By John Linderman
Elm Staff Writer
Inside William Smith Hall on the third floor is the office of Dr. Richard Striner, professor of history, and a published author of over four books. His topic of specialty is President Abraham Lincoln, and Dr. Striner offers a multitude of classes at Washington College on the Civil War, Early American History, and cinema. His office library is gilded with historic books, most of them on 19th to 20th century American history. The colors of the books combined form what seem to be a tattered cloud of beige. Framed photos of men’s fashion advertisements are displayed on the posterior bookcase. Adjacent to his desk is a mysteriously large and black armoire, slightly ajar.
One of the most notable traits upon meeting Dr. Striner is his impeccable vintage style. According to his WC page, “He is known for his engaging lectures and elegantly retro wardrobe.”
Q: Simply, what does style mean to you?
A: “When it comes to style… have very strong feelings as to how I dress myself. For a long time, I have loved many aspects of early 20th century design. Something about that era appeals to me, the 1930s in particular. It seems paradoxical because of the Great Depression. Then, people cared more for dressing up to help relieve emotional and financial stress. The clothes sold to the middle class were meant to mimic the wealthy. These clothes brought a sense of hope in elegant style.”
Q: What eras of history contribute to your wardrobe?
A: “All the way from the 1910s to the 1950s, for a number of reasons. Elegance and comfortable.”(Dr. Striner proceeds to stand up and show how ‘sculptured and draped’ his trousers are.) “Modern clothes are too tight. It is perpetually 1961 to some people. Things are so static and wrong, from color, texture, thinness. They are crude and harsh. You have to be different, individualistic, and abandon hesitance. One may find these clothes on eBay; the key word is ‘vintage.’ I have gotten into many bidding wars, it is a tense scene. One mustn’t forget Etsy either.”
Q: Do you feel you have more to add to your wardrobe or are things feeling content?
A: “Running out of closet space. I do sell vintage clothing, and my contracts with a theatrical clothing department keeps things fresh.”
Q: How do you add flare to your wardrobe?
A: “Well, you have to have stock of basic components. Blazers, trousers, combinations with outfits.”
Q: What is one piece of advice you can give to people when it comes to style?
A: “I can’t advise anyone, except to be yourself. Give yourself the freedom to dress however you like. If you can imagine yourself being cool in it, then you might become cool.”
Behind the numerous campaigns of eBay bidding wars and history memorabilia is a professor with a keen eye for sense in style. It remains unknown if all the secrets behind his wardrobe were uncovered, but what remains is the man’s remarks on the subject: individualism, history, and Etsy.
Know somebody with impeccable taste? Recommend them to be in the next feature of Red Brick Runway. Email the Lifestyle Editor at email@example.com.