone number. The voice on the other end will most likely be one of the owners’, kind and eager to answer whatever questions you may have—a welcome departure from the less down-home service of nearby big-name places in the neighborhood. John Jones, Edmund Paszylk and John Moran, veteran clothiers who met while working at high-fashion Oak Street hub Ultimo, opened George Greene in 2001 and continue to dress men with their fashion erudition.
Tenured Style “We’re so acquainted not just with the city and the changes in the street, but with the clients,” Jones says. “We know the kids, the grandkids, when weddings are happening, when funerals are happening. We know the lives of these people because we’ve been on the street for so long.”
Diverse Collection Borrowing the name of Jones’ dog and the team’s favorite color, the George Greene moniker designates a place where the group’s various worldly fashion affinities merge together. Stocking Italian-made suits by Kiton, leather jackets by British brand Belstaff, colorful avant-garde blazers from Tokyo-based Yohji Yamamoto and edgy biker-inspired accessories by California’s Chrome Hearts, George Greene is not for the unadventurous.