Where to Buy Men’s Clothing in Sarasota
When I decided to shop around for men’s clothing stores in Sarasota, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be. The first people I asked to interview actually declined — most said they didn’t even go shopping in Sarasota. And even people who spoke to me noticed that I had chosen an intimidating topic.
“For men, the options are limited at best,” says Vice Mayor Kyle Battie, a local TV host and former model whose father owns Cravats’ Custom Clothiers & Mercerie, a workshop near Burns Court.
The problem, says Battie, is not necessarily the lack of offers, but the men themselves.
“A lot of guys don’t take pride in the way they dress, so it’s not like you have a men’s store downtown that you’re going to walk out of your store with customers,” he says. “Guys just dress for comfort.”
It’s an adage that stylist Jessica Papineau found true. She is the owner of the Sarasota-based concierge styling company Customized Styling by Jessica and works with a variety of local women and men. Often his relationship with a couple begins with the woman. She will bring her clients to a point where they are confident in their presentation and image. That’s when their husband or boyfriend starts wondering, “What about me?”
“My client’s boyfriend or husband will think, ‘I’ve upped my game, because she looks so good,'” Papineau says. “Men want it to be easy. They don’t like complicated.
Anyone who has ever dated a man will likely identify with this sentiment. Dressing up is taking time and stress out of the process, not adding it.
Part of that is just exposing men to what’s available in the Sarasota market.
“It’s all about fit and fabric,” explains Papineau. “Men want to be comfortable in their clothes and have the right soft fabric that flatters their body, but they just don’t know it exists.”
Much of creating an everyday wardrobe centers around forming a personal style rather than trends. Battie calls it a fingerprint. If your style of dress becomes a means by which someone can identify you, you’ve done your job.
“You are your best advertisement,” he says. “I try to make sure that I advertise myself in a certain way.”
Battie hopes for a day when the men of Sarasota can finally be fully represented in one central, centralized men’s store.
“If you could just walk into a decent men’s clothing store that caters to men, I think that would change the landscape of men’s fashion in Sarasota,” he says.
We asked Battie and Papineau for some of their favorite Sarasota stores for men. Here’s what they told us, with some specific recommendations along the way.
1464 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 906-7080
The Lotus in downtown Sarasota may be the store to meet the men’s moment here. Although it currently sells men’s merchandise, its plan is to expand to a full men’s section within the next year, according to manager Heather Romberger.
Of the items they’re selling in-store right now, Romberger says basics and accessories are key. Lotus has just started selling Golden Goose sneakers for men, but it also offers James Perse t-shirts and pants, Citizens of Humanity jeans, Hartford shirts, and California-inspired clothing from Aviator Nation.
Mix the fashion house
1913 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, (941) 552-9379
Papineau is a big fan of Blend Fashion House for customers who want an expensive outfit at a lower price. In particular, she likes a suit sold in the store that is lighter and stretchier than the average piece.
“There’s a lot of value in there, because someone on a budget could invest in it and have it for a long time,” she explains.
Fifi’s Refined Resale Clothes
7343 East 52nd Place, Bradenton, (941) 907-8900
Sarasota-Manatee is a treasure trove of vintage and consignment stores, and that goes for men and women alike. Battie never hesitates to walk into a thrift store to see what he can find. He bought Christian Dior pieces at the Salvation Army and blazers he still wears at Lakewood Ranch from Fifi’s Fine Resale Apparel, which also has an outpost at 1905 S. Osprey Ave. in Southside Village. To comb through second-hand items is above all to have the right eye.
“A lot of people come from the North and have a good sense of style and a good sense of fashion, and they get rid of their clothes and send them to Goodwill or the Salvation Army,” says Battie. “So it’s a good place to find clothes that you wouldn’t necessarily find around here.
Compound Board Shop
3604 South Osprey Ave, Sarasota, (941) 552-9805
For the Sarasota man who loves to surf or skate, Compound Boardshop is the place to go. His very versatile clothes can take someone from the beach to the restaurant and are perfect for a young guy who doesn’t want too much fuss when it comes to clothes.
Owner Jacob Shields has a few favorites he recommends for customers looking to update their spring look: the men’s OluKai Ulele sandal, the Vuori Kore shorts, and a Howler Brothers snapshirt that would look at home on the sand or in a bar.
35 South Presidents Boulevard, Sarasota, 941-388-3991
St. Armands’ Sarasota luxury outpost, The Met, is a popular choice for men who want to focus on “good fit and good tailoring,” according to store owner Geoffrey Michel.
“Our brand structure goes from beach to black tie because we believe a gentleman’s wardrobe should be well collected,” he says.
Currently, performance yarns and fabrics with built-in comfort are popular. The store sells dress shirts, suits and pants with full stretch and a sportswear feel, but with a “dignified, dressy and smart” look, says Michel. For specific brands, he recommends Eleventy Milano as well as classics like Canali, Ermenegildo Zegna and Etro.
Custom styling by Jessica
Papineau knows that Sarasota isn’t the place to build a full wardrobe for a man. That’s why she sells clothes through her concierge business. One of his favorite brands for men is Paige, a denim and lifestyle brand with pants and jeans priced around $199.
Papineau has a few favorite cuts and fabrics for men. She loves Paige’s Federal and Lennox styles when it comes to denim. The Federal is a slim straight fit with a soft, stretchy fabric.
“A lot of my male customers over 50 love this denim because they get a bit of the on-trend slim look without it being too skinny,” she explains.
Meanwhile, the Lennox is ideal for younger customers in their 30s and 40s who want a more tailored look. Paige also offers soft tees with “a high quality fit and feel” – Papineau loves the Cash crew and Grayson v-neck.
Tweed Suit Shop
3501 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 343-7606
Custom ties and haberdashery
1530 Dolphin St., Studio 5, Sarasota, (941) 366-7780
Finally, we have a recommendation for the Sarasota man who wants something a little more specialized and entirely unique: bespoke suits and apparel. Sarasota has two great options for men who want an outfit they probably won’t find anywhere else: Tweeds Suit Shop and Cravats’ Custom Clothiers and Haberdashery. Both companies work with the customer to create something that’s perfectly tailored to them.