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The well-loved Ledbury's storefront. (Photo by Megan Parry)
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Custom shirt-making and…cheeky poetry? In this 1914 ad, Creery put together a cute little ditty outlining their clothing conquest of the South. I so appreciate the playfulness and whimsy of this one — it shows they didn’t take themselves too seriously but still believed in their product. (Photo courtesy Elisabeth Edelman/Ledbury)
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When I was young, I’d get a new Easter dress every spring. Bows, pastels, ribbons and lace, it always felt like the perfect harbinger for warmer weather. Apparently, back in 1923, men used to get new Easter gear too! Creery advertised that their “display has never..contained greater patterns” than they did for that Easter. Man, I would love to know what those patterns were! (Photo courtesy Elisabeth Edelman/Ledbury)
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To celebrate their anniversary in 1957, Creery put out this half-page ad; these two dapper fellows look positively pleased-as-punch in their custom-made shirts, which, as it details in the text below, start at only $8.95 each! (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Edelman/Ledbury)
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This 1973 ad is a particular favorite. Roy Christopher Darcy is one cool cat; just look at that pose — and that hair. Even cooler is that he’d come right to his customer’s office to take measurements and go over shirt details. (Photo courtesy Elisabeth Edelman/Ledbury)
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In 1975, the brand took a more intense approach to their marketing. “Unless you are buying a Creery tailored shirt, you are being deceived.” Yikes! I’m guessing by this point in their storied history, the company had made their mark on Richmond’s sartorial scene and was probably dealing with some imitators. Point taken, guys. (Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Edelman/Ledbury)
In September, Ledbury celebrated the grand opening of their new Near West End location; it marks the second spot in Richmond for the modern-classic menswear company and is the home base for the Ledbury Creery Workshop. Ledbury acquired Creery Custom Shirts, the legendary local 108-year-old men’s shirt-making company, in July. The new space offers the stylish male Richmonders three choices: the Ledbury ready-to-wear collection, a made-to-measure service where men can get pre-made shirts tailored and a bespoke option, which is where Creery comes in. For a bespoke shirt, the customer is measured to within an inch of his life (technical term) and a custom pattern is drawn up around these measurements. After two fittings with a sample shirt, the customer can choose the fabric, buttons, collars and cuffs to create a custom piece. The shirt pattern is then tucked away in the Ledbury Creery Workshop files until its owner is in need of another shirt. Side note: I was able to take a tour of the newly renovated shop with Ledbury CEO Paul Trible right before they opened the doors to the public in September. I had fun checking out the design details of the new space (the Midcentury modern vibes were right up my alley) and loved meeting the Ledbury team. Anyway, I’m a total pop culture junkie and was mildly embarrassed when, after Paul casually showed me Daniel Radcliffe’s shirt pattern, I squeaked loudly “WAIT…like the actual Daniel Radcliffe???” He laughed (at me? Let’s be honest, probably.) and confirmed: yes, the actual Daniel Radcliffe. I’ll say that he actually seemed way prouder of the George Bush patterns hanging nearby (I mean, OK, fine, I guess presidential custom-shirt patterns are cool, too.) But I digress.
As a vintage clothing lover and current fashion writer, I find the mix of old and new, history and innovation so inspiring. Ledbury has taken a beloved Richmond institution and modernized it in a subtle, thoughtful way. It’s no easy feat to retain the integrity and spirit of two separate brands after merging them but Ledbury seemingly has done it. I was able to get my hands on some of Creery’s old advertisements and wanted to share a few here with you. My inner art history nerd is totally digging these vintage Creery advertisements (see above). Understated, charming, elegant and slyly witty, they really embody the spirit of the two brands.