Don't believe Bryan Stark, 31, when he says he dresses like the "stereotypical ad guy." Sure, he favors bright ties and suspenders, but the vice president of client services at the Reeves Agency puts it all together in a refreshing and not not-too-deadly-earnest way, impressing clients and colleagues.
Which came first, the look or the career?
My mother worked for a large, worldwide global ad agency on the West Coast. She always liked how the account guys dressed, so I think ever since the age of when I could wear a suit or a tie, she bought me bold ties and suspenders. Maybe I came to advertising through osmosis. I never in a million years thought I would end up being an account guy.
Do you have any fashion inspirations?
I had a roommate in college who was French. Somehow they can wear pocket scarves without ending up looking dumb. I honestly think you don't ever have to overthink it. Pull it out, push it in, it just comes out right. It just seems to happen right.
What guides do you use when dressing for work?
I have to be aware of the environment I'm operating in. I'm working on a concert with Judy Collins and Roberta Flack, "Ladies of Note." It's a national tour and a breast cancer benefit. For these meetings, I can wear a loud tie and a loud blazer or jacket to go with it. But when I'm meeting with American National Savings Bank, I'm very likely going to be in a double-breasted suit, but in louder ties than most of the people.
Where do you shop?
If I'm going to be buying what I'd say is a really nice suit or jacket, I try to go to New York. In terms of discount, maybe agency culture has affected how I dress; I tend to make a dollar go a long way. I have the patience to dig through C-Mart, the Rack at Nordstrom and Potomac Mills. I want to have quality, but I don't want to feel like I overpaid for something.
Name a clothing vice.
People laugh. They say I have an overcoat for every day of the week. I might have 10 or 12, from a casual, nice jacket from Timberland to an Armani wool overcoat. Most people don't seem to worry as much about overcoats, whether it matches what you're wearing. I do get chided for having too many coats. Maybe it comes back to my mother. She always made sure I had a coat when it was cold out.
What's your Saturday-around-the-house style?
I'm absolutely most comfortable in a pair of baggy jeans, giant cable-knit sweater, and if I can be lucky enough on a cold weekend to not leave the house, I'll have socks on, but no shoes.
When you put them on, what shoes do you wear?
In terms of running around, I love to have on my HHB or Timberland boots. Westin men's shoes tend to last forever. Rather than buying disposable shoes, I'm a believer in buying a nice pair of shoes and having them resoled and redone.
Do you have any extra-sentimental clothes in your closet?
I have a pair of corduroys I bought on the Champs-Elysees in Paris that are worn in a couple of places. If they didn't remind me of being in Paris, I probably would have let them go years ago.
Does your mom still buy clothes for you?
Ties, tons of ties. She buys me ties and suspenders, but in particular, a lot of ties. It's funny, because somehow I suddenly like the ties she buys me. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have hated every one she gave me.
Pub Date: 1/16/97