Timmy Ruppersberger hates plain pumps, serious suits and paying full price for anything.
The 40-year-old Baltimore attorney and mother of two (who's a cousin of Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger) prefers instead to coordinate outfits -- from her earrings down to the buckles on her shoes.
She's been known to spend months searching for the right shade of pink leggings to match a sweater.
Her fashion rule: "Do one more thing than you're supposed to."
How did this come to be your philosophy?
When I was in college, I worked in retail in Ocean City. The store owner I worked for used to always say: "When you accessorize, (( add one more thing than you're supposed to. That will set you apart." She said that to me one day and it stuck. She always came off as being very stylish and was a good role model.
How do you apply that idea?
A lot has to do with accessories. For example, instead of wearing plain black flats, I'll look for flats with gold trim. And I'll go on a mission to find them. A lot of times I'll find an accessory I like and build an outfit around it. I also like animal accessories. I have lots of lion earrings, belts and buckles. One pair of shoes that I bought at Marshall's is black patent with elephants on the heels. I spent a month scouring the city for an elephant necklace. I couldn't have elephants just on my feet.
Where do you shop? And how often?
I go to Value City, T.J. Maxx, Marshall's, Limited and Express. I'll cruise through once every three weeks. It's helpful to have three sisters. If you don't have the right thing, you can look in three other closets or jewelry boxes.
How many pairs of shoes do you have?
Seventy. I don't like to rely on black pumps to match everything. I bought a salmon-colored dress for spring and I had to search to find a pair of cloth patchwork pumps with that shade of salmon in them. I have a lot of pink shoes -- probably four or five pairs.
What colors do you wear most often?
Off white, pink and purple. Black is an accent for me. I tend to wear dresses and blazers or two-piece outfits as opposed to suits. When I first became a lawyer, I wore more traditional suits and styles, but that wasn't me. It lasted four or five years.
Is your philosophy at all a reaction to the stereotypical woman lawyer attire?
Maybe it is. I feel comfortable about who I am as a lawyer. My clothes reflect me rather than an image of who I'm supposed to be.
Who dresses better -- you or your cousin Dutch?
I think he'd say I did. And I would agree.
What's your most treasured piece of clothing?
My pink blazers -- linen for spring and wool for winter. I put those on with everything.
What's the last thing we'd find you in?
Anything red. I really hate red.
What do you look at now and can't believe you bought?
One of my biggest fashion mistakes was a beige silk dress that I wore with pearl earrings and beige shoes to my rehearsal dinner. There was no color and very little accessories. It was horrible.
What do you long to one day own?
A full-length mink coat.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.