Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, sometimes referred to as “The Magnificent Mile” or “The Mag Mile” is the stretch of Michigan Avenue that is world renowned for the best retail therapy anyone could ask for! Starting just north of the river up through the famous Oak Street and Rush Street, Michigan Avenue contains Chicago’s most concentrated high-end shopping in the city. There are anchor retail tenants along Michigan Avenue such as Armani, Chanel, Burberry, Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co, Montblanc and Rolex, just to name a few.
My fiancee and I love to head out on the weekends for long walks that typically end with us walking all the way up Michigan Avenue to Oak Street and back down to the riverwalk. It’s incredible to walk up and down, check out all the famous architecture, such as the John Hancock building, the Wrigley Building, The Tribune Tower, Chicago Water Tower, The Drake and many more! I’ll be the first to admit though, Michigan Avenue can be overwhelming!
As someone who lives in Chicago and a block away from Michigan Avenue, I always gravitate to the iconic flagship of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile and the Gold Coast, which is 900 North Michigan Shops. You can find their website here for the extensive list of retail shops all in one building! In order to set the record straight, while some people refer to it as “The Bloomingdales” building or “The 900 Building”, it’s actually 900 North Michigan Shops. It’s true that Bloomingdale’s is in the building, but it’s not just about The Bloomingdale’s Building.
The architecturally stunning 900 North Michigan Shops is a massive 465,000 square-foot, seven-level experiential retail destination that’s literally in the best possible location. There are over 70 luxe retailers! The well-known anchor stores in 900 North Michigan Shops include: Bloomingdale’s, Gucci, Montblanc, J. Crew, Michael Kors, Aritzia and many more!
The main reason why I gravitate to 900 North Michigan Shops is simple, it’s because everything is literally under one roof, and it’s a giant roof! As I mentioned above, we love going for walks on Michigan Avenue, weaving in and out of all the tourists taking in the sights and coming in and out of the shops. However, when it comes to actually shopping, I prefer to be able to get to all the shops I want to check out in an efficient and timely manner without having to worry about if I’m on the right part of the street or if I passed a store I wanted to check out. 900 North Michigan Shops serve this purpose perfectly! There is also Aster Hall on the 5th and 6th floor, offering a diverse range of food and beverages across sixteen vendors! Additionally, there are free and very clean bathrooms throughout 900 North Michigan Shops, so you have everything you need all in one place.
Chicago’s weather can also be unpredictable at times and the winters are famous for being cold and...very windy. So, having everything all in one place and indoors, with parking, is a major benefit for those looking to shop all year round without having to worry about much!
While there are many incredible shops in 900 North Michigan Shops, I will be focusing on the most unique men’s shopping experiences offered! With online shopping continuing to increase in popularity, there’s something to be said about the experience of actually being in-person when shopping. Not only to try on the garments, but also to touch and feel the quality of the pieces you’re most interested in. Also, having worked with hundreds of menswear companies and products over the years, I can confidently tell you sizing across stores is never the same. A medium slim fit shirt from one brand will never be the exact same as a medium slim fit shirt from another store. A non-iron shirt from one store is going to feel differently than a non-iron shirt from another store. And so on.
Although I’m only focusing on six of the stores, you can purchase a 900 North Michigan Shops gift card that you can use at all 70 retailers! This is the perfect gift idea for anyone this upcoming holiday season or just for an any occasion gift!
The menswear stores I’m sharing below have all been selected based on the overall men’s shopping experience, the uniqueness of their product offering and the versatility to provide quality products to any gentleman’s budget.
Top Menswear Stores in 900 North Michigan Shops:
Merchant & Rhoades
Brief overview of the top menswear stores in 900 North Michigan Shops:
A unisex brand that is rooted in sophisticated & opulent living. Featuring men’s & women’s lifestyle essentials: accessories, clothing, jewelry, bags, outerwear & home decor. A collection of the finer things in life, curated by Diana Michelle. Diana also offers fully custom suiting for men and women starting at $600. She provides high-touch consultative experience from the start of the suiting process through to the perfect fit.
