I love the American South – the hospitality, the excellent barbecue, that lilting drawl – but it’s rare that I equate this part of the world with fashion. In particular, I never thought I’d discover menswear there for my urbanite husband. But that is exactly what happened on a recent visit to Charlotte, North Carolina, where a local friend introduced us to Tabor, an original men’s fashion emporium set in a wonderful 1920s bungalow in historic Myers Park.
A quintessentially Southern front porch invites visitors to linger, and knowledgeable staff augment the charming vibe. With a floor space of just 75sq m, Tabor isn’t trying to be all things to all people; we discovered a tight edit of cool yet classic clothing, accessories and footwear from both noted and emerging designers and, for perhaps the first time ever, shopping with my husband didn’t feel like pulling teeth.
Designed by architect and co-owner Perry Poole and overseen by buyer and visual director Scott Newkirk, Tabor selects American and European labels with a Southern eye. “No matter what designers we carry – APC, Belstaff, Saint James – there is a sense of the Southern spirit to the clothes we carry, and they are classic,” says Newkirk. “Even among the European collections, we are drawn to things like a classic Western shirt ($750) from Saint Laurent rather than a silk, printed version.” Current pieces include seersucker trousers (from $3,100 for a three-piece suit) by Thom Browne and cotton-poplin shirts ($195) from Gitman Vintage.
My husband wasn’t looking for anything in particular during our detour but Tabor’s selection of pieces from US label Save Khaki United – trousers ($160) and slim-cut Bermuda shorts ($140) in pale grey and navy twill – were too good to pass up. Ditto the James Perse polo shirt ($95) in a muted slate blue, with a slimmer silhouette than his typical loose-fitting weekend wear. An understated waxed canvas weekend bag ($375) by Billykirk also got the seal of approval.
Standout shoes include Achilles sneakers ($423) by Common Projects in the softest grey suede, and brogue-style boots ($670) by Trickers. Winning accessories include a simple stainless-steel pilot’s watch ($389) by MWC with a black leather strap and one-of-a-kind silver cufflinks ($295) by Carolyn Lamb.
That Southern sense of hospitality explains the in-store Not Just Coffee shop, where you can buy Southern-style cocktail syrups and accessories (from $12) by Jack Rudy. “And,” says Newkirk, “we have parties with the best BBQ from the region, and invite well-known Southern chefs to cook for our clients on the front porch, with local bluegrass bands playing.”