Psychologist dresses up for children


January 19, 1995|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

Although jeans and sweaters are the "uniform" at the Children's Guild, a Baltimore school for emotionally disturbed youngsters, psychologist JoAnne Duffy doesn't follow the pack.

Instead, she wears Pendleton suits, Laura Ashley dresses and ++ even white wool outfits to the office. In general, Dr. Duffy, 42, doesn't like to be pegged to one style. That's why the closets of her Lutherville home are filled with everything from black spandex to boiled wool.

"I'm hardly ever accused of being underdressed," the mother of two says. "Maybe overdressed sometimes."

Q: What makes you wear your Sunday best to work in a casual setting?

A: It's a combination of things. I have a private practice, so sometimes I have to go there later in the day and I want to look nice. But I also think people need to feel good when they go to work. And I feel better when I dress up.

Q: How would you describe your look?

A: Professional but comfortable. I wear a lot of autumn colors -- browns and golds. I'm Irish, so in March I wear green through the 17th. I also like to have fun with my clothes. The way I do that is I mix a lot of nice clothes with some finds from secondhand stores. I don't like that neat, put-together, everything-matching look. I would never go into a store and wear all the matching pieces to something. The fun comes in putting things together.

Q: What are your current work favorites?

A: I have a couple of baggy Laura Ashley dresses (my husband hates these) that I can get down on the floor and move around in. In suits, I like straight, short skirts with double-breasted jackets. I also have a pretty Herman Geist black velvet skirt with a sweater that has embroidered roses and a velvet collar. It's dressy but comfortable.

Q: Is there a psychological component to how you dress?

A: Some days, when I know I'll be under stress, I dress up. It gives me a lift. I feel like I've given myself some kind of special treat.

Q: Can you tell how patients are feeling based on how they dress?

A: I can tell when women patients don't have their makeup on or haven't had a haircut for a while. With some of my women clients who are battling their weight, when they're feeling down, they tend to wear bigger, baggier jackets and stretchy pants.

Q: If you could trade closets with anyone, whose would you most like to have?

A: Nicole Kidman's. She wears a lot of flowing stuff and has a kind of country look.

Q: What part of your wardrobe do you splurge on?

A: I have lots of shoes. I often end up spending more on accessories than the outfit. I'll find a great suit in a secondhand shop, then I'll feel like I'm justified buying great shoes or earrings to go with it.

Q: What do you find for less?

A: Good wool things. I usually don't buy secondhand things in the summer. Wool coats and skirts are easier for me to find.

Q: What in your closet have you vowed never to wear again?

A: I'm not a big pants wearer. They look awful on me. Out of my whole closet, I probably have six pairs and I only wear two. I have one pair of brownish pants with cuffs that I wore once or twice and went, "Yuck."

Q: Does your look change during your off hours?

A: I have the same attitude on Saturday mornings. It came from my mother. Her first step out of bed in the morning was to put her makeup on.

Q: Where do you shop?

A: I go to Towson Town Center -- Nordstrom and Ann Taylor. I also like South Moon Under in Kenilworth Park and Just a Second in Mount Washington.

L Q: Did you make a new year's resolution about your wardrobe?

A: My husband helps me make one. There are two closets in our bedroom and they're both mine. I've tried to resolve that I don't need new things. I should weed through my stuff.

Q: Have you kept it?

A: No. I actually bought a beige mohair sweater and stretch slacks after Christmas.

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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