Jarvis Chisley left behind a retail career, but he didn't leave the snazzy wardrobe that went with it. Now a special education teacher at Hillsmere Elementary School in Annapolis, Chisley, 37, reports for work in a cashmere blazer, black mock turtleneck sweater, khakis and matching cowboy boots, ready for business and the classroom.
It's a "polished, sporty but classy look, not overdone," that Chisley, of Mitchellville, has honed since he was a young boy in Charles County whose parents instilled the importance of looking sharp and professional. Later in high school, Chisley took a class that prepared students for the real world. "We were taught how to dress and how to interview. It became a habit. Every day we had to go in dressed as if we were going to work. We were graded for it," he says.
What is your retail history?
I worked for a men's clothing store in California, and made my way to the East Coast where I worked at the Hecht Company and at J. Riggins. I first started in sales and worked my way to management. I was a merchandiser; I helped to open new stores. Then I decided to become a teacher when all the large department stores seemed to be facing Chapter 11. This is my 10th year in Anne Arundel.
Do you have a sacred shopping rule?
I buy nothing at regular price. Everything I buy is on clearance. I put the clearance items on layaway, and I pay on them as the price goes down.
I just got a leather jacket for $100 that retailed for $250. I put it on layaway, paid on it and got the last markdown price.
Do you shop for others in your family?
I pick out my wife's clothes. She loves it. Usually, when I just go shopping I'll see something and think, "This looks like her," and take it home and it's a perfect fit. No problem!
Your students must look forward to your daily ensembles.
They love the cowboy boots. They're very comfortable, more comfortable than my slip-ons.
Do you make a point of shopping regularly?
To be honest, I don't even think about it. If I'm near Nordstrom, I'll just look, and "Bingo!" I'll find something on sale. I don't go out of the way, but if I'm in the area, I'll go ahead and stop.
Where do you shop?
Hecht's, Nordstrom in the Annapolis and Virginia areas, and believe it or not, I shop at Value City. I bought five wool cashmere blazers there for $10 apiece.
How do you build your wardrobe?
I was always taught to start with the basics, brown, black, blue and beige and coordinate those with shirts and interchangeable jackets. So instead of having five outfits, I can have 10.
Do you go for certain designers?
Not really. A label is just a label. I don't go and buy something because it says Polo or another brand name. Sometimes you're just paying for the label, and I tell students that, too.
How do you decide what to wear every day?
I don't pick out my clothes at night. I think about it in the morning time. If I don't feel comfortable in an outfit, I will totally take off the outfit and change.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
Pub Date: 11/19/98