Not only does Eric Parker get to work at the FBI in Washington before 7 a.m., he does it with smashing good looks. Parker, 31, is one of those intuitively fashionable men, who can sense change and trends without even flipping through GQ.
And when everyone else catches up to him, wearing cowboy boots with a suit, for example, Parker, model-handsome, is off and running in a patent leather suit and amazing green boots. If the masses decide to dye their hair, Parker has already shorn his faux blond locks for a bold, bald look.
"It's amazing, how I just do my own thing," the Baltimore resident says. "I don't really keep up with the magazines. It's an insight that I have, I just go ahead."
How can you pull off your cutting-edge look, especially in a fashion-challenged city like Washington?
I'm very friendly, outspoken and very sociable. I adapt to whomever I associate with. Not too many people can do that. Even at work at 6: 45 in the morning, I'm full of joy early in the morning. I'm glad to be alive.
Do you think about radical fashion change, or do you just do it?
Snap decisions. Every three months, I might have this or that. People used to call me Elvis because of my long sideburns. Now, I'm bald. But I've kind of slowed down. As you get older, your hair doesn't grow the same.
Where do you shop?
I can shop anywhere. I can go to a store, be in there for three or four hours. My friends have to drag me out. There's no where I go that I don't see something I think is nice that I can wear.
Do you remember any great sales?
I caught a sale at Saks Fifth Avenue.
I bought $1,000 worth of Donna Karan sweater shirts for a couple hundred dollars.
Do you have to buy quality to look great?
I tell people you can buy a cheap shirt and make it look expensive.
Celebrities still go to the Gap, but you would never know. More so than just anything, you've got to know how to pick a piece out.
How did your sense of fashion evolve?
Back in the day, in the preppie days, the early '70s, I was into Timberland, Polo, bleached jeans. I still have some of the the same '70s style, still kind of preppie, but more sophisticated now. Same concepts, but the fabric may be softer, and more durable, and the colors are brighter. I've really gotten into colors now.
Greens, oranges, reds. I basically buy a lot of earth tone shoes, and have some in a honey brickle color. I wear bright ties. Or if I throw on an orange shirt, I'll wear orange socks, or if I wear a green tie, I'll put on blue shoes, a blue shirt, and a green belt. That's what I mean by color coordinated.
How do Washington folks view Baltimore style?
Basically people who commute back and forth to New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia are real fashion-conscious. The folks who work south toward D.C. don't really have that insider fashion feel. But people in D.C. say we're country and we cannot dress. Really, it's them.
Share some clothing wisdom.
I have a variety of clothes for every occasion, no matter if I'm going to church, for an interview, a play, or I'm shoveling snow. And I love hats!
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
Pub Date: 10/15/98