She takes her artistic eye shopping

January 07, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

When others ask you to dress them, you know you've got style.

So it goes for artist Nancy Valk, who has paid more than one emergency visit to a friend's closet.

Being a painter gives her an edge in sizing up color and shape. But having a good figure also helps. With broad shoulders and slim hips -- and an exercise regimen that includes daily 4-mile walks near her Ruxton home -- Ms. Valk, 47, can pull off many styles.

How has being an artist shaped your style?

I think I've always had a strong sense of style, but working with color and shape and form increases it.

How would you describe it?

I'm sort of eclectic. I hardly ever buy outfits; I buy pieces. I'm casual but tailored. I like to shop at Loehmann's, the Rack at Nordstrom for shoes, C-Mart, T.J. Maxx. I like shopping. It's very visual. A lot of people get stressed out by it, but I find it relaxing. I hardly ever buy anything full price.

What sets your style apart?

The fact that I'm willing to mix things. I don't worry about things matching. I'll wear a tweed jacket with a plaid skirt. If the colors look good together, I don't worry.

Do you have a signature outfit?

A black wool skirt with a slit up the middle that I bought at Loehmann's that I'll wear with a great black leather belt from Ruth Shaw and a Calvin Klein gabardine jacket. I also do a lot with accessories.

What kind?

I wear a lot of big earrings and pins, lots of scarves and lots of different colored boots. I buy at craft shows, Loehmann's and Ruth Shaw. I keep my eyes open. You can really change how you look if you have the right accessory.

What's your secret to being a good shopper?

I'm not an impulse shopper, and I never go looking for something in particular. I know my wardrobe and I'm really good with color.

At the beginning of the season,I'll look at magazines. Then I'll go into really good stores to see what's what and how much things cost.

And almost everything I buy, I'll wear for a long time. I have a suit I bought 10 years ago that I wear all the time.

What designers do you like?

Calvin Klein, DKNY, Genny, Michael Kors. I love Armani, but I can't afford Armani even on sale. I have one thing by Armani -- a swing coat in cinnamon that I bought a year ago. I went back four times to try it on and finally said, "What the heck."

Anything you wouldn't dare wear today?

I wore short skirts, but I'm happier in longer skirts. And all those new things with the straps and belts by Versace, I don't care for. I hate bell-bottoms. I hated them in the '60s and I hate them now.

What's your clothing resolution for 1993?

To try and be careful not to spend too much money.

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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