Just in time for the holiday shopping season, J. Crew launched its first Southern California stand-alone store for men, a fellow-friendly space that opened its doors the day before Thanksgiving at L.A.'s Grove shopping center.
Before decamping to the dedicated space -- once home to a Pac-Sun store --the men's wares occupied the second floor of the Grove's existing J. Crew store (which, according to a company rep, will house expanded women's and bridal offerings, with the company's CrewCuts children's collection joining the merchandise mix on the ground floor).
The store follows in the mold of the retailer's first stand-alone men's space that opened in New York in 2008, both in manly decor and compact footprint. The floors are slabs of slate, the shelving is made from reclaimed oak and the display tables are blond wood with blackened steel legs. (A company representative tells us most of the vintage furniture was purchased from local dealers.)
The store showcases shirting, sweaters and outerwear (including J. Crew's in-house Wallace & Barnes line) in the front area, the Ludlow line of suits and footwear in the back, and the rest of the retailer's menswear -- including the fruits of its collaborations with Barbour, Dickies, Thomas Mason and Chippewa -- lining the left and right walls and scattered throughout.
One word of advice: If you're a guy whose significant other plans to spend a good deal of time shopping the Grove in the near future, man up and suggest sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, because that's when the Blind Barber's Jeff Laub will be there, complete with vintage barbershop chair, doling out professional shaves.