There are only a few days left to visit rapidly-growing online menswear retailer Bonobos in their holiday pop-up shop in Bethesda. Come 2013, the brand's unique alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar retail will move to 3320 Cady's Alley NW in Georgetown.
On November 7, the company opened the doors of a temporary Guide Shop on Bethesda Row, joining others in New York, Boston, Chicago and Palo Alto. It is an effort to provide a personal interface for customers skeptical of buying clothing online. The idea, which requires some explaining to curious passer-byes walking in off the street, is to create an “e-commerce showroom” where men can make appointments or wander in to try on the company’s product line and speak with personal shoppers.
While Bonobos encourages individuals to make guide shop appointments via their website, unlike their New York outpost, which occupies a smaller footprint in its 5th floor headquarters on West 25th Street, potential customers are welcome to walk into the Bethesda and, presumably, future Georgetown locations.
The company does not stock inventory on site, however, and only maintains representative items for guys to try. For instance, if you are interested in purchasing their Foundation grey suit in a 40R, you may have to try on their navy version instead in your size. Once you find the correct fit, you can then place an order at the shop which is then shipped free to your preferred location.
A Bonobos representative took me around the Bethesda showroom, describing their product lines and suggesting some pieces to try on in their fitting room. The emphasis here is on well-fitting chinos, button downs and other business casual staples, though the company has also introduced new tailored and professional clothing lines including suits, ties, dress shirts, outerwear and shoes. Recently, they debuted the Donegal, a heavy three piece, Made-in-the-USA suit for the holidays, one of several staples that are made in America or Canada.
If you are in or near Bethesda, your last, best chance of popping into this pop-up is this week, before Bonobos shifts to its permanent installation in Georgetown.
Photos are courtesy of Bonobos. An earlier version of this story and photo tour of the Bethesda Guide Shop is available at Modern Fellows.