Joan L. Powell is principal of Loch Raven High School and has just completed her 25th year in the field of education. She is an active member of her church and serves on the board of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Ms. Powell is treasurer of the campaign committee for Rep. Kweisi Mfume and lends her energy to numerous civic and social service clubs. She is a vocal supporter of The Enoch Pratt Free Library and an avid reader, sharing her enthusiasm with a group of women who meet monthly to discuss books.
How would you describe your taste in clothing?
I'm partial to long, flowing outfits, nothing too rigid or tailored. My guide to dressing is choosing what looks nice on me rather than going along with fads. I try to buy things that are classic in line and origin because I want clothes to last a long time.
What's the newest thing in your closet?
It's a long, silk two-piece dress, the one I'm wearing in the photo.
What's the oldest thing in your closet?
I have a skirt I had in high school and every now and then I'm able to wear it again. It's a classic dirndl. I also have my wedding gown and hope other brides in my family will wear it.
What have you kept for sentimental reasons?
I keep a purse given to me by my grandmother. It's not particularly pretty, but I will never give it away.
What is your wardrobe weakness?
Shoes. You can't get under my bed for all the shoes lined up front to back and side to side. I have so many it's embarrassing.
What's the most expensive item in your closet?
I guess that's my mink coat. I still wear it, even in the face of protests, but I'm selective about the occasion.
What's the least expensive item in your closet?
It's a long T-shirt I picked up in Marshall's for $3.99. Even the cheapest shirts cost more than that.
What's the wildest outfit you ever wore?
In retrospect, I would not call the outfit wild, just out of place. When I started teaching, my favorite outfit was those bell-bottom pants with a really wide hip-hugger belt which I wore with a body suit. My hair was long and I tied it up in a leather and metal-studded headband. It was during the '60s and police were going into the schools checking on radical activities. I was stopped by some policemen who were not very hospitable. I was outraged and flounced into the principal's office in protest. He chuckled and told me to think about it, suggesting that perhaps my look did not quite suit the teacher image.
What are your favorite accessories?
Jewelry. I love earrings and feel naked without them. I'm always looking for something new. I prefer small shops and boutiques, but they sometimes come and go. If I'm looking for something extremely special or out of the ordinary I go to Saks.