Well-dressed men are hard to come by at McDaniel, but there are valuable fashion lessons to be learned, writes Michelle Menner.
The well-dressed man is a rarity on many college campuses, especially McDaniel’s. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon five stylish men who show that fashion is both important and fun.
Through interviews and many e-mails I talked with these five fashion forward men about their personal style: Dean Henry Reiff who embodies the “contemporary traditional” look, Dr. Paul Miller representing the “eurocool” look, Dr. Herb Smith who is your “basic preppie,” Junior Justin Silberman is “preppy with class,” and Freshman Jami Lephew, who describes his style as “casually modern.”
Dean Reiff is quick to note that his wife, Jackie, and his nine-year-old daughter, help him stay stylish. His daughter has a “good eye,” he said, and she was especially helpful recently when she organized his tie rack by color and pattern after her attempt to master a pull-up on it resulted in the rack crashing down.
Reiff’s “huge collection of ties” is a source of pride, especially the ties that belonged to his father.
As someone who was raised at a prep school, Reiff sees that “styles come and go,” but realizes that the “preppie look remains stylish.” To update his preppie wardrobe Reiff usually shops at the Jos. A. Bank warehouse store in Hampstead, MD for “quality” clothes and their “reasonable prices.” He also ventures to the local Boscov’s.
Over the years Reiff has learned many secrets of style.
The most recent thing he learned comes from his wife who told him that brown is no longer a color he should wear because it is beginning to clash with his gray hair. And with that, Reiff said that another “secret to success” is to “pay attention to what your wife says.”
Dr. Paul Miller’s wardrobe has been described by somes as “eurocool” and “eurotrash.” His emailed comments reveal not only why these adjectives have been used, but also a history lesson in the process.
Miller’s favorite outfit is “jeans and my Bijelo Dugme t-shirt with no sleeves.” Thankfully, Miller explained the t-shirt: “Bijelo Dugme (in English: White Button) was a famous rock band in the former Yugoslavia, and I’ve studied the Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian language (what used to be called, more simply, Serbo-Croatian) by learning their lyrics.”
European influences are weaved throughout other areas of Miller’s wardrobe. A leather jacket is something Miller has to have in his closet. “[I] just got a new one with a mink collar and lining in a little town call[ed] Visoko, about 20 mins outside of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Visoko used to be the capital of Yugoslavia’s leather-making industry, and it’s making a comeback now in Bosnia. The jacket cost me about $200, but surely would have gone for $1000 or more in NYC or Paris. It’s so gorgeous that I’m afraid to wear it,”Miller stated.
Two of Miller’s fashion lessons are “collar stays make a big difference, as does a good shoe shine.”
Dr. Herb Smith, the “basic preppie, circa 1965,” said “fashion to me is comfort rather than style. When I’m comfortable, I’m confident.” Confidence for Smith comes in the form of his favorite outfit of a “sportsjacket, dress shirt, sweater vest, blue jeans, and Bass loafers.” A favorite fashion staple of Smith’s is a “navy blue blazer…I wear one out every two years!”
As to whom Smith admires for their fashion sense he extends a compliment to many of his McDaniel colleagues: “Skip Fennel’s sweaters always make a statement. And Ted Evergates looks like he just stepped off the Dartmouth campus. Paul Miller frequently explores the edge of ‘Eurotrash’ chic.”
Smith’s parting fashion lesson was “A white dress shirt always accentuates a tan!”
Junior Justin Silberman is the ultimate preppie stating that the “polo shirt” is his closet staple. “Polo, Abercrombie and Fitch, Banana Republic, Hollister, J. Crew, and American Eagle” are Silberman’s favorite stores.
When asked if fashion was important to him, Silberman enthusiastically said, “yes!!!” No one in particular influences Silberman’s style. He said he follows “the popular wear of the year” and stays with the styles that look good on him.
Freshman Jami Lephew’s counts actor Daniel Craig as someone who has a great sense of style. Lephew said his own style includes clothes in “subtle greys, blues and greens to enrich physical features and maturity.” A variety of brands make up his “casually modern” wardrobe: “J.Crew, Pac Sun, Banana Republic, Oakley, QuickSilver, Polo.”
“I enjoy looking good,” said Lephew. Even though there are many more years of Lephew style to come he has learned these valuable fashion lessons so far: “NO plaids and stripes at the same time” and “dark colors enrich physical features.”
These stylish men of McDaniel prove that looking good matters and that there are valuable fashion lessons to learn at any age. The most valuable of all is from Silberman who said, “Always look your best.”