It's not easy to be stylish. Try too hard, and you might end up looking stiff and uncomfortable (or, as magazines often gravely intone, like the clothes are wearing you). Take it too easy, and you just look like a slob. It's a fine line regardless of your gender, but I think men have it a little tougher, simply because their wardrobe options are more limited and because there's a tacit rule that only women are allowed to enjoy clothes.
For the second annual Rubensteins Men's Style Awards, Rubensteins, CUE, our sponsors and our panel of judges (actor Bryan Batt, Gambit publisher and CEO Margo DuBos, Rubensteins' Allison Marshall and yours truly) set about rewarding stylish men for their unerring taste. You, our readers, nominated more than 70 sharp-dressed guys; the judges selected 10 finalists, and you responded with more than 2,000 votes for your favorites. Here are the three winners — and I'm pleased to report that not only their ensembles, but also their attitudes toward fashion are refreshing, sharp and original. — Missy Wilkinson
Dr. Roland Waguespack III
"I always gravitate toward preppier clothes — most of the clothes people consider to be preppy don't ever go out of style."
I enjoy timeless things that transcend fads and maybe even generations. My grandfather was a fairly stylish person, and I have some of his cuff links and ties. I always gravitate toward preppier clothes — most of the clothes people consider to be preppy don't ever go out of style.
Professionally, I'm known for showing up for my shift in the emergency department wearing a white coat with a tie. That look is very uncommon. The world has gotten more casual over time, and so has medicine. I'm probably the only person in my department who wears a tie. When you walk into the ER, you may see five or six people all in scrubs who aren't the physician. If you walk into a patient's room and introduce yourself as the physician while wearing a white coat and tie, it makes an impression and hopefully minimizes any confusion. When I introduce myself, I hope to create an impression of confidence and professionalism.
"You have to have your own creative sense of style and a keen eye to shop at a thrift store."
My style is very colorful, unique and daring. I'm not really into labels. I think it's just Sherard, at the end of the day.
I'll start with a bow tie, add a dress shirt and style it down with some jeans, loafers and crazy socks. If you see me in a straight tie, something is probably wrong.
My style icons are Kanye West, who has the edgier style; Tim Gunn, who has that classic, clean-cut look; and Andre 3000, who's a mix between the two with his suspenders or fedora or something that's edgy.
I shop at a lot of thrift stores. I go to Buffalo Exchange, the Salvation Army Uptown off Claiborne Avenue, and Bloomin' Deals on Freret Street. I've found at least three pairs of Cole Haan shoes at Red White and Blue on the West Bank. It's $15 to go to the shoe repair man and get the shoes shined up and the sole replaced, and they look excellent. You have to have your own creative sense of style and a keen eye to shop at a thrift store. Friends who shop at thrift stores have a different style from everyone else, and I like that.
Briscoe will show his collection of bow ties at Loyola University's Black Noise Fashion Show at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 in the Danna Student Center.
Eric S. Charleston
"You want to wear one thing that's elegant, and always have complementary accessories."
I'd describe my style as vaudeville meets Frenchmen Street meets Far Rockaway, the area in Queens where my parents and grandparents grew up. I like wearing things that are clever, but also neat and fun. I've got a Dobbs straw hat that I wear with a bow tie, distressed jeans, a short-sleeve shirt and maybe some Chuck Taylors. You want to wear one thing that's elegant, and always have complementary accessories.
I'm a big hat guy. I have a bunch of hats from Meyer the Hatter and I wear a bead chain with my grandfather's giant gold wedding ring on it. The chain is a nice accent, and the ring is 60 years old, so it grounds me.
When I told my friends back home (in New York) that I'd been nominated for this contest, they teased me and said, "You wouldn't even win most fashionable on the block up here." So they had some pride, but in general what I like about moving down here is that here you can cut loose and wear whatever you like. Sometimes that means people don't get dressed up, but it also means people put together unique combinations and everyone is positive about it.
When I'm looking in my closet, if I can think of it, I put it on. I'm never self-conscious and that has to do with how accepting and positive the folks down here are. I appreciate that.
Special thanks to Richard Fiske of The Bombay Club (830 Conti St., 504-586-0972; www.thebombayclub.com) for hosting our photo shoot, and to Rubensteins Men’s Style Awards sponsors Hazelnut, Meyer the Hatter, Paris Parker, Plymouth Gin, Premier Fitness, Ralph’s on the Park and St. Charles Vision.