From firefighter to fine fashion, local man suits up his clients

Lake Mary store owner says don’t be afraid to mix it up

A former Lake Mary firefighter and Sanford officer has opened up a store to perform custom tailoring for men around the community.

LAKE MARY, Fla. – Walk into It Suits Me, a custom apparel store in Lake Mary, and you’ll know right away this is not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation.

Your first clue? The mannequins are all dressed in bright colors and bold patterns. There are spicy oranges, greens, pinks and purples with accessories to complement them all.

The man behind the array of colors is Lawrence Mason.

On the day News 6 visited his store at 154 N. 4th Street to talk about his love of suits, Mason said he toned down what he was wearing a bit for the interview.

Keep in mind: he was wearing a three-piece suit that fit like a glove.

He said that wherever he goes, he always plans to be the best dressed person in the room.

With a smile, Mason said, “You have to have a little swag, we call it, about you.”

He had swag — and then some.

He said the minute you put on one of his suits, you’ll start to feel a bit different.

“You gotta have your shoulders back, chest out, head up,” he explained.

As he showed News 6 around his custom-suit shop, he pulled out suits that pop with color.

Then he explained how he would mix and match certain colors and patterns.

His vibrant collection of suits, ties, shoes and other accessories are not for the weak.

The men who step into his custom-suit shop leave with a different attitude.

Mason said there is something about a nice suit that elevates the man who is wearing it.

“Your confidence level rises. Your walk changes. Your talk changes. Your attitude changes. The respect level you get changes,” Mason said.

It’s hard to believe Mason has only been outfitting the men of Central Florida for five years.

Before opening his shop, he spent nearly 30 years as a firefighter in Lake Mary and ten years as a reserve officer in Sanford.

You would think a man who wore a uniform nearly every day would be thrilled to dress down when given the opportunity. Not Mason.

He said that to him, a uniform was like a suit. And he loved it.

“I love the fact that when I was a firefighter or a police officer, the uniformity part of it,” he explained. “You know, because when you dress as a firefighter, and you are in your class As or Class Bs, you’re just at the top of the scale. You’re just below the military because we’re para-military, and that’s where I got my inspiration to become a suit store.”

Now, he is sharing his inspiration with others. His customers come in knowing they won’t run into anyone else wearing the same thing.

Mason said he stays busy all year long. There is always some special event where men want to dress to impress — weddings, proms, the Kentucky Derby, you name it — and he has a suit that will turn heads when you walk in the room.

He said he enjoys seeing the men transform when they step into something they never imagined they could wear.

Customers said that while his tailored and custom suits and rentals get them in the door, it’s the service that keeps them coming back.

Mason said that’s how it should be.

“No one that I know of gives that level of service, and that just makes you feel so good. My customers, they love it. You just walk out, stand there, just hold your arms out, and we take it from there. When you’re done, you’re all put together,” he said.

He also said there is a certain level of trust, especially for those men who are used to wearing only the basic brown, blue and black suits. Mason said there isn’t anything wrong with those kinds of suits, but if you want to take it to the next level, he is the man who can help you do it.

About the Author:

Ginger Gadsden joined the News 6 team in June 2014 as an anchor/reporter. She currently co-anchors the 4 p.m. 5:30 p.m. and the 7 p.m. newscasts.