Jewelry plays a role

CANDID CLOSET

December 24, 1992|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

When it comes to style, Susan Gold lets her accessories do the talking. As a jewelry designer whose work hangs in the National Museum of African Art, she brings a sophisticated eye to dressing. But as an audiologist for the University of Maryland Medical System, she also makes looking professional a priority. Her solution: Keep clothing simple and jewelry dramatic.

One thing she doesn't do is convert others, particularly her 22-year-old daughter. "She's very conservative," says Ms. Gold, who lives in Columbia. "She might wear a strand of pearls."

How would you sum up your style?

I wear monochromatic pieces as a background for jewelry. I use a lot of Joan Vass knits and some of the Gene Ewing big shirts and long skirts. I like very simple styles cut well. I have this basic philosophy of dressing. I feel you have to be authentic to your style, appropriate to the occasion, and then never apologize. The other thing I say when I'm shopping is, "If it's, 'I don't know,' it's 'no.'" That's saved me a lot of money.

What's your taste in jewelry like?

I like ethnic pieces and contemporary pieces. I like them to be unique and well-designed and interesting. And I like to know something about the artist.

How did you get interested in jewelry?

I've always been artistic. I was making baskets, and it kind of evolved. I started using beads in baskets and then took a course. That was about six years ago.

For many people, wearing jewelry -- particularly larger pieces -- is tough. How do you pull it off?

With a subdued background, you can wear interesting pieces and not look like a Sahara princess. I need a professional look, but I like looking a little dramatic. I don't go overboard.

Where do you shop?

The Store Limited in Cross Keys, Femme and Saks Fifth Avenue. I like smaller stores that offer service. And I do love craft shows.

What's been your biggest splurge?

A Janet Foss lamb suede outfit. She's from California and designs in leather. It's a tobacco-colored big shirt with a straight skirt. I didn't wear it for a year because I was terrified of getting something on it. It cost about $600. That's a lot for me.

What do you wish you had more of?

Shoes and handbags. For years, I was looking for the ultimate hand bag...I finally found it in a store called Oggi. It's black leather and nylon. It has the most well-designed pockets inside. I hated the idea of a boring bag.

Anything you wouldn't dare wear today?

The dress-for-success suits. They're still hanging in my closet. I have an Evan-Picone plaid suit. I like it when I look at it, but it's not my style. It's very tailored.

Do you have a holiday favorite?

Yes. A silk long-sleeved T-shirt and long skirt in amethyst. I can dress it up with a hand-painted silk scarf or amethyst jewelry. It's easy to wear and you can wash it.

What fashion advice would you give to Hillary Clinton and Tipper Gore?

I think they're fabulous, but they're in that category of good taste but no style. When I look at them, I think they need oomph. They ought to connect with people who can help them find their authentic style.

Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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