Have you accustomed yourself to rolling the dice whenever you order clothing online? Have you learned better than to engage in the fruitless exercise of requesting assistance from retail staff? Are you a man – or, barring that, responsible for making the men in your life appear debonair? Then you will be delighted by Bill’s Toggery.
Bill’s is a brilliant anachronism in downtown Shakopee. The men’s clothier was founded in 1931 by William Wermerskirchen, who converted it from the bank where Lucky Lindy himself took out the loan to purchase his first airplane. The bank’s vault now serves as Minnesota’s securest changing room. Today William’s grandson Billy stands behind the counter, ready to supply the same customer service which has kept his family business thriving for nearly a century.
“Clothing quality and customer service are locked neck and neck in a race to the bottom these days,” said Billy. “I’m grateful for that, because the trend only makes what we offer that much more unique. Our customers come from all over the Twin Cities because we do things the old-fashioned way: clothing men take pride in wearing, provided with the expertise they need to look their absolute sharpest.
“Dress clothes will always remain the backbone of Bill’s. We carry formal wear by Jack Victor, Hart Schaffner Marx, David Donahue, John Forsyth, J.Z. Richards, and other reputable American and Canadian companies. We have the flashier styles teenagers want to wear to their proms, the distinguished styles which are more befitting of silver-haired executives, and everything else in between.
“We will not allow our customers to be seen wearing formal clothing which hasn’t been exactly tailored to their physiques. Men are often surprised when they see the tailor’s tape around my neck. To many, it is a relic of a bygone era of fashion, but it is the only way to provide our full-time in-house tailor with the measurements she needs to turn any suit into a bespoke one. She is an artist – truly one of the last of her kind.
“We do offer tuxedo rentals, although an increasing number of people are forgoing the tux in favor of buying a new suit. It is especially practical for young men who are looking forward to the formative days of their careers.
“Weddings, board meetings and black-tie events occupy relatively few hours of a man’s life. That is why Bill’s carries a wide selection of high-quality casual wear as well. We have active apparel by Vuori, 7Diamonds and Tasc Performance. We have comfortable yet stylish jeans by 34 Heritage, authentic Norwegian wool sweaters by Dale of Norway, refined sportswear by Peter Millar, a great selection of footwear by Johnston & Murphy, all of johnnie-O’s SoCal-inspired fashions, and Swiss-made running shoes by On. We have also recently begun stocking clothing by Howler Brothers, a Texan company that caters to men who equally love the outdoors and making an impression.
“Americans know a valet as someone who parks cars for a living. But traditionally, a valet’s job is to make certain his employer is always immaculately dressed. The staff at Bill’s are all valets in the traditional sense. You won’t need any help parking just outside our conveniently located store, anyway.”
The odds of a business surviving into its third generation of ownership are minuscule. It will take only one visit to Bill’s to understand that the store’s extraordinary longevity isn’t some fluke. To Billy, quality and customer service are not gimmicks. They are the only acceptable way of doing things. Go today if you would like to become the best-dressed man wherever you go – or if you would like the best-dressed man to accompany you. My fiancée took me there last week and now she will no longer allow me to leave home unattended.
Bill’s Toggery is located at 138 Lewis Street South in downtown Shakopee. They are open Monday through Saturday and by special appointment. You may learn more about the local men’s clothier at billstoggery.com.
"We have the flashier styles teenagers want to wear to their proms, the distinguished styles which are more befitting of silver-haired executives, and everything else in between."