Job: Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, Massachusetts Housing and Economic Development
Tell me about your hair. Well, my mother says, 'It takes a lot of money to look that
cheap.' I wouldn't say I dye my hair, but it's a lot of highlights. I'm actually a natural redhead.
Who does your hair? I go to Gino on Holyoke Street in Cambridge. It's an interesting
crowd: academic yet hip. You can go there and see Yo-Yo Ma and his wife.
Describe your personal style? I'd say English traditional with an Alabama twist. I am
not someone who is always chasing fads or trends. I spent a fair amount of time at Oxford on a Rhodes
fellowship. My style wasn't created there, but I think it was reinforced. Many would call it
traditional, but it's also subversive and ironic. You cannot wear pinstripe suits and have my hair
What else do you wear? Lots of English striped shirts, Thomas Pink shirts, Hermes ties,
French cuffs. It's a very traditional English bespoke look. When I'm dressing casually, I'm a fair bit
on the waspy side. One of my favorite items is my hand-needlepoint belt.
Kind of preppy then? Yes. I remember reading the "Official Preppy Handbook," but it
wasn't until I got to New England that I discovered it was an anthropological survey of a real
You know, sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself on the weekends and I look alarmingly like Ray
Romano. If I looked like Ray Romano, I wouldn't leave the house for awhile. I like to think
that my style reflects who I am. It's aspirational, too -- it's who I want to be. Here on Beacon Hill,
suits are kind of the uniform. It's a sea of blue suits and red-striped ties. The bar is not set that
high to be Beau Brummell. There are lots of ways you can be distinctive.
Where do you get fashion ideas or inspiration? Oh, I would say from movies and popular
culture. There are iconic looks like David Beckham, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and even Daniel Craig. I
admire a contemporary-cool look that isn't forced. It's disingenuous to say Brad Pitt's look is
effortless — I'm sure he has a team of stylists - but it doesn't look forced. People deviate from
the classic at their peril.
Details or GQ? I'm embarrassed to admit, both.
"Project Runway"? I've never seen it. Depending on where my hair is, people say I
remind them of Tim Gunn.
Hard to believe you grew up in Alabama. I remember getting GQ when I was in high
school. It was partly a way of escaping the world I was in, but there is an aspect of Southern culture
that is very stylish. I'm sure I was the only kid I knew who backpacked through Europe with a shoe tree.
What's the last item of clothing you bought? I bought a handful of shirts at Thomas
Pink. But commissioning white tie for my wedding — the shirt was done in London, the waistcoat,
etc. — that was production.
Is there a style you just hate? I see a lot of women with bare midriffs. I can't
understand where that started and why anyone think it looks good.
How about shoes? Are you a big loafer guy? Anything you won't wear? No. Casually, I
tend to wear English leather boots, or I'll wear flip flops or sandals. I would not see myself wearing
Crocs. It's just not something I'd wear.
Anything in your closet you just can't do without? First, I would say that in a world
where there are so many people without, it's impossible to think that way. But I'd have to say I'd be
hard pressed to live without black tie. It would significantly impact the things I do and the
invitations I accept. I remember saving and going to Brooks Brothers to purchase a tuxedo. It was
extravagant for me, but without it, I would have been constrained in what I could do at Oxford and ever
since. I don't wear it everyday, but I love having it.