• Rugby Haberdashery Shop

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    On a chilly Tuesday night in the West Village, the dark woods, warm glow, and beat-to-hell Oriental rugs of 390 Bleecker Street are a welcome invitation. Dennis and Lynton greet Coggins, Mordechai, Foxley, Darrell, Brian, and me from inside the diminutive shop. You would never guess the rectangular West Village space was vacant one month ago. From the creaky wooden planked floor to the fireplace stuffed with 19th century hard bound books, Rugby’s haberdashery shop feels anything but new. In fact, all it’s missing is a coat of dust.

    The shop typically closes at 7pm but the boys keep it open for us so we can check out Rugby’s custom shirting program. With a bin of Brooklyn Lager on ice, Wilco in the air, and vintage English pieces waiting to be discovered, the experience feels similar to 99 University Place but intimate...grown up. Vintage Barbour Internationals hang overhead (yes, they are for sale), rare John Lobb velvet Prince Albert slippers are kept safe in a vault down stairs (no, these are not for sale), and suiting made in Italy lines the walls. My dad could shop here—my dad would shop here.

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Rugby takes the oxford silhouette you already love and renders your made-to-order shirt in cloth from the world’s finest mills. You handpick the elements, from seven classic fabrics, four collars, two cuffs, chest pocket, and customized monogram, and Rugby puts it together according to your exact specifications and measurements. After a back and forth with Lynton, I opt for the blue and white university striped oxford with white tab collar, barrel cuff, chest pocket, and my monogram. The other gentlemen follow suit with an array of chambray, pink oxford, and striped broadcloth selections.

    Rugby’s dress shirts are manufactured by the revered New England Shirt Company in Fall River, Massachusetts. The craftsmanship and quality pay homage to New England tradition—the soft shoulder sack suit, boat shoes, summers in Newport, and winters in Vermont. The American outfit has been making clothing of incredible quality for the last 75 years. Each shirt is hand made by skilled, dedicated craftsmen using vintage sewing machines to create classic staples you’ll wear for years to come.

    Oct 5, 2011 | Permalink (20) Total Comments

    arne left a comment on 11/10/2011 at 4:12 PM:

    why don’t we have store’s like this in holland?

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 10/9/2011 at 8:16 PM:

    It’s funny how Americans generally are into any shirt collar BUT spread/cutaway collar. I wonder why this is…? Odd.


    Docks left a comment on 10/8/2011 at 4:10 AM:

    The essence of the matter is that you’re getting made-to-measure pieces with customization. For many however, that’s satisfactory, especially given the heritage and quality bestowed via the manufacturer.

    The Bleecker store is phenomenal, Fred. I was waiting to see this entry. Talked with Lynton and Lawrence one night, they said you stop by on occasion.

    Richard Ross left a comment on 10/7/2011 at 11:04 AM:

    I’ve looked at this like ten times. This is such a great piece. The fireplace full of books is absolutely brilliant.

    Preposity left a comment on 10/7/2011 at 8:22 AM:

    I visited the Bleecker St store when I was in NYC recently, despite being from London, England, it’s so cosy and intimate. Now we have our own store here in London. The visual merchandising in the Rugby stores is just top notch, unequaled. I’m intrigued by the custom shirting, wonder if it’s available in the UK?
    Great photos Fred, I can tell you had a great time shooting there, since you’ve published so many great images in this post.

    Scott left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 8:21 PM:

    Wonderful.  I’d like to move in here tout de suite….

    emjkmj left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 7:18 PM:

    I have toured the New England Shirt Company and I think their products are worth the $150 retail, at that price NESC has gross revenue of about $50, that is including fabric.  When you pay union wages like they do and each order is a one off… this work isn’t very profitable.  If you compare NESC, Gitman or another high quality US manufacturer the retail price is usually in that same ball park (unless you have a real high grade fabric).  I guess what gets lost in translation here is it is more of a limited made-to-measure vs. a real custom shirt program.  But if your shopping at Rugby, you are buying into that particular aesthetic or in this case a particular fit.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 5:53 PM:

    @bucephalus—You choose your neck size and then you choose your sleeve length.  The waist and chest will be the same fit as Rugby’s University oxford.

    bucephalus left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 5:48 PM:

    I’m confused.  Can you or can you not customise basic measurements like neck, chest, yoke, etc. ?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 4:42 PM:

    @AEV—The value Rugby is bringing to their custom shirting program is in the “limited selections” and “fit measurements.”  They are using their existing oxford silhouette which fits most men (who are in shape) well.

    I have gone through the J.Hilburn bespoke shirting process twice.  For the average man, it is very easy to get lost in the myriad of decisions required to create a shirt…and I’m not even talking about fabric selection at this point.  The value here is Rugby has made the big decisions (in line with their point of view and brand) and they allow their guys to make the smaller decisions (cuffs, collars, one of seven fabrics, etc).  More is not necessarily better.  A man has to really know himself in order to go completely bespoke successfully (and few do).  Rugby has made a tight edit in order to make the custom shirting process as familiar as possible to those in favor of their point of view.

    I should also add that the slight price premium is due to the fact that these shirts are made in New England, not Asia.

    @Dan—Rugby’s target market isn’t just 18-25 years olds anymore.

    Dan left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 10:51 AM:

    Rugby has just opened in London, great shop with prices to match. Who in the target age group of 18 to 25 can afford this stuff ?

    trm left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 9:14 AM:

    great post Fred!! beautiful pix

    BCB left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 2:23 AM:

    Love the look of the shop. Wish we had this kinda class in Texas, but that’s just also a uniquely northeast look. Oh how I miss my days in the UK… Also, @FEC, why are prince albert slippers all so pricey? I’ve never seen a single pair below two hundred. I get you’re paying for quality and I’m not complaining, I just wonder why they often outprice fine leather shoes or cost a similar amount.

    cam left a comment on 10/6/2011 at 12:48 AM:

    i need to move to NYC

    Laguna Beach Fogey left a comment on 10/5/2011 at 11:26 PM:

    This is ace! Thanks FEC.

    Omni left a comment on 10/5/2011 at 10:52 PM:

    ATH, I felt the same way when I tried one on a few months ago…I wound up purchasing one from Jcrew in brown herringbone instead.

    Great work on this one Fred, loving everything in these pics but can’t justify spending the coin on them even being a part time RL employee.

    ATH left a comment on 10/5/2011 at 9:57 PM:

    I love the Rugby Black/White herringbone jacket!  I tried it on and, quite unfortunately, the fit was very odd.  Didn’t fit well at all.  Any suggestions on inexpensive herringbone jackets?
    -ATH (exceedinglypreppy.blogspot.com)

    Rhon left a comment on 10/5/2011 at 9:34 PM:

    Some damn good photos man.  Love the style.

    DBCC left a comment on 10/5/2011 at 5:31 PM:

    Great effort, Freddy.  I’ll be at Rugby’s Boston location this weekend.  Thank you.

    Carlos Ultreras left a comment on 10/5/2011 at 5:11 PM:

    Beautifully written. I wanted to trade this coffee for a scotch as I was reading this. Awesome photo’s as well. Can’t wait to see the shirt in your site.