We’ve long been fans of Billy Reid’s finely tailored Southern menswear, so naturally we leapt at the chance to visit the designer’s new store and headquarters in Florence, Alabama. (He was relocating from Dallas.) As you might expect, the shop—just down the street from both a charming diner called Trowbridge’s and a more mysterious outfit called Guns-N-Such—boasts a cozy, relaxed atmosphere with plenty of exposed brick, finely detailed wood shelving, and, of course, a well stocked selection of shirts, trousers, shoes, and suiting. They were working on the shop right up until the opening—happily, you’d never know.
As with the designer’s NYC boutique, there’s plenty of bourbon on hand to ease the shopping experience, and the space also doubles as a quality rock venue when the situation requires. Florence is surprisingly alive to both music and style—Muscle Shoals’ legendary Fame Studios are a short drive away, and the nearby Ye Olde General Store sells a wide array of up-to-the-moment workwear. (On the right night, you might be treated to a streetside show outside the store—the first night we were there, regional faves The Pine-Top Haints and Those Darlins both played killer sets of country-tinged rock and roll.)
If you’re lucky, you’ll get invited upstairs to Reid’s office. The airy locale resembles a Soho loft, but about three times the size. By day, old books and Life magazines litter the tables, while sketches for upcoming collections hang nearby. By night, however, the place really comes alive—at least on special occasions, where Reid opens the space to select friends and family for an evening of song. (While we were there, Reid even plugged in for a bit with his band, the Seersuckers.) Just a quick tip: If someone hands you a glass of moonshine, by all means drink it. We’d tell you what happens next, but, well … we don’t quite remember.
- — Paul L. Underwood