He socks it to them with accessories

CANDID CLOSET

October 07, 1993|By Mary Corey

When people run into Jerry Bray, they often ask him to do the same thing: lift his pants leg.

If that sounds odd, you've obviously never seen Mr. Bray, vice president of French Bray Inc. commercial printers, in a pair of Mickey Mouse socks.

Fanciful socks, bow ties and glasses give him a memorable style, which works to his advantage with clients, he says.

"People don't always remember my name, but they remember the guy who wears the bow ties," says Mr. Bray, 37, who lives in Timonium.

His family, however, is more divided about his look. Although his 6-year-old daughter, Caitlin, is a fan -- and even picks out socks for him -- his wife, Kim, took a while to win over. (The couple's 3-month-old daughter, Kelsey, has yet to weigh in.)

"Kim thought it was kind of strange initially," says Mr. Bray. "But eventually she got past the bow tie and socks."

Word has it you're a bow-tie man.

I wear nothing but. I started about 12 years ago after getting bored with regular ties. They don't get caught in the presses. That's why I tell people I wear them.

You must like the look, too.

I do. Bow ties are conservative, but they can also be fun. I have about 50 or 60; many are theme ties -- reindeers for Christmas, hearts for Valentine's Day, nice florals. They're tough to come by. You really have to shop around.

Where do you go?

I like Eclectic, Brooks Brothers and Hyatt & Co.

How do you coordinate the socks?

I enjoy mixing and matching. I'll go for the same color schemes. For instance, I have a black and white bow tie with an art deco check that I'll wear with black and white Mickey Mouse socks.

Do you ever feel silly? I mean, you're a grown man in Disney socks.

Sometimes. I don't think I'd wear those for the annual board of directors meeting.

How would you describe the overall look you're after?

Fun but not trendy. Being in the sales and marketing end, I work with graphic artists and designers a lot. They enjoy my clothes. They're always trying to figure out what I'm going to wear next.

What's the most surprising reaction you've received?

I was in a bar one night and some girl walked up and said, "Only an accountant would wear a bow tie." I was in upstate New York on business. I went away thinking maybe my style of dress wouldn't be a hit in Buffalo.

What's your all-time favorite outfit?

A mustard-colored suit with an orange and yellow checked bow tie, a light yellow pinstriped shirt and red socks with tropical fish. When I know I'm going to be seeing a lot of people or doing a seminar, that's an outfit I'll wear. People gravitate toward me in it.

In clothes, what's considered pushing the envelope for you?

When I wear my black and white sports coat with huge checks, black pants, black and white checked socks and my black and white checked bow tie. It's pretty wild. It's tough for people to focus on me when I'm in that.

What's your limit?

I draw the line at really faddy stuff. I'm not interested in what people are wearing on MTV this week.

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

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