Since turning 40 six years ago, I’ve been waiting for my midlife crisis to start. Only recently did it occur to me that I’m already neck-deep in it, and that perhaps I’m like the frog in the slow-to-boil water who didn’t think to jump out until it was too late. Because the signs, as it turns out, are all over the floor of my closet. That is, shoes. We’re not talking Imelda Marcos numbers here. Ten pairs, maybe 12. But nice shoes. And hard-to-find shoes. I have freakishly wide feet—someone on staff today compared my feet to Shrek’s—and so when I find a pair that fits (triple E!), I feel all the more compelled to snap it up, for fear I might not see its like again.
Maybe you consider a dozen pairs of shoes to be commonplace. Maybe you see it as a silly extravagance, at least for a man who’s neither a politician nor a haberdasher. In any case, at some point over the past few years, I crossed a line from essential to indulgent. Look, I tell my wife, it could be worse.
I bring this all up because this month’s 50 Best Shops package is doing me no favors. Granted, the bulk of the spots that lifestyle editor Mary Logan Bikoff and her team scouted cater to women, but there are several men’s shops, and seeing them reminds me that if I’m not careful, I might end up dropping by Sid Mashburn for no real reason, and coming out with more stuff than I can justify.
It’s a great time to be a shopper in Atlanta, thanks not just to the iconic malls (like Lenox or Phipps) or the new developments (Buckhead Atlanta, Ponce City Market, Avalon), but to the repurposed spaces in other areas of town, like on the Westside. They make the shopping scene in Atlanta an opportunity not just for rampant consumerism and stylish comportment, but for tracking the city’s growth.
One of the contributors to this month’s shops package, in fact, is now on staff full time: Scott Henry, whom I first met 15 years ago when we both worked at Creative Loafing, is a newshound by profession (he’s articles editor) but a clotheshorse by birth. If he’s not in the office, there’s a good chance he’s browsing the racks at Standard or Tweeds. If you see him there, please tell him to get back to work.
I’m also excited to announce that Max Blau has joined the magazine as staff writer. Max has been here just a few short weeks, but his energy and intelligence—and his passion for Atlanta—have already been on ample display, including on Reddit, as we found out on July 30, when a user posted this photo of him and his interview subject on a MARTA train.
This article originally appeared in our September 2015 issue.