Spare wardrobe takes guesswork out of getting dressed


September 22, 1994|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

On David Chase, J. Crew meets Savile Row.

A no-nonsense dresser with a flair for sophisticated ties, he spends as little time as possible shopping and buys clothes that are comfortable and versatile.

"I think tuxedos are an invention of the devil," says Mr. Chase, 49, executive director of Preservation Maryland, a private statewide preservation group.

Since his wife Barbara recently moved to Andover, Mass., to become head of Phillips Academy, Mr. Chase has been traveling frequently, which has caused his wardrobe to grow even more streamlined.

"One of the beauties of a commuter marriage is that no one expects you to have a lot of clothing," says Mr. Chase, who lives in Cross Keys. "If I wear my blazer all the time, no one will think it eccentric."

How would you describe your style?

I don't believe in describing style. If you have it, that's great. I leave it for others to describe.

Others have called you a classic dresser with one of the best tie collections around.

My take on clothing is it's something you've got to do. I try to make it as simple as possible. I wear a small range of things. Except for ties, it's pretty much a no-brainer for men to dress. I usually wear khaki pants or plain flannel pants. When I have to wear a jacket, I wear a double-breasted dark blue blazer with black buttons. I usually wear boldly striped shirts or white or blue shirts.

Where do you shop?

I get blazers and shirts from Brooks Brothers, khakis from the Gap. For ties, the best place in town as far as I'm concerned is Eclectic.

How would you describe your taste in ties?

Eclectic. My favorite is a Pucci tie that my wife bought for me in 1967 while we were on our honeymoon in Florence. It's rather an eccentric tie. It's silk, electric blue and black with white dots that almost look like eyes. It has sentimental value.

How did you start wearing bow ties?

Four-in-hand ties get in my way and in my soup. Generally speaking, I throw them over my shoulder a lot. Bow ties are more practical.

How has your work affected your style?

Certainly, people conjure up an image of a person involved in running an organization. If you're contrary-minded as I am, you might want to press against type. I don't wear suits for one thing. There are many people who, in similar positions, would need to look like a banker in a pinstriped suit.

Men's clothing seems so limited. How do you keep things from getting boring?

I rather like boring. I was in the Army for a few years. I found it simple to wear a uniform. There are limitations, but it relieves you of making choices. I don't recommend uniforms as a rule, but I find what I wear very uniform.

How does your style change on the weekends?

In the winter, I wear dungarees. They're the model simple, rugged, comfortable, classic clothing. In the summer, it's khaki pleated shorts. I'll wear them with a T-shirt or denim shirt.

What fashion advice do you have for other men?

Do what I do, which is to say, dress in the way that's most comfortable. That may mean suits and cuff links. I just don't as a rule want to bother with them, even though I think people look great in them.

What are you planning to add to your fall wardrobe?

I often wear a black silk handkerchief in my blazer pocket. I always wear the same one that I bought at a farm sale in Lancaster County, Pa. I have this silly notion that I'm carrying around this black handkerchief, which must have been part of someone's mourning clothing, in honor or them. I have to go back and find another. Until then, I'll continue to wear the one I've got. I don't care how shredded it gets.

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

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