CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- My exposure to men's fashion came at a very early age, accompanying my father to be fitted for suits and watching his almost daily ritual of laying out every component of his outfit, selecting the perfect tie (with which I was asked to assist on occasion -- yay!), and polishing his wing tip shoes.
Because my notion of what it means to be stylish was primarily influenced by my father, I have always found it curious that 80 percent of the fashion marketers seem to equate being fashionable solely with the female species. Not so!
In most cases, the fabric, detail and quality of workmanship of menswear are absolutely exquisite and surpass that of women's wear. Also, menswear can be just as varied, exciting and flamboyant. So, this Style Voyuer is dedicated to the fashionable fellas of the Capitol city, those "Dapper Dans" who create their own unique image and style.
Every time I run into Charleston lawyer Tim Bailey, I feel like I am seeing a fashion spread from Homme Vogue come to life. Like the men in that renowned French magazine, Tim's look is always classy with a touch of the unexpected. This plaid suit jacket by Parazino, with its narrowed silhouette and yummy tropical punch-colored accents, reminds me of old school Hollywood circa early 1950's. If they were still around, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin would totally be fighting over this jacket.
Bailey's ruby tuxedo loafers
Timothy Bailey's Ferragamo loafers are completely encrusted with ruby-colored Swarovski crystals. Sigh! In the category of menswear: Best.........shoes......ever. Period. End of sentence.
If Timothy Bailey is Homme Vogue come to life, then Justin Tallarico's look is L'uomo Vogue, Italy's Vogue for Men. I love the sleek European look of Justin's fitted pin-stripe suit by Parazino and the bright pop of cobalt blue from the handkerchief. If there is ever any suit that screams money, this is it. Right after I snapped this shot, Justin told me he had to go "pop some bottles [of champagne]" with his friends and then was whisked away in a limo. Just kidding. But it <italic>could<P> have happened, just like that.
I love, love, love this plaid blazer! It is so detailed that it becomes an optical illusion, a super-hot trend for women's wear right now. Most men (and women) I know are skittish about mixing patterns, but Anthony shows how this can work perfectly by contrasting the plaid with the polka dot tie and adding the almost universal indicator of a well-dressed gentleman, the pocket hankie. Of course, the total look is made gold by the hair and glasses, but I am not sure you going to be able to get those exactly at a store.
Christopher Harris, the lead singer/guitarist for the local indie favorite (and cultishly followed) band, Qiet, has one of the most unique styles around. His looks can vary from the vaudevillian gypsy troubadour to the British New Wave rocker ala Ian Curtis of New Order. This outfit veers towards retro-rebirth with its elongated collar shirt in mustard yellow, tucked in sweater and charcoal blazer. Christopher's look reminds me of a hipster version of Cary Grant, smooth and smoky at the same time.
"Hi-low" styling is one of my favorite looks. It first gained widespread attention at the 1998 Oscars when Sharon Stone wore a button down dress shirt from Gap with a Vera Wang satin floor length skirt. However, as shown here, hi-low can also mean wearing a normally formal item with informal or casual pieces. The trick is always which informal piece. Brandon nails this style by wearing designer jeans, a colorful print shirt and white Converse high tops with a normally very staid suit jacket. Very Vince Vaughn in "Swingers"! The only thing missing is a sunglasses, a fast car, and Vegas, baby.
Great Gatsby! Christopher looks like he stepped off the set of the soon to be released movie of the same name, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. I love everything about this look from the summery ivory jacket to the vest and purple shirt. The violet aviators and fedora perfectly accessorizes the outfit. It's old money elegance meets modern styling. Brilliant!
Dennise Smith is a Charleston lawyer, fashion designer and co-founder of the local arts group Normadic Tribes Collective.