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Shopping can be a tall order Planning: Brian Emerson tailors his store trips to times when he can best find clothing to suit his height; Fashion


Brian Emerson's year-old software design company, Micronetrix, demands a wardrobe that accommodates long hours in front of a screen, as well as important business meetings with potential clients.

"The greatest thing about owning your own company is you can wear whatever you want to when on the job. You just have to keep that extra suit, tie and shirt in the closet at work," says Emerson, 30.

The Forest Hill resident is very particular about his wardrobe, be it casual or professional. Fortunately, designers are paying attention to the national growth spurt.

"I'm very, very tall, 6 feet 7," Emerson says. "Luckily, the way I'm proportioned, there are a few designers that I can buy."

What designers?

Hugo Boss makes oversized clothing, Zegna, Donna Karan for tops, (her pants don't work) and DKNY for jeans. Calvin Klein is doing things taller now.

Do you try to stress or play down your height?

I realize that I'm going to stand out anyway. I try to minimize my tallness, if that can be done. I don't wear a lot of bright colors. I tend to be a black, gray, taupe, neutral, khaki kind of guy.

Does your wife buy you clothes?

That's definitely a no no. No one buys me clothing. It's one of those things that's so specific. People can just go and get extra large. It might not work.

Do you shop by yourself?

I'm pretty good at knowing what will look good. Besides, nobody wants to go with me. I used to try to bribe my friends, "Come go shopping with me, I'll buy you something." Still they would not go shopping with me.

Do you have to plan your shopping expeditions?

I specifically shop for myself during Christmas. The stores are open until 11 p.m.

Are there any other obstacles to finding tall clothes?

The problem is everybody likes clothes oversized now. So I can never get anything on sale. I have to buy winter clothes in summer, because at sale time, the extra large sizes will be gone.

Do you have luck at outlets?

It's taken me 30 years to realize good clothes are better than more clothes. The outlets bring out the "red velvet Gucci shirt syndrome." You see a red Gucci shirt marked down from $290 to $120 and think, "What a bargain!" You'll never wear it. But Potomac Mills has a Saks outlet that's very, very good. They have large sizes and beautiful, beautiful clothing.

How do you gauge what to wear to a business meeting?

This is going to sound horribly chauvinistic, but meeting clients who are women is very different than meeting clients who are men. Men tend to be very conservative. They want you to show up in a suit and tie. Women tend to be much more forgiving with what you show up with.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 12/24/98

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