By Maxine Slater
Photography by Boo Elliott
Often sporting vibrant patterns in ‘suit-and-tie’ attire, math teacher Mr. Eric Scott is not hard to notice as he traverses the Beacon halls and peers into various classrooms. No matter the weather or time of year, Mr. Scott dresses to impress with lavish houndstooth sport coats, blackwatch ties, and a plethora of colorful pocket squares–a conspicuous look that has certainly earned him a fashionable reputation among Beacon’s student body.
Mr. Scott’s love for fashion began in high school, when his membership in two business-oriented clubs tasked him with looking spiffy on occasional “dress-for-success” days. Mr. Scott soon acclimated to this “shirt-and-tie” look, as he found himself donning the outfit on a biweekly basis. It didn’t hurt that Mr. Scott’s older brother was a Polo fan in the brand’s heyday, providing Mr. Scott a source of fashion inspiration that imbued his high school wardrobe with a preppy flare and furthered his interest in the art of appearance. Another source of inspiration was Mr. Scott’s father, a small business owner who bore pride in his professional presentation, cultivating an earthy style from his Alabamian and Vermont roots.
Yet Mr. Scott only acutely reconsidered his style after college, when he began teaching students who were only a few years younger than him. The age difference between Mr. Scott and his senior pupils was so marginal, in fact, that he was repeatedly asked to procure a student ID upon entering the school. Eager to change this perception, Mr. Scott revisited his wardrobe, swapping more casual attire for formal shirts and ties. He soon dressed up to the part of an archetypical academic. Here, Mr. Scott laid the foundation for his increasingly extravagant fashion, frequenting a formal look that would grow all the more ornate in the years to come.
Though Mr. Scott never considered a career in fashion, his interest in the field grew more serious after meeting his spouse. Citing a wife who “dresses a lot better than [he does],” Mr. Scott is candid in admitting that a younger, pre-marriage version of himself was keen on “stepping up [his fashion] game” to match his style-savvy future partner. From then on, he made an even more concerted effort to transform his closet and level the fashion playing field between him and his wife.
Mr. Scott’s interest in fashion is more than sport. It once landed him exclusive backstage access to New York’s Fashion Week shows as a VIP photographer. Although the opportunity may seem alluring to the ‘common-fashioner,’ Mr. Scott recalled attending these shows with less than enthusiasm: “[It] was just some models wearing clothes getting ready backstage.”
Beyond new trends, a primary inspiration for Mr. Scott’s fashion immersion is his work as a math teacher. Mr. Scott’s love of “simplistic, classic patterns” and “similarity” has fueled his purchase of clothing with seemingly mathematical style, namely the “herringbone” blazers and the striped ties for which he is known. He believes it is his inclination to “recognize relationships between patterns” that has engendered his renegade love for mixing patterns in his outfits, a taste Mr. Scott is proud to embrace.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Mr. Scott purchases the bulk of his clothing second-hand. Indeed, when I inquired as to his favorite brands, Mr. Scott enumerated the anticipated few – “Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, J Crew, and Uniqlo” – but only after emphasizing that the majority of his wardrobe was thrifted from eBay. As if I was not already thoroughly impressed, he went on to point to nearly every item of clothing he was wearing – including his suit, tie, pocket square, and shoes – and announced their second-hand origins. To top it off, all of the items that Mr. Scott purchases cost under $90, a rather unforeseen quality given the expensive look of his bright suits and extravagant ties.
As a Beacon fashion icon, Mr. Scott is kind enough to impart some “‘wardrobe wisdom” and share stylistic counsel with his listeners. As opposed to rigidly dictating what or ‘who’ to wear, a matter of deep contention, Mr. Scott advised “wearing what is most comfortable” and “what will make you the happiest.” Although not every high school student’s closet may seem the most fashion-forward, Mr. Scott wholeheartedly believes that “as long as you like what you wear” and “you feel good in [it],” you are undoubtedly a style success.