Craft accents add flair to classics

Candid Closet

February 29, 1996|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,SUN STAFF

Judy Langenthal comes from a long line of good dressers. Her grandfather was a custom tailor, and her own father founded London Fog.

That helps explain how the civic volunteer artfully blends patterns, color and styles in her wardrobe. One of her favorite haunts for one-of-a-kind finds is the American Craft Council show, at the Baltimore Convention Center tomorrow through Sunday.

"I'm not such a fancy dresser," says Ms. Langenthal, 60, who lives in Pikesville and is active with the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore. "I have a love of textiles and color. I think that's in my genes."

How did you first get interested in craft dressing?

Probably by just going to the ACC show. I also was aware of the craft movement when I went to college in Boston. I try to use one craft piece with an outfit mostly as an accent.

What's the most unusual piece you own?

A long vest. It reminds me of Joseph's coat of many colors. It's brightly colored cotton, comes to my knee and has cap sleeves.

And the most versatile?

A black dress with a chenille floral pattern on the right arm. It can be dressed up or dressed down.

What do you hope your look says to the world?

Good taste with accents. I try to pick classic outfits that will have longevity but add an accent. I can pick up fabrics and tell the content without looking at the label. I'm also really sensitive to color. I dream in color. I can carry color in my head. And I'm not afraid to wear pattern with pattern.

What impact did coming from a clothing family have on your style?

I was always made aware of quality garments. I learned the importance of not buying a lot but buying quality.

What's your favorite outfit these days?

A simple black wool skirt, pants and long jacket. It's a Burberry, and I've gotten a lot of wear out of it. I'd change the blouse, use scarves or accent with color.

What will never come out of your closet again?

My miniskirts. The skirts aren't really minis. In the '70s, I allowed myself to shorten things too much. It was silly.

Where do you shop?

I have followed one saleswoman from shop to shop for 25 years. Her name is Elaine Cohen and she's at Octavia now. She's honest. She knows me. She's doesn't push. If something looks bad, she tells me to take it off. I also like Craft Concepts for craft things.

What's your fashion extravagance?

I might be inclined to pay more for craft items. I would pay $300 for a craft sweater, but I wouldn't go to a department store and do that.

When are you a bargain hunter?

When I'm shopping for summer and casual clothes.

What will you be looking for at the show this year?

I'll be looking at sweaters, jackets and scarves. I also like silver craft jewelry.

Do you have any advice for first timers at the show?

Start small. Look for what blends with what you already have in your wardrobe. I once bought a complete silk outfit -- a skirt, sash and blouse. I never wear it. It isn't practical.

Do you know some dressers? Write to Mary Corey, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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