If you’ve shopped the men’s area at the downtown retailer now known as Macy’s during the past two decades, chances are you recognize the man on this page. Keith Dorsett built up an arsenal of loyal customers over the years that included everyone from professional athletes and Fortune 500 CEOs to regular men who “hate to shop.” Because of his vast knowledge of menswear and impeccable self-styling, he became one of only a few go-to guys in the Twin Cities menswear category.
Just steps down the skyway from Dorsett’s old stomping grounds is a new shop all his own, Elsworth (Highland Bank Court, 811 LaSalle Ave., Mpls., 612-605-3269) , which occupies the previous home of longtime men’s retailer Charles’ Clothing & Footwear. For Dorsett, Elsworth is less a dream come true and more a practical next step for a man who innately understands retail and men’s fashion. “After Macy’s, it just seemed like the right move,” he muses. “I wanted to offer a store that was reminiscent of a well-edited men’s closet with good product, good value, and, above all, good customer service.”
What Dorsett succeeds in is not trying to offer anything too groundbreaking, an idea he says doesn’t bode well for men in this market. Instead, Elsworth is filled with menswear necessities–suiting by John Varvatos, Jack Victor, and Ted Baker, casual layering pieces by Greyhound and Bill Tornado, dress shirts in sleek neutrals, and leather shoes from Grenson of London and Kenneth Cole–as well as funkier layering pieces and a smattering of accessories. “I want to take the production out of getting dressed,” Dorsett says. “Everything here can be mixed and matched and worn together. I never look at a suit just as a uniform. When it’s cut right, the pieces can be switched up.”
The offerings overlap without being too tricky to figure out. The space feels like a wonderful yet unpretentious closet, if you will. Men’s style magazines litter the coffee table, an iPod streams in the background, and African artifacts and local art decorate walls and shelves, giving the store a sense of home. But best of all, Dorsett is particular when it comes to quality and style, but conscious of his customer’s bottom line, keeping most everything in his store–save for suiting that tips the scale at $895–under $300. “With the economy the way it is, it is more important than ever to look good. There’s more competition for jobs and you need to take pride and represent yourself well while still being mindful of your budget.”