The last thing the L.A. menswear scene needs is another New York transplant.
Philadelphia, though? We’ll listen.
Enter Commonwealth Proper (or CMMP, for short), one of the swishest sportswear brands in the country and proud owners of a spankin’ new West Coast showroom in the Arts District.
The by-appointment-only shop sits in the space once occupied by legendary punk venue Al’s Bar, and fittingly, the clothes they sell skew healthily left of center. They specialize in made-to-measure, but also offer a ready-to-wear selection of shirts, polos, suits and separates.
These are definitively not suits for “funerals and meetings,” as co-founder Craig Arthur von Schroeder puts it. Everything on offer cuts a timeless, raffish figure, with much of it built from vintage and deadstock fabrics — many sourced right here in L.A. — that make for super limited production runs.
“We can be selective,” says Von Schroeder. “We're not just finding bold patterns for the sake of it; we’re trying to find stuff that's different and great leads in and of themselves. Just because they're wild and crazy doesn't mean they're not cool as f*ck.”
In other words, they’re suits you wear because you want to wear a suit — not because you have to.
“In the past, Americans with style was kind of a crazy idea,” von Schroeder adds. “It was usually reserved for the Italian espresso sippers and the piazzas. But guys in cities all over America, even L.A., are dressing up more with more intention.”
And CMMP’s new L.A. shop is tailor made to those guys. Admission is by appointment only, and for good reason: “It's sort of that private appointment like you'd have for a doctor, lawyer or accountant,” von Schroeder tells us. “There is that trust that needs to be formed between the advisor and the client, and that can only be done in sort of a private, relaxed situation. And certainly a glass of whiskey doesn't hurt that process.”
As for the selects you should have on your radar ahead of your visit? We’ve got three of von Schroeder’s favorites from the new collection below.
Deadstock Striped Suit
“We found this deadstock striped, vintage-y fabric where the one side was bold, but the other side was a little bit more worn. We reversed the side of it, so it's sort of a play on fabric. You know what's cool about this suit? You could wear it with a pant and a white shirt as a separate, you could wear the suit together, you could wear the blazer with a T-shirt ... It's a structured, tailored suit that's really refined and cool, but also bold.”
The BBQ Shirt
“These are our cotton printed shirts. The BBQ shirt's great because you can throw a sweater or blazer over it, and it really tones down the wild print. And then simply remove that layer, and boom: it's a little bit more edgy and interesting.”
The Poolside Polo
“We have two [new] Poolside polos. One's a neon and one is a green, yellow, black and red sort of flower pattern. Both could be worn with a jacket. That’s the cool thing: everything in the collection, while sort of bold, is interchangeable. While the patterns seemingly clash to the naked eye, they actually go together quite well in a lot of different ways.”
Commonwealth Proper is located at 305 S. Hewitt St. You can book an appointment here.
All images via CMMP