TTN: How would you describe your style in college?
DG: It was the mid 70s. I think I attempted to be some sort of cross between Lou Reed and Roxie Music, this kind of urban cosmopolitan Bryan Ferry band. I grew up in Chicago, so we were kind of into the dark, urban look. Black, grey clothing. My hair was swooped back … there was more of it in my day, it was longer. Kind of a tough look.
TTN: How has your style changed since college?
DG: In the 70s and early 80s, it was all about punk. And I was actually young enough to think it was important. My hair got a lot shorter … I think I always sort of saw myself as a city guy. I grew up in the city, that was kind of always my look … what would you look like at 2 o’clock in the morning going down Main Street.
I think I’ve done my best to try not to fit in wherever I go, just to be myself. In Hawaii [where he taught at the University of Hawaii] I looked pretty funny. I walked too fast, I looked too mean. … I just didn’t have the Hawaii look – it’s a great look, but its just not who I am.
TTN: Where do you shop?
DG: One of the advantages of being a professor is traveling all over the world. And one of the greatest things in the world you can do is go to Asia, and they’ll make you clothes. And they’re cheap. A lot of the pants I have… you just tell them what you want, and they’re amazing. They’ll make you a beautiful pair of pants for like $15. I’ve been all over, I’ve been to Japan, I’ve been to Thailand … I spent a lot of time in Indonesia. I got a lot of clothes made in Indonesia, they have really great tailors in Bali. It’s a really funny way to get beautiful clothes made cheap. I’ve been all over Europe too, but no … it’s too expensive in Europe to buy clothes.
TTN: What’s the oldest piece of clothing in your closet?
DG: I think guys can relate to this. Clothes you wear to do sports… it’s really hard to give them up. That perfect sleeveless T-shirt, or those shorts where the crouch is already worn through but you can’t throw them out. I still have all my sports clothes and some of them are literally 25 years old. I gotta wear them – I have a pair of softball pants that I’ve been wearing for 30 years. Luckily my wife sews really well, who’s also a professor here, and she tries to keep my clothes in repair and gives me a hard time about my 25-year-old clothes.
TTN: Do you have any style icons?
DG: I’m too old to look to other people. If you don’t know what you want to wear by the time you’re in your 40s, then forget about it. You gotta worry about your own style, you can’t be chasing other people. That’s kind of what’s really strange about getting older because you realize, ‘Hey, I better know who I am and not keep looking outside myself to know how to feel and look and think.’
Unless you’re following the latest fashions and spending thousands of dollars to pursue it, you better know inside what you want.
TTN: Do you have any kids? Do they ever say anything about the way you dress, or vice versa?
DG: I have a son, he’s 19. My son and I have typical style wars. My kid’s kind of into the hip-hop punk look. I give him grief about his pants falling off and he gives me grief about my clothes being too tight.
TTN: What’s your favorite piece of clothing that you own?
DG: I had a great old man jacket that I wore all the time. It was gray plaid and it looked like some bum should be wearing it walking down the bowery with a wine bottle in his hand. I just thought, ‘This is the perfect jacket, this is who I am.’ I stole it from the closet of one of my good friend’s fathers, who had just given it up because it looked too much like a bum for him. It must have been from the early 60s. It eventually fell apart.. I wore it, and wore it, and wore it … it was a wreck. It was a great jacket, I still miss that jacket.
I bet it cost new about $8 – that was incredibly cheap. It was from somewhere like Sears.
TTN: Have students ever complimented your style?
DG: I think when you’re a professor what you want students to do is think that you project some kind of authority and what’s interesting is a lot of professors will do that by putting on the formal attire, the coat and tie… and I think I’ve been able to do that not dressing that way. I don’t know if they [students] think that’s cool but they’re like, “Well this guy seems to know what he’s doing.” And that’s my goal.