GU Fashion Spotlight: President Thayne McCulloh

As the last fashion spotlight of the school year, we thought who better to interview than the very face of Gonzaga himself: President Thayne McCulloh. Besides…what other university’s president would sit down and talk fashion?! Dive into Thayne’s personal style influences, what he wears when he’s lounging around the house, what he thinks about student fashion, and then some.

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SO: We all know the suited-up Thayne that we see at public events, galas and in pictures. What is a typical Thayne outfit when you’re not required to wear a suit?

TM: Well, I do wear a suit much of the time, so that has become pretty “typical.” A less formal outfit is probably a navy blue blazer and gray or khaki slacks. Blue, black, gray and sometimes tan are colors that dominate in my wardrobe.

 

SO: What is your fashion philosophy in a statement?

TM: Allow me first to say that my sense of fashion has been heavily influenced by my wife, Julie, who has excellent taste. She has chosen many of my clothes and has a good eye for what works for me. Further, I need to give a shout-out to my friends Massoud Emami and Gary Anderson of “Anderson & Emami Clothiers” at Riverpark Square. We have known Gary and Massoud for some 25 years, they have many connections to Gonzaga, and they are expert in men’s clothing of all kinds.

I would say my fashion philosophy is largely driven by my role as Gonzaga’s president, so my approach is definitely a function of that. Generally, I try to match my choice of outfit to the occasion in a manner that befits the moment. Sometimes, it is appropriate to be very formal; sometimes the circumstances dictate that being more casual is appropriate.

 

SO: Walk me through the outfit you are wearing now.

TM: I am wearing a two-piece dark charcoal grey suit by Canali; white dress shirt by Robert Talbott; a blue-and-gold pattern tie by Canali; and black dress shoes with black socks by Allen Edmonds. My black leather belt is by Canali and I always wear a watch; this one is by Seiko and I bought it in 1983 – still keeps great time! Massoud recommended that I try Canali years ago because of the high quality of the fabrics and construction, and their durability. I have owned most of my suits and trousers for years.

 

SO: A quick Google image search populates almost two-thirds of the pictures in the first three rows of you wearing a yellow tie. Is this tie special at all or is Google just giving us the wrong impression? Do you have any “special” or “good-luck” ties?

TM: Google is only partially correct. About 2/3 of the ties I commonly wear are actually blue, or have blue as the dominant color in the pattern; but I do like gold and yellow as well. I do not have any “special” or “good luck” ties – my ties are chosen to complement the suit or the occasion.

 

SO: What is your ideal lounge-around-the-house outfit?

TM: Blue jeans, t-shirt, maybe a sweatshirt and sneakers. In the summer time, I lounge in khaki shorts and loose-fitting t-shirts or polo shirts and prefer leather sandals. Pretty basic.

 

SO: Some studies have shown that successful leaders such as Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein wore the same thing practically every day in order to keep decision fatigue low. What are your thoughts on keeping it simple?

TM: This is an interesting question. In practice, I probably subscribe to something similar in that I have a limited number of outfits to begin with, so it’s not really a struggle making decisions. I have about six suits in my wardrobe. However, on occasion I also like “mixing it up” a bit—I have some ties, for example, that work really well in fall because they are autumn colors.

 

SO: What key piece could you never live without?

TM: My two-piece black herringbone suit and black shoes. You can put virtually any color tie with a white shirt and a black suit.

 

SO: What or who is your fashion inspiration/idol?

TM: I really can’t think of any specific person that inspires me. But I find that a pretty reliable indicator of people who care about fashion in that they pay attention to the details.

 

SO: What is one of the most memorable outfits that you have ever worn?

TM: When I was little I had a fascination with pirates; that was my go-to costume for Halloween growing up.

 

SO: In Las Vegas (during the last pre-game social), you were wearing the complete Zag get-up from head to toe. Is this a tradition of yours?

TM: I’m not sure it’s an actual tradition, but this year was the second time I did that; the first time was during our 125th anniversary year two seasons ago. The Athletic department gave me a jersey with my own number: 26. People seem to get a kick out of it when I wear the uniform. 

W Bball v BYU

 

SO: Would you die your hair half red, half blue if either Gonzaga basketball team made it into the NCAA Final Four next year?

TM: I will have to think about that. I don’t think I’ve ever dyed my hair. I might dye my “seasonal good-luck goatee,” however!

 

SO: What is your favorite student style you are seeing on campus this semester?

TM: It seems to me that students feel free to be very individualistic and creative with their clothing—I see all kinds of outfits and people seem accepting of this. I know there are trends but it does seem that people are allowed to be individuals and express their individuality, which I think is good.

 

SO: What advice would you give Zags entering the professional world, in terms of looking the part (and beyond)?!

TM: Much of human communication is non-verbal, and what people wear communicates a great deal: what they think of themselves, how they view their work and employer, and how they view the clients they serve. I think it’s important to pay attention to the expectations of your employer and dress in a manner that reflects awareness of this. Also—great clothing does not have to be expensive, particularly for those just starting out.

 

Thanks for sitting down and talking with GU Style Spotlight, Thayne! If you are a fashionista on campus…trend-setter… trend-follower…anyone who takes a liking to what they put on when they wake up in the morning…or know of anyone who would be interested in talking fashion with us, we invite you to reach out to the GUBB staff and we would love to sit down with you!

 

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