‘I Love Being Able to Wardrobe From Head to Toe’
Among the military’s core values, you won’t find ‘focus on fashion.’
Still, Aaron Goode did what he could growing up on a base in Germany, the son of Air Force parents. There, he shopped at the BX, where the clothing choices were limited: Levis and Duck Head pants.
‘There weren’t a lot of options for military kids, but I always seemed to wear my clothes differently than other people,’ says Aaron, now the store director for men’s fashion boutique, Ledbury. ‘Not like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode where he’s wearing his blazer inside out at Beverly Hills High School—not that crazy. But it was my fit, and the way I put my combinations together—even at a young age. People kind of took notice.’
Decades later, people still take notice. Ask anyone south of M Street who sees Aaron walking along the canal and they’ll tell you he’s one of the best dressed men in Georgetown.
With 10 years of custom suit and shirt experience under his (custom) belt, including Nordstrom and his own company, Aaron opened the Richmond-based Ledbury boutique late last spring in Cady’s Alley. The store caters to 25- to 50-year-old men looking for both classic and fashion pieces in a city often known for two extremes.
‘You have the conservative, political, congressional guy. They’re all in the uniform: Navy blazer, khaki pants, red or blue tie. The other extreme is the really cool street wear, with guys putting their own unique personal style on different pieces. You go down U Street and you see a whole different type of vibe and style than Connecticut Ave and K Street. It’s about dressing for your environment. There’s nothing wrong with the political guys wearing their blazers because that’s their environment.’
What is wrong, often, is the fit.
Aaron says most men skew toward clothing that’s too big, the product of a DC ‘big box culture’ generations in the making.
‘If you think about it, ready-to-wear and off-the-rack sizes are for a very particular body shape, which hardly anybody has,’ Aaron says. ‘Guys are having to compromise on the sleeve, or the chest, or the neck. It fits in the chest or the sleeves but they can’t button their collar. They’re having to compromise in some way. Finding that great fit is imperative, and a lot of guys come in here and that’s their number one issue.’
Before fabric swatches are even shown, Aaron measures each customer—offering both Ledbury’s slim and classic fit, depending on personal preference. Many men—whether they stumbled upon the store while walking through the alley or heard about its local Richmond roots—just don’t know what they need.
‘Once you show them, then the lightbulb goes off. ‘You know I do need some more blue shirts, or a couple of staple gray suits.’ It’s taking them out of their comfort zone just a little bit. Showing them different colors, exposing them to different pattern options.’
At the core of every color and pattern is quality. All of Ledbury’s fabrics are sourced in Italy. The buttons are mother of the pearl; the collars and cuff interiors, canvas.
While Aaron has always sought high-quality pieces, his personal style has evolved.
‘I’m a lot more conservative now. I like a navy blazer, white shirt, navy tie, gray slacks. But it depends on how inspired I’m feeling in the mornings. I seem to get more inspired on Friday and Saturday to really put on something that’s cool.’
What’s cool to Aaron? Tan suede shoes and a Zegna Trofeo two-button peak lapel checked blazer he designed—two favorites in his closet.
Aaron says he’s also getting into double-breasted jackets and suits—a casual cotton khaki double-breasted jacket with jeans and his suede shoes, or a black double-breasted jacket with a shorter cut.
To accessorize, just a watch.
‘I’m not a bandwagon kind of guy. I like the look of multiple bracelets and all that stuff but it’s just not my style. When I see guys with a really cool haircut—these fades and parts that are coming back in style—I’m like dang, I wish I had hair so I could do some cool stuff.’
But the secret to cool is confidence, of which Aaron has plenty.
‘I think when you have a gift for something and when you have a passion, it’s natural. People look at it and go, ‘Oh my God, that’s amazing,’ and you’re just like—that’s what I do.’
From BX to big box to boutique, Aaron finally found the right fit.