St. Croix knitwear fashions and outerwear are individually handcrafted in the United States and hand-finished to guarantee the highest level of quality and fit. The St. Croix collection also features a coordinated line of fine trousers, sport shirts, and hosiery crafted exclusively for St. Croix in Italy to exacting standards. Each of the limited edition designer fashions is created with the sophisticated man in mind.
Merchant & Rhoades
Barber to the city’s business, professional, and political leaders (as well as the occasional celebrity), Merchant & Rhoades Chicago, the flagship U.S. location of the venerable, 200 year-old London company, has been giving this country the royal treatment for nearly 20 years. Merchant & Rhoades specializes in both traditional men’s grooming services and grooming products of the highest quality.
Bonobos started back when the founders couldn’t find pants that fit, they were either way too tight or too boxy. They set out to fix this problem and have since expanded their playbook to shirts and suits. The secret is their signature curved waistband. It actually conforms to the natural shape of your waist. A trimmer, more flattering cut and the perfect medium rise are the finishing touches on their great fit. Like most guys, they’re not big fans of shopping. That’s why they set out to build the best online shopping experience in the world, and they made it the core of what they do.
Club Monaco is an international retail brand that designs and creates modern yet timeless clothing and accessories for women and men. Since its first store opened in Toronto in 1985, Club Monaco has been recognized by fashion influencers for its thoughtfully designed, purposeful collections featuring relevant, wearable pieces, fine fabrics and exceptional fits.
UNTUCKit started because the founders couldn’t find shirts that looked good untucked. It’s a tough style to get right. That’s why they created the perfect untucked shirt. It has that just-right length, fits all shapes and sizes, and helps you look sharp—even at your most casual.
My shopping experience at the top three unique men’s stores in 900 North Michigan Shops
A truly dapper experience at Provenance
Provenance is not just another men’s suiting shop, it’s not even just another retail shop. Provenance is a hand-selected curation of all the finer things in life, for both men and women. The breathtaking displays and meticulous detail will capture the attention of anyone walking through 900 North Michigan Shops, but it is Diana Michelle’s knowledge and industry experience that make the experience truly unique. When we first walked into the store, Diana wanted to make sure we were greeted with a beverage selection of our choice. I guess I shouldn’t tell you that it was 10am when we were there, but that’s okay because we tried some delicious coffee grain whiskey.
I am captivated by all things dapper, and it was hard for me to stay focused on just one display. I was moving through the store because my eye kept moving to the next incredible piece. This was my first time in Provenance, so I wanted to make sure I took in all the beauty for the actual displays before we sat down with Diana to learn more about her and the store.
Diana embodies all the characteristics you hope to see in a successful businesswoman. Her passion for products and eye for design are on display everywhere you look. She’s no rookie to the industry either, and her decades of experience are clear in her attention to detail. We talked a lot about the evolution of suiting, what has and has not changed in recent years. We also had a chance to flip through some of her favorite fall suiting books, all of which Diana curates. The possibilities are truly endless!
I will admit that, at first, I wrongly assumed all custom suiting would start well over $1,500. However, Diana now offers full canvas custom suiting starting at just $600 with a huge variety of fabrics to choose from! I was blown away when I heard the starting prices for these custom suits. This is a true representation of being able to work with a customer at any price point to give them that custom suiting experience. Of course, the higher-end fabric and finishes are a price increase from there, but at $600 it becomes a starting point for individuals to be able to afford a higher-touch custom suiting experience. Diana also works with brides and grooms frequently for wedding suiting that also fits within any budget!
In Provenance, there were some standout pieces that were absolute favorites. Below are images of three pieces I wanted to showcase.
The first is a stunning three-roll-two button jacket in a versatile color and pattern. The detail of the button tab and the single button pocket closure add a casual touch to what’s usually a formal article of clothing. Another version of this is the subtle cameo jacket.
The second is a statement top coat with a very bold blue flannel check and custom detailing that is sure to turn the head of everyone who sees it.
The third is actually two items that work perfectly as a set. The luxurious mask and pocket square combination with the perfect design. It’s subtle enough for the boardroom, but also captures attention for the right reasons.
