1970s Model Roi Barnard Maintains a Bold & Dapper Style

Roi Barnard. Photo by Joe Del Tufo

Former D.C. Salon owner and model Roi Barnard may have penned the book Mister, Are You a Lady?, but the North Carolina native is the epitome of a dapper gentleman.

Describe your style.

Bold coordination with daring flare. People, although they won’t admit it, want to be looked at and appreciated at one point or another. I like people to look at what I’m wearing and say something. I used to wear black tie all the time in the Green Room on Christmas Day. Now I wear formalwear when I think of it in a casual way, like a tuxedo shirt with no tie. I wore a tuxedo shirt with the shirttail out at noon in the train station. I love to get dressed up. It’s one reason why I go to church.

Fashion icon:

Cary Grant.

Favorite item in your wardrobe:

A brown and black merino wool sweater. I was coming down the Spanish Steps in Rome, which has this high-priced shopping district. This outfit was blinking at me in the window. It was 35 years ago, and I still get compliments when I wear it.

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Closet-hogging accessory:

Hats. I probably have more than 40. One of the oldest is a black cowboy hat.

Signature piece:

I always must have a pocket square and a lapel pin.

Roi Barnard

Big on bling:

As a little boy, I would follow a horse and cart on a dirt road, and when the cart ran over a glass, I would collect the shards. By the time I was 15, I had three shoeboxes full. It was the first awareness that I would enjoy beauty for the rest of my life. I have always loved rings and cufflinks.

Most cherished gem:

My first partner in business and life loved jewelry. He was always having things made for me that really were for him, but when he passed away, they became mine. He had a point ring with a diamond that has wonderful memories.

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Favorite fashion era:

The ’60s to mid-’70s. I loved the flares [bell-bottom trousers]. The look was great for dancing. I went to all the discotheques with people like Donna Summer. During the disco days, one of my great friends was Grace Jones. My partner and I did Roberta Flack’s hair for free and bought her first performing dress. When she made it, she pulled up to the salon and gave us a check for $10,000.

Cringeworthy fashion faux pas:

Wearing hot pants and platform shoes.

Score the best vintage:

Shopping vintage has always been my favorite way to shop. My favorite is Encore. If you want to get a good deal, you go to a wealthy neighborhood.

If money were no object:

I’d buy back the full-length white mink coat I sold in the ’80s. I modeled for Andy Warhol in that coat for his magazine After Dark. They put my name on it, and I got some very strange phone calls. That coat was well known in Washington. Hairdressers were the darlings of the social society, and wealthy people invited us to dinner. But when AIDS hit, we were treated like pariahs. I toned down and sold the coat.

You never leave home without:

My “man bag.”

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Top designer:

Giorgio Armani.

Most frequented 302 shop:

Jos. A. Bank. They call me when they think I will like something.

Pet peeve:

When slacks are too short—they should never show the socks!

Secret to feeling good in your clothes:

You truly want to wear it, and it fits where it hits.

Find Roi Barnard’s memoir, Mister, Are You a Lady? at Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

Related: Fashion-Forward Teen Nadia Lombardo Shares Style Inspirations

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