On Site: Read Wall

Last week I happened to be in our Nation’s capital for a work meeting.  Mrs. RCS came up too and we stayed through the weekend. DC is one of our favorite cities, but we’d never been together.  We made a point of visiting some off-the-beaten path spots like the Phillip’s Collection, Dirty Habit, and the Spy Museum (more on those later) in lieu of the National Mall et al.  It was crazy over there.

I was sure to schedule some time to see Read Wall and his fine store of the same name.  Read and I have gotten to know each other through the blog world.  He’s a great dude; we’ve talked about them a bit in the past.  He runs a great mens shop in the Shaw neighborhood in DC.  Shaw is a lot like the Westside in Atlanta.  Revitalized and really cool, but with a ton of character.

Read Wall is an excellent men’s store that is focusing mostly on made to measure.  They are perfectly placed in DC, which is a dressier crowd that most cities, and business is good.  They aren’t trying to replicate any company’s philosophy; instead trying to create their own experience.  Read and his staff really know what they are doing in terms of measurements and fittings.  These are the situations where you want to ensure the right cut and the right fit are in the right hands.

Examples: don’t let your girlfriend tell you ‘it should be tighter’.  This isn’t a suit from Express.  And you won’t be able to sit.  On the other hand, try a 140’s rather than a 120’s for a totally different, more formal look.

We had a great discussion about menswear and the current state of dressing well.  Here’s what I took from Read:

  • Buy fewer, better items.  Wear what you have.  Well constructed garments can stand up to just about anything except yellow mustard.
  • Sport coats should be fun, but not like a clown in the circus.  Be remembered for how sophisticated the jacket looks, not how loud it is.
  • A solid navy suit is the most versatile.  It used to be grey, but navy blue has taken the lead.

The store is very well appointed with a minimalist, club-like feel.  Cool pictures, artifacts, and an excellent collection of leather bags make the space feel homey.

The sweet spot for Read Wall is his made-to-measure suits and sport coats.  Their end cut made-to-measure program starts at $895 for sport coats, and $1195 for suits.  The M2M book programs start at $950 for sport coats, and $1295 for suits.  Considering the level of craftsmanship, it’s worth every penny.  The examples they had in the shop were phenomenal.  Great cuts and soft shoulders.

While we were visiting, two customers came into the shop to pick up their goods.  One gentleman tried on his navy pinstripe suit that fit him like a glove.  The second gentleman picked up his sport coat, which was a blue thing of beauty, and he looked like a million bucks.

Both men left extremely satisfied.  This is a good sign of things to come.

I didn’t leave empty handed…I did get a burgundy and white U-stripe OCBD with a spread collar in a really nice Thomas Mason fabric.  Very cool…I’m getting the sleeves shortened now, and will add it to the rotation as soon as it gets back from the shop.

But that’s not all…  I do have my eye on something…I’ve been looking for the perfect green jacket for quite some time.  I don’t believe there is an off-the-rack option available, so Read and I may be cooking something up this spring…here’s the swatch:

Special thanks to Read and Conner for hosting Mrs. RCS and I for the afternoon.  They really made us feel welcome.  It was like hanging out with old friends…

1921 8th Street
Washington, DC



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