Over on The Sartorialist, I just posted a comment for his contest on the influences of style. I was a little surprised about what popped into my head right away, but I went ahead and posted it because it’s the truth. Since the most interesting events in life tend to be the sources of who we are, I thought you might appreciate this little story. And my dad is still very much the natty dresser.
The most powerful influence on my personal style goes back to one person, my father.
While there have been many other influences, from magazines and movies to several stints working at Polo/Ralph Lauren stores, it always comes down to him. My father has a timeless sense of taste and a respect for quality. He is, at heart, a J. Press man who over the years loosened up and expanded to Brooks Brothers. That being said he always looked comfortable and stylish without being stuffy or off-putting. To the contrary, he has always been an approachable guy, which is very important since he is doctor. While he is a conservative dresser, my dad is by no means a sartorial wallflower. From white tie, tails and top hat for an annual dinner dance to creamy flannels, blue blazer, and a panama for a summer’s concert under the stars, he most certainly exemplifies personal style.
If any one event cemented my love for clothing and the power it has, it was when I saw him at work but he didn’t know I was there. I was with a friend who worked in the hospital’s emergency room and we stopped there so he could drop something off. While I stood in a corner and watched the commotion, I saw my dad come around the corner wearing a seersucker suit and white bucks – downright natty. In the emergency room no less! What will forever stay in my heart and mind though is what happened next. He walked over to a man lying on a gurney parked along the wall, gently leaned over him and began to talk. Their heads close together, I could see the body of my father’s patient relax. At that moment, what he had on was irrelevant; he was there to comfort and help his patient. The style on the outside matched the man on the inside. More than any magazine or movie star, that image will always be my definition of true style.