There once was a time when suits, ties and sport jackets were everyday wardrobe staples for men, no matter what the occasion. Times have changed, but at Kirbys Mens Wear in Tampa, a piece of it remains intact. The store has been a gentlemen's shopping destination since 1959, and in a world of jeans and flip-flops, the place is unwavering with old-school charm.
Dark wood furniture, thick carpets, leather chaises and immaculately organized racks of clothing give it a masculine and exclusive club feel, which in some ways the shop has become. Much like the store was passed from father to son — Tampa native Martin Shine started by helping there, and now runs the business — the secret of where to get tailored formalwear has also been passed down through generations of Tampa Bay families for decades.
Shine aims to make Kirbys the antithesis of a department store, leaving customers dressed to the nines and custom fit by tailors who work in the back of the shop making any adjustments, completely included in the purchase price. From socks ($7) to polo shirts ($75.50) to high-end Italian suits ($1,500 to $2,000), Kirbys has the menswear department covered and adapted to the Florida weather with lighter fabrics and more casual options available. Pleated or flat front, longer or shorter rise, plain or funky lining, the store has both classic styles and more modern alternatives for the prepsters and Don Draper-idolizing younger generation. For even more refined gents, shirts can also be made to order with color, fit and even the smallest of details customized to make a one-of-kind piece (starting at $155 per shirt).
Keeping with tradition, Shine's daughter, Taylor Jones, has been working at Kirbys since graduating college and is making sure the store's old-time élan continues to bring class to the 21st century. She keeps up with trends and updates the store's social media, because while dressing up every day might be a thing of the past, window shopping, even if on a phone screen, is still alive and well.