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Mister B brings European flair to the Jewel

Men’s high fashion from Italy and Germany has a new crown setting in the Jewel: Mister B.

Billing itself as European clothing for the American man, Mr. B has opened a new store at 7925 Girard Ave. to join its existing location at 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road in Encinitas near Rancho Santa Fe.

The selection at Mister B is diverse and well-rounded. Name brands carried include Pal Zileri, Hugo Boss, Zanella, Strada Romeo, Giorgio Armani Jeans, Pancaldi, Gianfranco Ferre, Celine, Trussardi, Emilio Pucci, Lacroix, Vicri, Edo Popken, Signum, Artigiano, Alberto, Allegri, La Matta, Aldo Brue, Gran Sasso, Ballantyne, Raffaele Caruso, Bernard Zins, Moreschi, Agave, Robert Graham and Dolce & Gabbana.

Maggie Bobileff, a 25-year veteran of the fashion industry in both continental Europe and the United States, wears a number of hats at Mister B. She’s not only the owner of the business, but a buyer and a fashion coordinator as well.

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“We try to bring a little bit of Europe here,” noted Bobileff, pointing out the Jewel is the perfect place for high-end European men’s retail apparel. “We wanted to be in La Jolla. There’s so much life here. It’s a small town, a great town.”

Bobileff pointed out the age mix is wide at Mister B’s, from the mid 20s to men well into their 70s.

La Jolla Mr. B’s store manager, George Robles, also enjoys the mix of clientele in La Jolla, which, he said, can be as varied as it is eclectic. “We do get a lot of foreign trade, the Mexican people, the Russian people that come in. They’re a little bit more fashion-forward. People are traveling down on weekends from Los Angeles. Everyone traveling from anywhere who comes to San Diego goes to certain destinations. And La Jolla is one of them.”

Robles noted the designer lines carried at Mr. B are what makes the store stand out. “What it really comes down to is the combinations of the different types of manufacturers,” he said. “They all blend together. That makes everything unique.”

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Robles noted the way Mister B approaches their clients is different from the norm in men’s retail. “People that can afford the clothing here, who’ve been successful, you’re not trying to talk them into something,” he said. “You’re just showing them what you have, and they either like it or not. It’s really not a sales pitch. It’s more understanding your product and explaining it to people. We have a lot of nice clothes. They know the brands. It makes it nice.”

Attorney Mark Tarpin, a client of Mister B, said the retailer is offering something that can’t be found anywhere else in La Jolla. “They seem to have filled a void that was created when Saks and GQ went out of business,” Tarpin said. “It’s good to have another men’s clothing store in town.”

Tarpin said Bobileff and Robles are both knowledgeable and helpful. And, he likes the cut of the European suits they have available. “I’m tall and slender with wide shoulders, and the cut of those suits fits me the best,” he said.

Conducting a tour of her store, Bobileff walked into the back where soft Italian shoes and hats are sold and tailoring is performed. “They’re from an old Italian company, family owned, handcrafted,” she said about the shoe selection.

Pointing to a Borsalino hat, Bobileff said: “The hatmaker celebrated 150 years this year. They made the hats for the mafia. That’s how they got known.”

Moving over to a rack of leather coats with fur collars, Bobileff pointed out they’re perfect to wear on ski trips or in colder climes. “They’re all a little bit oversized, so you can wear them over a suit, or over a coat,” she said, adding, “Fur is a very big thing with winter.”

A specialty at Mister B is clothing made to measure. Said Bobileff: “That means they fit perfect for you. We can order you a custom-made suit. For people with a bigger neck and smaller body, we recommend shirts or suits made to order. Then you can get all the detail that you wish. You cannot get that off the rack.”

Not all the clothing at Mister B is formal. Bobileff points to a large rack of casual corduroy pants. “That’s big in fashion this winter,” she said, “casual corduroy pants and a nice coat. Then you are dressed up.”

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She walks over to a rack of wool overcoats. Another rack showcases ever-popular cashmere wool sweaters. “Vests never go out,” added Bobileff. “It’s always a good thing to have.”

Another clothes rack at Mister B features casual blazers. The front section of the store sports Armani jeans. On the other side of the store is a rack of standard, traditional pinstripe suits for businessmen.

Where there’s a suit, there’s a tie. Mister B carries lots and lots of ties - bow ties, ties with jewelry stones on them, bold ties, conservative ties. “It’s always a representation of a guy,” said Bobileff about the ties men choose to wear. “Some guys are more risky. Some guys are more subdued.”

Whatever their style, Mister B has the right tie for each different guy.

Bobileff said helping someone find just the right style that suits them and their needs is one of the most satisfying aspects of her job. She offered an example of one guy whom she helped find his way in fashion.

“I had a customer in his mid-60s who said, ‘You know what, I’ve never worn jeans in my life.’ I said, ‘It’s about time, you’re going to start.’ He was laughing. Well, he came back, and he only wears jeans now.”

Hours at Mister B are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, call (858) 454-3310 or visit www.misterbclothing.com.

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