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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

Little Willy's Caters to the Boys

Husband-and-wife team Alex and Betty Wilcox opened Lord Willy’s atelier in the trendy New York neighborhood NoLIta seven years ago. This year the demand for their Savile Row–inspired treatment (Betty studied fashion and tailoring in London) allowed them to expand into a larger space next door. The pair run a tight operation: Bespoke suits are made by hand by the two master tailors they employ in Brooklyn; also, Lord Willy’s is a rare U.S. distributor of George Cleverley’s superbly crafted English brogues. “We saw our business growing up, but we still needed a creative outlet,” says Alex, who has a marketing background and a Wildean wit to match. The result is Little Willy’s, a boys-only shop that now occupies the smaller, original space and allows the Wilcoxes to get their jollies. Along with bow ties and classic button-up shirts—a Lord Willy’s signature is contrast-color buttons and thread, so father and son can get that to match—they offer printed tees with clever logos such as “Gentleman in Training” and “When I Grow Up I Want a Moustache.” The walls are covered in old portraits with silly star-shaped spectacles drawn over the eyes, and they hand out pairs of the real thing to their pint-sized patrons. There’s also a cheerful website and blog celebrating their target audience. “We weren’t particularly the star achievers at school,” Betty says, “so Little Willy’s is for the boys who achieve little things in life but make a big difference.” Button-up shirts are $95, and screen-printed tees are $35; 223 Mott St.; littlewillys.com.

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