Today’s HUMANS OF THE PFISTER post is about “Transitions”–but also kind of an anti-transition story. It’s more a story about endurance, about a stalwart establishment that has survived three transitions to become a 25-year staple of Wisconsin Avenue, just a half-block west of The Pfister. Meet the proud owner of The Sophisticated Man, Diane Hamiel, herself a sophisticated woman who was sporting sleek gold glasses that flared out to meet her delicate bob and a sharp black top with a poofy lapel, not to mention a kind, witty smile.
I owned the Leather Boutique for women when I first started. It was mainly for women; the only things for men that we sold were wallets and belts. The boutique was on 3rd and Juneau, near where they’re building the new arena. But I lost the store to a fire.
However, that’s when I realized that men need help. They need someone to help them get dressed up; they don’t have enough places to shop. So I opened up my first men’s shop in the Prospect Mall in 1974. We were such a small shop, and people didn’t think we’d survive. But we were there until 1981 and moved to a bigger space in the Grand Avenue Mall, eventually moving to 322 E. Wisconsin, which is where we still are.
We sell classics. One of the things I always say is “The man’s ideas may be changing fast, but the classic look is made to last.” We still have guys wearing things they purchased 20, 30 years ago. They come in and show you–and they come in with their kids now, too! I feel like a big-time grandma!
I just love men. At The Sophisticated Man, we love servicing men! We can dress you up from head to toe: socks, shoes, underwear, shirts, suits, coats, slacks, hats, you name it. We help them with personal attention. You can walk into the shop like that [gestures to my jeans and sweater] and you can walk out like you’re going to meet the President. We dress all the sports stars–they come to us.
What would you hook me up with if I came into the store?
Like I said, we could dress you head to toe. I mean, you can have your casual look [again, gestures to my jeans and sweater], but–you look like you’re a 15 1/2″ neck, probably a 34-35 long. Yes?