West came east with an urban cowgirl


March 16, 1995|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

For Carol Dunlap, living in South Dakota, Wisconsin, Texas, California, Hawaii and Baltimore has made for an eclectic wardrobe. In her closet, cowboy boots co-exist with classic dresses, designer suits hang beside discount buys.

Although she's been dubbed an urban cowgirl because of her fondness for Western fashions, she sees her style as more varied than that.

There will be no denim or turquoise in evidence when she co-chairs Wednesday's Great Chefs Dinner, a benefit for the Child Abuse Prevention Center of Maryland at Linwood's/Due. Although she's leaning toward wearing a winter white suit, she may wind up in trustworthy black.

"When in doubt, I always go with black," says Ms. Dunlap, a mother of three who has homes in Ruxton and Colorado.

How has moving affected your wardrobe?

It's made me a little more diverse. Being from South Dakota gives me a strong Western influence. I tend to dress a lot in cowboy boots, jeans and black. I have a nice collection of silver and turquoise jewelry and belts.

For 15 years, I wore a white uniform as a registered nurse. It's really nice not to have to wear that every day. But even when I was working, I'd wear white clogs instead of my Red Cross shoes.

How do you adapt Western wear for an Eastern city?

I've been lucky. The Western look has kind of been in for the last few years. Now they're saying it's going out, but I think I'll stay in it until it comes back. I like to dress outrageously once in a while. People expect it of me.

What's outrageous for you?

My buckskin jacket with long fringe. It's blazer-length with a few beads in the fringe. It's not something you see all the time in Baltimore, but I've gotten a lot of compliments on it. I'll wear an outfit with some pizazz, something with sequins. I like to be a little flamboyant.

Describe some of your stand-outs.

I've got a winter white evening suit I love with chenille fringe around the cuffs and collar. But most of my dressy outfits are black. They're fairly basic, but with a little sparkle. One of my favorites is a St. John knit that I've had for years. The jacket has a sequin border, and it has a short, pleated skirt.

What kind of feedback do you get?

People get a kick out of it. Most of my friends say that I really have my own style. Sometimes it makes me feel like I have a costume on, but I don't mean to.

Where do you find Western clothing in Baltimore?

Most things I get in Colorado or South Dakota. For other clothes, I like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Cache. I love to find a buy at Loehmann's. But I don't spend a lot of time shopping. Most things I find by accident.

What's your most recent purchase?

A blue chiffon pantsuit by Mondi. Saks had a wonderful sale. It's casual yet kind of elegant.

And the oldest thing in your closet?

I've had one pair of cowboy boots for 12 years. They're rust-colored leather, and I still wear them.

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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