Before his death five years ago, Ahmed Taghi liked sitting near the entrance to the grand 16,000-square-foot store that bears his name, taking pride in the business that he helped his children build. After 30 years, the luxury menswear store is still flanked by distinctive Roman columns at the entrance—and when in Rome, or in this case when in beautiful custom Italian suits from Brioni, Bruno Magli, and Pal Zileri, we say just go with it.
Despite the upper-crust name and fancy Uptown location, this shop is about more than just tuxedos and custom suits by John Cooper and Hickey-Freeman. They also stock Bills Khakis and casual shirts by Vineyard Vines and Tommy Bahama.
The true measure of a gentleman isn’t how much his clothes cost. Or so says The Class Room, which effortlessly blends street brands with natty accessories, helping guys find their inner men-of-style. If you need help putting it all together, the staff is happy to educate you. What did you think the chalkboard wall was for?
No getting around it, Festari is synonymous with Una Notte in Italia, the annual charity fundraiser where Houston’s A-list men—philanthropists, businessmen, politicians, athletes—do their little turns on the catwalk while dressed in suits made with fabrics by Zegna, Loro Piana, and … sorry, now we’re thinking about J.J. Watt in a three-piece suit. Carry on.
With all due respect to this Houston institution’s 130-plus years of history—which, by the way, makes it one of the oldest apparel brands in Texas—it’s possible the place didn’t truly hit peak Houston (and thus peak awesome) until 2013. That’s when Lyle Lovett signed on to collaborate on a line of western-style shirts, also known as the best Texas pairing since tortillas and queso.
Only a handful of men’s stores around the country make Esquire’s gold list each year, but this one’s been on it since 2000. Forty years ago, founder Morris Penner set out to introduce Houston men to a more exciting, Italian style of dress—slowly, carefully, one lapel at a time. Second-generation owners Murry and Karen Penner have expanded on that idea, adding an impressive men’s shoe section, along with women’s clothes and accessories.
A Houston institution for 60 years, Harold’s in the Heights may be gone, but it’s not forgotten, certainly not by Harold’s heir Michael Wiesenthal. A chip off the old block, he focuses on a classically Southern look that marries casual, sporty style with a preppy, polished finish.
Travis Weaver’s man-friendly apothecary brand is now a full-fledged store whose items are apparently selected for one reason: guys think they’re cool. As such, it’s decorated with taxidermy and a Chesterfield sofa amidst vintage leather US mailbags, barrel-aged whiskey coffee, bracelets made from solid brass railroad spikes, and cozy sweaters. Oh, and there’s even a barbershop downstairs.
After an astonishing 105 years, this men’s classic continues to capture the Houston look like no one else can: a little conservative, but always well put together; not afraid of a good suit (from Canali and Jack Victor, among others), though predisposed to something a bit more casual, like a tailored sport coat or colorful collared shirt.
If Parks and Rec’s Ron Swanson lived in Houston, this is where he’d go for anything he couldn’t carve himself. In between the motorcycle, bike, and skateboard gear, the shop stocks brands that focus on quality and craftsmanship, from your grandpa’s Levi’s jeans and Red Wing work boots to newer brands inspired by the same classic style, such as made-in-Detroit Shinola watches, glasses by Raen, and life/after/denim shirts.