Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun
October 14, 2010
Earle Bannister, 43, loves the Brooks Brothers look. But he saves his own Brooks Brothers suits for special occasions. When he's working at the store at The Gallery at Harborplace, the Made-to-Measure specialist puts together outfits with that Brooks Brothers look -- without the Brooks Brothers price tag. Good thing he's a tailor and a veteran vintage shopper. When we "glimpsed" the Govans resident at work, his white and red striped dress shirt was a thrift-shop find to which he had added a white collar and cuffs that he'd gotten through Stadham Corp., a dry cleaning and laundry supply distributor. The red silk tie also came from a thrift store. He found his pocket square at Goodwill, along with the navy blue mini stripe suit. "It was custom made. I'm a tailor, so I can tell." Bannister then used his own tailoring skills to fit the suit to himself. The suit features side vents and narrow lapels. "It's the look that's coming back," he explains. His cordovan Beatle boots were also thrift store finds, as was his Burberry raincoat. He found the Invicta watch with the stingray band at King Tut Pawn on Howard Street. And his gold cufflinks and matching tie tack were part of a bag of more than 40 assorted sets from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s that Bannister won on eBay for $40. "I know how to shop," he says with a smile. But, Bannister doesn't hoard his treasures. "The secret is that you have to shop when you don't need anything. If I see something that's better quality than what I have, I get it. And then I'll donate the old piece to a thrift shop."