Editor's note: This article was published in Grand Traverse Scene magazine's Spring 2019 issue. Pick up a free copy at area hotels, visitor's centers, chambers of commerce or at the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. Click here to read GT Scene in its entirety online.
Alex Zelinski likes to think he started the patterned sock fad.
“I like to think that I helped start the sock revolution. I’m a huge sock collector,” he said, noting that he has socks for every holiday, many from a subscription box service.
His shopping habits go beyond socks, though his favorite thing to buy is clothes. He readily admits that his wife never has to shop for him, as he enjoys doing it himself.
He also knows how to find a great deal. Every Black Friday Zelinski buys six pairs of black chino slacks from Banana Republic.
“You can dress them up and you can dress them down,” he said. “I kinda have a set style that I stick to. I’m kind of a solid color kind of guy, or I wear super basic patterns.”
Classic Johnston & Murphy shoes are his current favorite footwear, but he also has a few pairs of Steve Madden shoes.
“People in my office always say I’m the best dressed, or they say I’m the most fancy,” Zelinski said. “It’s part of the job … you’ve gotta dress to impress ... You never know who you’ll run into or who you’ll meet with. You got to look your best at all times.”
Zelinski is the director of corporate partnerships at the National Cherry Festival, and he often changes clothes two or three times throughout a work day, said Kat Paye, director of the National Cherry Festival and Zelinski’s boss.
“I joke about how he’s Mr. GQ around here,” Paye said. “It’s very good to see someone that is a professional in the industry who knows how to be well-dressed. It is not unlike Alex to see him in two to three outfits in one day,” especially when wardrobe changes are necessitated by work like unloading a trailer for the festival.
He’s also always ready for the camera, she said.
“He gets to do a lot of media interviews, because he’s far better dressed than the rest of us,” Paye said. “Not only is he the most fashionable one of the bunch, but I also use him for fashion for myself and my husband.”
Paye said she sometimes takes photos of outfits she picked out for her husband and brings them to work to show Zelinski, hoping for his approval.
“Alex is very honest and tells me what he thinks,” she said. “Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong.”
Paye admits that she’s starting to improve her wardrobe for herself and her husband, thanks to Zelinski.
“I’m getting better at it,” she said, adding that her husband still doesn’t trust her fashion choices. “My husband is not going to listen to me, but he’s certainly going to listen to Alex.”
Zelinski also loves shopping for books — both online and at bookstores.
“I love going to bookstores, and I’m always buying books on Amazon,” he said. “Whenever my wife and I go on vacation, we always go to a bookstore.”
As a couple, they like to buy second-hand furniture and refurbish each piece into something beautiful.
“My wife is pretty creative and artistic,” Zelinski said.
One thing he’d still like to see is more men wearing scarves.
“I’m trying to revolutionize scarves now,” he said. “Scarves and hats … I have a lot of them.”