[slideshow](Update: AllSaints on Michigan Ave. is now open. We still haven’t been there — Michigan Ave. in the summer? That’s going to take some coaxing — but we’ve been assured the giant veil has been lifted from the storefront. Check out MyPoshJeans.com for some interior shots.)
For men (and women) seeking a new fashion chain to frequent, The giant “AllSaints Spitalfields” poster at 700 N. Michigan Ave. has been a perpetual tease ever since it was unveiled last March. The poster isn’t very informative, especially if you’re looking for an opening date. Most reports say the store is opening soon-ish, like maybe this month, or maybe in July. Since it’s opening seems to have been delayed a few times already, we won’t suggest anyone camp out in front of the poster and wait for it to be lifted (although if you do you might be joined by several stylish ladies who write for Refinery 29). But for guys wondering if this place is worth shopping at once it actually opens, our answer is yes.
Back in April we paid a visit to the Las Vegas version of AllSaints, located in the new Cosmopolitan hotel (and no, this wasn’t our sole reason for visiting Vegas), and we were rather impressed (with the store, and sort of with the hotel). While you can probably discern what kind of clothes the British retailer pedals by visiting their website, visiting one of their stores helps understand the brand’s overall aesthetic. The Las Vegas store feels like a vintage loft, purposely unrefined and raw, slightly industrial, but hardly messy. It was easy to navigate and the sales associates were extremely laid back, a bit of surprise given the store was in Vegas hotel.
For men, AllSaints features plenty of basics with a beat up look. If you like the current men’s fashion trend of stylized work wear, you’ll enjoy AllSaints. Henleys, chambray shirts and distressed leather jackets caught our eye, as did some of their rugged-looking boots, although we didn’t try them on, so it’s hard to say how comfortable or durable they really are.
Our favorite item at the store was the Lou denim western shirt (about $135, pictured left), which looks like it’s been through a couple rodeos, or at least season of mechanical bull riding. While we prefer our denim raw and untreated so we can break it in with a personal touch, the Lou shirt still has plenty of charm, and if you want one that doesn’t look so broken in, the dark indigo version should work (we didn’t see this option in the store, but it exists online). We know wearing denim above the waist can look a little ridiculous in the wrong hands, but the Lou shirt is stylish enough to prevent you from looking like Jay Leno, and broken in enough to be comfortable from the first wear.
AllSaints isn’t going to help you find stylish business casual, business formal, or any type of office clothes if you work in more traditional work environment. They do have some blazers, but like many of their clothes, they have a lived-in look. They’d work for a date, but probably not for a meeting with clients. The lack of professional attire might give the impression that AllSaints is strictly for the 25-and-under set, but we’d disagree. The rugged basics it sells are plain and unadorned, and this lack of flashiness makes the apparel suitable for most demographics. The tough but cool fabrics AllSaints carries will remind you Levi’s or JCrew, except with a slightly higher price point. Shopping there probably won’t break the bank, but the prices are about 10 to 20 percent more than big retailers like JCrew, Banana Republic or Club Monaco.
One last note: We typically aren’t proponents of shopping on Michigan Ave., but we do think AllSaints is worth your time, so unfortunately, if you want to check it out in Chicago you will be Mag Mile bound. Sure you can buy their clothes online, but we always recommend going to actual stores and trying clothes on as opposed to sizing things up on a computer screen. Buying from the AllSaints website might prove to be cheaper than buying from the store and paying the Michigan Avenue sales tax, but trying on clothes at the store should be free.
AllSaints Spitalfields, coming soon to 700 N. Michigan Ave (we hope)