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25 Most Stylish Bostonians of 2010 -- Benson Willis

Benson Willis (Globe photo / Yoon S. Byun)
November 18, 2010

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Benson Willis

Age: 44

Occupation: General manager, Hotel Veritas, Cambridge; curator of pocket squares

Residence: Back Bay

Is there a management style that helps in today’s technology-influenced hospitality industry? What I particularly enjoy and have always enjoyed is the small-hotel and small-restaurant part of the industry. I think you can have much more interesting conversations with guests, and you can get to know them so much better.

In terms of dress, how do you keep things light and dynamic? I’m not a very formal person. To me, we’re running a hotel, and it’s supposed to be a fun experience. We’re not attorneys, we’re not in the funeral home business, and I think that your clothes should represent your business in some way, and we try to be a fun little hotel where people that like design and aesthetics would come and appreciate it, so I try to dress in the same way. We have a lot of layers and texturing with the materials we use at the hotel, so I try to do the same thing with the clothes that I wear, with pocket silks that some people would say don’t match my tie, or match my shirt, and I’m absolutely OK with that.

Speaking of the pocket silk, it’s a staple of your wardrobe. Any wisdom on its use?

I’m big on wearing clothes as long as humanly possible, and one thing I’ve done a few times is recycle old shirts I used to love as pocket silks. There’s this really cool pair of Paul Smith shorts that I used to wear. They were really comfortable and had a really fun design, a little plaid pattern in them, and when it was finally time to retire those shorts, I just cut a square out of it, and now I sometimes wear that as a pocket square.

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