Shopping for cool yet professional men's clothes in Milwaukee used to be a bit of a challenge. Places like Marshall Field's and Boston Store will usually fit the bill, and Banana Republic, The Gap, Harley's and others will get you by. But, until recently, if you wanted "stuff you can only find in Chicago" you'd have to go to, yep, Chicago.
But things are changing in Milwaukee and new men's clothier, Aala Reed, is poised to help position Milwaukee as a Midwest fashion city on par with our windy neighbor to the south.
Owners Sharon Reed, 35, and Laura Lutter, 32, have opened Aala Reed, a 1,600-sq. ft. store for the "mid-20-to-mid-50-year-old guy" at Passeggio, 1320 E. Brady St.
The shop is clearly out to capitalize on the city's momentum and grab shoppers that expect personal service, the latest designers and fashion experiences usually reserved for bigger cities. But, your father, with a spring in his step and a need for a new sport coat, blazer, sweater, shirt or tie, would also feel comfortable shopping at Aala Reed.
The idea for the store has gone from concept to storefront in less than a year. Last Thanksgiving Lutter and Reed had the vision that they could capture a massively under-served men's fashion market in Milwaukee.
Their plan is to keep many guys (and their significant others), who usually shop in Chicago, right here in Milwaukee by using their marketing savvy, contemporary styles and brands like Ted Baker of London (no one else in Milwaukee carries him), Tallia Uomo, Equilibrio, Michael Brandon and Anthology.
And if brands don't draw a crowd, Brady Street will. Complementary retailers like Three Graces, Miss Groove and Detour make Brady Street a destination for boutiques, fashion, dining and more. It also provides the ideal atmosphere for Aala Reed.
"We wanted to be on Brady Street," said Lutter. "It's the right place for us and it's only going to continue to grow."
The store is open Mon.-Sat. , 11 a.m.-7 p.m., and noon-5 p.m. on Sundays. Call Aala Reed at (414) 226-AALA (2252).
A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.
He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.
Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.
He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.
He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.