Boys, I come with big news. The best clothes in London are squirrelled away outside of Oxford Street, and well beyond the realm of Zara and T.M.Lewin.
While the UK’s high streets are in turmoil, the capital’s great men’s boutiques are powering on. They are home to unique design you won’t find elsewhere and, importantly, they rely on your support to stay afloat.
There is a shop for your every need, be that cutting-edge designers or archive 70s suits. You can find boxer shorts upcycled from old shirts, expert made-to-measure wool overcoats, places to party and spots to simply look back in time.
This is our selection of the very best menswear boutiques in London:
For: Ultimate Ivy League
Preppy, Ivy League style – part sporty, part smart – bubbled up on college campuses in the 1950s. In 1964 John Simons’ The Ivy Shop, then in Richmond-on-Thames, was the place for Brits to get their fix. Nearly 60 years later, and relocated to Marylebone’s Chiltern Street, the boutique remains the go-to place for your corduroy button down shirts, herringbone slacks and smart tweed overcoat needs. Now run by son Paul, expect records playing, hand written tags, and mid-century exhibition posters inside.
Find it: 46 Chiltern St, W1U 7QR, clothing from £39
For: Exceptional vintage tailoring
This Notting Hill treasure trove is favourite amongst locals, from poet Sonny Hall to supermodel Kate Moss. The rails are packed with great condition examples of tailoring spanning the 20th century, including 70s style, peaked lapel velvet jackets, country tweeds and leathers. Expect owner Claudia Vispi to be on hand with a warm welcome, unmatched advice, and a pole to bring down pre-dry cleaned blazers hanging from the ceiling.
Find it: 282 Portobello Rd, W10 5TE, clothing from £120
For: The original biker jackets
This mecca of motorcycle and aviator style has big bragging rights – it is the oldest British biker clothing company, founded in 1892. In the 60s they were the subculture label of choice, dressing Mods and the Rockers alike, and today count the likes of singer Pharrell Williams as clients. Current owner Derek Harris has introduced a streak of high fashion, collaborating with avant-garde brand Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo since 2002, and kept his slick black painted shop a pilgrimage-worthy spot. Buckle up, though, you’re looking at £900 for a new jacket.
Find it: 33 Windmill St, W1T 2JP, clothing from £35
For: Cutting-edge new names
In the polished concrete room at a converted Hoxton warehouse, seek out a stellar grouping of the city’s rising star designers. London Fashion Week highlights Saul Nash, Ahluwalia, Martine Rose, Mowalola and AGR are all stocked, each coming with their unique aesthetic, inventive cuts and It-pieces. Owner Harry Fisher has sprinkled bigger names in too: ERL, who dressed A$AP Rocky for 2021’s Met Gala, and JW Anderson, whose fans count Dan Levy and Harry Styles. If all these names are ringing bells, you know why you need to go. If you don’t, even more reason.
Find it: 12-18 Hoxton St, N1 6NG, clothing from £45
For: Classy casualwear
The brand has catered for smartly dressed men drinking flat-whites by bookshops since it was founded by its namesake designer in 2002. The ethos is top quality production for everyday outfits, often with historical nods stitched in. This year’s winter collection is based on 1920’s artists with autumnal shade tailoring, and 40 per cent of production was sourced in the UK. Head to the original shopfront on Conduit Street, Bloomsbury, or its later outposts in Shoreditch and Soho.
Find it: 62 Lamb’s Conduit St, WC1N 3LW, clothing from £49
For: Town-to-country basics
Aubin is a no-fuss label for well-dressed gents, from Camden to the Cotswolds. It’s owned by Jack Wills founder Peter Williams, and originally launched in 2008 as an elder sibling to the mega-brand before shuttering in 2012. They relaunched with one cosy store in Carnaby, Soho, last year. Go for the village-friendly fleece gilets, sturdy parkas and day shirts embroidered with the fox in a top hat logo.
Find it: 15 Newburgh St, W1F 7RX, clothing from £29
For: The most dapper
Since establishing in London in 1977, when handmade ties and handkerchiefs earned international recognition, Drake’s has been a magnet for the smart set. Today they muse over ‘relaxed elegance’ making classic corduroy suits and snug cardigans, while stitched shirts with mother of pearl buttons come directly from their factory in Chard, Somerset. Actor Martin Freeman is a fan. As is tastemaker Luke Edward Hall – Drake’s made his and husband Duncan Campbell’s wedding suits to order in June.