We couldn’t leave the store without getting a chance to smell some of the incredible unique and rare unisex perfumes. It’s hard to articulate how incredible these all smelled, so I will just leave it at this: if you find yourself in 900 North Michigan Shops, you have to stop into Provenance to smell them for yourself!
Made in America makes a difference at St. Croix
For over 25 years, St. Croix has been an independently owned men’s luxury fashion store, which became famous for their knitwear collection. The company was founded by Bernhard Brenner who came to America as a talented knitting engineer from Europe with a singular vision: “To make the finest sweater that can be made.”
Walking into St. Croix, you know you’re stepping into luxury with their knits on full display as we head into the colder seasons! They definitely have an island feel to a lot of their products, but I particularly enjoyed the bold patterns and many textures that captured my attention. When browsing their selection you can truly feel the difference in the quality of their products.
We learned a lot from spending time with the store manager, who has been one of the longest running tenants in 900 North Michigan Shops. She shared with us the details related to the natural materials used in products, including Australian Merino Wool, Pima and Giza Cotton, Premium Lambswool and Mongolian cashmere. All of their knitwear and outerwear are handmade in Minnesota by their highly skilled artisan, which is a rare differentiator today when most garments are produced overseas.
St. Croix offers a luxury product at a higher price point, but as many companies are even advertising today, the buy-less model is definitely applicable here. These garments are built to last!
Below, I’m featuring a few of my favorite pieces for the upcoming fall/winter seasons.
The first is this beautiful blazer in Merino wool knit made in Italy.
Layered under the blazer is a made in Italy quilted vest. A vest will be the perfect layering piece for your fall/winter collections.
The third is this made in Italy 100% cotton bold paisley shirt that will help anyone snap out of a bad mood this winter.
One important note when shopping at St. Croix stores is that it is important to size down if you’re seeking a slimmer fit or more modern look.
The timeless art of grooming with Merchant & Rhoades
Want to get your haircut alongside Chicago’s elite? Or just to take a step back in time when experience and quality mattered in a barbershop? Merchant & Rhoades located on the sixth floor of 900 North Michigan Shops accomplishes all of this and much more! Merchant & Rhoades is tucked away on the Level 6 walkway and easily accessible from the connecting parking garage. If you were just walking by you might not notice the full barbershop behind their incredible wooden displays featuring premium men’s grooming products.
The displays and vast selections of high-end men’s grooming products were definitely the first things I noticed as I was approaching Merchant & Rhoades. Browsing the products, you start to hear some chatter going on in the back which naturally pulls you to peek your head in and check it out. One look at those barber chairs and you know you’ve come to the right place.There was a peacefulness about being in the shop that you can just tell is full of regulars, but equally as welcoming to newcomers. We spent some time chatting with one of the barbers who was asking us questions not just about men’s fashion, but also photography.
I opted for the shoe shine, which I highly recommend for anyone in and around 900 North Michigan Shops building who needs to keep the leather looking fresh! It was efficient and professional! When talking with the Merchant & Rhoades team, their most popular package is their Rush Street package.
The Rush Street package is $110 and includes a professional haircut, manicure and shoeshine. It’s the perfect package for any dapper gentleman. It’s also a great gift certificate idea, groomsmen gift or something fun to do to treat yourself!
Your Safety, Our Community: 900 North Michigan Shops Coronavirus safety precautions
900 North Michigan Shops has taken the necessary precautions to make you feel and stay safe throughout your shopping experience. They have very well placed signs to remind everyone to social distance and require masks to be worn at all times while in the building. They also have hand sanitizer stations well placed throughout the building. The actual stores all have their own signage, capacity limits, and hand sanitizer as well. Everyone was wearing a mask the entire time as well, including the shop owners during all of our interactions. Additionally, most stores are offering curbside pickup during this time to keep interaction limited, if you’re still hesitant to go out.
It’s been an honor to have the opportunity to partner with 900 North Michigan Shops and to feature these incredible men’s fashion stores.