Makeover doesn't end with a new tie NEW POP FROM BOTTOM TO TOP

June 16, 1994|By Suzin Boddiford | Suzin Boddiford,Special to The Sun

We hear it often during dad's daily dressing ritual, "Does this go?" Most likely, if he has to ask, it doesn't.

Some of the dizzying combos fathers manage to come up with are cause enough to have moms everywhere reaching for their sunglasses.

Such was the case when, with nowhere to turn, Rhona Beitler-Akman of Owings Mills wrote to us about her fears that her husband Michael's overall lack of style would be passed on to their son Shea. Enter our expert makeover team to reprogram this dad's fashion glitches.

As a CPA for George Brown & Associates, Mr. Akman needed the professional look, so we headed straight for Gentlemen 1st, the full-service men's salon in Towson that also specializes in hair replacement (one thing he didn't have to worry about). The closest he had ever gotten to expert grooming was a periodic quick fix in the local barber's chair. Slipping into a slick salon atmosphere to be pampered from head to toe was never a consideration for this dad -- until now.

Shave and a haircut

Beginning at the top, groomer Kerry Cummins discussed

growing out Michael's too-short top layers so that his thick hair would fall more smoothly. Keeping in mind easy maintenance, she used a good conditioner and a dab of gel to control wiry gray strands that tended to stick up and call attention to themselves. To balance his long face, Ms. Cummins brought the hair forward instead of straight back the way he normally wore it. She tapered down the back and above the ears and finally cleaned up the nape with a straight razor. She suggested he grow out his lopped-off sideburns to taper to the middle of the ear.

Surprise, guys! Waxing is not just for women. To open up Mr. Akman's face and make his eyes stand out, Ms. Cummins waxed the hairs between his brows, which tended to grow together. "You'd be surprised how many men come in for this," she said. Next she trimmed up his woolly brows and then finished with a relaxing manicure and hand massage.

"I could definitely get used to this," he said.

Steady-handed Diana Ascenzi, (not your stereotypical licensed barber) gave him an old-fashioned hot-towel shave with (gasp!) a straight razor. Ms. Ascenzi thinned out his bulky mustache with an electric razor, bringing it down slightly below his nose and ending it at the corners of his mouth, thereby eliminating those down-turned ends, which only dragged on his face.

Making a spectacle of himself

With his face smooth as a baby's bottom, Mr. Akman's choice in eye wear was addressed.

His too-large and poorly fitting glasses caused by a too-heavy glass lens had even left tell-tale irritation marks around the bridge of his nose.

Sidestepping the myth that he needed big glasses because of his sizable frame, Eileen Shear of Bernard Shear Opticians in Owings Mills explained the importance of width over size to balance his longish face. She suggested a lighter frame in a fashionable oblong shape as the better proportion.

Now for the wardrobe. Mr. Akman's typical summer work attire was a short-sleeved shirt, single-breasted sport coat, tie and khaki pants. "A classic gray chalk-striped suit and a crisp white shirt connotes an air of sophistication and is always appropriate," says John Lambden of Gage World Class Menswear downtown. The double-breasted suit we chose for the makeover photograph has slimming vertical lines to camouflage an ample girth and add shape to his 6-foot-4 frame.

About those short-sleeved shirts . . . "They are not really considered professional, because there should always be a half-inch of linen showing beneath the jacket sleeve," advises Mr. Lambden. It's these small details as well as the fluff of a pocket square, a pleated trouser with a 1 1/4 -inch cuff, and overall proper tailoring of a good suit that help make up a well-dressed man.

Standing tall

Like a lot of men, Mr. Akman considers himself "color stupid." His wife, Rhona, just shakes her head at some of the hues he thinks look fine together. To simplify choices, Mr. Lambden advised just a jolt of color in a tie of not-too-large geometric pattern for that little extra oomph.

"At first, I was hesitant about the idea of a makeover because I don't consider myself a fussy salon kind of guy. After seeing the dramatic results, I'm hooked," says Mr. Akman.

"He's even standing taller!" exclaimed Rhona Akman.

With Father's Day right around the corner, a gift certificate for some pampering would go nicely with that tie box, as would one of the many new skin-care products for men.

Dad may never be the the same. A little pampering and guidance may bolster his fashion savvy so that the next time he holds up a shirt and tie and asks if it goes, you may find yourself replying "Yes it does, it really does!"

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