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.