Behind good dresser stands man with a plan

Candid Closet

February 13, 1997|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Ed Rybczynski, president of Liberty Title Co. in White Marsh, can't talk about his handsome wardrobe without talking about Dick Bratman. The retired manager of the Jos. A. Bank Clothiers store at Kenilworth, Bratman still works part time at the store, and calls his client whenever the perfect pair of shoes arrives or a suit in a beautiful brown comes in. If there's "one person you work with continuously, you get that sort of personalized service," Rybczynski says.

What has Mr. Bratman taught you?

The neat thing about Dick Bratman, in so many situations there are times when you need to know how to tie a bow tie, or a different knot for a regular tie, or an ascot or how to fold a breast pocket embellishment. Frankly, those are things you're not born knowing. It's nice to have an older gentleman around to pass around some of these tricks.

What else does he help you with?

He's aware of everything in my wardrobe. If my wife and I are going to an equestrian event, I will call him to help me put something together. Once, he sent me 25 ties to choose from.

Rumor has it you like shoes.

I have 11 pairs of dress shoes, predominantely lace-up or wingtips.

What's your favorite shoe?

The all-around best shoes I've ever found are Allen Edmund shoes. It's a very conservative, American-made shoe and comfortable from the minute you put it on. I've never worn a pair out.

Any other obsessions?

I also have a ton of ties, a ton of ties. My son goes to a Montessori school, he doesn't wear a tie. By the time I was his age, I was wearing a tie every day, except for Saturdays. Even at 35, I wear a tie just about every day.

What's your preference in ties?

Basically I like the rep tie. I don't tend toward the new wild geometrics. I'm going to start experimenting with new, woven, solid color ties with a dark gray suit and a white shirt. it's a very impressive look, a nice look.

Bow ties, too?

Yes. I even said to my wife at dinner, it felt comfortable. It's a little bit of a differentiation. You'd be surprised how many times I run into a friend who makes a joking comment about the bow tie. Later on, I'm invariably asked in private or over the phone whether I can show that person how to tie a bow tie.

Suits or sport jackets?

We've been in a transitional stage. I have a ton of suits. I've worn suits for the longest time. Now with this new casual trend, we might even have an occasional casual day in the office. And it's more like a sport coat one day, a suit another, a sport coat the next.

I've heard that suits are becoming a thing of the past. My wife asked me last week, 'Why are you buying another suit?' I'm hoping that's a trend that will change. I just feel comfortable wearing a suit.

Why put so much emphasis on your clothes?

If you didn't think about clothes, doing what I do, you wouldn't be around very long. It's all in the presentation, the first couple of seconds, who you are and what you're all about. Unless you're totally professional, you couldn't run a title company.

Do you favor any accessories?

Right now I'm wearing my father's watch, which I had refurbished after he died. A Benrus watch. I love old jewelry. I've started a collection of little tie clasps and rings.

I have a pinky ring made from the ring my mother gave to my father when they were engaged over 50 years ago. It's like an old pair of chinos. Certain things are better with age.

Pub Date: 2/13/97

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