His taste bloomed in a florist shop


May 05, 2002|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

State employee Gil Becker works hard to stand out from the crowd, and for good reason.

"There are plenty of good dressers here at the state," he says, "but an equal number of ones who don't think as much as they should before they put together their outfits. I mean, the only place stretch pants belong is in a gym -- not in an office."

Becker -- the director of Maryland Relay (a telecommunications system for deaf or hard-of-hearing people; www.mdrelay.org) and chairman of the National Association for State Relay Administrators -- attributes some of his sense of style to the six years he spent working as a florist.

"I learned a lot about color, what works and what doesn't work -- I like to stand out a little, but it's got to work," says Becker, 47.

Here's more on what Becker, who lives in Lutherville, thinks works or doesn't:

Best stores: I like Macy's and I like the suits at Nordstrom, but I don't like the prices, so I buy a lot from Nordstrom Rack. I do go to the discount stores, too. I buy ties at Marshalls.

Best way to personalize an outfit: For me it's the ties, always. I like things that are bold, things that make me stand out -- something a little flashy. I like art deco ties and Jerry Garcia ties. I like vintage things as well. My uncle passed away 10 years ago, and he had probably 100 ties from the '40s and '50s. Some are too out of style, but they're so cool I wear them anyway.

Fashion philosophy: I like things to look like they're put together, like they're coordinated. And I don't like polyester -- polyester is one of the favorite fabrics here at the state, but it's certainly not one of mine.

Best reason to avoid trends: I'm more of a classic dresser: What's trendy one day, six months from now is out of style and a waste of money.

Favorite thing in closet: I've always had one favorite suit over the years, and I tend to wear it more than anything else. Right now [my favorite] is an olive-green suit; it's outlived its usefulness. I just bought a suit last week that's very similar, and I think it will end up taking the other suit's place.

Most daring thing in closet: One of my ties: It's a gray tie with a large flower, a large orchid. I love the tie, but I can't wear it that often. It's very, very bold -- more bold than I would generally wear.

Thing you never wear but still keep: A pair of Frye boots from the '70s -- they were the rage in the '60s and '70s. They're light-brown leather with 2-inch heels and kind of a square toe. Who knows if they'll ever come back in style, but they're still there, and I haven't worn them in 30 years.

Best reason to dress well: People form their first impressions from your clothes, and the first impression I want people to come across with when they look at me is that I've got my act together.

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