Store Profile: Standard & Strange, Oakland

It’s been a while since we did a store profile on Style.No.Chaser, but we’re breaking the drought with a great new discovery we made from the West Coast. The name of this menswear store is Standard & Strange, and they carry some of the best brands around. Try a few of these on for size: Reigning Champ, Red Wing, Rogue Territory, Viberg Boots, OrSlow and Kapital. Judging from that impressive array alone, we know that these guys know what they are doing. We spoke to Jeremy Smith, one of the co-owners of the store to find out more. He also shared with us the must-see spots to hit for an awesome weekend in Oakland. Read on below …

“Our wardrobes are heavy on Rogue Territory, but we also wear a lot of …”

When was the store Standard & Strange founded – who are the owners and what was the founding philosophy behind it? 

We opened in 2012 – I, Jeremy Smith, and Neil Berrett are the owners, and it’s our second company together, the first being Cedar Cycling, a high-end cycling apparel brand. Through that we gained a ton of connections and experience in the apparel industry that we have brought to bear on the store. 

How would you describe the S & S customer? 

Oakland is a broad, diverse place, and we’re welcoming and friendly to everyone. The common ground is that everyone we sell to cares about value and quality, not price. They’ll save up for six months to buy a pair of jeans to wear for five years.   

With regards to finding the brands you carry, what is the main criteria you use for combing through the wide expanse of menswear brands out there? 

We look for authentic stories, combined with being the best in category. Good construction, excellent materials, and also we really look at the business we’re buying from – we like to do business with good people who can get the job done. For example – for knits we stick to selling (almost exclusively) Reigning Champ from Canada because they’re the best in the game. I’ve had my sweatshirt from their factory (under a different brand) for ten years.


Do you have a particular penchant for carrying “Made In America” brands?  

Not anymore – we started that way, but now we’ve branched out to Canada, UK, EU, and Japan.  We look for brands that are made in the best place for their product and use fair labor practices. 

What brands do you carry now at S&S that you feel will perform the best for S/S 2015? What about for F/W 2015?  

Rogue Territory will always, always do well for us. It’s our top selling brand.  The SS15 and FW15 lines from them are excellent. We’re excited about introducing two brands from Japan for 2015: OrSlow and Kapital. Also, for FW15, we’ve added Wings & Horns from Canada, and we feel like they will do especially well for us. The biggest news is that we’ll be the sole stockists for Viberg Boots in the SF Bay area starting this year.

So you have both an online and physical store – what are some of the successful ways you use to engage consumers to buy your items?

We don’t push – but our acquisition channels locally are word of mouth, events, PR, and ad buys in local pubs. Online, we use instagram, facebook, and selective ad buying heavily.

Do you carry menswear accessories also – if so which ones tend to sell the best? 

We do carry a ton of accessories – wallet and belts always fly out the door.  We do really well with Juniper Ridge soaps and colognes too. 

Talk to me about your personal style – what is your own personal style uniform?

Neil and I both tend to wear the same thing – boots, jeans, buttondowns or workshirts.  Our wardrobes are heavy on Rogue Territory, but we also wear a lot of Tender Co and Rising Sun.  Red Wing and Rancourt on our feet, of course. 

Lastly, Let’s say I was heading over to Oakland to spend a nice long weekend of shopping, eating, drinking and relaxing – what are some spots that I definitely need to visit? 

Man, that’s a hard one.  I’m going to assume it’s the first weekend of the month.

There’s a lot to do – Friday, after breakfast (Iron Pan on Telegraph), I’d start with a good hike up in the redwoods – you can actually take a bus up there if you don’t have a car, or if you’re a cyclist, do the Skyline / Redwood loop, then hit up Homeroom for lunch and fill up the calorie hole with one of their mac and cheese dishes.  Then I’d head to Lake Merritt, take a lazy walk around there, and maybe hit the Oakland museum of California.  After that, it’s time for First Friday up in Temescal, where we’re located.  All the shops near us stay open late, and there are ample drinks and food around.  We usually have a ton of beer or whiskey on hand for the night.

Saturday, I’d kick off with what I call the dim-sum-power move – there’s this walk-up only dim sum place in china town – Tao Yuen – grab some food there, and take it down to Heinolds in Jack London square, get a beer and sit outside with my dumplings.  From there, I’d walk over to Blue Bottle, get caffeinated again, and head up to Old Oakland to walk around a bit there.  Lunch options abound in that area, I’d probably grab a burger at TrueBurger, and then head up to Piedmont Avenue, hit up issues for some magazines, and go lounge up in Mountain View Cemetery (which is not weird at all, it’s more park than cemetery at the top, and was designed as such).I’d be inclined after that to grab a movie at The New Parkway, but the more outgoing could go hit the bar scene on Grand, and check out The Alley, a great dive bar, or check out live music at one of the many, many venues we’ve got around.

Sunday – it’s time for the Alameda Vintage Faire (aka The Flea) – grab some breakfast to go somewhere, and head down there.  Figure that’ll kill your morning easily.  After that, we usually go try to find some lunch which typically winds up being Chop Bar in Jack London Square, or sometimes Speisekammer (in Alameda, other end of the island).  If we’re feeling like covering some ground, we’ll head up to Fruitvale for tacos. 

This doesn’t even scratch the surface of everything to do in a weekend, but it’s a good start!

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