A little more storage space, please Room: For a boat, two businesses and several charity events a year, Don Mellinger has to have a large and varied wardrobe.

Candid Closet

August 13, 1998|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Don Mellinger lives on a 38-foot cabin cruiser named "For Heaven's Wake" at the Anchorage Marina in Baltimore. It has plenty of room, he says. "A couple could live on the boat very easily." Enough closet space for two? That's another issue entirely.

Mellinger, 49, and soon to be married, can't even keep four seasons' worth of clothing below deck. If it's summer, than everything fall, winter and spring goes to his office or father's house. After Mellinger marries this fall, he will move out of his boat, so as to avoid closet disagreements with his bride.

The owner of Site Support Services, an air conditioning business, Mellinger has recently opened Nautical Galleries at the Baltimore Marine Center, where one can find anything from a seafaring scene to French antiques to Beanie Babies with a nautical theme.

Your air conditioning business spans the spectrum from marine work to blue chip customers. How do you dress accordingly?

If I'm going to meet with the vice president of a bank, I'll get into a real nice suit, something double breasted.

What designers?

I hate to mention name brands.

Oh, go ahead.

Maybe Armani or Dior.

And if you're meeting with a marine client, what would you wear?

Dockers, or Sperry boat shoes, and a T-shirt or a polo-type shirt or a golf shirt.

What's your general feeling about shopping?

I hate shopping. My fiancee would say differently. I have two major splurges a year, in spring and fall. I'm a thrifty shopper; I prefer to go to the outlets in Rehoboth. I feel that's where I get the best financial opportunities. And Hecht's if they're having a really good sale. I also stop at the Men's Wearhouse for sales and Gage Men's Store.

Can you really get Armani on sale?

Oh yes you can.

You've accumulated a few tuxes over the years.

I have four. I didn't realize it, I kind of lost count there. One of them kind of shrunk and then I lost 10 pounds and now it fits again. I do a lot of entertaining customers and charity work over the years. I'm pretty heavily involved with cystic fibrosis; they do a lot of black tie events.

How do you jazz up tuxedos?

The big trick with the tux is to accessorize and match it. I have a cummerbund that is pink for Valentine's Day, one with Christmas balls, one with tropical fish and a Mickey Mouse one.

What will you wear to your wedding?

It will be an outdoor wedding at the Kent Manor Inn, and I'll wear my cream-colored tux. I'm working on accessorizing it right now. There will be a little surprise in the end that I can't give away here. The tux will change. And the whole wedding party, at least on the groom's side, will evolve into something a lot more playful.

How are you going to adjust to the closet space at your new wife's home?

I've already done the Goodwill thing three or four times.

You'll keep clothing on the boat?

Yes. In October, sweaters will reappear and overcoats, plus I'll need room for my wife's stuff to be on the boat. Fair is fair. I guess I will have to dedicate a closet to her.

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

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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