June 2018

Teagues Fine Men’s Clothing: For the Man on a Mission

Author: Linda S. Hopkins | Photographer: M.Kat Photography

Gary Reavis, proprietor of Teagues Fine Men’s Clothing in the Village at Wexford

Men buy, women shop.

No one understands this phenomenon better than Gary Reavis, owner of Teagues Men’s Clothing, located in the Village at Wexford on Hilton Head Island. “When a guy comes into a specialty store, he usually has in mind what he wants. He’s looking for someone who can direct him instead of wading through, which most men don’t want to do. They come in on a mission; if they see something they like, and it fits, they’ll buy it,” he said. “I’ve got guys I’ve been selling clothes to for probably 50 years. Guys will come in and buy their seasonal wardrobe in 15 minutes.”

But don’t be fooled by the expediency. Reavis takes pride in offering a large selection of upscale casual wear as well as sophisticated dress wear in the finest fabrics, along with all the accoutrements a man needs to look and feel like a man—from custom sport coats and dress pants to colorful shorts and slacks, shoes, belts, ties, masculine soaps, fragrances and more—all worth rambling through.

He also takes pride in knowing his customer. Casual in appearance and dress, without an ounce of pretense, Reavis comes to work each day with a mission of his own: to build relationships. Equipped with full knowledge of his inventory, good taste, and an experienced eye, he has an uncanny ability to size up a man’s wardrobe needs and guide him to merchandise that suits his style, all while chatting amiably about sports, current events or whatever might be of interest to his customer or put him at ease.
Reavis learned how to dress well early in life and modeled clothing starting in high school. “I always liked good clothes. When madras shirts came out and Bass Weejuns, I went into a store where I thought about working. They asked me to model for some shoots.” (Later, he would model on boats and sailboats for Knickers at Harbour Town, where he got his retail start locally.)

A journalism major and sports reporter in college, Reavis cut his teeth in retail working at Brittons of Columbia, South Carolina, where he logged 40-hour weeks on top of his class load. It was there where he learned the men’s specialty store craft and began honing his sales skills and customer service ethic. “I really loved it. First of all, I got a discount on all the clothes. After that, I just came up through the ranks,” he said.
In 1971, after finishing college, he and two colleagues decided to come to Hilton Head Island and open a store in Harbour Town—Knickers, a men’s store that is still thriving today. Knickers was and still is primarily tourist-focused, busiest in the late spring, summer and early fall.

Ed Hutton, a Teagues customer, sports his casual style on the golf course at Bear Creek Golf Club.

Attorney Bill Bowen has been a loyal Teagues customer for years, and is a big fan of the pocket square to add that finishing touch to a suit.

When Ron Teague, arrived in 1992, he set out to reverse that trend by creating a store that catered to island residents and second-home owners. In need of a manager who knew the business and the island, he recruited Reavis, who, by then had extensive experience in high-end menswear having bought for Knickers and four affiliated stores in affluent areas of the United States. It didn’t take long for Teague, an international buyer for Siemens Corporation, to see the light and put Reavis in charge. Reavis eventually bought the store and has continued to run with it since.

In the retail menswear business since the 1960s, Reavis said specialty stores like his are dinosaurs. “When I started doing this, there were at least probably three stores in every town that were good, bona fide men’s stores that carried nice things. Now, there might be one store left, or none.”

The secret to his longevity, he said, is knowing what to buy. “In any successful retail store, to go forward and be profitable, there’s certain criteria you have to meet. Number one in a men’s retail clothing store is a good selection of merchandise.” Of course, he carries popular lines such as St. Croix, Peter Millar, Bill’s Khakis and Bugatchi. But he’s also on the lookout for what’s new. “You need a couple of directional lines that customers recognize, but it’s not necessary to stick strictly to the most recognizable brands. You want to have things that customers don’t see at their store back home.” He also listens to his customers. “As people come in to shop, I may hear of different lines. If I hear enough of those requests, I will look at that line at market.”

As for trends, Reavis stays current with caution. “In menswear versus ladieswear, the customer doesn’t move more than about 10 percent off center, whereas ladieswear may change drastically from one year to the next,” he explained. “Women change to the fashions. But if you show a man something that is too different from what he’s been wearing, he’s probably not going to buy it.”

Realtor Steve Harmon waits for clients at a Colleton River estate offered for sale. Teagues carries men’s clothing for every occasion – from formal and business casual to attire for the golf course or beach.

Reavis also stays on top of seasonal colors and styles, introducing market appropriate selections. “Certain colors are new in fashion. It used to be pink. From pink, it went to cherry red, then it moved over into lilac shades and into deep purples,” he said. “In the Southeast, men’s clothes have more color this time of year. The colors are brighter, lighter, airier. In the fall, they will go more towards richer earth tones. Navy, black, maroon, and hunter green will be more apropos to the season.”

After all these years, Reavis said what “really turns him on” is the customer who comes back. “A guy came in last week. He needed new pants. I sold him 11 pairs of pants, 12 shirts and some other things. Then he saw two St. Croix sweaters in the window and bought those. When he came back to pick up his alterations, he bought a sports coat and some other items. I’ve done it so long, having a sale like that really makes me feel good. I’m putting it all together. I have to do it fast. When I see a customer who comes in the door to buy again, it means he was happy with the purchase.”

Teagues is a full-service specialty men’s store—a treasure trove, where the man on a mission can easily zero in on exactly what he needs, and a sanctuary for the guy who wants to hang out and build his wardrobe (or add to it) in a relaxed, yet classy environment that caters to men.

Teagues is located at 1000 William Hilton Parkway, Village at Wexford, Hilton Head Island. Tuxedos and formal accessories are in stock and can be ordered in a few days. Minor alterations are provided at no extra cost on non-sale merchandise. Teagues has been voted Hilton Head Island’s Best Men’s Store for many years. For more information, visit villageatwexford.com/teagues/ or call (843) 842-9868. Better yet, stop in and say hello to Gary.

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