Mr. Mom applies a magic touch to tuxedos after 5

Candid Closet

June 06, 1996|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,SUN FASHION EDITOR

When it comes to dressing for the occasion, Dick Steiner has a few tricks up his sleeve. He's a magician and mentalist, his second successful career.

After retiring from the Army as a lieutenant colonel, he did some serious drilling and study on his magic hobby and went to work. Now he plays the White House, major conventions, parties and sporting events. That's mostly night work.

During the day, he is Mr. Mom to daughters Carlie, 5, and Lindy, 2. Mother Suzanne is a Navy commander who commutes to her assignment in Washington from their Millersville home. The girls are still too young to appreciate their father's sophisticated effects, but their mother knows real magic when she sees it.

When the Steiners were courting, a diamond-suit card trick was transformed into a real sparkler. That's style.

Dick Steiner may be the only West Point graduate to apply his military training to a life of magic, but it should come as no surprise.

"The Pentagon has been known to pull some remarkable stunts, too," he says.

With 21 years in the military, you wouldn't have had much occasion to build an original wardrobe. Do you now give much thought to clothes?

Not really. I've never been fashion conscious. You might say I traded one uniform for another. Now, my working wardrobe consists of tuxedos. I have a variety -- several black ones, a summer white and one that has "Miami Vice" styling in blue. I prefer classic styling because I work with adult audiences -- not blue, but sophisticated.

No tails, top hat and bunnies?

No.

I do a lot of work in a strolling, close situation, so I have to appear polished and properly attired.

Do your tuxedos have to be tailored to build in secret compartments?

No, I buy them off the rack. But I do have to alter them somewhat. Not for secret compartments, but for extra pockets so I don't have to carry a bag or cape around.

How do you spice up your after-5 uniform?

I collect cummerbunds and bow ties and try to wear patterns that tie in to the event or company I'm performing for. Clients appreciate that.

I've been a baseball fan my entire life, and now I'm able to bring baseball and magic together with the bookings I've had for the All-Star games.

I've performed for their dinners and post-game parties for players and owners. I wear a baseball-print tie from Nicole Miller. I'm working the All-Star event again this year, and she's doing a limited edition print.

Do you depend on Nicole Miller for many of your theme accessories?

They have a terrific assortment of patterns. The people in the New York showroom are very good and sometimes they send me a [photocopy] of their new prints. Not all patterns are manufactured as bow ties and cummerbunds, so I sometimes order scarves and have them made up.

Any favorites?

An orange and black Orioles set is a sentimental favorite. I also like a print of fish and coral, which I wear when I'm performing at events at the Aquarium.

How about your around-the-house clothes? Do do rebel against snap and polish and get sloppy?

I don't think I know how to be sloppy. However, my day clothes depend entirely on the what the kids are doing -- swimming, play.

How would you define your personal style?

Confident. With a military command background, I have learned discipline and the ability to get on with people. That translates into building their confidence in me. That works when I'm leading them on with magic.

Do you know some interesting dressers? Let us know. Write to Vida Roberts, Candid Closet, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 6/06/96

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