Below the Surface

Spend time beside any of our Great Lakes and you’re quickly reminded of what it means to be watchable.

Soft ripples beguile. Temperamental colors keep you guessing. White caps intimidate. Reflected sun flashes a smile. And, after dark, freighters sparkle like jewelry on the black horizon.

Changeable and fluid, expanses of water attract us on a primitive level. The same can be said of fashion. Style is about plumage, pecking orders, mating rituals. And it’s pure visual entertainment.

A confession here: I’ve got the Emmy Awards on the TV screen — on mute — as I write. Critiquing celebrity gowns and tuxedos is a pleasantly mindless pastime. I’ve also got a legitimate excuse for my eye-candy indulgence: This month, we spotlight 16 of metro Detroit’s best-dressed denizens.

On the local landscape, well-dressed people serve as human screensavers by keeping our view from being permanently etched by middle-of-the-road sameness. In an often-slothful world, they also remind us that attention to detail and maintaining our physical appearance matters.

Our fashion plates lend more than visuals to the local scene. It’s a human failing that we’re quick to judge. And that tendency can prompt us to pigeonhole the style-minded as superficial. But things aren’t always what they appear.

Like the fickle fluff of ever-changing fashions, what we consider as “fact” also shifts as science evolves. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a metro Detroit native, talked with our George Bulanda about what it means to be dead. Death, as it turns out, can be reversible.

The ground is always shifting beneath our feet, and the view of our surroundings is subject to perspective. This month, Thanksgiving, the much-loved holiday of happy homecomings and good eating, has a painful subtext in the Native American community.

Fortunately, in this metro community, we’ve got more than our share of people who offer more than what meets the eye. When Detroit Tiger Curtis Granderson arrived at photographer Joe Vaughn’s studio for his best-dressed portrait, the unassuming sports star with a million-dollar smile made a point of meeting and shaking hands with every member of our crew. Then he talked about wardrobe affordability.

Fame, fashion, and depth of character aren’t mutually exclusive. Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell and the somber diagnosis he faced late in the baseball season and late in his personal game elicited one especially trenchant sign from an adoring fan. “How a person should be,” the hand-scrawled placard read.

As we enter this season of extended darkness, we enliven our days by donning stylish party ensembles, arranging festive gatherings, and giving — especially the latter, because that’s how a person should be.

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