Discovering custom shirting and high-quality craft retail from around the country is wonderful, but everyone needs a couple of solid go-to local stores to turn to for some of the basics. For me, Charles Tyrwhitt fits the bill, which is why it was nice to see the company choose DC as its second U.S. location following New York. Here’s a look inside and some impressions, updated to reflect feedback received from Charles Tyrwhitt following Modern Fellows’ January 4 post:
Charles Tyrwhitt opened its DC storefront in the newly-constructed 1000 Connecticut Ave. on Farragut Square in April 2012. Several visits suggest they keep their lower-end, more-affordable shirts, ties and suits on hand rather than showcasing their top-tier, England and Italian-made wares. I didn’t see any of their luxury, Made-in-England suit line available in the store; those in the DC shop were their entry and mid-line suits made in China and Tunisia. I also had to special-order a couple of their higher-end neckties, including this handmade grey and navy wool stripe tie, from London.
Their model is the frequent sale — much of their inventory is often discounted by 50 percent or more from their “regular” prices, with even better deals, like an extra 10 percent off, available on occasion through their mailing list.
Be sure to read the fine print though. Charles Tyrwhitt boasts of a “six month guarantee” which permits a full refund, “no matter what condition the item’s in…no questions asked.” Yet sale items are exempted from this generous return policy, and face a much more stringent — 14-day “no quibble” guarantee. A review of www.ctshirts.com on January 4 indicates that all of the dress shirts and suits available through their main navigation portal were on sale, which means all are subject to the 14 day guarantee. That’s not necessary a deal-breaker though, as a general matter, in my personal opinion, a business ought to be willing to stand behind its products for longer than 14 days and a bifurcated return policy has the potential to sow confusion among consumers about the length of the guarantee. It is something to be aware of walking into the store.
In response, a representative from Charles Tyrwhitt wrote back:
“The aim [of the sale guarantee] is simply to encourage quick returns. The sooner we receive returned Sale stock, the sooner we can repackage it and put it back on the shelves. That’s important for customers who might otherwise miss out. If customers do want to return stock outside of the 14-day return period, our staff (in store or in our customer service centre) are usually able to help. We’re not in business to give customers a bad shopping experience, and we pride ourselves on doing things right for each and every person who shops with Charles Tyrwhitt. In our stores in particular delivering flawless, knowledgeable one-to-one service is a key focus for all of our people … Don’t hesitate to put us to the test.”
For me, Charles Tyrwhitt’s extra slim fit – formerly known as trim fit – shirts fit reasonably well off the rack and, aside from a few odd color combinations, I appreciate their style and the physical, snail-mail catalogs they send. It’s nice to have them around the corner from the office. Here’s a look inside:
Photos taken with permission.