Sunday, November 23, 2008

For the Greater Good: Where Edgy Meets Effortless

Larry Incognito, the savvy style arbiter behind the streetwear shop Commonwealth, has a simple reason for opening For the Greater Good, his latest boutique near U Street NW. "I've reached the age for styles a bit less flashy and little more polished," he says, "but still relaxed and cool."

That translates to a mix of new labels such as up-and-coming Australian brand Rittenhouse and iconic favorites such as Converse and Ray-Ban. The wide range can be attributed to the styles of famous men (think JFK, Muhammad Ali, Bob Dylan and Bruce Lee) whose black-and-white portraits adorn the stark gallery-like walls.

Incognito, a 30-something Virginia Beach native, worked in fashion merchandising and industrial design before starting Commonwealth in Norfolk in 2005. He opened a D.C. outpost this year and seems to have the block on lock: For the Greater Good is just two doors down, and he also owns the urban-hipster hot spot Stussy next door. Talk about style in spades.

-- Cory Ohlendorf

These items are available at For the Greater Good (1781 Florida Ave. NW, 202-387-0177,

House of Cassette 'Navajo' Jeans

Crafted from wax-treated black denim, these jeans ($350) have a slim but not skintight fit and are designed by Los Angeles-based Peter James Lee, a friend of Larry Incognito's.

Common Projects 'Desert' Boots

Adorned with only a tiny gold-embossed style number, these suede sneakers ($310) have an understated cool that makes them a fashion-insider favorite. And this is the only place in town you'll find them.

Public School 'Goopland' Jacket

Street meets chic with a leather-and-wool jacket ($590) from the year-old label of designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne.

Ray-Ban 'Outdoorsman' Sunglasses

The classic aviator shades ($130) get a vintage safari vibe with Hemingway-esque horn accents.

Maiden Noir

Flannel Button-Down

This Seattle-based label offers a cozy, relaxed shirt ($150) that pairs just as easily with a tie as it does with hiking boots.

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