From tailored suits to custom-made shirts and accessories, today’s local businessmen really are dressing up again. And that means a strong spike in sales for men's specialty shops like Savile Row Custom Clothiers in Clayton.
The 27-year-old men’s custom clothing shop recently rebranded itself and returned to the popular Clayton Row district. And the highly visible and bustling area is producing big results, notes president and founder David Shockley. “Since moving back to Clayton in May, the business has experienced a strong uptick in sales. We get a lot of walk-in business from surrounding office buildings and restaurants.”
Savile Row's most sought-after item has become its custom shirt. “Our custom-made shirt business has just exploded since we’ve come back to Clayton,” Shockley notes. “We sell as many casual custom shirts today as we do dress shirts.” Wives or significant others commonly purchase custom shirt gift certificates for the men in their lives, he adds. Customers can come in and choose from an extensive book of 300 fabrics, as well as different types of collars and cuffs, and even monogramming. “What most men are surprised to find is that there’s such a big selection to choose from,” Shockley says. Tailors then take 13 shirt measurements and ensure the fit will be to each client's personal taste. And measurement records are retained for future use, Shockley adds. “This way, men can pick up the phone and reorder new shirts. It saves them a lot of time when it comes to shopping, so our repeat business has been really good because of that convenience.”
The shop mostly offers 100-percent cotton shirts—and the recent trend has been toward patterns, such as checks, which men can wear casually with slacks or dressy underneath a suit, Shockley says.
The store’s tailored suit business is another main attraction. “Some men are coming into Savile Row for the first time and they are surprised they can buy a suit that is custom-made for the same price they can buy a quality suit off the rack,” Shockley says. “And with our tailoring, it will fit them better.” The store offers a range of suit styles, from two- or three-button coats to flat-front or pleated pants.
Another branch of the business—and a big part of Savile Row’s recent rebranding—is the wardrobe management solution. The service involves the shop’s custom clothiers outlining a grand plan for a man’s wardrobe. During a meeting at the client’s home, the custom clothiers make suggestions for building a new wardrobe, from eliminating out-of-style items to suggesting new pieces of clothing missing from the current selection. “Many men still have things they wore during their college days. The standard rule is if they haven’t worn it in the last six months to a year, then they should get rid of it,” Shockley says, adding that some men need more suits, while others wear sport coats. “Their career field and contacts dictate what they need and what we do for them.” While every man’s clothing needs vary, Shockley notes that essential pieces include two or three suits, a blazer or two, and the right trousers and accessories to coordinate each look. Once the custom clothiers formulate a wardrobe plan, a personal folder of each man’s pattern, as well as clothing swatches, are kept on file at the shop for future reference.
Savile Row also has heightened its social media presence to better communicate with clients. The staff currently is creating a video about its custom-made shirt and suit services that will be posted on the shop’s social media sites, as well as its website.
As Shockley looks to the future of his business and Clayton as a whole, he hopes the city continues its solid track record of attracting companies, restaurants and nightlife spots to the area for the benefit of residents, as well as retailers like him.
ON THE COVER: Savile Row Custom Clothiers, which offers an extensive range of men’s custom-fitted dress shirts, suits and accessories, is located at 8101 Maryland Ave. in Clayton. For more information, call 721-7848 or visit savilerowstl.com. Cover photo location courtesy of Gallery Six Eighteen in Clayton.