There’s a scene in the 40-Year-Old Virgin where Jonah Hill tries to buy a pair of shiny goldfish-soled platform shoes from the infamous brick and mortar “eBay store.” He awkwardly fumbles something along the lines of, “I’ll just give you the money and you can give me the shoes.” Unfortunately, he can’t actually buy shoes that he’s holding in the store. He has to purchase them online.
To make a long story short, the premise behind the Bonobos Guide Shops is almost exactly that, and, surprisingly, it works. I swung by the Bonobos Guide Shop off Newbury Street earlier this month to see out how they made it happen.
Much like the eBay store from the movie, nothing from the Guide Shop is actually sold in person. This can understandably be a little frustrating for those trying to pick up a last minute dress shirt for a dinner party or for those out-of-towners just swinging by for the day. For the rest of us, however, it’s not a bad option. They’ll measure you up right there in the store, mark down your choice and have it on your doorstep within a few days. Like many other guys, I’m not a big fan of lugging shopping bags around, so having my choices show up in at my front door is a welcome respite to keep me from leaving my new clothes on the T.
The overall shopping experience at one of these Guide Stores doesn't feel like your typical retail chain. You aren't really left to your own devices, which, depending on your preferences, is either a good or a bad thing. The staff will walk you through the different styles and sizes, much like a personalized stylist, doing their best to match you up with what you’re looking for.
To call Bonobos up-and-coming is probably an understatement; they have muscled their way to the forefront of the menswear movement by focusing on one thing: fit. Their styles, while sometimes erring on the side of simplicity, are great foundations for day-to-day wear and offer a nearly unrivaled fit for clothes bought right off the rack. While not as comprehensive in their offerings as somewhere like J.Crew, Bonobos has built a reputation on perfecting the staples.
Although I may not see myself coming back for the more aggressive pieces of my wardrobe, I could very easily see myself slotting a few of their shirts and pants into my daily rotation. As the Bonobos operation grows, it’ll be interesting to see how they branch out their offering.
In the meantime, while you may not be able to walk out the store with anything in-hand, Bonobos is a great option for a young professional looking to add colorful, comfortable and nicely fitting staples to their day-to-day rotation.
Thank you to Sean at Bonobos for having us and Andrew (@drwrchrds) for offering to model. Photos are taken by myself and graciously edited by Gabi Anderson.