White Star strives to make menswear affordable
For women, finding upscale, designer clothing in Milwaukee was not a difficult task. A quick stroll through the Historic Third Ward or along Brady Street was enough to satisfy the casual fashionista.
Men, however, have not been so lucky. Options for gents looking for labels were limited to just a small handful of stores. But a veteran shop owner is trying to change that.
Clai Green, co-owner of Luci Boutique, opened White Star Men's Clothing Lounge, earlier this month.
White Star, located next to Luci at 524 N. Water St., brings a unique shopping experience and affordable prices for men looking for something more to add to their wardrobe than what's offered by area department stores.
"If you want to go shopping Downtown, you're limited in options," Green says. "All these condos and young professionals, retired couples from Chicago are living Downtown and they have nowhere to shop. We wanted to create a shopping area for men."
With Luci a popular destination for female shoppers, opening the adjacent made perfect sense.
"We have a lot of women that come in, looking for something for their boyfriend, husband or male counterpart," says manager Alexandra Shlimanoff. "And a lot of times, couples will come down and the women will go to Luci and now the men can come shop here."
Green bills the store as "affordable" shopping; items at White Star range from between $28 and $140 -- well below prices at upscale boutiques in Chicago and on the coasts.
"It's boutique quality at mall prices," says Shlimanoff.
White Star features many lines from east and west coast designers, but also prides itself on moderately-priced and hard-to-find lines from Australia and Canada. Among the brands offered are Lost Pigeon, Civil Society and English Laundry. Button-down shirts, T-shirts, slacks and other accessories give the store a wide variety.
White Star also features items created by local designers like NEWD.
"We like to focus on fresh, new and emerging designers," says Green. "Men want something unique and different and they want something that 50 other guys aren't wearing."
In addition to affordable prices, White Star also offers sizes not commonly found in men's boutiques. Many items come as large as 3X.
"We have something for everybody," Green says.
Service is a premium at White Star, according to Shlimanoff, who prides herself on helping men get comfortable with a new look. She personally pulls outfits for customers and helps them put together a look they will like.
Many men, she says, already have a sense of fashion while others don't realize the difference a new wardrobe can make. She asks that men keep an open mind.
"I like helping men get out of their comfort zone," she says. "A lot of times, I will have a customer tell me they don't like something but once they try it on, they can't believe how great it looks and feels.
"I'll never lie; I want you to walk out of here looking good and feeling confident."White Star is open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, until 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturdays and from noon until 6 p.m. on Sundays.
This is great! I haven't seen a men's store specialize like this in years. When haberdasheries became mall stores the concept was lost. Reminds me of Johnny Walker's years ago way before they went urban chic.
White Star Louge is overdue. I agree with the idea that there's not much in the way of variety in men's boutique shopping in town. There was a time when Habadasheries were all over the place. I'm sure I'll stop in.
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