The Gentlemen Rebels
There is absolutely nothing I can say about Commonwealth Proper to describe who they are that they don't already do in the most unabashed and bewitching way possible. So go learn about what they've been doing to outfit men properly with American made apparel since 2008.
This post isn't about the origins of Commonwealth Proper. It's about the manifestation of all the things they say they do for their clients and how it's even better than anything some words on a computer screen could possibly convey.
My husband is a complicated individual. As most people are. But there's something about him that seems rather exceptional to me. He does a very good job of allowing people to believe they have him all sorted and compartmentalized. He likes that, when people think they know him. That means he gets to catch them off guard. So when you learn he was the captain of his high school football team and he was sort of a slacker in school and he could tell you from memory the stats of the surprise recruit Penn State snatched up for tight end and he's happiest drinking Miller Lites in his back yard and he's perfectly content wearing trousers and polos from Wal-Mart to the office because nobody sees him anyway, your assumptions about everything he is begin to cascade from there.
CJ has a man cave. He sits on the couch during the Big Game while Terra plays super hostess in the kitchen. He hates getting dressed up. He doesn't have a thing to do with decorating the house. He doesn't do the dishes. He rolls his eyes about Terra's "fashion blog."
None of that is even remotely true. Well, he DOES call me Kenny Bloggins when I'm working but that's just because it's hilarious and CJ is a funny guy.
The truth is CJ is artistic and romantic and my biggest cheerleader. He also hates ill-fitting clothes, no matter where they're purchased. But he especially abhors spending money on things he doesn't think he needs, which means it's very rare that he actually spends money on himself because his actual needs are more than covered. That's all just as well because it means I have the pleasure of spoiling him from time to time.
A 40th birthday is serious business. For whatever reason, we've made the turning over of a decade a big deal in our culture. I spent my surprise birthday party on CJ for his 30th just after we moved into our first house in the South Side. It was such a great idea because we blew it out so hard with all our friends. I just don't think we would have had the same sort of party in 2017. So what to do?
CJ had some big changes at work last year which have him moving into a more prominent role. A suit, I thought. He needs a power suit. I've been CJ's personal shopper for nearly 15 years. He's not built like a mannequin, but who is? I've watched him try on suits. It's extremely difficult for him because he has very broad shoulders but a thinner waist. So when he finds a jacket fits his shoulders, he's swimming in the middle. And while we've done our best with off-the-rack suiting and a good tailor, it's just never quite right.
Enter Commonwealth Proper. I literally found this company through Instagram. Their brand immediately lured me in. THIS was the sort of place that could do something special for CJ with all the class and sophistication and edge that my man, who never asks for a thing, so greatly deserves.
I reached out to Michael from the CMMP Pittsburgh Showroom (PS: his IG!!). I explained to him that I wanted to surprise my husband for his birthday and why. I prepared him for the fact that CJ isn't a big spender, which meant I insisted we not discuss money at all in front of him. It was all about the experience and getting CJ an exceptional suit. And Michael sure delivered. When we arrived, he set us up with the most exquisite whiskey drinks. Like, the shelf behind the bar reserved for the people whose well drinks are everyone else's top shelf. Then he walked us through how everything would work.
- Drink the whiskey and toast to CJ
- Choose the fabric and finishing combos
- Get measured
- Wait for the custom cutting and assembly magic to happen
- Come back to drink more whiskey and try on the suit for adjustments
- Select finishing touches
- Wait for the refinements
- Come back to drink more whiskey and slide into the best pieces of clothing ever made just for you
- Vigorous hand shakes and hugs
We played with fabric swatches for the suit and the lining and debated the merits of dark versus light buttons. Michael considered CJ's preferences on fit and break and stance. I think we were even more excited when we left that first day than when we arrived. Neither of us had ever had clothing custom-made for us. It's ironic that it was CJ who was first. But I'm so glad he was! I'm as proud of the end product as if I had constructed it myself. The gift goes beyond just a suit. It is more about seeing CJ in something that I can tell feels exceptionally good on him.
And he's the only person to have this exact suit, with the blue fabric (oh wait, that's a sexy sexy plaid brotha) and the striped lining and the ombre stitches on the button holes.
It's as unique and subtle and unexpected as the owner for which it was made.
Get some Commonwealth Proper in your life. Tell everyone who matters to you. Everyone deserves to feel and look this good.
I cannot thank Michael enough for giving us this gift and for being part of this memory. He made us both feel incredibly special. It's rather addictive!