Front Line: Just Be-COS

I remember 2003, when I first went to Stockholm and went bananas for this under-the-radar store stocking cool inexpensive clothes. It was called H&M. I spent more money on overweight on the way back than on the clothes themselves. Then there were the days I would go straight from London’s Heathrow to the nearest TopMan shop, and return to New York with a whole new chic and inexpensive High Street wardrobe. With TopMan opening later this month in New York and H&M already an American staple, my new exclusively Euro obsession, and H&M’s best kept secret (they are the parent company) is COS.

Pronounced like the first syllable of Cosby (but don’t look for a colorful Coogi sweater here) I first heard of them last summer after complimenting my very chic friend on this amazing T-shirt he was wearing. It was light, a bit drapey, the perfect color, the perfect scoop neck, and, he let me know, around 25 Euros. I went online and was obsessed, as unfortunately the Paris store was not yet open. That, thankfully, has changed, so I can indulge my COS addiction every Fashion Week.

What is it about COS, other than their quality T-shirts, that make it worth crossing the pond and hitting the stores? Fundamentally, it’s the basics. COS has a way of channeling staple pieces through Prada, Calvin Klein, or Jil Sander, in expensive-looking and feeling fabrics you don’t mind messing up. Is that [insert designer label here]? You and I will be the only ones in on the new secret.

Men’s and women’s now available throughout Europe. An e-commerce site is in the works.