Communicating a light sense of self, style

CANDID CLOSET

September 23, 1993|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

Sara Kate Moriarty's style is a study in contrasts. There's the straight-arrow suit teamed with bold jewelry, the mismatched socks worn as a pair, the slinky catsuit camouflaged by oversized T-shirts.

"People shouldn't take clothing too seriously," says Ms. Moriarty, the manager of communications for the port of Baltimore. "It's meant to be fun."

Her impetus to dress this way came from her childhood. Growing up, she was considered "the smart one" in the family, while her sister was called "the pretty one."

"It created some kind of competitiveness in me," she says, "to be dramatic as well as smart."

It sounds like you've lived many fashion lives.

Maybe it's my exhibitionist nature, but I guess I'm really interested in role playing. When I was a newspaper reporter for a small daily in Northern Virginia, I was in my jeans, tweed jacket, no makeup phase. Then there was my Annie Hall phase. I even went through a time where I wouldn't wear heels.

What phase are you in these days?

I'm in this sort of distinctive amended business style. I tend to wear a lot of dark suits -- glen plaid, houndstooth and pinstripe -- with an interesting piece of jewelry. I'll wear pantsuits with low heels or dressy loafers because I'm either on working terminals or climbing off and on boats.

Which style fits you best?

I really like the point that I'm at now. I'm not so anti-establishment that I scare people, but I'm having a lot of fun wearing business clothes in a nontraditional way.

Why is jewelry important to you?

I don't like to iron or organize my clothes. I'd rather wear 8 to 10 things and vary the jewelry. It's easier. I have some pieces I wear all the time: a sterling silver bracelet with a brass fastener; an opal ring I bought in Australia 20 years ago; and an Irish gold cuff bracelet left to me by my mother.

With that many pieces, you can't add too many more or you'll look like a Christmas tree.

What's been your worst mistake?

A shoulder bag that was a 2 1/2 -foot long replica of a fish. Whatever possessed me to buy this, I don't know. I actually wore .

.TC it once and a woman driving down Lombard Street stopped and pointed me out to her daughter. It's now hanging from the ceiling of my backyard deck.

What's your weekend look?

I Rollerblade, so that's opened up new, yet-undefined fashion statements. I have this great Eartha Kitt catsuit that I wear with layers of long T-shirts. I look like a Ninja Turtle when I get everything on. On weekends, I never coordinate what I wear. I'll wear baggy linen shorts and a faded cotton sweater. My kids (John, 26; Sara Kelly, 22; Paige, 19) have tried to get me to throw away my shorts. They're embarrassed by them.

How do your children react to your style?

They now admire it. But my daughters have been taken aback at times. I once bought this great Egyptian gold neck cuff from the Bead at the Rotunda. They looked at it and said, "Oh my God, you're not going to wear that out, are you?"

And they never recovered from the day I picked up my eldest daughter from the eighth grade at Friends School in a pair of baggy too-short sweat pants and unmatched socks and loafers.

In addition to the Bead, where do you shop?

Nordstrom Rack and Casual Corner.

What are your favorites in your closet?

A padded green cotton coat. It's real loose and it looks almost like a blanket, but it's not that warm. Another would be a DKNY white silk baseball shirt. It's irreverent. That's what I like about it.

What would you change about your style if you could?

I would get more organized. I really admire people who can keep track of outfits and discard them when they need to be discarded. I bought this free-standing rack a few weeks ago. I thought I'd really get organized, but the rack isn't even put together yet.

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

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