No excuses for not looking sharp this summer, guys; there’s a new menswear shop in Martinborough. 

A wedding anniversary led to Trina and Bede Laracy opening up Holy Smoke in Martinborough. The Kapiti Coast-based couple had booked a weekend in Martinborough earlier this year as an anniversary celebration. “It was a lovely weekend with lots on in town. We did notice though that there were quite a few men just sitting on their own while their wives or partners shopped. There are lots of shops for women – we thought there should be one for the guys,” she says.

Inspired to fill the gap, the couple initially looked for premises along SH2 but were always drawn back to Martinborough. Trina found the perfect venue almost by chance – tucked in among the group of shops on the sunny side of Ohio Street. After a repaint and refit, Trina launched Holy Smoke Menswear Clothing Co’s Wairarapa branch, on Queen’s Birthday this year.

The couple already own women’s fashion boutique Paper Doll and the original Holy Smoke in Raumati.

With a background of working in women’s fashion for over 20 years, Trina says she initially moved into menswear out of desperate need. “Like the Wairarapa, there were almost no menswear shops on the Kapiti Coast. Our customers at Paper Doll would say to me, ’you need to do something like this for men. You can’t have a women’s clothes shop without thinking about what goes with it.’  The women would be looking fabulous but the guys needed to lift their game.”

Holy Smoke has gathered momentum, confounding the concept of men being reluctant shoppers – a notion that Trina thinks is a myth. An exciting, accessible range of clothes, friendly atmosphere and above all, excellent service, are the keys to happy shopping for anyone, she says.

”Men do shop differently to women though – some of them don’t really know what they want or what they need. That’s why good service is so important - they might need more help in putting together an outfit that looks great and feels comfortable. We want them to leave here, having had a good time and feeling enthusiastic about their purchases.

“We don’t just stock one look – there’s plenty to choose from. We have out-there brights and high end fashion but also classic and conservative styles. When I buy clothes for the store, I’m buying one year in advance. I think about where clothes are going to be worn and who might wear them, so we have clothes to suit all body types – long and lean, as well as more stocky shapes.”

There are funky digitally printed shirts, but also more subtle top quality cotton shirts from Paris.

And prices are accessible – with shirts ranging from $110-$189.  Trousers include a stretch range that Trina says “just rock out the door – they are the most comfortable trousers ever worn”.

Designed to be a one-stop shop, Holy Smoke also has a full range of accessories – belts and buffalo leather bags, silk ties, socks and boxer shorts plus very cool Cuban sun hats made from coffee sack material that are bound to be on a few heads this summer. Not surprisingly, quite a few customers have been women looking for presents.

And it’s a one-stop shop down to having a sewing machine – any alterations are done on site.