Source 230: Clothier of an Idol contestant


by Brian Clarey

Did you catch ‘“American Idol’” last week?

You don’t have to lie. Sure it might cost you a couple of cool points but it’s hard not to get caught up in the annual TV amateur hour, especially when we’ve got a horse in the race, and more especially because that horse is Chris Daughtry.

If you were watching last week you saw Daughtry, the smooth-pated wailer from McLeansville, tackle ‘“Higher Ground’” in a chopped synthesis of styles that managed to pay homage at once to Stevie Wonder and the Red Hot Chili Peppers while still allowing the singer to stay true to his hard rock roots.

The kid was good, damn good, and he seems to be a real contender for the title. If you were watching last week then it’s likely you’ll agree.

You also might have noticed, if you were watching, that Daughtry not only sounded good’… he looked good too. That’s because he’s getting a sweet hookup from some friends back home.

‘“He and his wife Deanna came in over the summer,’” says Dana Gladson, owner of Source 230 Distinctive Menswear in downtown Greensboro. She’s at her desk in the office in back, dishing about the hometown hero.

‘“He did say he was going to audition for ‘American Idol,’ ‘… and his wife made him sing for us. He belted out a song in the middle of the store. He was phenomenal. He was a little hesitant, but we were incredibly impressed.’”

Daughtry bought some Kenneth Cole dress shirts that Gladson says ‘“fit him extremely well.’”

When he survived the first few rounds of the competition, she got a phone call from a friend.

‘“He said, ‘I just saw your shirt on TV,”” she recalls. ‘“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I need to send him some clothes.””

Through the friend she was able to get Deanna’s phone number. The clothier called her and made an offer.

‘“Chris called me back within ten minutes,’” she says. ‘“He gave me his sizes and we put a box together for him.’”

She sent some Kenneth Cole and some pricey jeans, and he’s been rocking them on-camera ever since.

‘“[His style is] very edgy. He definitely knows what he likes: a very well-fitting pair of jeans, not too dressy, a little distressed,’” she says. ‘“Boots. He likes well-fitting dress shirts. He likes a little contour because he’s got the frame for it. He wears the clothes really well.’”

She’s currently putting together another care package for the local idol, a few Ted Baker button-downs and some jeans that he’ll get in time for this week’s program.

‘“At this point [in the competition] they have stylists,’” she says, ‘“but I don’t know if he’s been given anything.’”

Source 230 has been open on Elm Street since last summer, when it immediately began giving fashion-conscious Greensboro men a collective case of the Gots-to-Haves, as in ‘“I gots to have that Ben Sherman double-vented blazer made from silky laine wool,’” or, ‘“I gots to have those Kenneth Cole Central Park jeans,’” or, ‘“I gots to have those tobacco brown, three-quarter rise wing tips.’”

Gladson is looking at shoes right now, the Ted Baker Fall Collection, choosing what she’ll be vending for the cooler months. She’ll cary the wing tips, she decides, an array of slippers, lace-ups and slim loafers and also a style of chocolate brown buckled motorcycle boots.

The boots? Gots to have, though they’ll run a fairly steep $265.

Gladson shrugs.

‘“I bought in some Kenneth Cole’s last year. They were priced at 215 and people didn’t bat an eye.’” She discloses an industry secret: ‘“Guys pay more for shoes.’”

The room is stark and tasteful, with a dozen display racks positioned at sensible intervals on the floor bearing high-profile suits, cutting-edge T-shirts, trendy dress clothes and a hundred different shades of denim.

‘“I try not to get too out there, too funky. I mean we are in the South and Greensboro is a small city. If we were in Atlanta’…,’” she trails off.

She’s on the floor of her store, next fall’s shoes arranged in an arc around her. She runs her hand along the row of them, examining their buttery uppers, their crepe soles, their gentle arches, and she seems to have come down with a twinge of the Gots-to-Haves herself.

‘“This is where I get in trouble,’” she says, ‘“and I can’t even wear the stuff.’”

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