October 22, 2012 01:00 PM

Courtesy Perry Ellis

He bared his chest in a colorful Bollywood ensemble on last week’s Dancing with the Stars, but Gilles Marini, the face of Perry Ellis’s Axist line, is decidedly more understated off-screen.

“I like to be classic, I like to be clean. I like solid colors, and I wear a lot of black,” the star of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth told PEOPLE recently on the Miami set of the new Axist campaign, his second with the company.

In fact, Marini’s “dark side” has had quite an effect on his 6-year-old daughter, Juliana. “My daughter always draws black things and says, ‘It’s for you, Dad, because I know you like black,'” he said, laughing.

The actor’s commitment to the classics melds well with his role as ambassador for the Axist brand. “Twenty years from now you’ll see the pictures you had wearing these clothes, and next thing you know it’s, ‘Wow, you looked great,'” he said. “It’s not like you had a crazy hairdo and funky clothes. And that’s why I really click with the company.”

Marini has seen his feelings toward fashion change as he’s become more famous. “You have to be style-conscious nowadays, it’s an obligation,” he explained. He can’t take all the credit for his own look, though; many of Marini’s fashion choices are due largely to his wife Carole’s sensibility.

“To tell you the truth, my wife picks [clothes] for me,” he confessed. And Marini does a good job complimenting hers. “Whenever she shows up in an outfit and says, ‘Do you like this on me?’ the answer has to be, ‘Yes! You look fantastic!'”

–Becky Randel


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