Look the part, and success will surely follow

CANDID CLOSET

July 22, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Eric Rebbert can't remember exactly when it happened. But at some point, his clothes took over the bedroom closet. Now his wife Stacey's dresses, skirts and blouses have been banished to the guest room of their Bel Air home. And he's won the title of family clothing fanatic.

As a vice president of Santoni's Inc., an independent supermarket chain, Mr. Rebbert, 33, believes dressing well is part of his job.

He says, "I've always lived by the rule, 'If you wanna be successful, you've got to look successful.' "

How would you describe your style?

It's broad, but I'm on the conservative side. I'll go from business suits to flannel shirts to turtlenecks to jeans. I'm not so interested in European styling. I'm more of the Jos. Bank style, double-breasted suits in grays and blues and olive. But when it comes to braces, ties and socks, I really go off the deep end.

Why those?

They're like my signature. When you're stuck in the business world, you look for that edge. I like to grab center stage. I like having something that makes me stand out, without being too extreme. We went to the Preakness last year. In the tents, every man had on a navy blazer and khaki trousers. At least I had a bright floral tie. And I got a lot of compliments on that. I also have a fetish for socks: every color, every style, every pattern -- golfers, Santa Clauses. I have more than 100 pairs.

Is there anything you wouldn't dare wear?

Polyester. I don't like anything that shines. I was a guest on an ESPN fishing show once, and they made us wear these polyester fishing shirts. I looked bad. Real bad.

How has your style changed over the years?

In the late '70s, I played music on the Top-40 club scene. I wore everything from satin jumpsuits to leopard-print shirts to 6-inch orange platform heels. It was part of the show.

I was talking with a friend the other day about how great we thought we looked in the '60s and '70s. I remember my eighth-grade graduation: Every guy had on plaid bell-bottoms, a blazer with 6-inch lapels and a bow tie. We thought we looked cool -- actually we looked like Bozo the Clown.

How does your career affect your style now?

I'll wear business suits for meetings. Then there are days when I'll wear khakis and button-downs. Some days, I even get away with shorts.

Do you ruin many clothes in your line of work?

Yes. When we used to have a warehouse, I used to go out and check products. I couldn't pass a rack without ripping something.

Where do you shop?

To be quite honest, I hate to shop. I'll go to Jos. Bank and Macy's.

What outfit do you throw on when you're running late?

On the weekends, a rugby shirt and Dockers. For work, a double-breasted gray flannel suit. It's Evan-Picone. It's rich-looking.

Is there anything you dream of owning?

I've always wanted a cashmere topcoat. They look rich and classic. I just never got around to buying one.

You have two young sons. What kind of fashion advice do you give them?

My oldest, Christopher, who's 9, can put on anything. Nicholas, 7, is a little more particular. I tell them, "Always look nice," "Always comb your hair," and "Always take care of your clothes."

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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