15 Alfred Street, Warwick, RI; shopwharf.com
Located in Warwick, RI, Wharf Clothing & Wares is about an hour drive from Boston, and a welcome oasis in the barren menswear market that is New England. Founded by Rob Babigan, whose family has tight ties to the seafood industry, Wharf has a nautical feel to it. Stacks of shirting are bookended by manila rope and pilot lights, while a pre-WWII Marine chest holds raw denim. In their inaugural season, Wharf is stocking pieces from Gant Rugger, Relwen and Woolrich Woolen Mills along with jeans from Baldwin and Makr leather goods. Also worth checking out? The house line of shirting proudly made in New England and such local brands as Timberland's Abbington Boot Co. and Randolph Engineering. Rob may not come from a traditional fashion background, but his outlook on what makes a great store is tough to debate: "Service. Selection. Service," he told us. "Every shop's ideas and aesthetic can be different, but I think what I observe from other good shops, and what you need in order to be successful, is great service combined with products that men can be comfortable purchasing." And thankfully, that translates to the shop's e-store as well.