I think this is the first year that I won’t be stuck working somewhere on the Fourth, and I intend to take full advantage of it by stuffing my face with veggie burgers and turning the back of my boyfriend’s pick-up truck into a curbside pool.
But I think the biggest decision that everyone will have to make (well, the biggest decision next to PBR or High Life) is whether or not to look like you crawled out of the house wearing something made out of an old flag from I. Goldberg.
Lucky for you, I have plenty of great ideas for your BBQ-hopping ensemble, whether you plan on looking like Uncle Sam or not.
After meeting the owner of Commonwealth Proper, Craig Arthur von Schroeder, at the Mitchell & Ness Spring Launch Party the other week, I was dying to see what his 17th and Spruce Street showroom looked like. I was lucky enough to charm my way into an invite.
Everything about this place screams: MAN! I’m not talking the juiced up, grunting, throwing furniture over their head kind of man either. I mean the cigar-smoking, whiskey-sipping, briefcase and custom-made suit wearing kind of man. Don Draper and Nucky Thompson would be regular visitors, for sure. Not only is the showroom a certified man cave, but it simply drips with Philadelphia culture and history–from the Revolutionary and Civil War maps that adorned the high ceilings, to the African war buck in the main dressing room and the shearing scissors from the 1800’s.
In between his busy schedule of dressing A-list stars like Leonardo DiCaprio and getting ready for the MTV awards, the fashionable entrepreneur (who was as handsome and debonair as his clothing) was able to talk to me about what was new with Commonwealth Proper, especially his newfangled ‘Ready to Wear’ pieces: “We at Commonwealth Proper have studied custom tailoring and bespoke clothing practices for the past several years and are now applying the fit principles we learned from those experiences to make the perfect button-down shirt, as well as other ready-to-wear garments that simply fit better because they are designed with the contemporary man in mind. There is no substitute for fit. We are essentially making tailored fit ready-to-wear garments. The proof is in trying our clothes on…”
Craig explained that, while he has a showroom in Los Angeles, he wants to take more time to focus on his presence in Philadelphia, having everything from design, measure, pinning and chalking to the final fitting take place right here. He wants his clothing to soak up as much local culture and vintage feel as his show room does. All Commonwealth Proper designs are equipped with a tag stating when it was “born” and that it was made in the USA. Now, the creative genius, as I fondly call him, wants to produce tags saying “MADE IN PHILLY,” and there is absolutely nothing we hate about that.
I just swooned so intensely that I looked around to make sure none of my housemates were around to laugh at me.
There’s a new boutique opening up in Center City and its product is the source of my swoon—tailored men’s suits. The focus of the boutique, named Commonwealth Proper, is more than just suits though, it’s an aesthetic focused on the makings of a well-polished man. Nowadays, where seeing a man in a well-tailored suit or a perfectly fitted dress shirt is the exception rather than the rule, Commonwealth Proper is a welcome suited sparkle in a sea of gray sweatpants.
Created by Craig Arthur von Schroeder, an attorney (and former pro soccer player, what?!), Commonwealth Proper pays homage to the histories of Philadelphia’s tailors and his own family tree. Their limited-production button down shirts don the names of family members and the boutique name itself is a hat tip to Philadelphia’s rich history in tailoring. You can learn more about these histories on the Commonwealth Proper web site.
The showroom, to be located at 1732 Spruce Street, is scheduled to open in December. Until then, interested customers can shop via their online store, just try not to drool on your keyboard as you browse the brilliant offerings.