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Boutique Peek: Venture Men’s Goods

The new Lafayette menswear store stands out from the pack by carrying quality brands such as Taylor Stitch, Tellason, and Marmot.

All photos by Kristen Haney

It’s a little hard to not get excited by Venture Men’s Goods in Lafayette. During the grand opening weekend, even guys walking by pressed their faces to the new store’s windows, peering inside at the custom-built tables and iron shelving that houses a carefully curated collection of menswear. But creating a store that would appeal to Lamorinda’s men was always a main consideration for Tom and Rosylyn Stenzel, the husband and wife team behind Venture. Opening in the area was a no brainer (“Our kids go to school here. We love the community,” says Rosylyn), but they made sure to talk to friends to nail down what the guys in the community wanted and were missing.

“Guys here are looking for something high quality, but they don’t want it to be too tricky and feel like they're wearing a costume,” says Tom. “We wanted to bring in what guys wanted, in a way that makes them feel comfortable with the clothing and store aesthetic.” Tom used his years of experience in the apparel industry to source quality brands to fill the store, but the duo plans to continue changing and adapting based on the response.

“My full expectation is that a year from now, the store will be completely different,” says Tom. “We want to be sensitive to what people like and what people don’t like, and move on from there.”

Who you’ll see here:
The age of the store’s male customers spans the spectrum, from a 19-year-old who was in on opening day to dads in their 50s and 60s.  “Guys aren’t used to seeing something for them,” says Rosylyn. “It’s unexpected, but not so weird and different that people are repelled by it.”

The store also has a family vibe, with wives and moms coming in to shop (the aisles can fit a double stroller), and guys bringing in their kids, who stay entertained with an iPad at the seating area near the dressing room. “The seating area takes the pressure off,” says Tom. “Normally, you feel like you have a minute or two to find something. Now, you actually have some time.”

What you can expect to find:
When filling the store, Tom and Rosylyn focused on finding the best quality clothing and accessories, which led them to California companies such as Taylor Stitch and SeaVees. “It’s natural for them to be designing for the men that live in this community, because they are those guys,” says Tom. “We’re finding a lot of the employees from Mountain Hardware, which is in Richmond, are coming around here. Naturally, their style is going to rub off on all the other guys in the community.”

Tom is also quick to praise SF–based Tellason, which sources its denim from the respected White Oaks mills in North Carolina and adds details such as twill lining to its jeans’ back pockets for reinforcement. “I’ve had 13 years in the denim business and even more in the fabric business, and I can objectively say that they are making the best jeans on the market right now,” Tom says. “It’s like a top of the line Wilson baseball glove versus something you’d find at Big Five.”

Try this:
Tom and Rosylyn decided to carry Ibex merino wool shirts based on feedback from friends. “I had a lot of conversations with guys, and time and time again they were saying, ‘I just love Merino wool,’” says Tom. “And I said, ‘okay, tell me more.’” Merino wool helps with temperature regulation, and has a natural anti-microbial, so it doesn’t trap odors and requires less care. “You just machine wash it, flat fold it, and let it dry on its own.”

Venture Men’s Goods, 3571 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 385-0259, venturemensgoods.com.


Want more men's fashion? We'll be bringing it to you all week! Check out our Boutique Peek of Pelican Rock fashion tips from Tastemaker Alfonso Garcia of Atlas, both in Walnut Creek, and a how-to rundown from Todd Weinberg of Danville's Edge.

Got news about new or expanding East Bay businesses? Or tips on great sales and deals? We want to know! E-mail us at style@maildiablo.com.