Busy prof looks beyond the looks of the moment

Candid Closet

August 01, 1996|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,SUN FASHION EDITOR

Anne Pecora teaches civil procedure and practice courses at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Most of her working time is spent on the city campus, although she does pro bono work that comes her way in cases she finds particularly needy. She does background and preparatory work and reading in her Guilford home. Married, with a son in graduate school, she has evolved into an easy dressing style that depends less on the hot look of the moment and more on an intelligent appraisal of what works for her. "I'm glad not to have to worry about all that fashion nonsense at my time in life," she says.

And where are you in your fashion life?

I've been through many changes. When I was teaching students how to go to court, I dressed like I thought a lawyer should, although I tried to put some style into it instead of those boring navy blue down to your calf suits. I wore a lot of silk; kind of professional preppy.

Then when I became teaching faculty, I realized I could wear anything I wanted and didn't have to look like a lawyer; just to try to look good without being too informal.

How informal do you get?

I can get away with wearing wacky, unusual clothes. I do best at The Bead in the Rotunda. It's in the neighborhood a quarter of a mile away. There's a supermarket and a shoe store and that makes shopping simple.

I get a lot of help in putting pieces and textures together into an outfit. I can do it myself, although most of the sales help there went to art school and they have a good eye for unusual combinations. Some of their clothes are too much for me, however. I get enveloped and drown in those flowing Eastern caftans with a lot of material.

What would you call your personal style?

I do that preppy-hippie or aging hippie style. Mainstream bohemian.

Does working with students have you dressing younger?

At this point, I enjoy feeling older. I was 28 when I started out and now I see students as my children, my son's generation. I don't dress like they do.

No black nail polish and spiked hair?

No, and no tight-fitting pants and black hair. I don't try to pretend I'm 23 and I disapprove of women who dress like their children. I have been around long enough and have earned the right to be an individualist. I'm definitely not what students expect in law school, but in their professional lives they will see many different types of people, so they may as well start out understanding personal differences.

Have you always been an individualist?

I was a hippie in the '60s and wore one pair of bluejeans all the time. Then I went to law school, did social work, then I had a baby and stayed home and didn't care too much. I started back in law and started trying to find my look. It takes a long while of trying different ways you'd like to look and finally finding the one that works.

Are there memorable fashion moments in your life?

I always liked clothes. I can remember my 4-year-old birthday party dress. It was a deep purple velvet jumper with buttons down the front and a pretty white blouse. It was some hand-me-down, but I thought it was beautiful and still do.

Another memorable outfit my mother bought for me when I was in college. It was one of the first chemises to come out in the early '60s in red and white gingham with little slits in the side. I wore the matching belt around my forehead as a headband. Thought I was the height of fashion.

Do you tend to hold on to clothes?

I have trouble throwing things away but have finally cleared my closet of things that don't fit. In my thirties I was wearing those skinny tight designer jeans with no room to breathe. My weight hasn't changed, but things have shifted. I finally gave up on them and gave them away.

Those skinny jeans are now the latest thing.

They can have them.

Pub Date: 8/01/96

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