“On any given day, a new customer will walk into our store and remark, ‘Wow, this is just the kind of men’s store I’ve been looking for,’” says Nicole Chose, co-owner and marketing director of The Foursome, a Plymouth menswear store.
The Foursome takes its job seriously. For over 60 years, the store has been family-owned by the Engel family for three generations. And if that doesn’t sell hesitant buyers, the clothing options make the store something “a new generation of guys can be excited to shop at,” says Chose, who is an Engel through marriage.
The shop came to be in 1935 when four golfing teachers came together to open a menswear store. Shortly after, Ron and Lucille Engel took over, and the Engels have been running the show ever since, now on their third generation.
Since its opening, The Foursome has been dedicated to providing the best options for buyers. “[Couples] typically remind us of how they knew our grandfather and shopped at the old store in Wayzata from before we were born,” Chose says. Loyal customers have followed the store from its original space in Wayzata over to Plymouth, showing their dedication and their appreciation to the Engels’ hard work.
The Foursome isn’t just riding on its base of loyal customers, though—the store stands out from all the rest. After being around for over 80 years, the experience of the people behind the store makes it easy to understand what has kept it thriving for so long.
“Our hand-picked collection of fine menswear brands can be shopped in a friendly, service-oriented environment, with all the conveniences of front door parking and on-site tailors,” says Chose. For men who aren’t thrilled about new clothes, The Foursome makes the process easy and enjoyable.
By offering dress wear and casual styles, along with a shoe department with many choices, The Foursome can be a one-stop shop for any buyer, whether they’re looking to dress up their own wardrobe or looking for the perfect gift.
The Foursome’s reputation makes the Engels the perfect people to seek style advice from, and buyer and co-owner Michael Engel, who is also Chose’s brother, gave some tips to keep stylish as the seasons start to change.
- “We’re seeing more dress pants and tailored clothing in high blue and blue mix,” he says, but adds that any shade of blue is going to be a good bet for the season. “Other colors include rust, merlot, deep green and slate gray.” Match the season with darker and cooler colors.
- There is one trend developing that any buyer can get behind--not sacrificing comfort for style. “Performance fabrics,” as Engel calls them, or fabrics typically used for camping and hiking clothes, are popping up in all sorts of styles--shirts, pants and outerwear, you name it!” says Engel. Rather than just saving performance fabrics for a camping trip, men can incorporate the material into their everyday lives.
- Some men may be reluctant to follow trends because of how quickly fads can go in and out of style. To trend-hesitant buyers, Engel says, “you will always project a professional image if you choose timeless fashion, invest in quality, and get a great fit.” Timeless styles and trends may seem contradictory, but by mixing both classic elements, like a watch, with a trend, like a high blue shade, men can stay stylish.
- “Start with basics in your wardrobe and add a few key items each season,” Engel adds. “Patterns, color, and texture can mix and match, but don’t try to do too much in the same outfit. For example, combine a small pattern shirt with a larger pattern sport coat. Choose a color palette that is versatile and suites your taste. Match your shoes to your belt. Add flair with accessories like socks and neckwear, or a pocket square.” By following these guidelines, most outfits will come out looking great.
- Keep the work week fun by upping your business wardrobe. Go for a “brighter blue suit,” Engel suggests with a nice dress shirt that you can wear with or without a tie. To complete the outfit, “try Ballin’s new computer pant with stretch and wrinkle-free fabrics that will take you anywhere around the world,” Engel says. When suits are getting boring, find a nice piece of knitwear to “change your look.”
- Engel’s last piece of business advice is to “wear walnut brown dress shoes and matching belt with your blues and grays for more pop.” And never forget to tuck in your pocket square, “even if not wearing a tie,” Engel adds.
For a more business casual look, “darker fashion denim is a must,” Engel says. “Then incorporate five-pocket pants in with a soft luxe twill or texture.” This is also a good opportunity to try out performance fabrics. Engels says, “Shirts with stretch can be mixed and matched with casual coats and vests. Try a shirt jacket that can be worn both in and outdoors when the weather turns.” To top the look off, go for a “cool pair of boots or dress sneakers for footwear.”
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, Engel, Chose and the Foursome sales team have broken down all the tips into the do’s and don’ts of menswear.
Do: “Invest in a denim-friendly sport coat.” Buyers can get the most out of their sports coat by giving themselves the option to wear it with jeans or dress pants. With more chances to wear the coat, it’s easier not to buy something with not-so-great quality just because it was cheap.
Don’t: “Worry so much about matching perfectly.” Tastefully mixing patterns is becoming more popular. Not having perfectly matched shades of the right color isn’t going to be as big of a fashion faux pas as you might think.
Do: “Pay attention to fit. Donate the blousy pants and shirts in your closet and buy a few new modern fitting replacements.” Having well-fitted clothes will make any buyer feel good. The better your clothes fit, the better you feel, leaving less to worry about. Plus, getting rid of the clothes you won’t wear anymore can keep your wardrobe from getting too overwhelming.
Don’t: “Settle for cheap and uncomfortable underwear.” It’s simple--if you aren’t comfortable in your most basic layer, it probably won’t get any better from there.
Do: “Incorporate performance fabrics into your wardrobe.” The Engels have said it once, they’ll say it again: performance fabrics are designed to be more comfortable and practical than some of the traditionally designed dress clothes.
Don’t: “Wear so much black.” The style team suggests trying navy, high blue, or gray suits and slacks instead. This way you can add a little more variety in your wardrobe without stepping too far out of your comfort zone.
Do: “Own a cool pair of boots.” Shoes are on your feet most of the day, especially while you’re at work. It doesn’t hurt to have a pair that feel good and look stylish.
Don’t: “Substitute a ski jacket for a wool dress coat. Update your outerwear with a modern wool coat.” Yes, Minnesota winters are brutal and it’s easy to default to the heaviest coat you own to keep warm. Yet the style team advises buyers to keep even the outerwear stylish for winter. A wool coat can go a long way, even when the temperature goes into the negatives.
Do: “Wear lots of layers. Mix a stylish vest, sweater, scarf, or jacket into your fall ensemble.” Remember your mom always telling you to layer in the winter? That still applies. For freezing weather, a little extra bulk can go a long way.
Don’t: “Forget to protect and shine your shoes this winter.” You want to keep all your cool new shoes looking new for as long as you can. The Foursome offers complimentary shoe shines every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. to keep your shoes in the best shape.