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Dapper Dane: Gent Adorns Vintage Look on Campus

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Sergio Aieta not only studies history, but also dresses in it.

Before driving to campus for class, Aieta, 21, spends part of his time searching for an outfit based on color, cut, and often, time period in European history.

This can take as long as two hours.

“I derive pleasure from trying on clothes anyway,” he said.

His selection process not only includes vintage clothing (namely German, Italian, and British attire), but also involves hats. Aieta has over 30 hats from fedoras to top hats.

And he prefers to not go outside without donning a hat.

“I think you’re not fully dressed if you’re going outdoors without a hat,” Aieta said. “The hat is like the icing on the cake.”

Lately, Aieta’s 20-minute commute to campus does not involve any specific hats or fashion accessories. However, when he decides to travel during the summer, his style choices are occasionally more specific: leather gloves, a silk scarf, and a flat cap.

Because much of his clothing is designed for colder climates, in the summer heat, Aieta often clings to safari-style cotton jackets, khaki plus fours, and pith helmets for comfort. As the temperature started to drop during the semester, he moved towards wearing navy blue blazers.

With the change in seasons, he has started wearing more tweed jackets, sweaters, and cricket jumpers. For Aieta, this is “dressing down.”

Regardless of season, all of Aieta’s outfit choices come after he shampoos, conditions, and waxes his handlebar mustache.

Aieta has maintained his mustache over the last two years after over a decade dreaming of sporting upper-lip facial hair. Since childhood he was drawn to handlebar mustaches by film characters such as Captain Hook in “Hook” (1991).

Much of his European style originated from exposure to fine art, classical music, history, and old films early on. He described his childhood as a “continental upbringing” with his father and grandparents from his mother’s side, all Italian immigrants.

Being exposed to old films, he credits much of his fashion after Terry Thomas, an English actor who often portrayed upperclass men in the 1950s and 1960s.

Despite not wearing vintage clothing regularly, Aieta started sporting a pocket watch along with period hats since kindergarten. Eager to collect vintage clothing since childhood, Aieta waited until he was fully grown before collecting old apparel.

He guessed his maximum growth during his sophomore year at Catholic High School in Troy based off of common height measurements within his immediate family.

Limited by a dress code at the private school, he often only wore vintage clothing at home.

From his start purchasing vintage attire, Aieta has not only left local shops with new clothing, but also with new friendships.

“You like seeing them,” Aieta said. “It’s a very personal type of interaction.”

When shopping for new finds across the area over time, Aieta said that he has never spent more than $100 on apparel. Meanwhile, his cheapest find was a jacket marked at 25 cents.

Under any cost, he makes an effort to maintain the quality of his clothing. Aieta visits a custom tailor whenever he finds rips and tears in his outfits.

From dry-cleaning visits to trips to his tailor, Aieta strives for his fashion efforts to leave a favorable impression on strangers.

“If you’re leaving your house, I think that you should look presentable,” Aieta said. “I think it is something that is kind of lacking.”

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