Attaining Aspirations at Bergdorf Goodman

Whether this new legion of dapper men have graduated to exploring the omega of luxury retail is contentious at best. Irrespective of the latter, here we are at the sanctioned grounds of high-end shopping: Bergdorf Goodman. With only one physical location in the world, this historic entity is a rare jewel that upholds the primal value of luxury consumption: exclusivity. A pillar of male elegance at its most experienced, the Bergdorf Goodman’s men’s store is a centerfold of social aspiration, symbolic achievement and sartorial captivation. Attention men of dapper, this is the playground we have all been working towards. Let us dive in head first!

Price Point: For anyone unfamiliar with this behemoth of high-end commerce, Bergdorf Goodman is a multi-brand department store with a vast range of designers and, in effect, price points. Close attention was paid to the contemporary brands with mid-range price per average ticket. Albeit, in a space like Bergdorf’s one has to come ready to play with a substantial wallet in tow. The brands offered include under-the-radar names like Libertine, Readymade, Orlebar Brown and Craig Green. Along with households like Kenzo, Neil Barrett, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Valentino, Dries Van Noten, Etro, YSL, and Thom Browne to name more than a few.

Acting as the vessel with which a shopping experience is had, an outfit was mentally assembled during a recent visit. In continuing to construct an interchangeable wardrobe that compliments pre-meditated individualistic style, there were a few items that will assist in expanding our style vernacular. Starting with a graphic polo shirt in black and white from Saint Laurent. A silhouetted classic with a dash of oomph, the YSL way, $315. Soft brushed cotton chinos in oatmeal camel from Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is the consummate centerpiece for an elevated look, $690. Givenchy gives us color blocking for the millennium, with suede sneakers in an astonishing mélange of neutral tones. A concluding touch with legs of longevity, $525. What we are left with is a polished gent who is an indisputable study in coordination.

From left to right: Balmain embellished blazer & Saint Laurent polo.

From left to right: Balmain embellished blazer & Saint Laurent polo.

The Good: What sets Bergdorf Goodman apart from the pack of sumptuous consumer destinations is that is not a chain. The space one enters on New York City’s famed Fifth Avenue, in between the Plaza Hotel and Central Park, is the only in the world. Moreover, the interior presentation is like no other. Upon entering and exploring this historic landmark of commerce, it feels less like a department store and more like a wealthy relative’s town home. A town home designed specifically to house said relative’s enviable wardrobe. Every square foot is utilized without the overall structure feeling cluttered.

For our purposes, it is level three that is of note. The store’s third floor houses its contemporary and pristinely of-the-moment selection. Each designer’s offering is displayed in a minimalistic manner, warranting a cooler and more welcoming aura than in other sections of the store. It is here that a man with a well-maintained wardrobe in constant re-development can find his fashion sanctum. Just be prepared to break the bank. Well shatter it, really. Keeping in mind that a venture in consuming at Bergdorf’s is an act of investment, there is plenty to dig one’s teeth into. The store supplies an air of sophistication of which supports every purchase as a valid one.

Side bar: there is currently a superb selection of sale shoes in sizes ranging from a US 7 to a US 12. From Prada to Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, there is something there for everyone.

From L to R: Gucci Chino & Givenchy sneakers.

From L to R: Gucci Chino & Givenchy sneakers.

The Bad: On the first two floors of the men’s store the atmosphere is intimidating. The energy is exceedingly austere and the ruptures of class divisions are felt. This could also be a personal feeling mired in insecurity at not being able to afford a single thing in stock. This is always a possible factor. Moreover, outside of the hyper-embellished brands like Valentino and Gucci, the inventory is rather conservative in aesthetic. This is not the place one will come to in search of the innovative. Even selections from subversive designers like Craig Green or Rick Owens was tame, in comparison to their featured collections at competing spaces like Barneys New York. The positive in this fact is that it yields to the evils of impulsivity and forces a consumer to stick to the basics. The very exorbitant basic. Which leads into the final contra asset of Bergdorf’s: the prices. This is a member’s only kind of situation. If dolling out $500 at entry level ticket is too far beyond reach, then the window shopping shades must be on, otherwise the other side of the front door is likely a better destination.

Cufflinks: There is no acceptable procedure except for being mercilessly deferential. Bergdorf Goodman is an entity that is representative of enterprise and well-fortuned capitalism. It is a touchstone of sartorial commerce that is both aspirational and exclusive. To properly claim to be a man of dapper, this must be a destination at some point in time. As we develop further and our ambitions become our reality, this place becomes increasingly within reach. For those of us who are already where we intended to be once upon a time, then the trip to this capital of male style is vital. The doors are open and our rich relative is awaiting our visit to that town home that houses the enviable wardrobe.