by Karen Alberg Grossman

How cool that each store reflects the vision, and the personality, of its owner.

Victor Scognamiglio, Victor Talbots, Greenvale

About 40 years ago, while still in high school, Victor Scognamiglio (above, center left, with some members of his team,  Petagay Powell, Gary Sandler, and Enzo Giambalvo) took a job at a men’s formalwear store and discovered he loved working with brides and grooms. Soon after, he started attending bridal shows and delivering formalwear out of a van. This side business ultimately led to his first store: a 600 square foot space with a single mannequin clothed in a Charles Jourdan tuxedo, size 42 regular. When the first customer who looked like a 42 regular entered the store, Victor delivered his best pitch and sold the tux and trimmings right off the mannequin. He knew he’d found his calling.

Fast forward to now, Victor runs one of the finest formalwear shops in the country in a spacious 4500 square foot building.

A believer in exclusivity, he aligns himself with top makers in Italy and the UK, and then tweaks the product to make it his own, ordering only a limited amount (12-15 pieces) of each style. “The craftsmen remind me that since I create my own product, I can’t send it back. But I’m okay with that: my customers want exclusivity.”

Victor is most proud of his recently renovated upper-level tailor shop that houses seven tailors. (This atelier is where Meet the Parents with Ben Stiller was filmed! Other positive press: a 15-year-run with CBS dressing Boomer Esiason for NFL Today, and dressing Mayor Eric Adams for the Met Gala.)

Enzo Giambalvo, Karen Alberg Grossman, Victor Scognamiglio, and Gary Sandler take the tour of Victor Talbot’s.

“Alterations are the core of our business,” Victor explains. “We offer lifetime service: bespoke tailoring, pressing, maintenance. We believe fit is all-important: even a half-inch makes a notable difference in how a guy looks. We never have sales because our customers don’t want marked-down merchandise: they want what’s new and fresh; they want something special. Since they don’t dress up every day, they want that wow!”

Key brands range from Varvatos and Hugo Boss to Pal Zileri, Corneliani, Oxxford, Scabal and Brioni. “But whether the customer buys Varvatos or Brioni, he gets the same treatment here,” Victor explains. His private label suits run from $1400 -$4000. Made-to-measure has grown to more than a third of the suit business. And while he personally loves a Neapolitan shoulder (his family is from Naples), not many customers understand it.

In addition to his team of great sellers, Victor is proud that both his daughters are now working in the business: Ashley handles social media and e-commerce; Britney is VP of operations. Welcome Gen 2!

Jim Foley, Amir Moradi, Rich O’Boyle, Woodbury Men’s Shop, Woodbury


Jim Foley (above, left) spent the first 24 years of his career working with Thomas Miller at his legendary Woodbury Long Island store. “When Tom retired and sold to Mitchells, the team moved to Marsh’s. But our customers missed us in Woodbury so in 2012, the week of Hurricane Sandy, we opened a half mile down the road from where we started…”

The current partners—Jim, Rich O’Boyle (above, right) and Amir Moradi (above, center)—are running a beautiful 2200 square foot men’s store based on relationships, service, fine tailoring (two full-time tailors) and on-trend product from exclusive luxury brands. “I’m always looking for new,” says Jim, whose vendor list includes Fedeli, Luciano Barbera, Etro, MAC jeans, Teleria, Stenstroms, Belvest, Ravazolla, Gran Sasso, Di Bianco, Emanuel Berg, Paul&Shark, LEN, Anderson’s, and many more luxury makers. “With black tie events exploding, we’re selling lots of formalwear and accessories to go with it. I’d say half of our clothing business is made-to-measure; prices range from $1,195-$8,000.”

Driving the business, says Rich (who was the controller at Thomas Miller), is fashion that’s new and different. “Our customers get it,” he explains. “They’re on Instagram; they know what’s trending. They come in asking for knit sportscoats; they’re buying five-pocket pants in peach, rose, sage, and sport coats in interesting fabric blends like linen/silk. It’s clear our guys are wanting fashion; it’s not about basics any more…”

Bruce Levitt, Mur-Lee’s, Lynbrook

Filled with three generations of customers and flowers everywhere, this spacious, colorful, happy store was buzzing on this late afternoon in May. “Do you need a good divorce lawyer?” Mur-Lee’s owner Bruce Levitt asks, introducing me to a young mom shopping with her son. “This lady is a terrific attorney!”

Bruce is clearly in a good mood. “Business has been very strong,” he acknowledges. “We’ve had our best-ever Canali season. We brought in Baldassari for the first time, reordered it, and it sold out again. Paul&Shark sold out. Rails (new for us), Bugatchi, Atelier Munro, Jack Victor, Stenstroms, Faherty, Peter Millar, 34 Heritage, Alberto, Page and Brax are all selling well. We’re bringing in Rag&Bone for fall. I didn’t think I could sell $400 sneakers but these by Manganni are moving. And we’re selling Martin Dingman at $250 like it’s candy. The guy who just left bought them for his son to wear with a suit to the junior prom…”

Founded in 1946 by Murray and Lee Levitt, Mur-Lees is now in the hands of second-generation Bruce Levitt. Bruce’s wife Judy handles all social media. Attributing brisk business to landing sportswear early, Bruce describes March and April selling as “off the charts” and May “still strong, but with a slight pull back in tailored clothing. People are responding to spring sportswear; every category is on plan. Especially strong are new brands and fresh colors. Men are buying pink and lavender, even in sport coats! And our tie business is holding up nicely, especially Dion at $145 and Italo Ferretti at $195.”

With 4500 square feet of selling space, Mur-Lee’s exudes warmth and friendliness. The store recently won a Long Island Choice award for Best Men’s and Boys’ Clothing Store; it’s easy to see why.

Read the first part of Karen’s Long Island jaunt here