Gabrielle Spangler is a woman obsessed with all things fashion. Sporting a red suede dress, heels and dangly earrings, it may come as a surprise to know that this stylish entrepreneur spends her time amidst racks of suit coats, drawers filled with ties of every hue and lapel pins made to complement even the most basic fall ensemble.
But that element of surprise is what Spangler thrives on.
Back in 2013, the then 22 year-old set out to create a store for a younger generation of men looking for more tailored, trendier clothing options. Three years later Spangler’s Man Code boutique is a Phillips Avenue staple.
“There were a lot of great women’s boutiques here in Sioux Falls, but really nothing for men,” Spangler said. “First impressions are very powerful. Of course your eyes and your smile tell a story, but I think clothes say a lot about who you are and how you want to present yourself.”
Man Code specializes in providing professional shirts, sport coats and accessories to men wanting a crisp and clean look. Although finding brands made in the U.S. is difficult, selling American-made is something Spangler is passionate about, doing her best as a business owner to bring in high quality fabrics at the lowest cost possible.
Spangler compares the men’s fashion scene in Sioux Falls to that of other Midwest cities like Minneapolis. And though street style in the sense of New York City and Chicago isn’t practical with South Dakota winters, Sioux Falls can definitely hold its own when it comes to men’s fashion.
After going to market in Los Angeles in search of fall trends, Spangler said as the leaves change it’s going to be all about the sport coats.
“It’s not just a normal jacket,” she said. “I would recommend having two key staples and then rocking those.”
Though the traditional sport coat may feel like playing it safe, Spangler said having two jackets, one lighter and one darker, can add variety to any guy’s wardrobe. Paired with chinos or jeans, the jacket can be dressed up or down, while a pocket square or eye-catching tie elevates the look from classic to trendy.
But the fashion maven wasn’t always comfortable doling out clothing advice to the guys.
“There was definitely a learning curve,” she said. “I had to learn to gauge men’s reactions to what I said, but once they were comfortable they took my advice.”
Advertising Man Code as just another Sioux Falls store is not in Spangler’s business model. Instead it’s a downtown retreat with a relaxed masculine aesthetic. The walls are painted a calming shade of blue-grey, ESPN plays on a flat screen and bachelor pad chic touches—think leather, dim lighting and dark wood—are everywhere.
“I want this to feel different than any other store,” Spangler said. “It’s a place where guys can be comfortable, just hang out, go on a day date.”
For this one-woman boutique owner, men’s fashion is more than a passing interest. Though she loves the downtown business scene, Spangler hopes to expand Man Code’s reach into the community by opening more stores in Sioux Falls, and maybe even in other cities.
“The community we have here, it’s definitely a Sioux Falls thing,” Spangler said. “The people I’ve met since opening this store have become my best friends. Everyone knows each other and it’s like having a bunch of co-workers right across the street.”
Thanks to Spangler’s drive, the men of Sioux Falls not only have a place to purchase an on-trend tie, but also a store to call their fashion home. This is one man code Spangler has no doubt enjoyed deciphering, fashionably.
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