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Publisher's Letter

Style in South Florida

But, as our gracious models say time and again, style has nothing to do with style. It has everything to do with how you feel.

Speaking of style, which we do extensively in this issue, with a major feature by 
Managing Editor Jennifer Tormo and Editorial Photographer Jason Nuttle (page 56), may we jaunt back to the early 1970s and our first years in Florida. We had come from a northern magazine, where almost all of us wore suits or jackets and ties every day. The publisher was a fashion plate who said, “if you dress well, people will think you are prosperous, and if people think you are prosperous, you will be prosperous.”

Early in the game down here, we tried to retain that sincere suit habit, but it was tough when everywhere we went people, who up north would have been suited up, were not nearly so business-like in Florida. A banker here and there wore a suit and tie, but we kept meeting important business people who dressed casually. A first and memorable example was Tom Baroody, who was a financial guy. He had come down from Philadelphia as a partner with Joe Flanigan, founder of Big Daddy’s (now Flanigan’s) restaurant chain. The man who suggested we meet warned us to expect somebody unusual. “He doesn’t wear socks to work,” he said.

Sure enough, Tom had no socks on that day, and we don’t recall he had a jacket either. Probably a polo shirt, without a designer label. Baroody, who has been gone for two decades, was hardly alone. After the first summer or two, we understood why. In this tropical climate, folks wore as little as possible. And, in a few years, so did we. Today, when we need a suit (usually for a funeral) we have to brush the dust off the shoulders when we take it from the closet.

And so it comes to pass that in our fashion/style special, our friend Mario Argiro (of Moda Mario fame) is conspicuously without socks. And several of our style-conscious men are wearing jeans and checkered shirts, pretty much the way the Texas boys dressed at Gettysburg. Put a cowboy hat on them and they could be breaking horses in Wyoming. Except out there you do not have to take your Ferragamo shoes off to don those ankle-strangling pants.

But, as our gracious models say time and again, style has nothing to do with style. It has everything to do with how you feel. And how your wife feels when you have 3,000 ties you have never worn and drawers full of socks, some of which even match. And a warning, before a pivotal meeting, check out your victim. Some weirdos still wear socks.