Dance-floor fashion transforms one teacher

CANDID CLOSET

January 27, 1994|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Staff Writer

By day, Christina Marshall, Bryn Mawr kindergarten teacher, dresses in leggings and sweaters. By night, though, watch out. She becomes a tulled, sequined, spaghetti-strapped diva of the dance floor. For the last three years, she has spent her spare time perfecting her Lindy and jitterbug in Baltimore and at swing dances along the East Coast.

All those moves have changed her wardrobe.

"When I first started, I wore a long skirt and turtleneck," says Ms. Marshall, 34, who lives in North Baltimore. "Now I look for different things. It has to be comfortable. It has to be cool. And it can't fall off."

How would you describe your taste?

It's playful and fun. It can be dramatic and make a statement. It's in good taste, never sleazy, but alluring. I've tried it all. I have a classic look -- jackets, skirts and fancy dresses. And I have hippie attire -- tie-dyed jumpers, flowered dresses, earth-mama clothes.

What sets it apart?

It's the unexpected. When I walk into a dance, people are taken aback. I don't go overboard.

I have a brown velvet flared dress that gets a lot of reaction. It has this luxurious look to it. It's sexy and really comfortable.

Friends say your clothes can be outrageous.

That's true. I have this wrap-around skirt with fringes that could be a tablecloth.

Even during a dance, I'll change my look, using a barrette to make straps tighter or tying something around my waist.

What's been your most traumatic clothing incident?

One time I was wearing this skirt with Velcro closures. My partner accidentally pulled the skirt open and it fell off. I had on these cheerleader bloomers (they're like bathing suit bottoms) so it wasn't that bad. But it was embarrassing. I stopped, picked up my skirt, put it on, and we started dancing again. The show must go on.

How has dancing changed your fashion sense?

It's allowed me to be more playful, experimental and athletic.

What are your favorite dancing outfits?

I have this silver mini-dress sheath with spaghetti straps and a neon lime-colored dress with monkey faces and paws on it.

Your dance style doesn't cross over into your working wardrobe?

I don't think I'd ever cross those paths.

When I teach, I wear leggings, big sweaters and turtlenecks and flat shoes or boots. My clothes for school have to be simple, comfortable and stain-proof.

Where do you shop?

Contempo Casuals for dancing, and The Limited and Express for work.

What about accessories?

I always have to have a small pair of earrings. But that's it. Long earrings can hit your partner in the face, and I've scratched some partners with bracelets.

Is there anything you wouldn't put on again?

A purple see-through skirt. It was too alluring.

And I have this dress made of polyester, cotton and acetate. When I wore it, I sweated all night long. It was embarrassing.

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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