The Premium Minimalism of COS
COS is the most accessible entity for well-designed, minimalistic luxe clothing. Endearingly, it is Jil Sander – or the like – on a budget. Each piece is engineered with a razor focused attention to detail, from lining to hem. The product offering is indisputably a play on celebrated entities such as Engineered Garments, Costume National, Comme Des Garcon Shirt, etc. Yet the shapes are not merely riffs off higher end designs, they feel uniquely fresh and original. The interior design is akin to a modern art gallery, with everything strategically set about, not a garment out of place. The staff fit the aesthetic of the store: toned down with a sense of stylistic confidence that would make a shopper trust their sartorial judgment.
Price Point: Beginning with the t-shirts that cost $20 - $50, they are basic with a uniformed and pragmatic purpose. The shirts (button down) included grandad collars, denim fabric with button down collars and pastel hued oxford, and ranged from $89 - $115 depending on the level of detailing. Sweatshirts in army green, muted pink, navy, grey or black with zip ups, were priced at a median of $60 per. Sweaters, of a more gravitas knitwear make, came with options of nautical stripes, thinner crewnecks or shawl collared mid-buttoned cable knit, and began at $90, piquing at around $120. Pants ranged from $99 and up; the dressier the material, i.e. wool, the more expensive the item. The selvedge denim in stock automatically sets COS in a league of extended reputability. Coupling the quality product with a price tag of $115 cements this store as required visiting. Furthermore, jackets such as bombers and single zip ups with standard collars fell around the $150 mark. Coats – the jacket kin made with substantially heavier materials – did not surpass $275. At least, not in the oncoming of spring. For accessories, there was a very simply cut and shaped backpack made of supple matte leather for $250 (this may be a bit of stretch). The footwear product line ranged from $125 for sneakers to $225 for oxfords and Chelsea boots.
The Good: Outside the realm of affordability, which is a great factor, the interior design of COS is an asset all on its own. The way the store is assembled and the manner in which the products are displayed offers the customer on an edited budget a space to feel luxurious in the midst of accessibility. The presentation suggests that the customer not only takes a little more care with how they interact with the clothes, but also with how they curate their wardrobes. The aura when walking into the SOHO location specifically, has the power to make a customer want to be cooler and be determined not to leave until they have accomplished this feat. What more could a lover (or even distant admirer) of fashion ask for?
The Bad: Despite the inclusivity and availability ingrained in the business model of COS and its competitors, this brand does not carry an XS. While this can be a personal problem (as it was for me), it is actually a missed opportunity. The size range on a simple t-shirt is small to extra-large. What about the petite male consumer, or huskier style savant? There is something to say when the sole critique is not being able to shop at the store in question.
Rating: 4 Cufflinks: COS is in a league of its own. It is not of the luxury make, but it can hold its own against many of the titans from which it finds its greatest inspiration. For all of the label's well-earned merit, its most illuminating quality is that no matter a man's style propensity, there is something available to suit him. At a moment when overdesigning and style duplication are rampant in the menswear market, it is relevant and integral that there exists a place where individuality is honored. This particular space is adding something indispensable to the world of male-centered fashion. It is an absolute must visit. If they have your size that is!