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25 Most Stylish Bostonians of 2008 -- Jeff Lahens and Shawn Harris

By Ami Albernaz
Globe Correspondent / November 18, 2008
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Jeff Lahens

Age: 32

Job: Co-owner, ECC Life and Style clothiers

Residence: Watertown

What does style mean to you? I would say style is more than the clothes you wear; it's the way you walk, you talk, your personality. Your style defines who you are.

You dress some high-powered people - executives, lawyers, athletes. How do you customize their clothing to fit their personalities? A lot of times you find a guy who says 'I'm conservative.' He needs to dress that way for his job. Sometimes we add details like contrasting lining - if it's a gray suit, sometimes it'll have a red dragon lining. So they can look conservative on the outside, and like a rock star on the inside.

Who do you like to wear? ECC, of course. I have to wear my clothes. If I go to the grocery store, I'll wear my button-down shirt, because we do casual shirts as well . . . When I want to dress down I would wear my [Converse] Chucks or PF Flyers by New Balance.

Which designers inspire you? Ozwald Boateng. He's an English designer and his clothes have a lot of bright colors inspired by his home country [Ghana].

Do you think something's missing in the way men dress today? I think people are afraid to dress up sometimes. They'll think, 'I'm more comfortable wearing my jeans than wearing my slacks.' They think it takes a lot of work. But if you put on a white shirt, navy blue suit, and a bold tie - it can be any color, but it has to pop - you're good to go. You can go from the office to the bar and fit right in.

Shawn Harris

Age: 33

Job: Co-owner, ECC Life and Style clothiers

Residence: Norton

How would you define style? For me, it's an individual choice, a lifestyle choice. It's what you think of yourself. There are a lot of larger designers who like to define style for folks, but the fact of the matter is that style is defined by the individual wearing the garment, how they like to blend fabrics and textures and colors to express themselves.

ECC seems to pride itself on its attention to detail. Would you say that this precision is part of being stylish? If you're wearing a pinstripe garment, you look at how the lines line up on your lapel, how the lines line up on the shoulder. You look at hand stitching, the way the pants are built. With mass production, you're unable to get a handle on the quality that's required to build a truly superior piece of art. For some of the shirts we make for some athletes, we look at how many years they've been in their respective league, if they're a captain . . . If we were making a shirt for Paul Pierce, for example, it might have a 10 on it, or captain bars on the lapels. The details all have purpose and meaning.

Your company is known for outfitting Doc Rivers. Were there any coaches or athletes you thought were particularly stylish? I thought Pat Riley [former LA Lakers, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat coach, and current Miami Heat president] dressed particularly well. He had a classicness . . . I'm a big believer in classic: not too baggy, not too extremely snug, tight, or fit. Jeff and I are big on that.

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