Bank is an all-star among NBA coaches


There's that certain fashion something about NBA coaches -- even during a see-saw game they don't lose that nattiness. That may be by contrast to the team uniforms, which are stuck in that droopy-drawers mode.

The coaches look to their tailors to keep them dapper during their hectic road schedule, and now most of them have contracted with designers or retailers to supply their wardrobes.

Baltimore-based Jos. A. Bank Clothiers has signed 10 National Basketball Association head coaches, among them Washington Bullets' Jim Lynam, to clothing deals. That means the coaches wear "Joe Banks" exclusively in their public and game appearances. They're supplied with a seasonal wardrobe of eight custom-made suits or sport coat and slacks combinations, 10 dress shirts, 12 silk ties, four belts, 10 pairs of socks and four pairs of shoes.

Morris Weil, the national sales director of the Jos. Bank custom clothing division, helped Coach Lynam suit up in traditional styling. "He's more fashion-forward than most men out there, definitely not one of the shlumps," says Mr. Weil. "We chose some really fine fabrics and made the suits from scratch. Coach Lynam is an almost perfect 39 regular, so he didn't present any great fitting problems."

Even though coaches dress to a professional look, some adjustments have to be made for their work day. "They move, and gesture and reach a lot," says Mr. Weil, "so we have to give them more room in the shoulder and a deeper armhole."

Sports spokesmodel endorsements are common, however NBA coaches tend to more high-flying high fashion. Baseball managers wear uniforms, football coaches often wear team-licensed merchandise and hockey coaches are hidden behind the bench. That makes the men of basketball the coaching glamour guys.

The National Basketball Coaches Association tracked clothing endorsements of all the head coaches this season and found that 22 out of 27 were committed. There are those men who are loyal to their local haber--er and those who are walking and pacing designer labels. Flagrantly fashionable Pat Riley of the New York Knicks wears Armani; P.J. Carlissimo of the Portland Trail Blazers wears DKNY; Mike Fratello of the Cleveland Cavaliers sports Hugo Boss, and Butch Beard of the New Jersey Nets wears Perry Ellis.

The coaches look nifty. Now if only the NBA could work on those floppy shorts on the court.

Just in from the Fragrance Foundation, an international trend report on fragrance, fashion and lifestyle for summer of '95: According to their poll of experts, we Americans are working harder, using more interactive computer technology and still seeking more quality down-time. We knew that. Meanwhile, the French, as usual, are finding ways to add refinement to life's little hassles. Drivers there can pull up to a pump and fill up with gas that smells like vanilla.

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