F errucci Fine Men’s Clothiers on Elm Street is a handsome place indeed, with immaculate displays and fine jackets hanging in perfect rows. Although its heritage is Italian, the shop has a British feel, with framed photos of polo and tennis players decorating wood-paneled walls.
Talking to the father and son who run the place, it’s clear they’d have it no other way. They’re detail men, not just for themselves but also for their customers. When someone buys a custom suit, or a dress shirt or a pair of shoes from their ready-to-wear offerings, the details should be just right, they say—not just in the look, but also in the quality.
Vincent F. Ferrucci says that’s been the goal since his father, Vincent P. Ferrucci, opened the shop in 1963 in Westville (it’s since moved downtown). As the store did then, Ferrucci offers both leisure and formal wear. Its own label sources fabrics from Ermenegildo Zegna, a pedigreed, high-achieving Italian fashion house (and well-kept secret up until some years ago, when magazines like GQ started raving), and Loro Piana and Dormeuil, also known for their quality materials (just not yet by the masses).
When Ferrucci the father put “fine” into the business’s tagline, he meant it. Accordingly, dress shirts run $125 and up and a custom suit can run into the low thousands. (The final price depends on the details, naturally.) Of course, getting a custom suit entails deep personal attention and service, and the resulting suit has the potential to last a lifetime. If something does need mending, Ferrucci offers tailoring for garments bought in-store.
The shopping experience recalls an earlier, more deliberate era, when having a trusted clothier responsible for your wardrobe was fairly common, like having a regular barber or doctor—when fashion was slow and personal. That’s how it was when Vincent P. first decided to become a master tailor. “I worked very hard to achieve this.”
Following his training, including an apprenticeship in Rome, Ferrucci brought his skills to the United States. A “master tailor” must be able to build and adjust pieces from creating a look on paper to hand-constructing the garment to fitting it on the customer. Ferrucci, in his melodic Italian accent, says that there is a “romance” to the process, and it’s easy to believe him.
He used to do it all; now, outside manufacturers do most of the construction. But he does hand-finish items in store, which is rare and charming enough.
His son joined the business after graduating from the University of Connecticut in 1989, although he’d been hanging around the store, learning the business by osmosis, since he was a young boy. The duo still finds plenty of customers who appreciate that level of skill. The younger Ferrucci says that custom work and tailoring accounts for about half of the store’s business.
Also plentiful, however, are worrisome competitors. “Thirty years ago, you had to worry about maybe one other store,” he says. “Today you have the internet.”
“We’re in a very modern world,” agrees his father, who adds that today’s young shoppers “think differently,” desiring many clothes for not much money, instead of investing in a careful selection of high-quality pieces that will serve the wearer for a long time.
Clearly, however, there are still some shoppers who are glad the two Ferruccis have stayed their course. Naturally, the father-and-son team practice what they preach, well-dressed from head to toe and ready to share what they know.
It’s a level of knowledge and service that’s hard to find these days, though it’s equally hard to imagine that it would ever really go out of style.
Ferrucci Fine Men’s Clothiers
53 Elm St, New Haven (map)
Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm | (203) 787-2928
Written and photographed by Cara McDonough.