Last week, my beau and I were browsing around the men's suits section of a local mall-based chain store. Later that week, we went in one of those UK and U of L-themed fan stores. Both times, I left with the same sigh of resignation:
"None of this can compare to the old Dawahares."
As any long-time Kentuckian can tell you, Dawahares was the Kentucky-based department store. Founded in 1907 in the tiny Eastern Kentucky coal camp town of Neon by Syrian immigrant S.F. Dawahare, the company expanded to over 30 stores in its heyday, and was in business for over 105 years. Unfortunately, the family-owned retailer filed for bankruptcy and was forced to close its remaining outlets in order to liquidate assets.
Over the century that Dawahares was in business, the small, mid-price outlets simply were Kentucky's hometown stores. Dawahares was known for outfitting the entire family. The extensive selection of men's suits and sports jackets were the place to shop for holidays and celebrations, with a selection to please everyone from UK coaches to countless grandpas to young men purchasing their first suits. The store felt like family for many of us in small town Kentucky -- we often went in to say hello to the salespeople as much as to actually shop. And, as our friend Allison (the PinkLouLou!), reminds us, the folks at Dawahares often went out of their way to help friends and neighbors.
And then, there was the UK gear. Oh my goodness, the UK gear.
Dawahares had a special knack for stocking Kentucky Wildcats apparel that was over-the-top, yet not-quite tacky. They always had the most delightful UK sweaters that worked equally well for the grandmas who attended basketball games and their granddaughters, who wore the blue-and-white sequins and appliques with just a hint of irony.
I thought it would be fun to pick out a few pieces of UK gear that have a Dawahares vibe -- things that I think they'd carry if they were still in business today.
I can't get enough of this '47 Brand cardigan sweater. Like my very favorite pieces from Dawahares, this would work equally well for you, your mom, or your grandma. It would be so fun to style it with leggings and wellies, or as an alternative to a coat.
And how about this Dooney & Bourke UK-print Shopper Tote? This would be so much fun for game day!
The golf shirts, cowgirl boots, house shoes and, of course, sweaters, in the galleries below keep the Dawahares vibe alive. Something tells me I'll be buying more than a few of these!
Do you have fond memories of Dawahares?