When hes not busy appearing on reality television or writing style and grooming advice for the masses, Atlanta's Aaron Marino can be found saving fashion-challenged men across the country, one computer programmer at a time.
How did you get involved in your line of work?
I used to own a fitness center, and I had a male client that came up to me one day and was like, Hey, I dont know what to wear on a date. And I said, Well, why dont I come over and well go through your closet? By the way you need a haircut, so let my take you to my stylist. You also need to trim your nose hair. I had no idea that I was setting the groundwork for an actual career.
Describe a typical day as an image consultant. What is it that you do?
I meet somebody at their house, and from that point we start going through all their old clothes. The idea is to create the best possible picture of somebody. Its basically fashion smoke and mirrors. We take a gentlemans best attributes and maximize them while simultaneously minimizing the negatives.
Where do you think your sense of style comes from?
Im Italian, baby. One of my earliest memories was taping the end of my pants going to kindergarten, because I didnt like the way they flared out. My wife likes to joke that Im a gay man with a straight penis.
What is your typical client like?
GQ is not my average client; its not a 23-year-old, six- foot-two model. My clients are regular guys. If their pants are ironed, they're in good shape.
What are peoples responses when you tell them youre an image consultant?
If Im talking to a bunch of computer guys, they think an image consultant is someone who works on graphics. The first question is, Well whats that? And I say, "Well Im an image consultant for men. I help men look their best so they can have more sex." Is that inappropriate?
So have you ever had a client that was unwilling to take your advice?
Absolutely. A lot of times, there will be the moment of reckoning with clients, when I have to say, Hey youre paying me. You need to trust me. Im not going to do anything that is going to make you look silly. Its difficult for them, because Im a third party. I dont have to sit next to you in church, I dont have to sit next to you at dinner, and I dont love you. So I dont need to sugarcoat anything and blow smoke up your butt.
Sometimes you help your clients prepare for first dates. Whats that process like? Do you have special words of wisdom that you give them?
I basically help plan the perfect date. I will grab a guy, turn him towards a mirror and say, Would you kiss you? If not, then weve got to make you sexy." I can make anybody sexy, relatively speaking.
What would you say is the most common style error that men make?
Wearing clothes that dont fit them properly, be it too lose, too tight, or too baggy. You want to create a visual streamline, and anything that takes away from the line from your neck to your toe weve got to change. If there is something your eye gets hung up on, weve got to modify. If you have an over-sized belly, we can minimize it. But wearing over-sized shirts and jackets is just drawing more attention to the size of the person. Also, it's important to pay a little bit of extra money to get clothes tailored.
You were a contestant on Vh1s "Glam God"?
Yeah, and I also I just finished up production on a new reality show that my producer and I are starting to shop around, called Man Made Style. Its basically taking what I do and making it a little bit more fun for television and chronicling it
So what was the "Glam God" experience like?
It was a train wreck, but the experience was interesting. I realized very fast that they were casting for specific types of people. I was cast as the normal, everyday guy that just happens to know more about fashion than football. It didnt work out because I dont really care about what they're doing on the runways of Milan and Paris. Thats not what Im about. I want to help people come up with real-world solutions to their current problems. High fashion doesnt interest me.
Name one male icon past or present with impeccable style.
I think Frank Sinatra. Guys back in the '50s and '60s understood that you had to put yourself together and you had to look good. Your clothes were tailored and they were pressed. Modern day, Id say George Clooney always looks good, though it's sort of safe and boring. Tom Cruise understands dressing to maximize his height. David Beckham is fantastic, because he takes a lot of style risks. Patrick Dempsey, since hes gotten his contract with Armani, is always dressed pretty sharp now. Theres so much to choose from.
Do you have any favorite stores in Atlanta that you like to go to, not for your clients but for your personal shopping?
This is boring, but I love Macys, because you have such a variety of different designers and clothing. I also like K&G. It's cheap, it's discount but you can also get some great stuff there. As far as high-end stores, Guffeys is great if youre looking for anything custom made or tailored. But youre going to pay $1,200 to $1,500 dollars for a sports coat
For all the guys out there, any final words of advice?
Understand your body, understand how clothes send a message, and dress yourself the best that you possibly can. And dont take yourself too seriously.
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