Lifestyle change frees a fashion plate

CANDID CLOSET

July 20, 1995|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,Sun Staff Writer

When life changes, Alice Caplan believes your clothes should, too.

So after getting separated last year, the 60-year-old secretary cleaned out the closet of her Owings Mills home, trading in her soft culottes and cardigans for classic blazers and scarves.

The wardrobe transformation has won praise from friends and colleagues. But the person who seems most delighted is Alice Caplan herself.

"I meshed my clothes," she says, "with the person I wanted to be."

It seems like your change of lifestyle had a profound effect on your style.

All through the years, I had a vision of myself. Part of it was I saw myself dressed in a different way. I decided to live that vision. I didn't want to have to shop every week, so I went to a personal shopper at Owings Mills Mall. In two sessions -- one that lasted three hours, another two -- I picked out a whole new wardrobe.

What's in it?

Black and navy suits, a red blazer, 11 pairs of pants, several blouses, a black bodysuit, one print shirt, two pairs of casual pants, a denim shirt and a couple of polo shirts. I also got scarves, belts, handbags, jewelry and several pairs of shoes.

What was your style like before, and how would you describe it now?

Before, I'd buy nice things, but I never felt like I had the right clothes. I'd turn down things because I didn't have anything to wear. I wore dresses, sweaters, matching culottes and tops. I'm a redhead, and I used to wear lots of ivory and beige.

Now I don't do that. I wear all colors. And my clothes take me places. I'm very classic. I basically wear blazers, slacks and blouses.

Do you feel different in them?

I feel elegant, like the clothes give me energy, like they've been waiting for me. All those years, I had a vision of myself in blazers, scarves and jewelry, but I could never put it together.

What's happened to your old clothes?

I gave most of them away.

Is there anything you kept?

I have a cocktail dress that I wore to a wedding six years ago. It's ivory with lace and ruffles. I love it, but I wouldn't wear it again.

What advice would you have for others considering a new style?

Get help. Set a budget. Have a vision of how you want to look, but be open to new things.

How much did you spend?

$2,000. The initial outlay was a lot, but I feel like it's more than paid for itself. I no longer need 10 pairs of shoes to match my outfits.

Where did you shop?

Casual Corner, Amanda Fielding, Ann Taylor, Accessory Lady and Hess Shoes.

Do you have a new favorite?

My black suit with a black bodysuit and floral black and taupe scarf. I never wore black before, and it feels great on. I wear it with black patent heels and gold and pearl earrings.

What will you add next?

Come fall, I'll get a few turtlenecks, another blazer and a winter coat.

What would be tops on your clothing wish list?

I don't wish. I get it.

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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