This executive isn't shy about color


March 09, 1995|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

When your workday begins at 7 a.m., you need a jolt of color to jump start the day.

That's why Jackie Gaines, president of chief executive officer of Health Care for the Homeless, has a closet filled with vibrant shades, including ruby-red, fuchsia and teal.

Although she's yet to decide what she'll wear to the non-profit's Comedy Care benefit and 10th anniversary gala on March 18, she's most likely to turn up in a show-stopping bright.

"I wear my boldest colors when I need someone's attention," says Ms. Gaines, 37, who lives in Bel Air. "It gives you a sense of presence."

What's your style?

I'm not your typical CEO in the black or brown suit. I'm best known for color. As a matter of fact, I've had legislators remember me by the color of my jacket. One once came up to me and said: "Aren't you the lady who wore that red jacket?" It can work to your advantage.

But when I'm relaxing, I go to the other extreme. My favorite outfit is jeans, an oversized sweat shirt and a baseball cap.

In your work wardrobe, what's your current favorite?

A red jacket with black buttons and a black knee-length skirt. I wear it with a cream-colored shirt and a funky gold lapel pin.

Exactly how much red do you own?

About four red jackets, two red dresses, one red pantsuit and a pair of red shoes.

What's the boldest thing you own?

A fuchsia jacket with black trim. That fuchsia jumps out at you. People tell me they like the color. They say they may not have chosen it, but that I can get away with it.

I understand you also like leather.

I love leather and suede coats. My husband started buying me leather a few years ago. It's so versatile. You can dress it up, or you can wear it when you're just kicking around. My favorite is a hunter-green, full-length coat with epaulets and gold buttons. I also have a red one with a big hood for more casual occasions.

What about leather suits and pants?

I haven't gone that funky. That's not quite me. I still have a touch of conservatism in me.

Do your daughters influence your attire?

My 17-year-old, Jennifer, also likes color and leather. I think my youngest daughter Kimberley [12] influenced me most in the baggy look. She lives in sweats and jeans.

What's the biggest hassle you face getting dressed?

I'm a planner. I pick stuff out the night before. The hardest thing is having the energy to do it before I fall asleep.

Where do you shop?

Potomac Mills. I look for bargains. I'll hold out to the last minute for a sale.

What's been your best bargain?

A leather coat I bought in an outlet store in Lancaster, Pa. It was half the original cost. I got it for $200.

And your biggest splurge?

Anything that's not on sale is a big splurge for me. I'm very picky about my shoes. I'll spend up to $75 for them. But they better be really good.

What's been your most embarrassing clothing moment?

I don't know what made me buy these pants. They were like a cross between something on "I Dream of Jeannie" and a diaper. I wore them once and I was so embarrassed. I was like: "Get me back to the house."

What do you long to one day own?

Clothes that are two sizes smaller than the ones I wear now.

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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