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One Stop Shopping

G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
Wayne Gretzky, Mar/Apr 97

(continued from page 2)

The most fashion-driven of stores, Bloomingdale's sets its sights on the young and the trendy--and does so with considerable glitter and dazzle. There seems to be an audible buzz in Bloomingdale's stores, the result no doubt of the quick movement of ideas and styles. Taking chances on bright new designers is a tradition here (and virtually every established designer today was first given prominence by Bloomingdale's). A good reason for a browse is simply to see what's new and where fashion is going. Bloomingdale's has a reputation for having it fast and first.

Menswear prices are generally moderate: suits range from $450 to $1,000. In addition to Bloomingdale's own private-label Metropolitan View line, tailored clothing labels represented include Joseph Abboud, Ralph Lauren, Andrew Fezza, Hugo Boss, Ferre, Canali and Armani. Shirts and ties complement these labels, as well as the store's own sizable "Peterborough Row" collection.

The extensive range of sportswear--often a designer will have his own in-store boutique built to his style specifications to showcase a collection--is particularly strong on the American labels: Donna Karan, Perry Ellis, Jhane Barnes, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. Additional offerings by Guess, Mossimo, Versace and Mondo, among others.

Neiman Marcus
Main and Ervay streets, Dallas, Texas 75201
(214) 573-5676

With 30 stores across the United States, Neiman's prides itself on having the finest tailored clothing available. It caters to the affluent customer, and, inasmuch as most of the men who shop here are CEO types who wear suits most of the time, sportswear is not the overriding concern it is at other stores. Suits start at around $1,000, the average price of its private "Marcus" label. At the other, sybaritic, end is Neiman's extensive range of handmade Italian suits by Brioni, Kiton and Luciano Barbera (average price: $2,500). In between are the very tasteful and stylish names of Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan in the more courant mode, the elegant European silhouettes of Zegna and Valentino, the Savile Row-oriented approach of Ralph Lauren's "Purple Label" and the more traditional Hickey Freeman. Especially noteworthy, Neiman's has the world's largest collection of Oxxford clothing, American-made quality comparable to custom tailoring.

Ties and shirts are also available with these labels, as well as Versace, Ferragamo, Ike Behar, Stephano Ricci, Gucci, Calvin Klein and Lorenzini, and a particularly good selection by a trio of the finest European shirtmakers: Borrelli (Italy), Charvet (France) and Turnbull & Asser (England). All of which makes Neiman's one of the best places in the world to buy shirts and ties.

Sportswear here, more properly described as elegantly casual clothing, turns up exclusive collections by Iceberg, Coogi, Wilke-Rodriguez and Loro Piana. If there are any sweatshirts or sweatpants around, it's a good bet that they're cashmere.

"We have a personal shopping service, of course," says Derrill Osborn, "but most of our customers have a sense of loyalty to their salesperson, who, at Neiman's, will accompany a customer from department to department and act as a knowledgeable and trustworthy guide."

1321 2nd Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98111
(800) 695-8000

Begun as a family business in Seattle, Nordstrom now has 83 branches and is firmly in the middle of our spectrum: the modus operandi here is to be inclusive, rather than exclusive, by providing a broad range of clothing, which means that the ratio between sportswear and businesswear is fairly even. Suits are priced from around $695 to $1,200, with an emphasis on modern traditional styling by such names as Hickey Freeman; Hart, Schaffner & Marx; and Nordstrom's private label. But there are also the designer offerings of Joseph Abboud and Mickey Spatz, among others.

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