Keezer's: Tuxedo Junction

Shop Girl by Kitty Kaufman

Casual is commonplace. Those places and occasions that used to dictate a certain formality of behavior and dress no longer do. Why is it that the boundaries of what we used to call classic are so hard to find?

Tuxedos, the ultimate status accessory, remain. If what you wear says who you are or perhaps who you want to be, both old and new rules of power dressing meet at tuxedo junction. Although Thoreau was quick to point out, "Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes," Len Goldstein, owner of Keezer's, says otherwise. He turns musicians, actors, and grooms resplendent with a well-styled eye.

Yes, there was a Mr. Keezer who started the business in 1895. Today, Len Goldstein and his father, Harry Goldstein, preside over an inventory of new and used formal attire: tuxedos, tails, silk bow ties, silk vests, studs, and cufflink sets. His clientele, he says, favors the naturals: silk, wool, cotton, linen. A woman who overhears us agrees, "I rather be hot in wool than wear polyester." Len says, "We have a depth of stock. If a costume designer wants a fifties, sixties, or seventies look, we usually have just what they're looking for." Local professors stop in for white tie and tails before Nobel ceremonies, and Harvard's Lampoon group has been shopping here for years.

If you insist on a clip-on bow tie, they'll oblige, but why would you when you can have a lesson in how to do it yourself? Len drapes a tie around his own neck while a customer stands beside him learning what it takes to complete the formal look. It starts easy with the left side slightly longer, then left over right, keep it flat and so on.

Wholesale pricing on everything brings new meaning to clothes that truly make the man. "We tell you what looks best on you," he says, "and if the fit isn't perfect, we'll send you to our tailor. Even with the warehouse clothing stores, we're still here."

© May 4, 2005 for The City Shopper
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