Today's Thursday Styles finds Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica utterly enthralled by Ale et Ange, the greatest Lower East Side men's boutique you have probably never heard of. Our shopper admits that the store is easy to miss, yet once inside, he characterizes the place as the long sought solution for men who are desperately looking for style but hopelessly unable to find it on their own.
They need to have their hands held without looking like they’ve had their hands held. The clothes must be loud enough to announce themselves, but quiet enough to appear as if they weren’t bought for that purpose.
He seems especially charmed by the store's warmth and personal interior touches, and it doesn't take much reading between the lines to see that Ale et Ange is the sort of independent boutique one often finds in New York. They succeed (hopefully) on their owners' drive and ambition, and if all goes as planned, they can develop into something bigger like a chain or a successful wholesale label. This store sounds like it is in the early stages of this narrative. Caramanica has been taken with the store's thoughtfully designed sportswear, and particularly with its signature, colorful caps. This is an accessory best left to the more confident and less in need of direction, but in the accompanying photos, we can see that many have been made in the kind of rich, African prints that became a hallmark of this past Spring's men's collections thanks to Burberry's Christopher Bailey and cult favorite Mark McNairy's work for the premium heritage label Woolrich Woolen Mills. If Ale at Ange's owners, Osoré Ale Oyagha and Eloise Ange Simonet can ride that wavelength between the personal and the commercial, they'll have a bright future. Having a fan at the Times' Style section certainly won't hurt.
Critical Shopper: A Guy’s Perfect Closet, Only Bigger By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Ale et Ange 40 Rivington Street between Forsyth & Eldridge Streets, Lower East Side