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For 122 years, Goldstein’s has been the place in South Philly to buy a white communion suit

Mike Newall, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Fashion Daily News

PHILADELPHIA -- Christmas can be fun. And bar mitzvahs are a boon. But at Goldstein’s Men’s & Boys’ Wear, there’s no season like white suit season.

The South Philly storefront is one of the few spots around that specialize in the formal white suits boys traditionally wear for their First Holy Communion. Each spring, through early May, when most Philly churches celebrate the sacrament, hundreds of families from neighborhood parishes and diocesan schools in South Jersey and the suburbs flock to Goldstein’s. The old-school shop on South Broad swells with proud parents and bored or beaming boys newly outfitted in snazzy, custom-fit white suits they will likely wear exactly once.

“It’s tradition,” said Brianna Robb, who waited with her mother, Jean, as her 8-year-old son, Cullen, was fitted in white on a recent weekend. “It’s second to none.”

These days, white communion suits can be bought on Amazon or at big-box stores. But Goldstein’s, which has been selling boys’ suits for over 120 years, promises parents a quality, one-stop shop for their communion needs. Come spring, the boys’ shop bursts with elegant three-piece white suits, white shoes, white belts, white ties. Everything fitted, tailored, altered, and pressed with a personal touch that is a point of pride at Goldstein’s.

“I treat every little guy like a little man,” said salesman Jack Rehr, who has been selling white suits at Goldstein’s for 20 years.

During the hectic spring stretch, when it’s often appointment-only at Goldstein’s, the shop sells over 200 white suits each year, said owner Vinny Talotta. That’s about 20% of the store’s total sales.


“Nobody does the white suits like us,” he said. “That’s our thing.”

The original Goldstein’s opened in a storefront at Sixth and Queen in Queen Village in 1902. Vincent Talotta Sr. was barely out of short pants when he went to work for Julius Goldstein as a stock boy, eventually working his way up to salesman. After returning from World War II, Talotta bought the store from the retiring Goldstein in 1950.

Vince Talotta, or “Daddy-O,” as everyone called him, was a dapper man who knew how to make customers feel special. A “gentleman’s gentleman,” said Rehr.

“He treated everybody the same,” he said. “Guy came in for a pair of socks or a suit — you treat them the same. That was Vince.”


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