by Dena Smolek
A void in the market prompted sisters and co-owners Amy and Sarah Blessing to open men's store Apartment Number 9 at the Brentwood Country Mart. Despite the small size, No. 9's inviting So-Cal atmosphere is a major draw for hanging out well past the purchase point. "We wanted to stock the shop with things that our boyfriends would wear," says Amy. "Things that are cozy, flattering, and most importantly, pieces you know he'll want to wear."
With a great merging of recognizable and up-and-coming labels, guys can walk out dressed from head-to-toe in updated classics that are sure to become their new favorites. Handsome wood shelving units, made by a friend, and other wood and leather furniture bought on Abbott Kinney in Venice, complement the stylish—but not overly styled—assortment of wares. On any given day, count on lots of hoodies, casual knits, henleys, and polos from names like James Perse, Velvet, and Splendid Mills, which are all known for making great basics in soft, durable fabrics.
The impressive assortment of denim comes courtesy of Earnest Sewn and Rogan (both designed by men). Other notable lines include Inhabit, Josh Podoll, Trovata, and NSF with some edgy, slightly distressed items, too. Look to Seize sur Vingt for dress shirts, and Steven Alan for casual, pre-washed button-ups. You won't find traditional suits, but the shop stocks some sharper trousers and blazers sold as separates. Complete the look with Pantherella Smith socks, cufflinks made from old typewriter keys, belts, wallets, hats, and other notable accessories. "We're going for comfort," says Amy. "Really wearable things…Our customer is always a little bit more understated and sophisticated rather than trendy."
Apartment Number 9, 225 26th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90402, 310-394-9440
Photographs by Kit Chaney