The sophisticated art student


February 25, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Cut your hair, glue it to a pin and everyone expects you to dress like some outre artist.

Such is life for Barbara Urbanski. Although she makes jewelry from rusted screws, silver bolts and, yes, her own brown tresses, she's not into wild attire -- sometimes to the dismay of her clients.

Instead, Ms. Urbanski, 22, favors a "sophisticated college student" style that takes her from her Severna Park home-studio to classes at Towson State University. Tomorrow through Sunday, she'll bring that style -- and her jewelry -- to the American Craft Council's Craft Fair at the Baltimore Convention Center.

How has being an art jeweler influenced your style?

I mostly dress to be comfortable because I'm on the go so much. But I like to look pulled together. I wear jeans, cowboy boots and a lot of blazer-type jackets.

What about accessories?

My jewelry is the first thing I put on. I keep pins on my jackets all the time. Everybody always asks me if I made what I have on.

How do you stand out in jeans and cowboy boots?

I have these really neat glasses. They're like Malcolm X glasses, but they don't look so obtrusive on me. They're brown tortoise-shell frames with brushed gold. The guy who sold them to me said they make me look like a New York art student. He meant it as a put down, but I like to look that way. They force me to dress more nicely. They actually make me look a little more sophisticated.

Do you have more than one pair?

I used to have a pair of wire rims, but I ran over them with my car.

Where do you like to shop?

The Gap, J. Crew and Express. I like shopping in boutiques, but I don't have the time so I hit the mall or order out of catalogs.

What's been your biggest splurge?

My leather jacket. It's medium brown and ends around mid thigh. It was $400. Luckily, I had a contributor: my mom.

And your best buy?

A tan wool men's coat. My brother-in-law gave it to me to give to Goodwill. I rolled the sleeves up and wore it home. I really like it, and people are always telling me, "Your coat is beautiful. Where'd you get it?"

In your line of work, does dressing count more?

If you don't look the part, people will be surprised that you're an artist. I don't think you have to look like you're out of Goodwill, but you have to dress interestingly.

Does that ever bring extra pressure?

Kind of. With this show, I'm giving a lot of thought to what I'll be wearing. I'll probably wear black all week. I'm going to wear suede shoes, short knit dresses and black patterned jackets.

How much do you budget for clothes?

Right now? Nothing. I used to spend $150 or $200 a month. But not anymore. I bought a car and realized I had to stop spending so much on clothes.

What do you wear for a big night out?

Black heels and black nylons, a brown washed silk shirt and a brown and rust and purple skirt that has a fruit pattern all over it. I feel good in that.

Anything you've banished from your wardrobe?

Sweat pants. That's my biggest peeve. I don't understand why people wear them. I don't care how comfortable they are, no one looks good in them.

What was your most traumatic event involving clothes?

I'm not very good at doing laundry. I've bleached holes in HTC clothes, and I've turned things black. I'm notorious for turning socks pink in my house. The rest of my family won't let me wash my clothes with theirs.

How does your family feel about your attire?

They like it a lot more than they used to. I used to wear army pants and paisley shirts. I dyed my hair purple; cut it all off into a crew cut. It was a teen-age rebellion thing. It was pretty unattractive. I outgrew it real quick.

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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