I never shop in New Haven. Lies — I do.

I have bought socks and underwear whenever I realize I’m literally running out. I have been to Urban and American Apparel for this and that. I am not a fan of J.Crew, but I could see it happening for most people.

Still, the kind of shopping I do in New Haven is, I feel, not the superior, cathartic shopping experience I might have in, say, New York City. Or back home.

Ah, we are always too harsh on poor, maligned New Haven. If the Have were a person, it’d be a middle-aged, bald man who just hadn’t succeeded in life. Greasy and single — we wouldn’t be friends with New Haven.

But New Haven is a city, we live in it, and we should be nice to it. It was in the midst of this realization that I found Raggs — Fashions for Men.

Raggs has been there for over 25 years. I have been at Yale for two and I went to Raggs for the first time this Wednesday. Raggs. Say Raggs again.


Anyway, the first thing I noticed as I opened the door is that I probably already owned the outfit the mannequin was wearing — always a good sign.

Raggs is one of those places that gather a few pieces of select clothing from different brands and seasons according to the owner’s taste. Like a faux second-hand store, but fancy.

And it is a great concept, because no matter what that person’s choices are, most of the time, there will be something you just really like and wouldn’t have found anywhere else.

This, of course, happened between me and a reversible black/gray Boss jacket, probably from a past season. It was the only jacket of that sort in the store, it fit perfectly, and I was surely not going to find that one jacket among zillions in NYC.

There is pretty much every item of clothing you would expect in a men’s clothing store, in little quantity but great variety.

Different brand names and designers abound, there’s everything from J. Lindberg and Paige Premium Jeans to Sand and Theory. The prices range from $100 to $400 for most articles.

Now, the store’s Web site says Raggs brings “the latest clothing styles for the contemporary man,” in what they define as “a sophisticated approach to dressing up or down.”

I’m not so sure about either statement, mainly because their clothes tend toward the formal end of the spectrum, and well, “contemporary” is not precisely the word that I’d use to describe their ensembles.

I still think the place is great. Raggs is the store to go every once in a while, check out what’s new, maybe find something special, at a great price when compared to regular retail, and that no one else will have.