Eberhart: Brookside’s League of Extraordinary
Gentlemen Do Wine/Fashion

By JOHN MARK EBERHART - www.kcconfidential.com

So … whatever happened to Bill Rainey Jr., trendsetter deluxe and former owner of 39th Street’s late, great B Blaze men’s clothing store?
Rainey closed B Blaze in late summer of 2004. But he’s doing just fine these days, thank you, as an ace face in the suit department at Nordstrom in Overland Park.

And on an unluckily rainy Wednesday night, he and fellow style maven Tom Paolini drew about 25 people to the inaugural Men’s Style League event at wine, 112 W. 63rd in Brookside.
Rainey’s presentation on the “art of the suit” was a fashion tour de force for most fellows who find the whole idea of buying new duds to be … well … intimidating.

The information gleaned should prove to be a real time saver for those who attended. For example, I know now not even to attempt to buy an Armani. Why? Let’s just say that at age 48, even after getting into the best shape I’ve been in since, oh, the late 1990s, I’m probably never going to see my early-thirtysomething silhouette again, and Armani’s are cut too close to my big bones.

This league of extraordinary gentlemen isn’t just about looking good in the mirror, though; it’s about social responsibility and service. One aim of Wednesday’s meeting: Begin the process of collecting donated clothing to put together working and interview wardrobes for those in need.

But this roomful of gents did look hot, according to one of the women who attended. In an era when many men go out — even on the town — looking like they just fell out of bed and put on whatever they’d thrown on the floor the night before, this crew was an exception.

“I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen a roomful of men so well-dressed,” she said breathlessly. “I was very impressed.”
We craved clarification. So, young lady, what you’re basically saying is that this was a pretty sexy evening? Her response: Vigorous nodding and a sultry “yes.”

We craved further clarification: So poofy pocket squares, two-toned shoes and well-tied bow ties are badges of brute manliness? More vigorous nodding, perhaps even some facial flushing.

Maybe the vino had gone to her head. Also on hand at Wednesday’s meeting: The no-less-than stunning Andrea Bough, owner of wine, who generously poured reds, whites and a crisp sparkling wine for the assembled. Drop by the store at 112 W. 63rd for a taste or call her with your enological questions at 816-444-2444 (store) or 816-896-0207 (mobile).

More goodies: The hosts raffled off prizes that included a bottle of wine, some manly pampering at Prairie Village’s Sole Patch Barbershop (www.solepatchbarbers.com or 913-381-8800) and a gift certificate from Nordie’s.

Want to get on the evite list for the next Style League event, which should be sometime this summer or early fall? I’ll make it easy for you: Drop me a line at j.eberhart@sbcglobal.net and I’ll pass your e-mail on to the organizers.