Style Icon: Jeffrey Bayer

Jeffrey Bayer takes a break from reading documents on his iPad to view photos from recent trip to Galapagos. Samuelsohn sport coat, Truzzi shirt, Incotex pants, Nicky Milano tie. Roman coin ring, gift from wife Gail 30 years ago, purchased at an antiquities store in St. Barths.

President and CEO, Bayer Properties

Written and styled by Tracy Robinson, Photographed by Chuck. St. John

Mark Twain famously said, “Clothes make the man.” While Bayer Properties President and CEO, Jeffrey Bayer, owes his success more to hard work than to haute couture, he learned early in life that image has its importance, especially in the business world. Still adhering to some of the basics laid out in the 1975 best-seller Dress for Success, over the years Bayer’s style has exemplified author John T. Malloy’s coined “power dressing,” but has evolved to include a twist.

Steve Fazio, long-time friend and owner of Plain Clothes in Homewood, has advised Jeffrey on wardrobe for more than 30 years. According to Fazio, Bayer has gradually been willing to infuse contemporary flair into his classic style. “We started with mixing patterns in shirts and ties, moved on to flat-front pants, and recently tried the shorter and trimmer jacket styles.”

That said, Bayer is quick to point out, “I don’t buy a lot because I feel strongly about quality over quantity.” Thus, properly caring for garments is a key, and accordingly, Bayer makes full use of shoe trees and shies away from dry cleaning, preferring to spot treat and hand launder instead.  Because of this delicate care of classically-styled items, his clothing stands the test of time. “I might wear a suit for 10 years,” he says.  And thanks to his active hobbies of skiing in the winter and fly fishing in the summer, Bayer has been lucky enough to wear the same size for most of his life. At home in Birmingham, Bayer enjoys biking, swimming, and practicing yoga and Pilates. He is is a fan of active wear by Lululemon, and this summer the Vancouver–based company will be opening its first Alabama location at The Summit, owned and managed by Bayer Properties.

A strive for simplicity carries into other areas of his life: “In my life I’ve owned one house, had one wife and only two jobs.” (Before Bayer, Jeffrey was a partner at Metropolitan Properties.) “I don’t collect cars, boats or planes…I like little things.” Indeed, just as Jeffrey’s home office is full of antiquities and artifacts collected from world travels, his closet reveals an affinity for unique pieces.  A self-described eyeglasses fetishist, Bayer owns at least 10 pair. “Kris Childs at iiis optical shop has great taste. Jack Schaeffer has been helpful as well.” True to form, Bayer likes to protect these pieces of optical art, so during a trip to Ecuador he found a leatherworker to manufacture replicas of his $60 eyeglass case (“which I always seem to be losing”) for a mere $5 each.

Although Bayer Properties allows business casual dress, Bayer frowns at lapses in judgment among those attempting to follow the policy.

“In my mind, a businessman should have on a jacket. At the least, shoes should be polished,” he says. This somewhat old–school philosophy dominates his overall attitude when it comes to fashion. So while his cowboy boots and Lonestar belt may be weekend–wear favorites, Bayer still believes a jacket is appropriate for Saturday night, even if just out for a casual dinner and movie at The Summit.

If clothes do make the man,  Jeffrey Bayer’s sense of style is a compliment to his already successful life. Fazio notes, “Jeffrey wears his clothes nicely, while most men let their clothes wear them.”

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