A relaxed approach fits volunteer's fashion needs

Candid Closet

April 11, 1996|By Mary Corey | Mary Corey,SUN STAFF

Mitzi Boatwright no longer gives in to the urge to shop. She doesn't follow hemlines. And if the trend is pastels, you can count on seeing her in primary hues.

A former district manager for a New York clothing firm, she believes that comfort matters most in clothes. That fashion motto will be put to the test when the volunteer chairwoman works at Union Memorial's Rites of Spring garden show at the Maryland State Fairgrounds tomorrow through Sunday. (Call [410] 554-2662 for more information.)

She believes being 5-feet-8-inches tall helps give her a certain fashion edge.

"You'd never say I'm a fashion plate," says Ms. Boatwright, 58, who lives in Riderwood. "But when you're taller you can get away with things."

How would you define your style?

Tailored, but I like to add a little surprise -- a scarf tied in a different way. I was in Colorado not long ago, and I found this wonderful huge black scarf with fringe. It's great to throw over a ++ pantsuit. The most important thing is to find what you feel most HTC comfortable in. A lot of women are afraid to give themselves permission to do that.

What makes you feel most comfortable?

I love color and really respond to it. I love golds, red, orange with a good basic black skirt or pair of slacks. I like simple lines that are ageless and that you can accessorize. I'm traditional, but I'm not preppie. I won't stand out in a crowd.

What's your favorite outfit?

A basic navy dress. I've started substituting navy for black. It's a little softer. This dress is kind of Audrey Hepburn, very simple and classic. I just bought it last year. It's wonderful for dancing, and I feel like a million dollars in it.

How has your style changed in recent years?

I'm dressing down. When you have grandchildren coming over, you can't be that dressed up. We have friends who have retired, and people enjoy coming over without a coat and tie. I've started wearing silky evening pants and sweaters or jackets. It's almost like a uniform.

When you're shopping, what do you look for these days?

I'm focusing more on what I want to add. We were in Florida this winter, and I ran across a sweater that was on sale. It has baseball bats appliqued on it. I wear that with a black turtleneck sweater and black slacks or a skirt. It's bright and really cheerful.

Where do you shop?

I love Nordstrom. I start in the basement and work my way up. When I was younger I felt I had to have something new. Now I'll occasionally add a scarf or a bright sweater.

What in your closet would you never part with?

I have evening dresses I love. One is burnt gold. It makes me happy to just look at it. I have another that's yellow that I bought at Octavia close to 20 years ago. It's yellow chiffon and came with a scarf.

What are you embarrassed to have bought?

I'm old enough to have seen fashions return. I bought a suit with a short skirt. I wanted to be a little with it, but I feel uncomfortable wearing it. I have another jacket that I thought I'd love, but I've never had it on my back. It has gold and green flowers. I tried giving it to my daughters. They weren't interested.

Where did your confidence about clothing come from?

That's another nice part of maturity. After 50, you give yourself permission to express yourself. You wear what makes you happy and you don't have to think about what's in fashion so much. I have the attitude that if everyone is wearing something, I'll go the opposite way. I don't want to be a copy cat.

What would you most like to add to your wardrobe?

A really pretty cocktail dress.

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

Pub Date: 4/11/96

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