Vintage clothing has long-lasting appeal for WBJC announcer

CANDID CLOSET

August 11, 1994|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

In college, friends nicknamed Dyana Neal a WAB.

The acronym for Wears All Black has proven fitting for Ms. Neal, 24, of Medfield. As a WBJC radio announcer/producer, an actress and member of Baltimore Choral Arts Society, she needs clothes that look good on long days.

A fan of vintage attire, she buys many things that date to the '40s and '50s.

"Those styles are flattering for someone with my build," she says. "I'm only 5 foot 3, but I'm not skinny. I have curves."

How does working at a job where you're heard and not see affect your style?

I can be as funky as I want to be. But I don't look sloppy. I don't like grunge. Unless I'm working out, the last thing you'll see me in is sweats and tennis shoes. I don't like to feel like a slob. With my size and my age, people could mistake me for a college student.

When did you first get interested in vintage clothing?

As a teen-ager. There are pictures of me standing on an ottoman in my mother's wedding dress.

How vast is your collection?

One third to one half of my wardrobe is vintage. I have at least six or seven beaded sweaters, a dozen evening dresses and some '50s things that belonged to my mother.

What's the rest of your wardrobe like?

Chiffon dresses, linen, cotton, lambs wool. I like leggings and oversized shirts. And I prefer skirts to pants.

Friends have described your dressing as dramatic. What would you call it?

That's pretty accurate. There's a theatrical element to it. I've been acting and singing since I was 12. I would not say subtlety is my strong suit.

What kind of reaction do you get?

People tell me, "I wish I could dress like that, but I wouldn't dare." I say, "Why not?" It's not that I'm that outrageous. I don't have green hair. People have this misconception: Once you're not a teen-ager anymore, you're supposed to become very conservative.

What kept you from doing that?

My job. People expect those of us in radio to be academic or offbeat.

What's your current offbeat favorite?

A pair of midnight blue silk overalls that I wear with a black long-sleeve T-shirt or bodysuit.

And your knock-out?

I recently went to the symphony and had on a long black crepe gown from the '40s with birds appliqued on the bodice and skirt. It sounds gaudy, but it was very elegant.

Where do you shop?

For newer things, the Gap, Banana Republic and the Bead. For vintage, I like Dreamland, Oh Susanna! and Vanessa's Vintage Treasures.

What would you go crazy if you had to wear again?

I have a blue silk poet shirt and palazzo pants. The pants are so full I feel like I'm 20 pounds heavier. I work out five times a week. Why put something on that makes me look heavy?

What accessory gets the most mileage for you?

A pair of black Wedgwood cameo earrings. They look good with almost everything I have.

L Black must get dull. What do you wear when you need a break?

I do wear jewel tones -- fuchsia, royal blue, forest green and plum. I grew up in Minot, N.D. The way I dressed did not go over well. People used to say they were going to buy me an all-pink outfit.

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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