'I gave up suits'; Candid Closet: Brian Mund opts for stylish, comfortable work clothes over the business world's 'uniform.'


Brian Mund was doing lunch at the mall when he spied four management types, looking nearly identical as they went about their business. That's when the phrase "suits" really hit home for Mund, 52. Even when he had run the investment management operation at First National Bank (now Allfirst), he balked at stifling uniformity. But now that he worked from home as an independent commodities trader, the notion of wearing a suit just didn't fit at all.

"Leaving the corporate world was a major change in lifestyle," Mund says from his Towson home. It was also a major change in style. "I gave up suits, ties and wingtips for jeans, turtlenecks and Birkenstocks."

Mund, president of the board of Active Coalition for Transitional Services, an organization that serves survivors of domestic violence, will trade his Birkenstocks for a pair of tennis shoes during Sunday's "Make Tracks for ACTS" Fun Walk, from noon to 3 p.m. at Oregon Ridge Park. (For more information, call 410-825-8773.)

When do you wear suits?

I wear suits and ties for funerals, weddings and a friend's retirement party, which he requested. It was a military thing. When I go to church or to a nicer restaurant, I'll wear a suit or a sports coat.

What do you wear at home?

Typically, I'll wear either blue or tan jeans, depending on the season, a polo shirt or sweater, or a sweater and a turtleneck.

It sounds like casual still means well tailored.

I've always cared about dressing well. I never totally embraced the dark suit, white shirt look. Going back 25 years now, when plaids were big, I had some very bold plaids. I didn't look like the typical banker.

Can you explain your aversion to dark suits?

The uniform thing has always bothered me. I was in the Army reserves and didn't care for wearing one then. And I didn't care for the uniformity of the office experience, so I would try to dress as stylishly as possible within the confines of the office environment. It's kind of the adult version of peer pressure when you get in high school, but in the business world it's more serious. If you don't dress pretty much in the mold, you're not taken seriously.

Do you wear khakis?

I don't do khakis. Jeans or slacks. Jeans feel good, and slacks look good, and khakis are just sort of too mainstream.

Where do you shop?

Nordstrom, and George Howard Ltd. in Cross Keys.

Has being home had an effect on your clothing size?

Over the last few years, I've gone up one or two suit sizes in my chest from throwing my 9-year-old son Mickey around in the pool or doing what I call "Mickey-ups" where I push him up while lying on the floor.

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

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