His sartorial splendor knots at the neck

CANDID CLOSET

Candid Closet: Dr. George Dover, director of Johns Hopkins Children's Center, focuses his fashion attention on ties, for a good reason.

October 14, 1999|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Face it, faithful Candid Closet readers, Dr. George Dover, director of Johns Hopkins Children's Center, has better things to worry about than his clothes. He says even his wife Barbara yawns at the sight of his standard wear.

So what's this with the ties? Ever since Hopkins and Jos. A. Banks Clothiers produced the Miracle Collection, a line of men's neckwear featuring designs based on the molecular structure of important pediatric medications, Dover has been very, very big on his ties. The collection was launched for the fourth year yesterday with a fashion show that included the dapper Dr. Dover.

Trained as a hematologist, molecular scientist and geneticist, Dover, 52, says that if anyone told him years ago that he would be "hawking ties and going to fashion shows," he would have laughed. But now, the Mount Washington resident wears the ties daily, knowing they are a great way of promoting Hopkins and that Jos. A. Banks contributes all profits from tie sales (they cost $39.50) to the Children's Center.

Just what is so monotonous about your wardrobe?

I go to Jos. Banks every third year. I start at the socks and work up from there, and then I walk out with blue sports coats, a couple of pinstripes and a very subtle plaid. There's nothing interesting about my wardrobe. Once I had three rep ties and two club ties and now I have only Miracle ties.

Is there a pediatrician tradition in dressing?

Pediatricians popularized bow ties. The reason was nothing more than practicality. It was probably a better idea to have a bow tie on while examining babies. Some of the senior doctors still do.

How did the Miracle tie begin?

My predecessor, the late Dr. Frank Oski, had very bright ties made that were decorated with clowns, balloons and kids, and we called them Hopkins Children's Center ties. This evolved into the collaboration with Jos. Banks. They really took up the idea and offered to promote the ties free of charge. So far, we've raised $250,000 selling ties.

Do your colleagues at other hospitals wear them?

I was at Harvard for a course with other department chairs and we were walking down a very fancy street. In the Jos. Banks window, there was this huge display of Miracle ties. I didn't tell my friends that they were for Hopkins, but I got everyone excited about them, and half of them went in and bought a tie. After we walked out again, I said, "Thanks, you guys. You just contributed to my Children's Center."

Describe Miracle tie designs.

They're based on greatly enlarged photographs taken of the molecular structure of important pediatric drugs.

You are a sickle cell specialist. Do you hope to see a tie based on medication for that disease?

It already happened. Just before I became chairman, I finished a major clinical trial to prove that hydroxyurea actually reduces the severity of sickle cell disease. I looked on the list of tie design possibilities that first year and there was hydroxyurea. That tie sold out completely. It was at the same time that the FDA approved the drug, plus every one of my colleagues around the country was given one by me.

Do the ties look like what people expect them to?

One year, we did a Miracle tie based on one of the original antibiotics, ampicillin, which is taken by every kid who ever had an earache. But people were disappointed that the tie wasn't pink, like the medication.

Name a favorite tie, besides hydroxyurea.

One of my favorites is Valium, which doesn't fit at all.

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

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