Albany legend, Amore Clothing, closes its doors
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Albany legend, Amore Clothing, closes its doors

Aug 21, 2023

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Robert Amore, proprietor of Amore Clothing, is pictured at his Newton Plaza store in Colonie on Friday, May 21, 2021, after reopening following pandemic shutdowns.

Robert Amore, center, family, employees and local dignitaries celebrate the grand opening of Amore Clothing's store at 595 Loudon Road on Friday Feb. 5, 2016 in Newton Plaza.

The late Angelo "Joe" Amore, pictured in 2016, at his State Street haberdashery in Albany.

The late Angelo "Joe" Amore, pictured in 2016, began his apprenticeship in Italy at age 8 and operated his tailor shop and custom suit store at the top of State Street in the shadow of the Capitol and City Hall for more than 50 years.

COLONIE — A little piece of Albany history will be gone in less than a month.

More than a half-century after it opened its doors in what was then a bustling stretch of downtown Albany, and seven years after relocating to suburbia, Amore Clothing will close at the end of June.

"It's been 36 years of standing on my feet," Rob Amore said of his work at the eponymous men's clothier that was started by his late father, master tailor Angelo "Joe" Amore, who opened the shop in 1967 on Albany's State Street. The elder Amore learned his craft starting at the age of 8 in his native Italy, eventually immigrating to the U.S.

For decades, Amore Clothing made and sold custom suits to Albany's elite, from longtime Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd to Gov. Mario Cuomo and countless others in the worlds of commerce, politics, finance and law. For those customers, a custom-tailored suit was as necessary and natural as a pair of spit-shined shoes and a fedora hat.

Angelo Amore kept a distinctly Old World flavor in the shop, bantering with customers as opera music played in the background.

Rob Amore, 59, entered the business in 1987 after college. While he never became a full tailor like his dad, he built on the store's extensive list of customers who were like family to him and Angelo.

He figured he would enter the family business by his second year at The College at Saint Rose, when he accompanied his father to trade shows in New York City. That was the 1980s when flashy Italian suits were coming into fashion.

Style wasn't the only thing that changed over the years.

Rob Amore moved the main store from State Street in Albany to a new larger location in Newton Plaza, Latham, in 2016 when it became apparent that downtown could no longer support a high-end haberdashery, given the decline in foot traffic and ongoing suburbanization.

Angelo Amore stayed at the State Street location a while longer, then came into the Latham shop part-time. He died in 2020 at age 91.

In addition to changes in downtown, Amore has also seen how the clothing business has evolved.

As well as custom-made clothing, Amore eventually started selling off-the-rack suits which Rob or his dad would alter for a customized fit.

There's less demand for custom suits these days given the rise of remote work and office casual dress codes, although Amore still takes measurements for customers and can have custom suits made to order.

In addition to suits, shirts and formal wear, his inventory also includes a selection of high-end jeans, hoodies and other leisure wear.

And the old stiff suits of yesteryear are giving way to wrinkle-free suits of lightweight wool with a dash of Lycra for stretchability and comfort.

Still, Amore said there will always be a need for the custom-fit approach, in which he does alterations or the occasional custom suit. Many of the custom suits are made in Montreal, which is something of a garment hub. Tailors there work off of Amore's precise measurements.

He says the loyalty of customers got him through the pandemic shutdowns, with people coming in to buy gift certificates that could be used at a later date.

Amore expects to remain busy, once the store closes, working out of his Slingerlands home and traveling to see customers from his expansive, multi-generational list of suit-buyers.

Additionally, he figures the steady stream of weddings, baptisms, anniversaries and wakes he attends will continue thanks to the many relationships he and his dad made as tailors to Albany and the Capital Region. "I see so many people wearing my clothes. It's a beautiful thing," Amore said.