I assume the New York Rangers will go all the way and win the Stanley Cup playoffs. But even if they don’t, here’s some consolation: the wardrobe of studio analyst and former Rangers star Ron Duguay will continue to delight and amaze until the last puck on the team’s season is dropped.
“I’m a free spirit; I express myself through my clothing,” Mr. Duguay told me Friday morning. We were at Robert Graham, the men’s clothing boutique on Bleecker Street where he does most of his shopping. “I have a following, not just of hockey fans; everyone wants to know what I’m wearing.”
The handsome commentator attributed his fashion sense to his heritage: “Being French Canadian, I like colors and looking good. If you look good, you feel good.”
I can say with a certain amount of confidence that the 57-year-old Mr. Duguay would look good in just about anything, including grandma jeans. He brought to mind a lecture I attended by James Watson who, along with Francis Crick, discovered the structure of DNA.
Mr. Watson explained that we’re all dealt a genetic hand of cards, and some hands are better than others. Pursuing that metaphor, Mr. Duguay was dealt a royal flush.
He stands about 6 feet 3 inches tall, doesn’t look any heavier than he did when he played for the Rangers in the ’70s and ’80s, and has a nice, even tan. During hockey season, he commutes between New York and his home in Florida. His hair is shorter than it was in his playing days, when it provoked wolf whistles, but it’s still all there.
Nothing against Canada, a great nation, but I never equated Canucks with haute couture.
Mr. Duguay corrected me. “French Canadians, we’re a different breed,” he explained. “We get a lot of stuff from Paris. They’re very sophisticated in Montreal.”
Robert Graham specializes in colorful, limited edition $400 shirts with motifs such as human skulls or the Coney Island boardwalk. Former Yankees pitching ace Mariano Rivera is also a customer.
I could never pull off the look. It’s more master of the universe on his day off.
Nonetheless, Mr. Duguay was dressed down, relatively speaking, when he appeared on the air last week during Game 1 of the playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was wearing what looked like a navy tuxedo jacket with black lapels and a hand-beaded, white Robert Graham shirt.
“And a silk evening slipper,” added Robert Stock, the company’s founder and chief creative officer, and Mr. Duguay’s occasional personal shopper. He held up attractive footwear with purple lining.
It’s always been my opinion that wearing colors typically associated with femininity, such as pink, evinces confidence in your masculinity. Even though I confine my softer side to my socks, ruing that men’s hosiery isn’t easier to find in appealing shades of persimmon, lemon and aquamarine.
Mr. Duguay voiced no disagreement. “That’s what I get from women,” said the one-time center, who was married to the supermodel Kim Alexis but is now single. “They say stand next to their husband—‘If Ron can wear it, you can wear it.’ ”
But for the playoffs, the analyst has decided to dress more conservatively, in deference to the majesty of the Stanley Cup and personal superstition. “I’m going more corporate,” he confided. “I did it this past winter and they went on a winning streak. I wore a tie for almost a month.”
However, Mr. Duguay is concerned about disappointing his fans, who have come to expect a certain amount of plumage. “They say, ‘Ron, you look so plain tonight. We look forward to what you’re wearing.’ ”
On game days, he goes through “a whole dress rehearsal” in front of his mirror. “Part of it is how I feel that day.”
Mr. Duguay turned to Mr. Stock, who was directing my attention to the store’s one-of-a-kind décor, including stools with the cushioning made of rugby balls, which caused me to roll off. “Robert, you’ve got to keep feeding me stuff,” he said half-seriously. “People remember shirts. Because of that I feel like I can’t wear it a second time.”
I wondered what his closet looked like. “It’s definitely walk-in,” he stated, as he sang the praises of tall-collared shirts. “There’s a presence to a bigger collar.”
Does Mr. Duguay rate the employee discount? He counts more than 100 Robert Graham shirts in his collection. He also takes Mr. Stock to Rangers games. “When I can take him up to the glass, that’s where he’s happiest,” Mr. Duguay said.
“He gets the ambassador discount,” Mr. Stock said. “The royal ambassador discount.”
Even if I could afford a Robert Graham shirt, I’d be worried about spilling ketchup or mustard on it—especially at a hockey game. Condiments have a talent for triangulating on my shirts as soon as they return from the cleaners.
How does Ron Duguay handle the heartbreak of food stains?
“I’m definitely careful,” he said. “I’m the guy with the bib.”
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