Briefcase. Check. Hat. Check. Violin. Check.
For senior Alec Gross, these three items, coupled with his impeccable sense of style, make up his daily ensemble. Hosting a wide range of eccentricities, from a taste for classic French film to a talent for the electric mandolin, Gross is anything but ordinary.
The Spectator: Where did you get that sport coat?
Alec Gross: This one I got at a thrift store near my house on 79th Street and Broadway.
TS: How would you describe your personal style?
AG: I don’t really know. I mean, I never really thought consciously about my own style or anything. I just sometimes, you know, I see something. Usually in like, a movie. I don’t know—I sort of like old movies. So like, I guess if I see something, like a hat or a kind of coat or something, I’ll keep an eye out for it.
TS: Which old movies?
AG: I like 50s and 60s movies. Hitchcock is cool, or like, Jean-Luc Godard. Like Breathless.
TS: Would you say Godard is one of your icons?
AG: I wouldn’t really call anybody my icon, but yeah, I mean, he influenced me. […] I like his movies.
TS: Would you say you’re your own icon?
AG: I’m not sure if I would say I’m my own icon, but I don’t believe in trying to imitate people. I mean I don’t have like, a hero. I don’t see anyone as being the ideal person.
TS: What about a firefighter?
AG: It depends what firefighter. I think some of them are probably cool.
TS: How did you dress in middle school?
AG: I went to a private school, so it had a dress code. I guess when I wanted to I just wore t-shirts and jeans and stuff. Even early in high school.
TS: What influenced the change in wardrobe?
AG: Nothing in particular, it was pretty gradual. I guess in the ninth grade and like, late into eighth grade I was sort of into hippies. […] Some of them wore some crazy clothes. I remember Hunter S. Thompson was one. There was never one day [when] I made a decision to start dressing like this. […] I bought like, a shirt once that I thought looked kind of cool. It was a button-down shirt, and then it just sort of evolved.
TS: What’s one accessory that you wouldn’t be caught without?
AG: I would say my pocket watch, but I seem to be caught without it.
TS: Have you ever been approached to do modeling?
AG: I’ve been approached for it. It’s not really something I’m interested in. I wouldn’t like to think that that would be my contribution to the world. I’m not sure that I would really want to be judged by the way I look more than anything else.
TS: Do any of your friends ask for fashion advice?
AG: No. Not my close ones.
TS: Has anyone ever commented on your spiffy attire?
AG: I’d say about daily. A few times daily.
TS: Do you have a favorite compliment to date?
AG: On the train one day last year, a man looked up at me and I was wearing some like, crazy striped pants or something, and I had my briefcase. He said, “Man, you look like you’re going to work at the crack factory.” And I liked that. I was like, “Yeah, maybe I should drop out of school and go work at the crack factory. Doesn’t sound so bad.”
TS: Do you dress up for Halloween?
AG: Yeah, actually. Last year I did. I think some people remember it, where I… do you not know it?
TS: I can’t remember!
AG: I wore a big trench coat and I put on a top hat and I wore sunglasses and I wrapped a scarf around my face. And then under it, I was naked, and I taped a smiley face to my groin. […] And this year I was sick.
TS: What is your heritage?
AG: That’s a secret. […] Okay, well, I’ll tell you. I’m half Native American, half Hawaiian.
AG: No. I’m actually half French, half Peruvian.
TS: That’s cool.
AG: No, I’m not that either.
TS: I would believe all of those.
AG: I know, everybody does. That’s why I do it.
Dress like Alec Gross
322 E. 81 St. between 1st and 2nd Avenues
218 W. 14 St. between 7th and 8th Avenues.