Another Menswear Shop Closes: Roger Stevens

Featured

A few weeks ago veteran Ask Andy Trad member CMDC posted about another independent menswear shop closing its doors. I have been doing some research on various menswear shops of the past so his post really resonated with me. I followed up with CMDC about this post and he was kind enough to provide a write for us about his.

Roger Stevens is located in the lobby of the Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. The Pfister is Milwaukee’s finest hotel and is one of those old, historic, elegant gems that each major city has but that aren’t being built anymore. When I was an undergrad in Milwaukee during the early ’90s, I had neither the sensibility nor the cash to shop there. So, I never visited the store in its heyday. Milwaukee is, as most would guess, a very blue collar town so I’ve never associated it with fine dressing although there obviously is a clientele that has kept the store doing well over the years. The patrons of the Pfister have also been a key element of the store’s success.
Roger Stevens Store Front

I get back to Milwaukee a couple of times per year and, as I’ve become more dedicated to dressing well, I’ve always intended to stop in. With the announcement of the store’s impending closing–and the significant markdowns–I made it a point to visit when I was in Milwaukee a few weeks back. Roger Stevens is–and clearly was–the type of store we clothing enthusiasts wish was still the standard. Even though their stock has been getting cleared out and everything was 50% off, the staff approached me and the other customers in the store as if it was business as usual. To give a sense of their offerings, the main brands were Samuelsohn, Southwick, Bills, Seaward and Stearn, Gitman Bros, and Zanella. They used to offer Allen Edmonds as well, which one would expect. So, mostly TNSIL favorites with a tiny smattering of the more fashion forward.
Roger Stevens StoreRoger Stevens TiesWhile there was much to tempt me, I didn’t want to totally break the bank. In the end, there was a Southwick 3/2 sack tweed sportcoat that I simply couldn’t leave behind. The price was very good and I’m always a sucker for bold tweed patterns. I rounded out my purchase with a really nice Ancient Madder tie. I had a really nice conversation with the saleswoman who helped me about the store, its closing, and the Milwaukee menswear scene. The honest truth is that there’s not much left in Milwaukee, especially downtown. There is a Brooks Brothers at one of the suburban malls as well as Harley’s on Milwaukee’s east side which offers a much more fashion forward, heavily Italian, line.
Made for Roger StevensSo, another fine menswear store is no more. While Roger Stevens’ closing isn’t attributable to the rise of business casual or the economic downturn, it is gone nonetheless. I really wish I had been able to make more than one visit. You can read more about Roger Stevens and its closing here: Menswear store Roger Stevens closing after 37 years

oxford cloth button down
is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

4 Comments on "Another Menswear Shop Closes: Roger Stevens"

  1. Uncle George says:

    John Donne wrote:
    “No man is an island entire of itself; every man
    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
    if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
    is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
    well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
    own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
    because I am involved in mankind.”

    Similarly, the death of a fine menswear store, diminishes us all, even if we were never a customer of that particular store.

  2. oxford cloth button down says:

    Uncle George – Well said. I appreciate the comment.

  3. Jonathan says:

    The Pfister is a grand old hotel and it is a shame that it is losing such a nice store. When we would visit Milwaukee when I was a child, we would always eat lunch at the Pfister. For my 14th birthday, my “golden birthday”, I wanted to spend a night at the Pfister. My parents obliged and we had a fantastic room. I don’t recall Roger Stevens, but at that age I was more interested in Nike clothing than classic menswear. The Pfister was home to several small businesses, as I recall. I wonder what is left of them? Even without Roger Stevens, I highly recommend visitors to Milwaukee spend at least one night in the old and elegant Pfister Hotel.

  4. Andrew says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been working my way through the older posts.

    If you’d like to read about another independent menswear store that has closed its doors, Kansas City recently lost Jack Henry, which had been in business for over 80 years:

    http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/cityscape/article415822/Clothier-Jack-Henry-is-closing-on-the-Country-Club-Plaza-after-83-years.html

    The store has reopened as a flagship location for Byron.

I would like to hear from you