New year, new store. And right now, I'm intrigued by Wooden Hangers in Royal Oak for its interesting mix of European-influenced clothes for women and American-themed clothes for men -- jackets by Schott, the company famous for its pea coats and leather jackets, including the one worn by Bruce Springsteen on the cover of "Born to Run."
The women's offerings aren't flashy, but they are memorable, including several pieces by Desigual of Spain. Remarkable for prints that are fun but not gaudy and textures that are sometimes tapestry-like, this brand is worth checking -- and not one you're going to find at every store in the mall. Check out the skirts.
Another highlight: trim-fitting puffy coats -- not as impossible as it sounds -- by Treasure Rock for $115.
Jeans for women start at about $75 and include brands such as Cult and Anoname, a favorite with youngish celebs.
In addition to the Schott coats, men's highlights include sturdy wool coats from the Turkish brand, Avva, and men's jeans by Mason Bibliotheque, which are $140.
The store is owned by husband-and-wife team Jarami and Lajoya Roy, who also owns a hair salon.
Jarami Roy was working as a supervisor for an automotive supplier when he was laid off in 2007 and turned to fashion. He figured that in addition to having an interest in it, he also had a good eye for it because he was "getting lots of compliments on what I was wearing."
Roy, who lives in Sterling Heights, started buying men's clothing and accessories -- shirts and ties, cufflinks, sunglasses and belts -- from eBay and selling them at Gibraltar Trade Center and at flea markets. To learn more about store operations, he got a job as a sales associate at Banana Republic.
In September, he opened Wooden Hangers at 414 S. Washington, Royal Oak. Info: 248-336-8553.
(And for the record, nearly everything that hangs -- except jeans -- is on a wooden hanger.)