The way Baltimore comic Andre Browne sees it, if his sense of humor doesn't leave 'em laughing, maybe his clothing will.
That's why he often performs his stand-up routine in a leather-studded vest, pirate shirt and hoop earrings. "I also wear electric colors," says Mr. Browne, 31, who has been featured in Barry Levinson's "Homicide." "Folks look at me and say, 'What volt batteries do you have on that outfit?' "
Do you really dress funny?
The whole idea is to be hip and smooth and funky. I do a lot of participatory stuff, so I like loose, comfortable clothes. Being 6 foot 4 and 240 pounds, I have a big ol' butt and big ol' thighs. Stovepipe, straight-legged jeans aren't going to cut it for me.
What makes your style stand out?
It truly reflects my personality. I dress the way I do so people will know who I am. Take an African necklace with a Perry Ellis designer shirt and an Elvis Presley-reject sequin belt, and you've got Andre Browne.
Whose style comes closest to yours?
I'm a fusion of Arsenio Hall and the rap group Arrested Development. It's Rodeo Drive meets South Carolina farmer. I recently joined a gym. I'm working out a lot now to get that ebony "Baywatch" lifeguard look.
Name your favorite summer outfit.
I'm really into white and tan, particularly in hot weather. I love to wear an oversize white shirt with a cotton paisley vest and tan pants with sandals.
Where do you shop?
Casual Male Big and Tall in Mondawmin Mall, Cignal in the Gallery and Maggie's Place in Mount Vernon.
How did you learn to dress the way you do?
As a kid whenever the latest fashion trend hit, I bought it. I went for the Michael Jackson gigantic mutant Afro and platform shoes in the '70s. Unfortunately, there are pictures to prove it. When I was 13 or 14, I got a sky blue leisure suit that I wore with two-tone blue and white platform shoes. I thought I was the coolest brother on the planet.
What won't you leave the house without?
I got my ears pierced five years ago. I'm like a woman now. I get into the car and feel my ears. If I don't have my earrings on, I turn the car around. I feel buck naked without them.
What in your closet will you never wear again?
I will never wear my 1978 polyester floral print shirt. It's still there to remind me I should never go back. Where was I mentally to think that I was a woman magnet wearing that? To me, the '70s comeback is a sign of the apocalypse.
What's been your most embarrassing clothing moment?
We men have a tendency to think we can wear something even if we've outgrown it. In 1984, I was going to a college dance. I hadn't worn these tweed pants in 2 1/2 years, but I squeezed into them anyway. It looked like I had a thong bikini on. Here I am dancing, walking around and winking at girls when I look down and realize my zipper has split. Everybody was looking at my bright red Hanes for Men.
Say Iman called and said, "I'll pick you up in an hour." What would you put on?
My custom-made black suit with gold buttons and a matching belt with a gold buckle. With a black T-shirt, I look like a great big black monolith.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.