September 18, 2000 12:00 PM

THE PERFECT STORM‘s fishing boat captain commandeers kudos for steering clear of trends and not going overboard. George Clooney “is understated and interesting,” praises designer Dana Buchman. “He is just Hollywood enough so you feel you’re looking at a star, but he’s not glitzy. He has a sense of what looks good on him.” The 5’11” Clooney, 39, who had a job selling menswear during college at Northern Kentucky University, stays on an even keel in both streamlined American sportswear and European-cut suits. Designer Elie Tahari says, “He’s best when he wears tighter clothes and when he gets dressed up.” But baggy and dressed down works just fine too, says model Mia Tyler. “George has a manly, playboy look,” she says. “He’s a guy, and he gives that off. I just want to grab him!” The line for the first mate’s job forms to the left.

Clooney’s formalwear at the Cannes Film Festival in May is “charming and allows his good looks and energy to shine through,” says Dana Buchman. “The fact that he chooses to wear something so classic is a statement in itself.” Singer Sisqé hears the message: “Baddabing! Baddaboom! He’s looking like Frank Sinatra.”

Taking it easy for a July night on the town in L.A., Clooney gets high marks from Mia Tyler: “This is good on him. It’s Casual and young.” Dana Buchman approves too, from head to toe. “I like that his shoes are scuffed up,” she says. “His style seems to suit his persona.”

To Elie Tahari, the black suit the actor sported at Cannes in May “is George Clooney at his best. The jacket is a beautiful cut on him.” Quiz show host Ben Stein likes that “it’s quite modest and unassuming.” And Sisqé gets personal, saying, “This is a suit I would wear.”

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