I’ve always wanted to look really sharp wherever I go. Even though I haven’t always accomplished that dream in my past, it is something I still strive for. When I was young and penniless, I would where my grandfather’s suit jackets or suit jackets I’d find at Goodwill to pair with my ripped jeans, logo’d t-shirt and black and white chucks. I thought I was pretty snazzy at the time but looking back on those photos I see how much of a fashion novice I was. What I was really striving for is a touch of class. Before I met Jade, I will admit, that class was something that eluded me. I was always pretty dingy and haggard as a teenager and didn’t have any fashionable icons to look up to. Well, there was the exception of the Billy Joe Armstrong, Mark Hoppus and Tom Delounge of the punk-pop world I was engrossed in, but they had style and class as much as a roughed up badger did. What I needed was class, I wasn’t getting it from them.
Since we are now coming so close to our trip to Europe next week, I thought it might be good to dial up my game a bit with a snazzy outfit to wear to afternoon tea, or just out and about on the town in London. That is where Duchess Clothier came to my rescue. Though my collection of pieces and outfits has grown significantly in style and class since my younger years, I still haven’t reached that level of true class on my own without the help of professionals. I have teamed up with Duchess where they have provided me with a incredibly dapper and well made suit for our trip, one in which I am incredibly excited to show off. Duchess was started around 8 years ago by Seyta Selter as an independent effort to create interesting and vintage reproductions of suits for ladies, but then grew to incorporate men as well. The effort eventually grew into a thriving business with one store front in the Ford Building on the corner of Southeast 11th and Division Street in Portland and another on 22nd and Folsom Street in San Francisco. Duchess tailors suits and apparel to the individual, but also has a small selection of off the wrack options in their shop showrooms.
Duchess is one of those places where you would like to have all of your outfits made. I know I do. When it comes to having your custom fitted order filled, they have prices that are comparable with huge retailers like J. Crew and Banana Republic, but that craftsmanship far surpasses what you can obtain in those outlets. All of the seamstresses and seamsters working at Duchess are masters of their craft and have years of experience behind them. The head alterationist as Duchess, Ali, is even an instructor at Portland Sewing. The Duchess client base ranges in services for Wedding attire, LGBT events, to just every day folks who are looking to be custom dressed to the nines. When we came in this particular day to fetch my suit, we got to meet Hannah McDevitt, the Duchess of Consideration. It turns out all of the staff at Duchess have proper titles like Hannah. Hannah is originally from Oregon but worked for several years in San Francisco as a seamstress and alterationist. Upon returning to Oregon a couple years ago she has been working with Duchess putting her honed skills to particularly good use. We also had the opportunity to meet Keegan Greenwald, the Duke of Fit, as he was leaving the shop. I seriously love the titles these folks have… I must take up sewing so I can have one of my own.
There are a lot of rather interesting and awesome projects that the Duchess team has been working on with other businesses around Portland and they have some pretty fantastic news coming up, so be sure to keep a very close eye on their social networking venues as well as their blog. I can’t wait to show off more of my suit in a few style posts we are planning across the pond, but for now at least we can share a few photos of just how debonaire I can look in well fitting articles of clothing.