Men who can’t find the clothing they need among Davis Square’s conspicuous secondhand, vintage or thrift options – Artifaktori, Buffalo Exchange, Found and Goodwill – might want to look up. Above The Burren at 249 Elm St., in fact, An Affordable Wardrobe shop is open from 10 to 2 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment Tuesdays through Fridays.
“Grown-ups should not dress like children. Penury is not an excuse,” sniffs proprietor Giuseppe Timore (real name Joe Ferraro). “The mission of An Affordable Wardrobe is simply to prove that style and taste are not related to money. The poorest among us can live like a relative prince. The decision is yours.”
Timore, a lifelong “new school dandy,” has recounted being inspired by his Italian heritage, well-dressed father and grandfather and 1940s films packed with sharp-dressed men to work in a men’s shop and haunt the old Filene’s Basement for bargains. He’s also been vexed by sloppiness and “guys who wear neckties with an untucked shirt, sloppy jeans with frayed bottoms that get caught under the heel and white college boys with nasty dreadlocks” – and over the years began to turn his own wardrobe into a rotating collection of items for sale, first in 2008 with his An Affordable Wardrobe blog, then with a series of Top Shelf Flea Markets at the George Dilboy VFW Post.
But his wares outgrew his Somerville home – the home he grew up in – convincing him to look for a space where he could run “not a down-and-dirty thrift store, or another vintage shop full of extreme hip clothing, but an old-fashioned men’s shop with the best aspects of both.” He raised $2,690 from 67 contributors in an Indiegogo campaign in May and June, set about fixing up his small, rented room and had a soft opening in July.
A suit jacket at the shop will cost upward of $40; a two-piece suit might range between $70 and $125. Shirts from names such as Brooks Brothers or Turnbull & Asser will be in the $20 to $30 range. The shop has ties as low as $15, the odd pair of shoes and denim, and vintage hats. (Shoppers can use a coupon for 15 percent off and keep an eye on Timore’s Twitter account for updates on what clothes have come into the shop.)
“With a little effort, a keen eye and some advice from your truly, of course, any man can step up his game and carry himself with poise and style,” Timore said on his blog. “Dressing well should be fun, and it need not break the bank.”
Update on Jan. 22, 2015: Timore announced in November that “an excellent new employment opportunity looms on the horizon, and as such I will sadly have to shutter the AAW brick and mortar ‘secret store’ in the coming weeks, moving business back to online only.”