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Pockets, Shrewsbury

Midlands-based menswear retailer Pockets offers top-notch product in quirky, historic surroundings.

In Shrewsbury’s historic central square sits the charming store Pockets, a menswear independent opened in 1996 by Paul Anthony Platt. Having grown to include four other stores in Hanley, Nantwich, Worcester and Newcastle-under-Lyme, Pockets’ latest move has been a revamp of its Shrewsbury flagship.

Housed in a grand 300-year-old building, the four floors include a modern basement, sleek ground floor and a further two floors located up a somewhat rickety yet plushly carpeted staircase.

The store originally covered 2,000 sq ft. Its Paul Smith-dedicated floor upstairs was opened last October and six weeks ago the floor above it was opened to house its Ralph Lauren offer, pushing the floor space up to 4,500 sq ft.

Another level at the top of the shop, devoted to Stone Island, will open in the coming weeks.

Handing over entire floors to key brands is an interesting move but one that works here, allowing the product space to breathe and seasonal colour schemes and print themes to take over each room.

The store’s interior mixes an eccentric Englishness with a sleek luxury vibe and feels like a blend between gentleman’s study, swanky sports clubhouse and walk-in wardrobe. Designed in-house, the fixtures and fittings include sturdy bespoke metalwork, chunky wooden furniture and restored original features. Elaborate elements such as chandeliers are offset by quirky vintage toys and personal touches, such as a wall of art and photographs, including pictures of the owner’s dogs, handwritten letters of thanks and even a framed Burberry T-shirt to commemorate the first sale the store ever made.

Clever use of props include a piano with the keys replaced by ties, shelves filled with antique tomes book-ended with shoes, a drinks cabinet containing accessories and a snooker table topped with neatly folded clothing, alongside traditional rails and clothes. This combination and consideration of what is placed where makes shopping easy but also interesting.

Everything is of a high standard and befits Pockets’ upmarket brand mix, which includes Canali, Moncler, Mulberry, Belstaff, Burberry and bestsellers Stone Island, Paul Smith and Ralph Lauren.

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