Des Moines’ Badowers named one of the best menswear stores in the country by Esquire

Badower's in Des Moines
Badowers is the oldest establishment in the Midwest Clothiers family of businesses. — image via Badowers

Iowa fashion aficionados take note: The September edition of Esquire magazine lists Des Moines’ Badowers as the second best menswear store in the country.

“Actually,” Manager Kevin Hansen says modestly, the numbers “aren’t like the AP college basketball lists. They’re not a ‘ranking’ ranking. I’ve been trying to clarify that all day. It’s great press, and it’s still a cool honor, but I would just say that Badowers is ‘one of the best menswear stores in America.'”

Founded in the 1950s, the retailer is the oldest establishment in the Midwest Clothiers family of businesses, which includes Proper (women’s fashion), The Backroom (a liquidation store that provides “the same service experience” as its higher-priced sibling stores), Fish Creative Services (an in-house creative agency) and Mr B. (which also sells menswear).

Per Hansen, Badowers and Mr. B have only been under the same ownership for around 15 years, with Badowers being “a little more modern,” with “more emphasis on being current [and] more Italian clothing” — a deliberate distinction in which Hansen played an active role.

After working for the company and then freelancing as a stylist and personal shopper, Hansen returned to Badowers five years ago “to make it a more contemporary store.” As its primary curator, Hansen keeps an eye on the cutting edge of menswear, but maintains that “I want my guys to fit in anywhere in the country. Wherever they go, whatever they’re doing — I want them to look their best. We’re not real trendy. Some of the things we feature might look flashy, but I would say they’re pretty classic.”

Esquire wholeheartedly agrees. “The key to this 60-some-year-old’s stamina,” the magazine details, “is that many of its better-selling brands right now barely existed 6 years ago, much less 60.” Among the brands featured at Badowers are Todd Snyder’s Tailgate Clothing Co. and his eponymous menswear line. The New York-based Snyder — a CFDA Menswear of the Year nominee who got his start working at Badowers during his summers studying fashion at Iowa State — recently partnered with Nate Kaeding to open a Tailgate store on South Clinton Street in Iowa City.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »



Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.


Randy's Flooring is a local, employee-owned retailed that has been part of the Corridor for over 40 years, delivering quality and value through the largest selection of carpet, tile, hardwood, window treatments, and specialty products supported by the knowledgeable staff and in-house flooring designers who can help transform residential and commercial spaces.

Get Started