While everyone else in the Western Hemisphere is obsessing over what Jay Z might have said to make Solange go all honey badger on his ass, I am pondering more important issues like what the hell and I going to wear this summer now that’s it’s already in the mid-90s in the middle of May. My friend Charles has been working with a men’s shop that he thinks is cool in L.A.’s West Third Street neighborhood for a while now and he has pretty good taste and even runs a style blog called Dapper Dan Man, although I don’t know what the fuck that’s all about since, as I said, his name is Charles. Anyway, I finally had a couple of minutes today so I drove over there to see what the fuss was about.
Wittmore is a little hard to spot so I should mention that it’s on 3rd Street a block or so west of Crescent Heights and directly across the street from a very popular restaurant called Toast, which also serves things other than toast, and that’s probably why it’s maintained its popularity, especially with people on low-carb diets like me. The shop is pretty straightforward with a minimum of decorative flourishes but rails and rails of colorful, touchable men’s clothes lining both sides and folded on tables. In the middle of this happy mixture, I was lucky enough to find owner/founder/buyer/curator Paul Witt holding down the fort and able to chat for a few minutes.
Paul’s passion for making something new and different available for men to wear is immediately apparent when he describes how he decides what to carry in his shop but, glancing around at the shorts and polo shirts, I didn’t immediately get what was new and different about it all. I trusted that he must have racked up some serious know-how in seventeen years of fashion marketing, public relations and merchandising but was only after realizing that, other than Levi’s and Fred Perry, I didn’t know a single goddamn thing about any of the other forty plus brands in the store that I sensed something was, in fact, quite different.
When I asked where he discovered all these labels I’d never heard of, Paul explained that, as a pop culture enthusiast, he is constantly encountering new things and that, after scouring the retail spaces of the globe, has simply collected products that he likes. It may be a coincidence that most of these things aren’t available anywhere else in Los Angeles but I don’t think that’s really the point. Sometimes the story is in how the garment is made and sometimes it’s something about the person who designed it but, above all, everything here seems wearable and, at price points from $30 for knits to $700 for a handmade sport coat, accessible. There is a fresh “American sportswear” feel to the assortment that I really like and that’ll be great for most guys, especially when we are just trying to wear something besides jeans and a t-shirt without looking like a dick.
Wittmore is located at 8236 W 3rd Street in Los Angeles or at shopwittmore.com, which ships globally.
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