NOBODIES LIKE US rarely have access to upscale clothing and accessories at wholesale prices. Itís even rarer to see those duds raided by somebodies like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, and Louis Vuitton.
But thatís precisely the scenario at an unlikely warehouse in the very south South End, where two teeming rooms sit ready and waiting, filled floor to ceiling with vintage wares, mostly for men. Bobby from Boston, owned by shopping maven Bobby Garnett, has recently gained recognition around town for supplying costumes for films such as Titanic, A Beautiful Mind, and Road to Perdition. (Apparently, Julia Robertsís "people" even put in a call to the store recently, saying, "Get ready, weíre on our way.")
Sure, thatís nifty and all, but bragging rights about who is wearing whom lose luster fast. Cool that Julia gets to wear it, but how about me?
Well, even we not-at-all-rich and nowhere-near-famous folks have access to the stockpile of vintage clothes regularly sifted through by visiting VIPs ó and we donít have to fight crowds to get to them. "Weíre not really set up for retail, walk-in," says Bobby store manager Sean Crowley. "Customers are rare." Woo-hoo! All the better for Bostonís intrepid shoppers, whoíll find the store ripe for pillaging.
Consider Bobby from Boston the Garment District for grown-ups. Graduated from weathered corduroys with frayed cuffs and ironic, too-tight Tís? Wander into Bobby and youíll find racks of vintage Levis and Lee denim pants and jackets, all in perfect condition, for $25 to $35. Amid odds and ends like a case of fluffy rabbit ears, 1950s fans, a wall of boots intended for the feet of British butlers, and stacks of big 1920s-era suitcases, youíll find wool tuxedo pants with shiny black stripes down the legs ($45), short-sleeve silk shirts from Hong Kong ($60), and wool cardigan sweaters from England ($20).
On a recent Thursday afternoon, I wandered into the shop. Two store employees were quietly tagging new loot, and I was the only person wading through the riches. Over the course of my rather lengthy visit, not a soul entered the store. Amidst the old, perfectly preserved wares, I felt like I was in a museum. And the best kind ó one where you get to take things home with you.
Best of all, Bobby actually has vintage prices as well. "See those belts?" Crowley says, pointing to a rack of 1960s and í70s studded-leather belts ($10Ė$15). "We sell those to stores in New York and they sell them for $95 and up."
Bobby from Boston: a best-kept secret? Oops, I told.
Nina Willdorf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it:
ē Bobby from Boston, 19 Thayer Street, Boston, (617) 423-9299.