By Caroline Albers
Photos by: Caroline Albers and Mollie Coyle
In the fitting rooms of Kit and Ace, a blue neon sign set against an exposed brick wall gently blazes, “Time is precious.” This motto defines the men and women’s retailer that recently opened a new storefront in Georgetown. The technical clothing company set out to solve a long time problem for busy people: how do you ensure that your wardrobe holds up to your lifestyle?
Kit and Ace designs clothing for a “full contact life,” centered around pieces that seamlessly transition from a morning bike ride to the boardroom (or to class), then finally to drinks with friends or a night on the town. Kit and Ace designers make clothes that truly fit and are made to last including everything from underwear (coyly referred to as “foundations”) to winter coats (check out the delectably soft blanket wrap).
Walking into the M Street location, shoppers are greeted by friendly retailers who work to help them integrate Kit and Ace pieces into their personal style.
“We really try to educate about the clothes,” said Leah Reidy, Shop Director at the Georgetown showroom. Reidy explained the principles behind the brand’s signature fabric: technical cashmere. “It’s a cashmere blend that you can put in the wash and dryer then wear immediately. All our clothes are based on form and function and designed with movement in mind.”
Shannon Wilson and JJ Wilson founded Kit and Ace in 2014 to bring the comfort and versatility of athletic clothes to their everyday wardrobes, merging athletic textile technology with classic designs.
Chip Wilson of the same family founded athletic brand lululemon in 1998. Lululemon and Kit and Ace share a similar dedication to high quality clothing that holds up under stress (and their M Street storefronts are just steps apart), but the two companies remain completely separate entities.
“We’re friends with the people at lululemon, and we view each other as neighbors,” said Reidy. “We have a symbiotic relationship. We always say, go sweat in lululemon, then come and play at Kit and Ace.”
For Kit and Ace, being good friends and good neighbors doesn’t just apply to shops founded by the Wilson family; Kit and Ace has a commitment to serving the Georgetown community as a whole. From the ground floor retail space, a dark wooden staircase leads to a loft displaying a large square table crafted from Pacific ash. Contemporary copper light fixtures hang suspended from the ceiling. Nearby windows reveal views of shoppers and commuters respectively strolling and hurrying along M Street. Plush grey armchairs, a cowhide rug, and small potted succulents complete the space. The overall effect is one of clean, minimal lines that enhance rather than sacrifice comfort.
“I like to think of this space at Ace’s living room,” Reidy said, referring to the fictional male entity and muse that gives Kit and Ace half its name. “It’s a little more masculine.”
Kit and Ace invites community members to use this space for meetings and events. Once each season, Kit and Ace hosts a dinner club for community members, providing a venue for people to get to know each other and form connections that benefit Georgetown as a whole.
“The table is square to foster a conversation,” said Reidy. “We want to encourage people to really listen to one another.”
This theme of honest exchange filters into every interaction at Kit and Ace. Reidy stressed how her team values feedback, submitting customers’ praise and criticism to the corporate design team each week.
“The design team is always responding and adapting to feedback from our customers,” said Reidy. “We try to solve problems in our customer’s lives. For example, one of our dresses has what I call ‘the single lady’s zipper’ because the tassel means you can zip it up on your own. The fabric of our dresses also move with you, so they never crease.”
Kit and Ace’s clothes can take you through a busy day, but their brand philosophy transcends apparel. For the Georgetown location, Reidy has plans to develop part of the loft into a space for meditation and mindfulness, a place to pause, refocus, and rejuvenate.
“Sometimes you have to power down to power up,” Reidy explained. “We plan to have the mindfulness loft set up before finals season, so that student can have a place to meditate and center themselves.”
Kit and Ace also serves their customers by supplying insightful articles and educational pieces on their new online magazine The Ante. The sleek website includes profiles on executives, tips from life coaches, articles on health and well being, and research into the technical side of textile production.
As a new member of the Georgetown community, Kit and Ace has demonstrated their commitment to being good neighbors who support and encourage local business and organizations. For people living full contact lives, embracing the possibilities of each day, Kit and Ace upholds a healthy work life balance, full of passion and drive, but also time to reflect and breathe.
To find out more about Kit and Ace’s perfectly soft clothing, gorgeous event space, and commitment to well-being, join Thirty Seventh staff members for an exclusive yoga event for Georgetown students at Kit and Ace on Tuesday, October 25 from 8:00am to 10:00am. What better way to beat the stress of midterms than building in a little time for self care? There will be a free session of morning yoga followed by a breakfast bar with juice from Greenheart Juiceshop. Exercise and a solid breakfast is one of the best ways to kick start your day. Kit and Ace will also be giving away two free gift bags. All you need to do is set that early alarm, grab your yoga mat, and head down to M for an invigorating morning.