"Men are shopping more than ever, and not just at hardware and electronics stores," according to a recent article in Crain's Chicago Business ("Now Appearing at a Mall Near You: Men," 11.8.04). In fact, in 2003, women made only 30% of men's apparel purchases, down from 52% in 1998, says NPD Group, a New York-based market researcher.
Credited in part to cultural forces like the "metrosexual" trend and TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," this shift is most visible in clothing and home accessories shopping. The Crain's story also references the 2004 launch of two popular national magazines that target male shoppers: Cargo and Vitals.
Still, men seem to experience far more anxiety than women when they shop. According to a Chicago-Sun Times story ("Caving in to holiday shopping," 12.1.04), a recent study by a London shopping center found that, in retail environments, "male stress levels rose to those experienced by fighter pilots and riot police."
"We understand the needs of the ‘new' male consumer who is willing to shop for himself
and considers fashion to be a mark of maturity, confidence and success," says Ralph Fasano, one of the proprietors of His Stuff, a men's clothing and accessories store in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood. And by offering a smaller selection of hand-picked items than department stores and other competitors, "His Stuff takes the world of men's fashion and filters it down to the best, most interesting pieces," adds co-owner Jeff Worth. "That means that when you walk in our door, we've already done the ‘hard work' of shopping for you."
Men in the Andersonville neighborhood and across the Chicago area make their way to His Stuff (5314 N. Clark St.) to find distinctive clothing and accessories that are wearable and well made. Ralph Fasano and Jeff Worth, the owners of His Stuff, are expert trend-spotters who comb the world of men's fashion to bring their customers only the best brands, in a neighborhood storefront that's cool, casual, and comfortable. The store offers all the "stuff" a guy needs to feel confident and look great in any setting—from work to working out, from hanging out to going out. For information, call (773) 989-9111.
Photo: Jeff Worth and Ralph Fasano. (by Bret Grafton of photografton.com)