It was actually Lou Rosen, I first met. We were in that little custom tailoring shop he and brother Harry had opened on Parliament Street in Toronto. A fellow salesman and friend had convinced me to get away from Eaton’s menswear racks and check out custom tailoring. I went in with him but kept a tight hand on my wallet. I wasn’t too worried though. Parliament street was definitely in the lower price ranges.
It was Harry Rosen, himself, who sold me. He joined our conversation about custom tailoring versus off-the-rack and said, “Do you want to see the difference?”
When I said ‘yes,’ all he did was take off his suit coat.
Harry was no Charles Atlas. He was almost as pudgy as myself. His point for custom tailoring was made without another word. It reformed me and moved me up in the world. Those suits from Harry Rosen stores over the years spelled success in so many ways.
Only once did I falter and give into my brother John’s insistence that I give Lou Miles in his Yonge Street store a trial. Lou Miles was a great guy but those tight Italian style suits were never made for my somewhat oversized belly. They were a great fit for my skinny brother, but I went back to another of Harry’s new stores. There, I was at home.
I remember a long chat I had with Harry one day on Richmond Street near his store number two. It was one of many stores at this time. I was on the way to Hy’s for a luncheon appointment. The business appointment could wait. I always enjoyed chatting with Harry when I had a chance. He was working with some friends of mine in the advertising business and he was becoming a household name in menswear.
It is probably more than thirty years now since I last bought a Harry Rosen suit. That last one hangs in my closet. Last time I had it on, I realized how much I had shrunk. I will probably be buried in it. Living north of Ontario Highway 7, you only wear a suit for serious funerals. I expect I have forgotten how to tie a Windsor knot for a tie.
Copyright 2023 © Peter Lowry
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