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Author Mezrich turns a page with chic new look

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Hot young author Ben Mezrich used to dress according to a simple geek fashion philosophy:

If it's hot, wear shorts. If not, wear jeans. And stay loyal to one J. Crew sweater.

But these days are very different for Mezrich, who made it big with "Bringing Down the House," the nonfiction New York Times bestseller about the Massachusetts Institute of Technology students who card-counted their way to millions in Las Vegas. When he's not hanging out in Hollywood with Kevin Spacey (who's set to star in and executive produce the film version of the hit book), he's honing his skills as host for his new Court TV show, "High Stakes With Ben Mezrich," and hawking his latest book, "Busting Vegas."

"How you look definitely enhances your writing career more than you think," said the 35-year-old Mezrich. "Stylistically, I've gotten a lot better."

He credits much of his makeover to fiancee Tonya Chen, who convinced him to get a spikier haircut, to dye the tips blond and to don spectacles. A new wardrobe for the TV show and public appearances for the book came courtesy of Ben Sherman, the British company known for unique dress shirts and fun prints.

Said Dana Dynamite, entertainment and marketing manager for Ben Sherman:

"He's that nerdy chic guy. He runs with the Hollywood crowd. When he's out, he's always with models."

Dynamite said the company, which sells at Uniform in the South End, dresses a range of young hipsters such as Jack Black and Josh Duhamel, and thinks of Mezrich in the same category of "up-and- comer."

"He loves trying new things. I'm recently getting him into blazers now," she said. "Jeans with sneakers and a blazer is the new vibe."

Earlier this week, Mezrich modeled some of this "new vibe" as he prepared for his "Busting Vegas" book tour and his Court TV gig, which takes him to Miami's competitive modeling scene and New York City's illegal underground casinos.

But although his makeover has boosted his confidence - "he's more vain, but in a good way," Chen joked - there's still a little rumpled writer left in Mezrich.

"I still haven't gotten a handle on (my shirts) being wrinkled," he said.

Caption: BEFORE AND AFTER: Ben Mezrich, host of a Court TV show, and author of `Busting Vegas,' changed his look from hopeless geek, top, to tres chic, right.

Caption: A WINNING BET: Boston author Ben Mezrich credits much of his makeover to his fiancee, Tonya Chen, left. Chen persuaded Mezrich to spike his hair and dye the tips blond. Mezrich's new wardrobe - funky dress shirts, blazers over T-shirts - is from British company Ben Sherman.

(C) 2005 Boston Herald. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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