AS THE CITY'S most convenient center of commerce to the West Hills, NW 23rd has long been a destination for shopping. Over the years, however, many of its small businesses have closed or moved elsewhere, only to make room for evermore corporate chain retailers. While a smattering of essential gems remain (Blush Beauty Bar, Souchi, Zelda's, Rich's), increasingly the street's new neighbors are of the publicly traded variety. Luckily, 2011 brought one wonderful exception: Reveille is a haven for vintage collectors and contemporary apparel shoppers alike.
Opened by Jess Carson and (former Mercury news intern) Camille Pandian last summer, Reveille started out primarily as a vintage store, distinguishing itself by dealing primarily in rare prize pieces—this is perhaps the only shop in town where you can find a WWII-era American pilot's bomber jacket (complete with dog tags), a Civil War-era dress coat, and rare 1950s Langlitz and Levi's jackets all under one roof. Drawing on each other's experiences living outside of their native Oregon (Carson spent years in Los Angeles, Pandian in London), Pandian makes the womenswear selections while Carson tackles menswear.
Because they moved into the business quickly (Carson says they signed the lease only a few short months after first floating the idea), many of their orders for new merchandise are still arriving, and gradually the store is mixing in more and more of their favorite lines. Look for lines like Opening Ceremony, Mister Freedom, Samantha Pleet, and a healthy selection of Alice by Temperley, among others. Carson is dedicated to ferreting out small lines that are produced where they are designed, like the denim they picked up from Nashville company Imogene + Willie during a road trip of the South, which as Carson recalls is produced by hand in a converted gas station.
With an eye to the kind of authenticity that has made heritage clothing a modern priority, Carson's purchases for men tend toward classic investments, from sturdy Japanese denim from Momotaro to handsome dress shoes from Stacy Adams, a Massachusetts shoe company founded in 1875.
Excitingly, Reveille is preparing to launch its own line of menswear, with hopes that the first pieces of Reveille will be in store by summer. Working with the Portland Garment Factory, Carson sought to fill the gaps in his own wardrobe with fitted wool suits (plus a linen Panama version for summer), a ranch jacket inspired by the one Paul Newman wore in Hud, vests, and, rather improbably, sailor-style jeans that Carson admits are unconventional but insists they be given a chance.
It's possible that, if the initial run proves successful, Reveille may branch out with its original designs to womenswear as well. In the meantime there are plenty of treasures, old and new, to warrant regular visits. Reveille, 728 NW 23rd, reveilleshop.com