Stay-at-home dad stays away from sloppy sweats

CANDID CLOSET

March 23, 1995|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

Craig Lurz may be a stay-at-home dad, but he doesn't dress like one -- at least not like the slovenly, sweats-clad fathers depicted in movies.

Instead, this former interior decorator coordinates his khakis, polo shirts, patterned socks and Topsiders to achieve a "sophisticated preppie" style. It works whether he's doing laundry, running errands or picking up his children -- John, 15, and Joanna, 12 -- from swimming practice.

He does admit to having one torn, stained sweat shirt -- advertising his wife Carla's financial company -- that he wears when he needs real comfort.

"You put that on," says Mr. Lurz, 42, who lives in Lutherville, "and you always feel good."

How would you describe your style?

I like traditional styling with more of a sense of fashion. I try to pick out colors that best suit me. I wear a lot of black and winter white. During the summer, I wear jewel tones.

I also pay attention to detail -- socks, belts, shoes. And I love cuff links. My wife and I will go into antique stores and look for cuff links. My favorite pair have postage stamps from Portugal on them.

Do you ever miss your suit and tie days?

ad,1 No. We go out enough that I still have a collection of those. Every season I buy two complete dress-up outfits just to keep updated. What I focus on is a traditional look with interesting texture. At a party, women have a tendency to put their hands on a man's forearm. When women do that with me, they often remark, "That feels wonderful." Then they go and bring their other women friends over to feel it.

How does your wife react?

She's fine with it. She gets the primary feel.

What outfits have you bought this year?

I bought a teal-green cashmere jacket that I wear with brown and teal tattersall pants, a teal and gold tie and a whiskey-colored suede vest. The vest originally belonged to my son, but he thought it was too fussy for him. I also wear the vest with stone-colored pants, a navy blazer and a blue and gold tie with Florentine suns and moons over it.

Is there a stereotype of how at-home fathers dress?

I think there's a stereotype of how stay-at-home parents dress. They're kind of sloppy. They wear whatever is closest at hand. I've always liked clothes. What I really like to buy is outerwear. Our kids play sports so we spend a lot of time standing on the sidelines of soccer and lacrosse fields. I have a nice collection of jackets, including a cocoa-colored suede jacket and a Nautica navy and green bomber jacket with suede patches.

What are your casual favorites?

Stone-colored chinos, a hunter green chamois shirt and green rag wool socks. I have a pair of amber-colored corduroys that I wear with a sweater that has leaves all over it. Every time I wear that sweater, people make fun of it. They say stuff like, "Did somebody rake you up?"

Do you ever feel guilty spending money on clothes?

I try to buy things on sale. I may have a lot more clothes than the average guy, but I bet I don't spend much more. It's something my wife and I enjoy. Usually once during the season, we'll spend a day in the mall pulling stuff together.

Who has more clothes -- you or your wife?

My wife. But not my much.

Where do you shop?

Nordstrom, Hecht's, Eclectic and Britches. We do a lot of traveling, and we like to shop then, too.

What in your closet do you wear the most?

My green cashmere sports coat. I probably wear it a couple times a month.

What do you refuse to put on again?

A Christian Dior double-knit running suit. It was a good buy, but it makes me look like I'm 60 years old and living in Miami.

What have you saved for sentimental reasons?

My father's 1942 varsity sweater from Loyola High School. He passed away before I was born, and my mother gave it to me. I would never part with that.

If you could select anyone's closet, whose would you most like to have?

Cary Grant's. He's the only guy who could wear an ascot and not look stupid.

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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