Operations

Uniforms That Never Go Out Of Style

Posted on July 10, 2014 by

Chauffeurs remain the lasting face for every limousine company, and their professionalism extends to not just behavior and personality, but also to their dress and decorum. Providing chauffeurs with quality and classy uniforms for more than 90 years, Dornan Uniforms continues to serve the industry with owner Gabe Piro at the helm.

Harry Dornan started the company in 1924. Piro’s father, Gabe Piro, Sr., joined the company not long after it first opened. After working there, he bought the company from Dornan in 1940, and kept the name.

Consistent Apparel

A photo of the interior and exterior of the store when it was located on Central Park S., in Manhattan, N.Y., 1930-1960.

A photo of the interior and exterior of the store when it was located on Central Park S., in Manhattan, N.Y., 1930-1960.

One of the biggest appeals of Dornan Uniforms is their consistency, Piro says. “We try to stay away from style changes. We want you to have the same consistent look, year after year.” The Dornan chauffeur uniforms are conservative, with traditional dark black blazers for male and female and dark tuxedo-style trousers. The company also carries waiter outfits for upscale restaurants, and bellhop and doormen attire.

Dornan Uniforms also offers vintage-type apparel, which are popular for limo operations that use classic cars for wedding work. Breeches, which are old-fashioned pants, and traditional double-breasted jackets with matching chauffeur caps, are available to give the feel of an ultra-classic and elegant service.

The fashioned uniforms are custom made. They’re like uniforms used in the 1930s when chauffeurs remained outside vehicles when not driving. “Nowadays we get calls for the vintage uniforms when a customer has something like a Rolls or a Bentley for weddings,” Piro says. “The clothes make a difference. When you’re at an event and you see a guy with some trousers and a hat, subconsciously you think he’s a chauffeur, and you might dig a little deeper for the tip.”

Taking Off Taxes

Aside from offering a consistent chauffeur style, operators who buy their uniforms from Dornan have an easier time with the tax write-off, Piro says. “Because we’re a uniform vendor, and it says ‘uniform,’ it’s a tax write-off. If you just get a black suit at your clothing store, the tax department can give you a hard time, wanting you to prove you only wear it for work. At least with us it says it right there.”

Examples of the kinds of uniforms available. The pants on the right are breeches.
Examples of the kinds of uniforms available. The pants on the right are breeches.

Dornan uniforms also does specialty ensign and branding on the uniforms and on promotional items such as umbrellas. The company specializes in working with large orders, something that is often overlooked when it comes to chauffeur attire, Piro says.

“Suppose you have 10 employees who just need to get a black suit,” Piro says. “If you have them go out and buy them, you’ll get 10 different versions of a black suit. One will have pin stripes, or one will have a different cut, and then when you want to go back and get new ones, the styles will be changed. Whereas with us you can be sure we’ll have the exact same style and fit you previously purchased and were happy with.”

Dornan uniforms are built to endure, and the company does not hold clients to any contracts. For local operations, Piro can go out and do a fitting for chauffeurs, but in most cases, routine business comes from long-standing clients who simply call up and make orders.

What’s Ahead

Owner Gabe Piro, whose father, Gabe Piro, Sr., bought the business from its original owners in 1940.
Owner Gabe Piro, whose father, Gabe Piro, Sr., bought the business from its original owners in 1940.

Today, the brick and mortar store for walk-in service has closed and Dornan Uniforms has a warehouse from which it ships its orders. Piro travels regularly to trade shows and maintains his relationships as a quality chauffeur uniform provider, and keeps a steady rate of business coming in from the limousine industry.

The company ships apparel to overseas customers which has become a growing market, Piro says. It also outfits many of the doormen at high-end apartment buildings in Manhattan, a major source of chauffeured clients as well. “We’re going to keep our business as is,” Piro says. “We may go for other markets, but as for the chauffeur side, we’ll keep it consistent. If you need it, you call us, and we’ll get it.”  

FASTFACTS
Dornan Uniforms
Location: Rockville Centre, N.Y.
Service: Chauffeur uniforms and promotional products
Owner: Gabe Piro
Founded: 1924
Website: www.dornan4uniforms.com
Contact: (800) 223-0363

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