DOWNERS GROVE – Fashions have come and gone since 1973, but men looking for a local tailor on Ogden Avenue have had a constant option.
Louis’ for Men custom tailor and formal wear shop is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a storewide sale and other promotions from Oct. 10 to Oct 26.
The store has been an Ogden Avenue fixture since Luigi Imbrogno opened its first location in the 400 block of Ogden Avenue. The business moved to its current spot, 748 Ogden Ave., in 1987.
Imbrogno is a jovial host to those who walk through his doors, speaking in a still-thick Italian accent as he or his son, Lou, measure and fit clients for new or altered suits.
Imbrogno is semi-retired now and works at the shop a few days a week. Lou now owns the businesses.
The elder Imbrogno is celebrating another milestone this month – his 80th birthday. He was born in Zumpano, Italy in 1933. At age 14, he began to learn tailoring from his uncle.
“His father was a post master in the town and his uncle was a tailor,” said Duane Baker, a friend and employee of the Imbrognos. “And they asked him what he liked better – delivering mail or making suits. And he said suits.”
Imbrogno emigrated to Chicago via Naples and New York in 1962, finding work in a tailor shop on Michigan Avenue, he said. Work eventually led him to Berwyn before he decided to open his own store in Downers Grove in 1973.
“There are not many good tailors around anymore,” Imbrogno said. “People come from around – 20 miles. They say, ‘I don’t care if you’re far away, you make me happy in one trip.’”
His shop initially offered only tailoring services, but expanded when Lou came onboard full time in 1993.
Now the store offers a full-line of suits, sports jackets formal wear to buy and tuxedo rentals, in addition to tailoring.
Baker said he has seen a renewed interest in wearing suits and dressing up – both from the younger generation and those a bit older who have had to re-enter the job market during the poor economy, and need a fresh suit for interviews.
Still, it’s a far cry from the ’60s and early ’70s, when people wore suits and “business casual” was an oxymoron.
“There was no such thing as business casual,” Baker said. “And everybody dressed up, whether it be for business, to go to church or to go out to dinner.
“Down through the years it became casual almost every day. But now, I would say, we see more people coming in to buy suits than we have in the past. And that’s because of a couple things. The younger generation, people [in their late 20s and younger], want to look different than their parents. And in order to look different, they dress up.”