This review of Richmond-based Ledbury, which has been perfecting a modern mash-up of classic southern style and British-inspired tailoring since 2009, is a long time coming.
Since founding Modern Fellows in 2012, I’ve had a chance to get to know dozens of innovative menswear brands and impressive fashion-focused entrepreneurs.
Few of these brands have impressed me as much as Ledbury.
While I often feature Ledbury in my picks for the best options for menswear, as one of the most phenomenal options for men’s dress shirts, in my roundup of amazing sites to shop for menswear, and in menswear grids like this one, this post is an attempt at a more in-depth review of a brand that has become one of my favorites over the past decade.
(Disclosure: I have received 3 shirts at no cost from Ledbury over the years. I have purchased additional products with my own money.)
Here are 3 reasons why I think Ledbury is one of the best options for menswear:
Ledbury’s founders have built an impressive brand with a focus on their customers.
Ledbury co-founders Paul Trible and Paul Watson met in England while attending Oxford Business School. They graduated as the financial crisis set in, pushing them towards opening their own business rather than working on Wall Street or in London as financial houses went under.
The two were frustrated by the state of menswear. Trible and Watson noted that, in the United States,
“Big-name retailers churned out formless clothes and high-fashion brands charged exorbitant prices. There seemed to be a real need for a shirt that combined great fit and exceptional quality at a reasonable price.”
Trible, who came from the nonprofit world, learned the shirting trade through an apprenticeship with British tailor Robert Emmett, whose Jermyn Street-based Emmett London specializes in Made-to-Measure tailoring. (For more on bespoke vs. made-to-measure tailoring, see Modern Fellows’ Comprehensive Guide to Custom Suiting.)
Today the two co-founders share responsibilities, with Trible as CEO and Watson as COO. They oversee operations from their headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.
The two have built their brand with a laser-like focus on their core customers. Their ability to connect with customers and deliver well-fitting, unique products through everything from handwritten notes to quail hunting excursions has instilled a great deal of loyalty: Ledbury boasts that hundreds of their best customers own more than 100 shirts each.
Ledbury’s clothes are impressively high-quality and well-fitting
Ledbury’s clothes are not cheap, but for the quality they are not terribly expensive.
Their clothing falls squarely in the category of affordable luxury, and are aimed at consumers with disposable income who want to look well-kept while showing some personality.
The company began with a focus on dress and business casual shirts. In my opinion, their dress and business casual shirts remain their most impressive feature.
The shirts are woven from luxury Egyptian cotton by Italian mills and then sewn in Ledbury’s European workshop and finished with mother-of-pearl buttons. Ledbury’s shirts come in tailored and standard fit depending on your preference. I prefer the tailored fit, which has more of a British-inspired silhouette.
In my guide to the best men’s dress shirts, I wrote that,
Virginia-based menswear startup Lebury has to be my favorite destination for off-the-rack dress shirts. Their shirt styles, colors and patterns are unique and among the best I’ve ever found online or in person.
In addition to their shirts, Ledbury is a great option for an entire wardrobe of dress and business casual classics including knit and grenadine ties, merino dress socks, chinos and twill pants, lightweight knitwear and shawl collar sweaters.
Ledbury also launched a custom program, with made-to-measure suits and shirting as well as fully-bespoke shirting. The program is limited to those customers who can come and get measured up at one of Ledbury’s retail locations in New York, Richmond or Washington, DC.
You’ve probably seen Ledbury’s shirts and suits in action without even knowing it: Ledbury has outfitted CNN’s Anderson Cooper as well as the cast of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and hundreds of professionals from Wall Street to the halls of Congress.
What is Ledbury’s return policy?
In my experience, Ledbury shines with stellar customer service. It starts with informative guides to measurements and the fit of their garments, and extends to their customer service representatives and returns.
As of this writing, according to its website, Ledbury:
will gladly accept returns for eligible ready-to-wear purchases made from Ledbury.com, Ledbury retail locations or via our customer service phone line. Returns for a full refund can be made within 60 days of purchase. Within 120 days after purchase, returns will be accepted for store credit in the amount of the most recent retail price. Orders will not be eligible for returns or exchanges after 120 days of the original purchase date.
Special rules for particular categories of merchandise include:
Full Price Merchandise: Product ordered during promotional periods will only be eligible for the value of the initial purchase price.
Return/Exchange Only Merchandise
Last Call Merchandise is only eligible for exchanges or a refund in the form of store credit. After 60 days, “last call” orders will not be eligible for any additional compensation or replacement/exchange.
Altered Merchandise: Sleeve shortening fees and shipping costs are non-refundable. Merchandise purchased with sleeve shortening will be accepted for return with a $12.95 restocking fee, which is deducted from the refunded amount.
Gift Returns: To return a gift item, please contact us at 888.233.1942 so that we can process your request as a gift return. Gift returns that meet our return policy criteria, we are able to process a refund in the form of an e-gift card.
Ledbury is easy to get to know and love thanks to its dedicated omnichannel approach across the internet, mail and brick-and-mortar stores.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Ledbury evolve as a truly ominchannel retailer that meets customers online, in person and in their mailboxes.
Ledbury is, first and foremost, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce brand. Their primary channel for reaching customers is their online store. (More than 90% of their business is online.) Their online platform is clean and easy to navigate, and their professional photos and zoom features impressively convey colors, patterns and textures.
The company also boasts retail stores in their hometown of Richmond, VA, New York City and Washington, DC, and is a great example of a digital native brand leading a revolution in Brick and Mortar 2.0.
While I haven’t had the chance to visit their Richmond headquarters or New York City showroom, I’ve had a chance to see their DC operations up close over a number of years:
Ledbury first dipped its toe into the Washington, DC market in 2013 with a pop-up in Cady’s Alley, which was my first introduction to their clothing.
After several pop-up experiences in the DMV, Ledbury established a permanent store in Washington, DC, also in Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley, in April 2016. If you’re in the DC area, it’s definitely worth checking out Cady’s Alley to pop into Ledbury as well as Bonobos’ Georgetown guide shop just down the block.
Finally, Ledbury uses snail mail effectively to keep in touch with customers, understanding that mailers and catalogs are a great way for digital retailers to break through digital information overload and get in front of customers.
When Ledbury launched its custom suiting program in Georgetown, I received a mailer alerting me to it. They also send out details of their warehouse sales via USPS.
All of these factors make Ledbury a favorite of mine for instant menswear classics, and a great option if you’re looking for a gift for the man in your life.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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