If you ask Umberto Pitagora which president had the best suits in the past 50 years, his answer is quick.
“I liked Reagan’s,” he said last week in his shop. “He had a good Italian tailor in there from Los Angeles.”
Sixty-two years since he got his first job in fashion — threading needles for a tailor outside Florence when he was 14 — Pitagora is still in the business as the longtime owner of Umberto the Tailor in Wilton.
Though he never had the chance to make a suit for an American president, he once made a suit especially designed to impress President Mikhail Gorbachev. While commissioned to create a suit for a man visiting the Soviet president to discuss a business deal, Umberto said he made one important suggestion.
“He wanted just a plaid, gray suit, but I suggested we stitch a red line down the inside of the jacket,” he said.
“I told him, ‘Why don’t you put a red line down the inside of the coat. And when you talk to him, open the jacket and show him the inside. It will tell him, see, I’m an American, but I’m on your side, too.”