Pikesville clothier crazy about simplicity


August 18, 1994|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

When Cole Porter opened his first clothing store some 20 years ago and called it MC Jagger, people didn't know what to make of him.

"I'd call up and say, 'Hi, this is Cole Porter from MC (pronounced Mick) Jagger's.' Everybody thought I was crazy," says Mr. Porter, 45, of Stevenson, who insists that's his real name.

Owner of the namesake women's clothing and accessories store in Pikesville, Mr. Porter is known around town as an eyeglass aficionado whose current favorites are retro rimless frames.

As for his fashion philosophy, it's refreshingly simple.

"Life is complicated enough," he says. "You shouldn't have to complicate it more with clothes."

How did you first become interested in clothes?

I think you're born with it. I can still remember my first Davy Crockett hat and shirt. I was maybe 8. Then when I went to the University of Maryland and got my first pair of bell bottoms and Indian moccasins, everybody wanted them. I would run up to New York, buy clothes and sell them out of my trunk. In 1972, a year after I graduated with a political science degree, I opened my first store.

How has working in retail affected your style?

It's a teaching thing. My greatest reward is putting somebody in an outfit that looks really good and hearing that they got compliments on it.

What is your style?

I call myself a classic dresser with a twist. I try to take clean looks and bring them into 1994. I'll wear a blue shirt, but it's not a basic oxford. It's a fine hairline stripe. And my ties always make a statement. I don't go way out. I don't try to look like those Generation X kids, even though I have a son Jason (21) who's going to the Fashion Institute of Technology and apprenticing with the Gianni Versace line.

Where do you shop?

Eclectic for ties and shirts. I like T-shirts from the Gap. And because I travel so much, many of my clothes come from New York, Los Angeles and Europe.

What outfit do you count on when you need to look your best?

I think I look my best everyday. For a special occasion, I'll wear awool crepe greenish-gray suit by Joseph Abboud with a blue shirt and a greenish-beige foulard tie. I feel like I'm all together in that. There's an aura about me.

From whom would you most like to get fashion advice?

There's no dresser out there who I think is drop dead. Many celebrities on award shows look great, but that's seeing someone for one brisk minute. And in a movie, the stylist puts it together.

What's been the most useful fashion lesson you've learned?

Keep it simple. Do what's comfortable for you and not what's been shown in every magazine. But there's always room for improvement.

How would you improve your wardrobe?

I'd have more time for shopping.

What in your closet won't you wear again?

I wore a Nehru suit to my prom. That was what I call 2 1/2 -minute fashion. It was in the night I wore it and dead by the next day. I got rid of it.

What's your standby?

I'll always have my blue denim vest and my black leather jacket.

What's the biggest mistake you see men making in their attire?

Staying with traditional, boring clothing. Men should make more of a statement.

And what's your statement?

Clean, well-groomed and forward.

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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