Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bobby From Boston

Hey…it’s the Merchant-Ivory wardrobe archives. No wait; it’s an outfitter to producers of American Westerns.
Stop being silly…it’s ground zero for kitting out the Populist Movement, Union poster subjects and the Woody Guthrie railroad crowd.
How can all of your visual speculation be so off the mark? Anyone gandering this joint can clearly see that every Capone era wise guy slipped in here for the best looking toppers, shoddings and duds in town.
Or one could equally speculate that Brideshead is routinely revisited here and Henly Royal starts here via Head of the Charles if evidenced only by the inventory of Straw Boaters.
I learned of Bobby From Boston a year or so ago but hadn’t been able to arrange my business travel to accommodate a visit. My luck changed last Thursday when I had a couple of hours to burn before flying home from Boston and folks, Bobby From Boston is worth a trip to Beantown as a standalone gesture. Giuseppe warned me that it was going to be overwhelming but hey…I’ve been to a vintage shop or two and how impressive could it be? And besides, my bias is that after you’ve been in vintage shops in Europe, most of the stuff in the States will pale in comparison. I stand humbled and corrected by the likes of Bobby.
Old Hat—David Saxby’s place in London is full of treasures as the above photo evidence attests. My former haunt, the late Bertie Wooster on the Fulham Road always quickened my pulse when I walked in—even after ten years of visiting. 
And Hornets…both locations in Kensington is a safe bet any London day of the week. I’m pleased to report that Bobby bests all of these London comers not only in content but in volume. Every one of these London destinations could fit inside Bobby’s lair. These remaining London shops are foreplay. Bobby's puttin' on an orgy. And if that isn't enough, he’s known to have a five thousand square foot warehouse somewhere in the burbs. Yes, I’ll be going there...when I call Bobby and book an appointment and pack some protection.
Sadly I didn’t meet Bobby. The two guys that I did hang out with let me know that half the allure of Bobby’s is Bobby. Probably a good thing in retrospect, given the sensory overload and synapse cluster-foxtrot that manifested as I stood there trying to take it all in.
I tried to be methodical about it. Kinda like walking the aisles at the grocery store but I couldn’t. I went from attempting a quadrant by quadrant, imaginary aisle by aisle look-see to just bouncing around like a pinball machine on a pogo stick. I threw up a little bit.
The Western stuff was the real deal. Right up there with Nudie's. Probably the most expensive things in the store, other than a few suits, were the rayon Cowboy shirts from the '50's...and they were fairly priced. Everything in B.F.B. is reasonably'd be hard pressed to spend five hundred bucks there unless you were outfitting actors.
Can you imagine...I know I riveting it would be as a kid to have an authentic Buffalo Bill buckskin get-up like this? This rig wasn't for sale nor was another pediatric item...the coolest leather bomber jacket probably from the'50's.
I spent at least half an hour trying on linen dinner jackets. Every conceivable version...most around sixty five bucks. 
Tintin would be in grooming nirvana at B.F.B. ... given his Caswell and vintage cut throat razor interests.
Blow the whistle on these predatory factory owners and railroad barons. Woody Guthrie sang for me during the first thirty minutes of my visit. That was more than enough and the subsequent Motown ditties piped in amongst the togs was delightful.
The Empire and Raj are well represented here but it's an equal dose of Americana. Elliott Ness, Al Capone, Roy Rogers and the Brideshead Boys could easily be served here at the same moment.
Most of this stuff was in my size...not my usual luck...but my restraint was admirable with the exception of the wool tattersal bow tie and cummerbund below. I'm having non buyer's remorse at forty five dollars.
Accessories? Hell if you can dream it they can do it. If they don't have it, you haven't thought of it yet.
I wanted to buy the fixtures.
The ladies vintage quadrant was comparatively scant but come to think of it, I've never seen one shop that does both sides of the gender equation really well.
I see for some reason-Amelia Earhart wearing these gloves. And you too can kit yourself out in these for fifty five bucks.
But these little brown ones intrigued me. I saw them when I first walked in and returned to them an hour later. At first I thought that they might be salesman's samples but quickly realized that was silly. Salesman show full sized gloves. They are too small for almost any child and too well made for the inarticulate hands of a baby doll.
I remain intrigued with them as does my partner in crime LFG. They made for a great conversation the other evening and at twenty bucks, they now adorn our curio shelf. Shut up.
I thought for a moment that I was going to conclude my hour and a half nirvana at B.F.B. with only a twenty dollar pair of mystery gloves. But then I found this...a silk robe...shawl collar, breast pocket, hip pockets, handwork all too be damned and sleeve cuffs. I see them all the time in London but have never pulled the trigger. Thanks to Bobby, I pounced.
So here's my catch from the B.F.B. hunting trip. Barely north of a hundred bucks folks. When I asked about ascots I was shown two old leather suitcases full of them. If you don't see...ask.
So now I'm channeling Sherlock Holmes in a silk dressing gown after bumping into Capone, Ness, Earhart, Guthrie and Churchill while shopping at Bobby From Boston.
Get there folks. Get there soon. 
Onward-In silk. ADG


