1818 Chestnut St.
Style: Department Store
Known For: Philadelphia’s Premiere Spot for High-End Apparel
We realize that we’ve only profiled stores from New York and feel that it’s a bit unfair to all of those guys who aren’t based in the Big Apple. Today we’re hitting you up with a profile of the Philadelphia mega-store Boyds that likes to think of itself as a kind of Bergdorf for The City of Brotherly Love. The store has been in the Gushner family for 70 years now and is where you’ll find all of the Philly superstars–cough cough, Michael Vick, cough cough–getting their stuff. Named one of GQ’s Top 100 Stores earlier in the year, Boyds is synonomous with excellence.
You’ll be struck by the gorgeous building as soon as you walk in. You’ll be greeted by three or four sales people, which will make you realize that the fellas at Boyds mean business. The first floor has shoes and Big & Tall, which is great to see as it’s hard to find a good spot for the bigger guys. The shoes are solid, offering stuff by Church’s, Santoni, and Zegna. If you’re looking for clothing you’ll walk up the stairs and be in Suit Land. They’ve got all the big guys–Brioni, Canali, Dolce and Gabbana, and plenty of other premium designers. The suiting is really well done here. They have all the top sportcoats from Canali and Zegna. You’ll wish you had the resources to take all of them home with you. If you’re in Philly and looking for a great suit or sportcoat, there isn’t going to be a better place to find one.
If you head upstairs you’ll find yourself in B3, which is what they call their contemporary label section. They carry stuff from the reliable guys like Rag & Bone, John Varvatos, and Theory. They have plenty of casual shirts and jackets, but a curiously small selection of denim. We were pretty disappointed by the selection of casualwear as they have way to many bright patterned shirts from guys like Etro and Robert Graham. The only wearable item up top that we found was a handsome pair of slacks by Rag and Bone that very easily could have been in the suiting section.
Service is very solid at Boyds as the boys seem to have been well schooled in when to help and when to lay off. They offer free alterations and claim to have 50 European tailors in house. That sounds like a lot to us, but don’t be worried, your stuff will be in good hands. They also offer free valet parking, which can be a life saver when you’re trying to get in and get out without having to circle for hours to find a metered spot. You can sit down and eat lunch here. Hell, they even have a functional martini bar running on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Boyds has service figured out, so don’t be shy to ask if you’re looking for something or need help.
Our review may seem rather favorable up to this point, but it’s hard to put into words our disappointment. Sure, Boyds is a respectable store, but it’s known for excellence, not just meeting the standard. With no other department store in town, Boyds should be raking it in, but it just seems so…average. This is a store that should be pushing the envelope, deciding trends and leading the way for men in Philly. This is what Bergdorf’s is doing, this is what Barney’s is doing, but Boyds, sadly, lost itself somewhere along the way. Nothing makes us sadder than wasted potential in the menswear game. This could be one of the best stores in America, but they need a little push. Sure, if you’re looking for a brilliant jacket, then this is your place. But if you’re looking for a place that is oozing excellence, then you’re 20 years too late. Note to Mr. Gushner: If you’re reading this please contact us and allow us to transform this into one the premiere houses of menswear on the East Coast. Help us help you.
Stores Like It: Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus
What to Get Here: Suits, Sportcoats, and High-End Shoes
What Not to Get Here: Everything Else
Price Range: Ties $150-$250, Shirts $150-$400, Sweaters $150-$600, Jeans $150-$400, Shoes $150-$800 Sportcoats $800-$4,000, Suits $1,000, $5,000
Overall: Standard Clothing, High Prices, Great Service. 6/10