Sure, Los Angeles has Disney Hall, but when it comes to City Hall, downtown has long needed a makeover. Look at San Francisco, whose current mayor, Gavin Newsom, recently made Esquire magazine's best-dressed list, upholding a proud local tradition exemplified by his predecessor, dandy par excellence Willie Brown. With wannabe mayors throwing their haberdashery into the ring for L.A.'s election next spring, there's no excuse for dowdiness in the world capital of celebrity stylists. We asked Eddie Schachnow, a stylist with Celestine Agency who has given men and women that je ne sais quoi for shoots at magazines such as GQ, Esquire and Vogue, and has dressed Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Jeff Bridges, Hayden Christensen, Sidney Poitier and others, to give the current contenders a few pointers.
(D-San Fernando Valley; State Senator)
Ah, yes, the blue oxford shirt syndrome. He seems to be wearing a version of it all the time. Men feel safe in it. But to stand out against the competition, he should mix in some patterns and different textures. And he needs to watch his tie length--he seems to tie them too long; it should hit right at the belt. Also, the mustache is a flashback to 1978. I'd just get rid of it. I mean, 1978 is hot--but only on young hipster types.
He tries, but he's missing it. His coats are a bit boxy and his ties are very '80s. But he's a handsome guy. Bigger knots and a stronger collar would help frame his face. And what's up with the denim shirt that he wears as "casual" attire? That hideous thing needs to go. But I'm totally into his not wearing a tie. It's a great representation of this city. He could really loosen up, go with more color. I mean, he's the mayor of L.A.! I'm not saying go buy Juicy track suits, but he could use a trip to Brooks Bros.
(D-Sherman Oaks; former Assembly Speaker)
Doesn't he remind you of the history teacher you had in eighth grade? He should relax the hair and get a more flattering pair of glasses. He's seems to have a cookie-cutter Washington politician look. I'm thinking Newt Gingrich for some reason. He's not about clothes, and that's fine. Maybe he's a genius in office, but he needs help in the style department. I'd get lighter-colored suits, to make him seem less formal. But I have to say, he ties a good knot.
(City Councilman; former L.A. police chief)
He'd look great in glasses, even if he doesn't need them. He has distinguished salt-and-pepper hair, the tall build--and glasses would set that off perfectly. He could even do a little beard with the mustache. Sometimes he's got the monochromatic thing going, which works for him. You can tell he appreciates style--he does the pocket squares, he's got more range in color--but he's pushing the limit with ties. Some of them look like he works at Olive Garden.
(City Councilman; former Assembly Speaker)
You gotta give him credit for wearing pinstripe suits and knowing how to choose a sharp tie, but the suits seem a bit early '90s. I need to introduce him to a good tailor. And, say it with me: Pink is OK. He could really play with color. Save the dark suits for a funeral. He seems so friendly and accessible, and he's got such great hair and a nice smile, it's time to show that off.