Anyone with an internet connection and an interest in tailored clothing is sure to be familiar with A Suitable Wardrobe. Will Boehlke was one of the first to blog about classic men’s style, and in his eight years of doing so, he’s always been one of the best. I recently had a chance to visit his online shop’s headquarters – located just an hour outside of San Francisco, up in wine country – and chat with the writer about his operation.
As regular readers of A Suitable Wardrobe will know, Will is moving his blog into his store, so that his editorial and commercial offerings will all be under one URL. It’s a move I’ve always thought he should make, if only for the convenience of his readers and customers. Unfortunately, his editorial content will also be shifting. Future posts will be more focused on his store’s products (like Mr. Porter’s Journal) and less free ranging. Certainly sad for those of us who have enjoyed Will’s daily musings, as well as those of his contributors.
On the upside, his store will be moving up-market. In the last five years, store buyers have been following in his footsteps (sometimes literally) as they track down where he buys his goods. Drake’s, EG Cappelli, and Inis Meain, for example, were all stocked at A Suitable Wardrobe before they became commonplace everywhere else. To distinguish his store, Will has been depending less on Pitti Uomo (the menswear tradeshow where buyers meet brands), and instead has been scouring Europe on his own in order to find hidden artisans and craftsmen. A little hearsay from friends about a little-known, but exceptionally skilled, maker, for example, can lead to some great private label collaborations.
While I was at the warehouse, Will let me shuffle through some his inventory. Seen above are samples of the G.J. Cleverley crocodile card cases and Seraphin leather jackets – both representing the best in their class. Most crocodile skins have tiny fissures in the scales, but these Cleverley wallets were perfectly clean (possibly the best I’ve seen outside of Hermes and small, high-end shops in Moscow).
The Seraphin jackets were similarly nice. Leather jacket makers often use lower-quality parts of a hide for the underarms of their sleeves (where few people would ever look), but Seraphin clearly spared no costs when they made these pieces. Everything here was smooth and soft, and the interior was even lined in silk. For men who want a leather jacket with enough refinement to pair with grey flannel trousers, these are the best you can get.
There was also a beautiful silk dressing gown that made me question the Fox Flannel gown I’m currently having made. Constructed from necktie silk, this seemed like the perfect thing to throw over pajamas in the morning (pocket squares made from the same silk are also available, for those who want something they can wear outside). Additionally, there were some striking Anthony Cleverley shoes, which really have to be seen in person to be appreciated. Most ready-to-wear shoes aren’t so beautifully shaped because they’re machine-made. By investing a bit more handwork, Cleverley has been able to add a bit more shaping to the waists and arches of their ready-to-wear shoes, giving them a streamlined look.
I also spent some time admiring the handstitched Merola gloves, classic Drake’s ties, and beautiful Rubinacci pocket squares. Like everything else in his store, Will’s accessories are some of the best you’ll find anywhere (I’m a particularly big fan of these Victory squares).
Those who read A Suitable Wardrobe’s blog will undoubtedly miss the editorial musings of Will and his staff, but the blog’s archive (I’m happy to say) will remain alive in the store. Editorial content will continue to be produced; it will just be more product focused. And those who shop at A Suitable Wardrobe will continue to have access to some of the best makers in the world (some of those items above, for example, were made by the same people who produce for Charvet and Hermes). The taste level will also remain very high. It’s always been Will’s decades of experience with tailored clothing and his eye for style that made his blog great. Those kinds of things carry over naturally into his store.