Main Line Sportsman said...

In a place like that...where does one begin...where does one end? My Wife would have to drag me out of there with my Amex card still smoking in my fist....

James said...

I have seen Heaven.I'm glad there is nothing like that around here.I'd be the well dressed guy living in a cardboard box in an alley by it.

Enzo AGC said...

Its amazing isn't it? The warehouse is where Rugby's concept design starts every season.

Did you head over there with Guiseppe?

M.Lane said...

What an amazing place. The only thing it lacks is a little corner bar tucked away in there somewhere...


K.S. Anthony said...

I will specifically seek that place out this June...

Thanks for that.

ADG said...

K.S.A. ...It's certainly worth the trip.

M.Lane...I'm not so certain that there wasn't a bar tucked away-kinda speakeasy style.

Enzo...yep. This place has Rugby written all over it. Nope...went solo. G-Man and I wouldn't do well in a place like this together.

James...Hell I AM that cardboard box man.

MainLinerSport...that's why I don't got no wife no more. Kidding.

Richard said...

I am truly envious of your bow tie and cummer-bund set.

TWJ said...


Patsy said...

Bobby's does a lot of movie costuming - is that a word? Very cool place, wish they had more for the ladies.

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - Currently planning my next round of vintage clothes sleuthing in NYC and Baltimore, these mouth-watering pictures of Bobby's have persuaded me to make it a hat trick and take in Boston too - thanks to Guisseppe too!

JMW said...

Great duds - love that I live in town where straw boaters are commonplace, at least once a year. Derby was so darn wet this year, the guys certainly needed theirs hats. Should have bet on the mudder...

Pigtown-Design said...

YAY! AEF is coming to baltimore! you must let me be your guide! i know all of the best spots (and the best people, too!).

Mal said...

Wow! Smoking jackets, kilts, boaters, and shaving gear in one place, amazing.
Thanks for the great pictures..

Giuseppe said...

Told you so.

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Thank you. I probably could spend days in there and get lost. They wouldn't find my corpse until months later, buried under a pile of vintage leather luggage in an obscure corner, clutching a handful of Tweed.

Thornproof said...

Bobby's is one of those places that is on my list of place to visit in Boston ... and your trip just makes me want to visit even more! Guess that I need to find an excuse for the wife to let me travel to that area ...

ADG said...

Thornproof...or get rid of the wife! Just kidding.

Lagunamon...what a way to go though. Make sure you have your Cleverly's on.

G-Man....yes you did. You and I are going to that warehouse.

Mal...absolutely my pleasure.

MegTown...let me know when y'all get together. and your hat tricks.

Patsy...yes, I was told that and yes, it's a word now.


Richard...there's a lot to be jealous of at Bobby's.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Woof! Gah!

I'm assuming, thank God, that they don't sell online?

Very good dressing gown.

ADG said... steal a line from Trading Places...."It was a stone groove".

The Modest Adonis said...

You took two photos from my blog with no COURTESY or kind gesture??? hmmm i am ashamed in you my fellow blogger

Yours faithfully

The modest adonis

ADG said...

ModestAdonis...Sorry. Now that people actually READ my blog, I need to do a better job asking permission and giving credit for photos.