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Nigel Parry/USA Collection

As a reformed ex-con on White Collar, Matt Bomer is tough on lawbreakers — but easy on the eyes.

As Neal Caffrey, the smooth-talking con artist on USA’s White Collar, Matt Bomer is undeniably charming. It turns out that in real life, Bomer out-charms even his alter ego. But this is no long con: The 33-year-old native of Spring, Texas, is hilarious and self-deprecating, intelligent and quick-witted. American Way caught up with Bomer about the show, now in its third season.

American Way: You shoot in New York. Ever get attitude on set from the natives?
Matt Bomer: We do, but I love indignant New Yorkers. It’s like, “Welcome to New York City!” And I love the culture, architecture and the kinesthetic manicness here. I remember being broke right out of college, and there was this strange comfort in bumping into strangers. Like, “OK, I’m not alone! I’m gonna make it!”

AW: Is it true that you have a real-life con artist advising you?
MB: Yes! Simon Lovell. He’s taught me how to pick locks and pockets, and just the art of the con. But what I’ve learned most from him is that his charm is incredibly disarming. Within two minutes of meeting him, I’d buy oceanfront property in Arizona.

AW: The chemistry between you and your co-star Tim DeKay is like lightning in a bottle.
MB: I can only liken my relationship with Tim to when you’re a kid and you find another kid to play with, and the kid gets you, gets your sense of humor and what you like to play. Tim takes what I bring to the table and makes it even more fun.

AW: Word is you’re a big singer on set.
MB: Tim and I try to get the cheesiest ’80s song stuck in our crew’s heads. The most potent so far is “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” I know I’ve succeeded when a guy carrying gaffer tape is humming Bonnie Tyler on the way back to the truck.

Dress Code Matt Bomer cuts a fine figure on White Collar, so he offers some tips for men looking to spruce up their wardrobe.

1 Get thee to a tailor. “A tailor is a magician who can make a $150 suit look like a $5,000 suit.”
2 Try a fedora. “You have to find the right one. In New York City, J.J. Hat Center should not be missed.”
3 Vest or no vest? Bomer is partial to the three-piece suit. “Take off the jacket, and you still look dapper.”
4 Embrace the rainbow. “I love to add in color, especially in summer.”
5 Accessorize. “Bring your own style with cuff links, tie bars and a skinny tie.”