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Custom clothier wants to ‘update styling’ in Gainesville
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Dario Perla is bringing his style experience from Vinings to Gainesville, where he has opened Master's Apparel, a custom clothing shop off Candler Street. - photo by Scott Rogers

Dario Perla can put you in a snappy jacket with his name sewn in the fabric, plus slacks and tie, but those aren’t his main products.

“Anybody can buy a suit … but if I’m doing my job correctly, I’m selling you confidence,” said the New Jersey native and recent Vinings transplant. “That’s the big difference.”

Perla, a custom clothier, has brought his 27 years in the men’s fashion world to Gainesville, setting up a shop, Master’s Apparel, at 611 Candler St.

Master’s Apparel

Where: 611 Candler St., Gainesville

More info: facebook.com/darioperlacollection or 770-363-1636

The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the front porch of his business Wednesday morning.

Perla came styling to the event, wearing a matching blue blazer and pants.

Through his business, “I’m trying to bring a little bit more of the updated styling here to Gainesville,” he said. “It’s my No. 1 project is to update the looks — the Cary Grant style.”

Grant is something of a role model for Perla, who keeps a large framed picture of the smartly dressed, debonair actor from Hollywood’s Golden Age in the front room of his business.

“He wrote the book on style,” Perla said.

Perla became familiar with Gainesville through a friend, Doyle Johnson, who ran A.D. Mathis Custom Clothing out of the Candler Street location until his death in 2015 from cancer.

“I made him a promise that if anything happened, I would come up here (from Vinings in
Cobb County) and make sure his business was shut down properly,” Perla said.

He followed through on the promise.

“One thing led to another and I was offered the business,” Perla said. “… I took over Doyle’s clientele base and have been here ever since. It’s been an absolute blessing.”

For Perla, good style has been a passion since youth.

“I watched my dad go to work every day in a suit,” he said. “When we had a picnic on Sunday, he showed up in chinos and a nice white, pressed shirt. He never wore jeans.”

Perla bucked the trend in high school to wear jeans or more casual clothing.

“I wore corduroys and … button-down shirts,” he said.

After college at East Carolina University, he came to Atlanta as a stockbroker “to make my millions in the stock market.”

But then, “I would watch a guy come into the office and sell suits to all the top brokers,” Perla said. “I had a conversation with him one day and asked him what he did, and he showed me.

“I just remember saying to myself, ‘That’s it. … If I could spend my entire day dealing with style and men’s clothing, that would be the greatest job in the whole world.’”

So, after 1 ½ years as a stockbroker, he went into the fashion business.

When Perla, 52, isn’t turning clients into sharp-dressed men, he’s been writing a book about his personal spiritual journey over the past seven years.

“I talk about brokenness, coming to the end of myself and letting God take over and directing my life,” Perla said.

“The seven-year journey ends in December and here I am in Gainesville, Ga., doing this,” he said. “When I started this journey, I was in Vinings in a completely different kind of life.”