Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For the Man in Your Life

Every many looks his best in a nice suit that has been tailored perfectly for his body. Women know this. Men are clueless. Mostly. Which is why many of us have had to drag boyfriends and husbands out shopping to ensure they have an appropriate wardrobe. With this specific situation in mind, I stopped by Harleys, The Store for Men, on Oakland Ave in Shorewood to chat with Jeff Brand. Jeff has been with Harleys for ten years and is the store buyer, ensuring they have the best merchandise in Milwaukee. Jeff also survived high school with me, so he already has street cred in my book.

Harleys is celebrating its 63rd anniversary this year (check out their accompanying sale this Saturday) selling fashionable and exclusive clothes for men. As I roamed around the store, in addition to the expected button-down shirts, silk ties, and pinstripe suits I found an impressive jeans collection and stylish outerwear.

While suits remain their staple at 60% of business, they do not appeal to the executive set only. Jeff believes the clientele is actually trending younger, especially since the store moved to this new modern location. As summer teases us, sales shift to include more sportswear. I spotted a lot of Hugo Boss, Cole Haan, Citizens of Humanity and Ike Behar. Harleys is also the exclusive Wisconsin retailer of Ermenegildo Zegna.

Formal wear is also a large piece of Harleys business. They provide suit and tux rentals for weddings, galas, and proms as an Elite dealer of Jim's Formal Wear. I was not surprised to learn they receive a fair amount of referrals from area event planners.

Harleys, unlike some competitors, survived the recession unharmed and the staff are seeing sales growth this year. Jeff attributes this resilience to keeping a fashionable and exclusive merchandise offering. I'm confident the excellent customer service has factored in too. While I was in the store, the customers were addressed by name and given the full attention of the staff. Pictures of well known and respected Milwaukee business men and loyal customers were hanging throughout the store.

Need another reason to stop by Harleys? Their in-house team will even tailor your (ladies) clothes. Ask for Jeff if you stop by and tell him I said hi!