Marianne Gillette is the manager of product evaluation at McCormick & Co.'s research and development division in Hunt Valley. Taking care of her 21-month-old son Robbie takes up most of her spare time, but she also enjoys jogging, taking on homemaintenance projects and traveling with Robbie and her husband, Bob Ryan. She also loves to shop and has filled the five closets in her house.
How would you describe your taste in clothing?
I would say it's kind of eclectic. I like colors and fabrics. I may dress for success one day and rather bizarre the next. Clothing is fun and is a way of expressing yourself. I like putting things together that people don't expect to be together. I used to wear rhinestones and underwear as clothing before Madonna -- that was before I was married, I might add.
What's the newest thing in your closet?
A dress I got mail order -- which is my preferred way of shopping now -- from Chadwick's of Boston. It's a pastel floral '50s-looking shirtwaist dress with a Peter Pan collar and big buttons. It looks like something Blondie would be wearing when Dagwood came home from work.
What's the oldest thing in your closet?
Apart from the skeletons, a German dirndl that belonged to my grandmother. She gave it to my mother and my mother gave it to me and then I wore it a lot in college. It's red with a white apron and white blouse -- like a Heidi dress. It's about 70 years old but it's still very wearable.
What's the most expensive item in your closet?
My husband's clothes. Of mine, a loden suit I got in Austria.
What's the least expensive item in your closet?
The dust balls -- they were free.
Do you have a true standby that you wear to feel good?
My husband and I have the same standby. We're twins when we wear our maroon sweats from L. L.Bean. We wear them a lot. In fact, we've been told that we better stop wearing them.
What have you held onto for sentimental reasons?
My high school prom dress that my mother made. It's pink with an empire waist and has see-through sleeves and it was shimmery and glimmery. Actually, it makes a good pregnancy dress with the empire waist. I also have some old sweaters like from the '50s that are real funky and fun -- the real short ones with all the beading on them. I used to wear them a lot in college and I'm waiting to look good in them again.
What is your wardrobe weakness?
I have a closet that my husband calls "The Emporium" that's full of shoes (more than 60 pairs). I like really wild shoes, like gold lame, glittery or multi-colored shoes. I have about four pairs of red and four pairs of purple shoes, but only one pair of black shoes and one pair of blue shoes.
What are your favorite accessories?
I like jewelry. I like really bizarre, large, brilliant pieces of jewelry -- I have a necklace made of wooden red peppers. But then I also like classic gold earrings and pearls.
What's the wildest outfit you ever wore?
As a teen-ager in Carmel, Calif., my girlfriends and I used to pack ourselves with mud and cover the mud with big leaves and branches and have contests to see who could make the best fashion statement.
Do you have any shopping tips to share?
Mail order is wonderful, if you're pressed for time. L. L.Bean is one of my favorites. Also, I can have a ball in Marshall's, not for clothes as much as for accessories. You can get wild, weird stuff cheap.
Do you know some special dressers? Write to Candid Closet, Evening Sun Fashion, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.