Glitzy NYC buildings order doormen attire to match

Apr.April 01, 2013 07:00 AM

The new uniform worn by doormen at Solow Residential buildings

They say clothes make the man. It turns out that may be true for buildings as well.

Many New York City apartment buildings order custom-made uniforms for their doormen to make sure the staff’s attire matches the building’s style, said Jennifer Busch, CEO of the 122-year-old Manhattan uniform company I. Buss & Allan.

“We usually do custom-made uniforms for doorman buildings,” she said, “because they’re all unique and have their own personalities.”

For example, her company just supplied the uniforms for doormen and concierges at developer Sheldon Solow’s four residential rental buildings on the Upper East Side, including 1 Sutton Place North and 1 East River Place.

Busch called the uniform’s design “classic elegance,” which she said is in keeping with the buildings’ prestigious reputation. The uniforms consist of double-breasted charcoal suits with black velvet cuff trims and collars, and black braids on the sleeves in the shape of the firm’s reverse diamond logo. Bright red lettering matches the design accents throughout the buildings’ lobbies, said Busch, whose company also designed the uniforms for employees at the Empire State Building.

And at the Langham, a prewar rental building at 135 Central Park West, Busch recently designed “ornate and traditional” uniforms: a black three-button suit with antique gold trim, plus a matching hat and overcoat.

Newer buildings, by contrast, usually want chicer, more contemporary uniforms, she said.

For example, the Langham’s owners, the Manocherian Brothers, opted for more modern uniforms at two of their newer rental buildings, Empire House at 71st Street and Third Avenue and Windsor 400 at 400 East 71st Street.

At both of these properties, Busch designed slim-cut suits with narrow lapels and chunky white embroidery.

Custom-making uniforms is no small undertaking: It involves sending a tailor to measure every doorman and concierge.

But many landlords and developers evidently feel it’s worth it: Buss’s client roster reads like a Who’s Who of New York City real estate: Rose Associates, Jack Resnick & Sons, Equity Residential and Malkin Properties.

And for the time being, at least, Bush said she doesn’t see buildings doing away with custom-made uniforms.

“There are some things about New York that they’re not changing,” she said.


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