Find it: 9 Savile Row, W1S 3PF, clothing from £75
For: The subtly fashion forward
Equal parts hipster, humorous and high quality staples: this 2009, Hackney founded brand adds splashes of fun to basics. Quilt coats have spots of embroidery, their classy knitted polo shirts are worn by actors Michael B Jordan and Tom Holland, and the bestselling t-shirt has a sushi chef octopus on it. Really. Their Soho flagship shop offers personal styling and, drum roll, ‘The Percival Arms’ pub. Sign us up.
Find it: 7 Marshall St, W1F 7EH, clothing from £35
For: The most sustainable (and still chic)
The brand began on Spitalfields Market, when founder Henry Hales had a Eureka! moment and started selling boxer shorts made from leftover shirt fabric. 12 years later there are six shops, a variety of handsome ready-to-wear garments, and the same eco-focus. Look for charming, collarless Nehru jackets, double breasted waistcoats and Liberty print pyjamas. Today 50 per cent is made from surplus materials, but the rest is sustainably sourced. And yes, they still do the upcycled boxers.
Find it: 306A Portobello Rd, W10 5TA, clothing from £25
For: Cult brands and international imports
Stavros Karelis has earned himself industry esteem. He founded the Soho based cult shop Machine-A in 2013, where futuristic interiors meet forward thinking design. His niche brands have devoted followers – menswear labels to look for inside include the Bulgarian Kiko Kostadinov, Italian duo JordanLuca and Korean Central Saint Martins graduate Juntae Kim. One for those feeling experimental (and deep pocketed).
Find it: 13 Brewer St, W1F 0RH, clothing from £70
For: Classics to keep forever
The late Joseph Casely-Hayford, OBE, was an esteemed tailor and former creative director of Savile Row jewel Gieves and Hawkes. In 2009, he partnered with his fashion designer son Charlie Casely-Hayford to establish the house Charlie continues to helm today. The boutique, beautifully decorated with arm chairs and artworks, opened in 2018 and is home to slouchy double breasted suits, minimalist fine knitwear and wool trenches with a ‘slow fashion’ mentality. They also offer bespoke services, for those after a one-to-one experience.
Find it: 3 Chiltern St, W1U 7PB, clothing from £95
For: Parties and exceptional vintage
You’ve got your staple archive Levi’s and Carhartt. Then there are the big hitters, like Issey Miyake and Prada, plus high-tech outdoor wear from Arc’Teryx and holy-grail Supreme buys. That alone is enough to attract menswear aficionados to Jamie Cameron and Dylan Cross’ Soho shop, but more is in store. Get down for an immersive time with regular DJs, performers and secret monthly parties.
Find it: 8 Berwick St, W1F 0PP, clothing from £20
For: Top-tier luxury and high-shine events
The multi-brand retailer is better known for its womenswear, but an expert menswear team has seen their gents offering soar. Their epic five story Mayfair flagship is home to the most famous houses, from Alexander McQueen to Valentino, and crucially is home to new talents like Maximilian Davis and S.S Daley too. Their events are also unmatched. Just take Frieze week, where breakfasts were hosted by Rick Owens’ wife Michèle Lamy and parties thrown by Belgian designer Raf Simons.
Find it: 5 Carlos Pl, W1K 3AP, clothing from £20
For: Like Loro Piana (but cheaper)
Those subtle-meets-humble luxe Italian houses (read: Loro Piana, Brunello Cucinelli and Ermenegildo Zegna) have summer suits, leather bags and soft sweaters nailed. The downside is you can’t walk out without coughing up four figures. Calling Luca Faloni, who offer artisan crafted clothes in swoon-worthy fabrics for a fraction of the price. Piana’s pure cable knit cashmeres are £1,305, for example – Faloni sell theirs for £275.
Find it: 192 Piccadilly, W1J 9EU and 107-108 Marylebone High St, W1U 4RU, clothing from £100