Snappy clothes serve maitre d' well IN STYLE


June 24, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Looking good is all in a day's work for John Komosa. As the maitre d' for Citronelle, Baltimore's most-talked-about new restaurant, he believes that dressing well is his job.

Judging from diners' reactions, he succeeds. One person even asked to swap ties with him recently. ("The guy had a nice tie, but I had to politely refuse. Mine was a gift from my brother-in-law.")

When he's relaxing in his Roland Park home, it's another story, though. There, Mr. Komosa, 27, prefers a decidedly more casual approach. His wife Angela Miller, a local musician, doesn't always agree.

"She's always yelling at me to put something else on, get rid of that T-shirt," he says. "And she really hates my slippers from Woolworth."

Since appearances count so much in your business, how do you pull yourself together every day?

We definitely have to be on stage all the time. When I worked at the Conservatory, we wore a tuxedo every night. That made it simple. Now I have my basic dark suits. Choosing a tie is where you make your statement. That adds the life to the outfit of the day.

zTC What do you think people notice first about your attire?

The way a suit is cut and then the tie. I like European styles and double-breasted suits. I have to be very active, so my clothes have to be comfortable. I like thin materials, not a heavy wool. I'm not too exotic. You see a lot of restaurateurs in those Nicole Miller ties with jalapeno peppers or Tabasco bottles. I like to look at them, but I don't like to wear them. In ties, I like nice geometric shapes and colors that look brushed rather than bright.

How would you describe your taste overall?

I like the looks from the '40s and '50s. I'm definitely retro. I buy new suits but more along the lines of suits from the past, with longer jackets and no vents. And my pants are definitely long and wider. I hate all that stuff from the '70s.

Where do you shop?

The bigger department stores -- Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue. Owings Mills has basically everything I need. I go to Tomlinson Craft Collection for ties.

What garment do you long to one day own?

There's this one leather jacket I saw in Santa Fe. It was made of the softest leather I've ever felt. It was a parka style with a sun-bleached golden color. It was gorgeous, but it cost $1,200.

Is it ever a hassle knowing you have to look sharp every day you go to work?

Once in a while. Some days you don't feel like going through it all. I have a Perry Ellis green suit that usually helps in those times. And I have a tie that looks like a Life Saver. That's kind of snappy.

What's your funniest clothing-related work story?

I had a sleeve rip off my jacket one night. A customer was tugging at it and it just unraveled. At the Conservatory, my cummerbund would sometimes fall off. It would feel like your pants were falling to the floor. My initial reaction was to duck and cover.

If you had a chance to have a quiet little dinner at Citronelle, who would it be with and what would you wear?

Thomas Jefferson. He seemed to be an interesting man and a connoisseur of food and wine. I know there would be interesting conversation. I'd probably wear a pair of dress slacks, slip-on loafers, a cotton shirt and cardigan. Tom could wear his wig or whatever.

Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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