An urban cowboy knows how to rustle up stares

CANDID CLOSET

January 13, 1994|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

When you walk around town in a ruby belt buckle, shocking blue boots and a leather jacket with snake head epaulets, people talk. They call you Elvis. They call you Cowboy. They call you weird.

Just ask Lee Parsons. The co-owner of Parsons Auto Sales, a used car business in Baltimore, has heard it all before. He makes no apologies for his wild Western wear.

And he offers no grand explanations, either.

"I don't do it for any reason other than I like it," says Mr. Parsons, 38, who lives in Reisterstown. "I like to be different."

How did you first get interested in Western clothing?

I always liked cowboy boots and fringe jackets. I probably bought my first pair of boots 20 years ago. I thought they were comfortable. Now everybody is into Western. I may have to change.

Did you take heat at first for dressing that way?

I still do. My Western is loud. My boots are purple, red and shocking blue.

My belt buckles are big. The one I wear most is 5 by 7. It has five karats in diamonds, a karat each in rubies and emeralds.

My shirts are purple and turquoise.

What do people say?

I was sitting at the Polo Grill and a woman walked up and said, "I know you're somebody." I told her: "I'm eating right now. I don't have time for autographs."

What do you wish you had more of?

I don't need anything. I have 65 pairs of boots, probably 75 Western shirts and 100 jackets. I don't need any more.

Ever feel like you have too much already?

I feel like it's an awful lot. But everybody says I'm good for the economy.

Your clothes sound expensive. What's your limit for, say, a pair of boots?

I would spend up to $2,000, but I'd have to really like them.

Where do you shop?

I go to Arizona every year. I fit right in there, although my style might be a bit louder. My leather jackets I have made in California or Arizona.

Two jewelers in Maryland do my belt buckles. I buy very little in town.

What would you consider among your most unusual buys?

My black leather jacket with snake heads on the shoulders.

Do you have to tone down your style for work?

I mostly wear jeans and regular Western shirts and cowboy boots. That's my uniform.

How has the popularity of western clothing affected your style?

The only thing that's difficult is when I go to Western stores, I don't see anything that's different anymore.

What do you do if you have a conservative place to go?

I'll put on a plain navy blue suit. But a lot of people make fun of jTC me then. They say I don't look like me.

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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