Shannon Formalwear is Here to Help You Find Your (Most Dapper) Suit of Armor
When it's time to look smart, everything you need is right on O street.
By Madeline Christensen
On a sunny Wednesday afternoon, we found Andrew Shannon helping a customer pick out the perfect suit for his 50th wedding anniversary while the Talking Heads played on a turntable.
With good tunes and a space decked out with antique motorcycles, velvet upholstery, and dapper suits galore, Shannon’s in his element.
“I love what I do, I love helping people put on their suit of armor and get them dressed and ready for events,” he said. “I'll be having a bad week, and then someone comes in and we figure something out and get them really feeling good. That's what it's all about.”
Shannon Formalwear just celebrated a full year since moving downtown from the Gateway Mall to its current location at 1630 O Street.
Owner Andrew Shannon said he couldn’t be happier with the decision.
“We wouldn't have been able to make it through the pandemic if we hadn't moved, as a small business,” he said. “This is the best thing that could've ever happened.”
Moving away from the culture of the mall and into a building bursting with character was a step in the right direction for Shannon, who took over Best Styles in 2013 and has since renamed the business and moved away from rentals and more towards retail.
“I wanted to better serve my customers,” he said. “As a rental place, I didn't feel we were providing the best fits and options for their money.”
Shannon still offers rentals, but now estimates that 75 percent of his business is retail. Throughout the pandemic, he’s worked to take the business online and streamline a made-to-measure program.
“I feel like we do offer more competitive prices, just because we're not a national chain,” Shannon said. “It's just me, and our overhead is low. I have more options.”
Men’s Wearhouse often refers customers looking for a more unique look to Shannon.
And if a customer walks in looking for high-end sneakers, they’re almost in the right place—Shannon also helped his son, Hunter, take over the back of the building to open up his own vintage streetwear shop, Exclusive Hype. It’s accessible from the back alleyway.
“Him and his friends were collecting their stuff, and he'd been selling online for a couple of years,” Shannon said. “He saw that I was able to run a business off of something I enjoy and love, so I think he just kind of followed that path, and he's killing it. It's so fun to see them everyday and work with them. They are so good at what they do.”
Shannon said it’s a passion for clothing and people that keeps customers coming back.
“We're just trying to get people to look their best for these big events,” he said. “I've dressed people to meet the President, and all kinds of crazy stuff. It's neat, the connections you make doing that.”