A really bright student

Candid Closet

January 08, 1998|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Just when you think everyone's following the same drummer, along comes Matthew Bustard. A culinary arts student at the Carver Center for Arts and Technology, the Towson 17-year-old not only wears a chili-pepper decorated school uniform but personalizes it with patent leather fluorescent orange shoes, or a vintage German chef's jacket.

Bustard's always favored bright, even loud, clothing and somehow manages to explore uncharted sartorial territory with great style and aplomb. His classmates tell him he's the only person who could get away with such outrageous dress.

"I have an attitude about life," Bustard says. "I could care less about what people think. I know my own style, I know what I like and that's what I wear."

What are the main themes in your style of dressing?

Basically, I like the really old-fashioned style, like from the '20s, '30s and '40s, only with modern and bright colors. The clothes aren't exactly old. I may wear a regular sports jacket with one of the fedora hats my grandfather gave me, and my orange shoes, or my bright red Hush Puppies with tassels, or my blue alligator skin shoes.

L If you could spend a dream day shopping, where would you go?

Probably Fifth Avenue and Fells Point.

Where in Fells Point?

Killer Trash. I find Hawaiian-style floral shirts there. I've got one I found that's 101 percent polyester. This thing's definitely from the '70s, with butterfly lapels out past my shoulders and flamingos and orchids.

Describe other finds.

In a vintage store in Sienna, Italy, I found a shirt that was hot pink and fluorescent orange with really big flowers.

What's your tie collection like?

I definitely like ties to be bright with wacky designs. I have one with dollar signs, and one with a reddish background and blue and gold fish on it. And I actually have the ugliest tie in existence from the '70s. It belonged to my friend's father. After his father died, he found it in the attic. It's about 3.5 inches wide, and it has nine colors on it and it's floral. It's just wonderful.

Do you cook the way you dress?

My friend Jason and I work together. We come up with cheese and jalapeno muffins when everybody else is doing blueberry. I like decorative food. It has to look good. Tall food, like they have at Joy America, is definitely a plus.

Do you plan to go to culinary arts school for college?

I think I'm going to go to school for forensic psychology and mortuary science.

You'll have well-dressed corpses.

They're definitely going down in style.

How do you dress for formal occasions?

Tuxedos are a good thing. I have a white tuxedo with tails that's probably 50 to 60 years old. It's all silk. I got that at Once Again in Towson. I haven't worn it yet. I do have a wedding coming up, but they're making me wear a rented tuxedo and not allowing me to alter it in any way or change the shoes. They come with the tux.

What do you wear to school dances?

I like the three-piece suit style, but they don't have to be the same colors. I may wear a khaki pants, a powder blue suede vest with Bugs Bunny on it and an orange jacket. I have a tie with orange and blue on it. The colors clash very well.

What are you planning for the prom?

I'm going to wear a smoking jacket I saw in Nordstrom. It's silk, with quilted lapels and black and gray pinstripes. They showed it with a bow tie, but I think I'm going to go with an ascot.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 1/08/98

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