Vail Tux Shop can give guys a touch of class |

Vail Tux Shop can give guys a touch of class

Scott N. Miller
Vail, CO, Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyVito Parrish, left and Joe Russo own the Vail Tux Shop, as well as a similar store in Breckenridge.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Want to look like James Bond out for a night at the Baccarat tables in Monaco at your next Vail Valley soiree? Talk to Vito Parrish.

Parrish runs the Vail Tux Shop in Eagle-Vail. And, while many valley businesses are still between seasons, Parrish’s busy time started roughly when Vail Mountain closed in April. Since then, he’s rented tuxedos to prom-going guys from all the valley’s high schools.

The summer wedding season is coming up fast, which means Parrish is getting even busier. To top it off, he’s also fitting a bunch of eighth graders for tuxes as they get ready to leave some of the valley’s middle schools and head to high school.

Parrish started off in the menswear business in his native Chicago. The self-described “clothes horse” was working as a concierge in Beaver Creek when he met Joe Russo, who then owned the tuxedo shops in Eagle-Vail and Breckenridge.

Parrish began working part-time for Russo, and when his hotel job was eliminated a few years ago, Russo brought Parrish in as a partner.

“I never thought I’d get into the tuxedo business, but I love it,” Parrish said.

The fun is meeting people, he said, and getting them ready for a big day, or just a special night on the town.

The Vail Valley is a little different place when it comes to the dress code. In a place where jeans and a sport shirt is common summer work wear, a lot of guys don’t even own suits. So the Vail Tux Shop has a selection of suits available for rent, as well as an impressive inventory of tuxedos.

Parrish guessed that there are as many as 1,200 tuxes in stock between the Eagle-Vail and Breckenridge stores, in sizes to fit guys from toddlers to big and tall men. If a size isn’t in stock, 24-delivery is available.

On an average weekend in the summer, Parrish said he’ll have as many as 75 tuxes rented out. Of those, a sizable majority are being worn by guys coming in from out of town. Those men can get measured at a local tuxedo shop, then either call in or put their measurements on the Vail Tux Web site.

Jason Weingast’s groomsmen will be sending in their measurements, since they’re coming in from around the country for his wedding to Megan Gilman in July.

Weingast and Gilman want to have a fairly low-key ceremony, but they do want to look nice. Going to Vail Tux fit with the couple’s dedication to local shopping whenever possible, but during an afternoon visit to the shop, it was clear there were plenty of tux styles to pick from.

But the actual renting is simple, Weingast said.

“Vito told me what everybody needed, so they’ll be able to just pick up their tuxes when they come in,” he said.

The time couples take to pick out just the right tux has been a surprise to Parrish. But he said, thinking about it, the time taken makes sense.

“Those wedding pictures are going to last forever,” he said.

While engaged couples will often take a lot of time to pick out the right tuxedos, Parrish said he’s also ready when a customer comes in with a rush order.

“I can get someone in and out of here in 20 minutes if he knows what he wants,” he said.

While renting clothes might seem like a dicey proposition, Parrish said the vast majority of tuxes and suits come back in good shape. Insurance takes care of the occasional disaster suit.

While not a lot of men in the valley have a need for it, Parrish will sell a tuxedo or suit to those who do. And, after fighting the “I can find it on line for this much” syndrome for a while, he now matches on-line prices whenever he can.

Parrish said that’s part of his effort to help locals whenever he can. He’ll donate a tux to a school play if asked, and he tries to make sure the guys going to prom are treated right.

“I’ve been here long enough now to see a lot of the kids I helped for their first prom graduating now,” he said. “That’s been great to see.”

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or

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