Theodore 1922 has faced some negative criticism on this site in the past. But it seems the reign of David, the former owner who commenters below accused of classless service and exorbitant markups is over.
David may or may not have been tactless, issuing "call my lawyer" threats, but the new team of owner Miranda (his former partner) and sole staff member Katrina seem to have moved the business in a more positive direction.
I met up with these two smiling ladies recently, one of whom was assisting a regular client - the client base for Theodore 1922 is very important. Miranda discusses pieces of interest from former visits, showing me they value a personal touch. Wouldn't we all like to visit clothing stores like we do our local coffee house? Instead of knowing we want soy milk or decaf, Katrina and Miranda remember inseams, favourite colours and patterns. It's a service that comes at no additional charge.
Whether you like this level of attention or not, it does not come across as insincere. I discussed my fondness for Thom Browne suits and Miranda was able to show me similar pieces at more affordable prices. It's similar to the way people read blogs to find low end options to achieve high end looks. Instead of looking at a faceless website, I got a real in-the-flesh person. It's an old world level of service that has grown less common as American Apparel type models clutter the retail economy.
Enough about service, do they have the goods?
Theodore 1922 is a top to bottom retailer, starting with accessories. David Donahue and Babette Wasserman cufflinks fill a glass showcase at the way back of the long and narrow retail environment. It's a peculiar space to trek to, but Theodore boasts such a variety that even a black-clad G20 protester* stopped to purchase a pair for a loved one (prices for cufflinks vary from $150-$700).
What impressed me most was their access to ETON's variety of wash and hang button up shirts. Ranging from conservative-in-white, to the most delightful plaids, they are an easy buy for most men. I can see anyone from a Bay Streeter to Parkdale hipster picking up a few options ($250 - $295). My personal favourite is a holiday plaid with a contrasting white cutaway collar. Available only during the holidays, but sure to make a festive comeback for 2010.
The brand boasts three fits to suit most body types, including slim (a more euro-fit), contemporary (a little more give) and classic (not shapeless, but hardly form-fitting). Not to mention they carry plenty of french cuffed shirts, for those men who continue to wear cufflinks (not I).
Adding some Canadian content to the fold is Samuelsohn, a suiting manufacturer that offers some of the softest fabrics. I was encouraged to touch the material - I did not appear like I was in the market for a $1,600 suit, but I was treated as though I could be. Thankfully, no Pretty Woman moments to be had. Samuelsohn products range from off the rack pricing ($1,100) to custom tailored pieces ($1,600). Ask to graze the super 140s double-faced jacket with plaid-check lining. It is the way your suit should feel.
What I like about Theodore is that there seems to be a never say never attitude. An on-site tailor can swap the lining, change the buttons and even add colouration detailing with contrast stitching (not to my taste, but it could suit somebody). Even the ETON shirts can be made to measure - just take a look through their on-site look book. Seriously, do it. It's beautiful.
With inventory rotating and an in-house label in the works, Theodore 1922 continues to push forward, away from its alleged darker past. It's a menswear retailer that carries the essentials you require, with practicality in mind. Not to mention, its emphasis on colour is a rare and enjoyable treat - they keep their black stock suiting in the basement. Enter their colour storied environment now, because they are having a summer sale with savings up to 70% off. It's the perfect time to update that old stuffy suit you wear to every formal function. Please, for everyone. Update.
Tuesday, Wednesday: 12-7
Sunday: 12-5 (call in advance, Sundays operate on a flexible schedule)
Photos by Dennis Marciniak