If you follow this column, you probably know that one of my pet peeves involves people who never develop a style that is uniquely their own.

But every so often I meet a person who exudes individuality. Chris Capel is one of them.

So starting today, I begin a monthly Q&A that highlights such individuals.

At 6-feet-4, Capel is hard to miss. When I first spotted him he wore a red, green, white, blue and yellow small plaid scarf that was so hot I wanted to snatch it from his neck and keep it for myself. Instead, I asked him about his look.

Name: Christopher Gregory Capel

Age: 30

Occupation: Services Coordinator for the Performance Learning Center, Charlotte- Mecklenburg Schools

How would you describe your style?
My style is creatively simple.

Who or what inspires your look?
Life is my inspiration — culture, mindsets, colors, music, people, texture, freedom, moods, places, climate, dreams, etc. The list can go on and on.

Where do you shop?
I don’t really have one particular store. I go to random places. Sometimes it’s stores in the malls, other times it’s thrift stores. I just like what I like and make it work for me. I believe style or fashion comes from within. It’s about expression, visual art. In order for the message to be received and believable, we have to first believe in ourselves and what it is that we’re doing. That applies to style, art, music, careers, relationships, everything. It’s about the state of mind and not being afraid to be brilliant.

What fashion designers do you admire?
Hmm… right off top I have to say that I really dig the guys of Dsquared. I appreciate how they take things that are traditional and add so much flavor. When I see their stuff I can feel the vibe that they intended to give.

Are you a shoe fanatic?
LOL… I wouldn’t say fanatic, but I have a good number of shoes. Over 30 pairs and they range from Timberlands to Chucks, from Italian loafers to combat boots. I like diversity.

What item in your wardrobe can’t you live without?
I can not live without my jeans. I am a jeans and T-shirt cat.

What’s your latest fashion obsession?
Scarves. I have a bin in my closet with nothing but scarves. It’s safe to say that my neck will never be cold.

What grooming products do you use?
Neutrogena products. As a friend of mine would say, “It is the answer to some things.”

What’s your favorite cologne?
“Paris for Men” by Paris Hilton. The first time I smelled it I smiled, and I have the same reaction every time I wear it.

Do you think people are born with style, or is it something that’s learned?
I think it’s a combination of the two. Some people are just born with a self awareness that allows them the courage to explore the world around them and to choose to be a little different from the crowd. Some people, I think, are victims of circumstance and have never had anyone tell them or show them that it is OK to be you and try different things… Style cannot be dictated. It has to be discovered, and the only way to do that is to try, try, try. To not be afraid of what other people may say is the first and the hardest step.

Name one style rule you never break.
I don’t subscribe to all of those “rules.” I just do me the best way that I know how.

Style Advice to others:
I wouldn’t call it advice but rather a message; Live beyond the expectations. So often we get caught up on what other people believe and other people’s opinions that we neglect our own. We tend to put things and people into categories or boxes, and when we come across those that don’t seem to fit the assigned labels we automatically shun them… There is a wonderfully magnificent world out there that is just begging for us to come and hang out and learn and do, but we have to be willing and open to all that may happen and everything that is out there. A small step could be, because this is about style, doing something unexpected in the wardrobe. I’m talking something as small as trying a new color, especially for men. Try a different pattern, or shape or texture or store. Start there and see what happens.

(Lashawnda K. Becoats is a lifestyle consultant and owner of La Concierge in Charlotte. Email her at la@concierge.la. Read her column here each Thursday, only on Qcitymetro.)

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