Style Profile: Unamerican Apparel

For Charles Malody, style means shopping overseas and never being underdressed.

Humanities instructor Charles Malody has been forced to accept myriad nicknames – Chuck, Charlie, Chaz – depending on how many men in the room shared his common moniker. Fortunately, the necessity of asserting his individuality has lent itself in time to great personal style. Malody is a varied bag of stylish tricks; Monday finds him in an ultra-minimal black-and-white look, while Tuesday brings a kaleidoscopic Cosby sweater and orange Vans sneakers. Apparently, a Charles by any other name is still fashionable, deliberately dressed – and very much himself.

Photograph by Andrew Waits for City Arts>

Full Name: Charles William Malody III
Gig: Humanities instructor, Seattle
Central Community College
Neighborhood: Queen Anne
What he’s wearing: Calvin Klein jacket (purchased in Portland), House T-shirt (Portland), Xanadu clip-on watch (Edinburgh), Giordano jeans (Beijing), John Varvatos shoes (Pittsburgh), socks (some long-forgotten airport gift shop)

Which style “rules” do you love to break? That each of us has the right to wear what we want in public.

Which item do you currently value the most in your wardrobe? A white T-shirt with a smattering of outlined dollar bills on it fluttering amongst an array of faces. On the surface it’s nice enough, but I have noticed that wherever I travel, people stop me and ask to trade for it – even in the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Where are your favorite places to shop? Abroad. There is more variety, they are more daring and accepting, and there is less pretension and more admiration for what someone else is doing. And, oh yes, there are more colors than brown and more shapes than square.

If you could blow all your cash on one item this very instant, what would you buy? I’d fly to Rome, roam around until I spotted some stunning look, ask the guy where he got it, go get it and then sit around at outdoor cafes for the next week being that new guy.

Which actor would you like to see play you in a film about your life? Madonna.

How does your particular discipline intersect with fashion for you? Hopefully it reinforces that reading and writing are hip, sexy, cool, to be emulated.

How did you become interested in your field? I was too smart for my own good. I’m in the ninety-eighth percentile in math, and so as a child of the ’60s I said, “Hell, no, I won’t go into math.” We were all warm and fuzzy then, and math had too many absolutes – I’m sure there’s a ring in hell for such decision makers. •