Clothing is the canvas on which she creates style

Candid Closet

December 26, 1996|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Rhona Rosengarden is widely known as a woman with exquisite style. And her guiding principles for dressing well are exquisitely simple. "My true philosophy is that clothing is only a background, a canvas for what you put on," says the owner of Treasure House Jewelry in Pikesville. That means not falling for lime green, the color of the moment, in a big way. The same rules apply to animal prints, now all the rage.

So prints are to be worn in moderation?

I very seldom wear prints, maybe a small tweed. I use those prints in my scarves. That way, I can show off the jewelry.

What colors do you lean toward?

Black, charcoal, brown, gray, navy, pretty much. It depends on what might come out for the season.

There is beauty in simplicity.

I believe you can take a black suit, go to New York, and not have to change at night. I'll put a beaded scarf on instead. That suit will take me from day to night.

Do you plan your shopping expeditions with certain purchases in mind?

I just really shop around. When I'm in New York, shopping for business, I might pop in somewhere. Personally, I don't like to specifically shop for one item.

How did your fashion sense evolve?

I've always been interested in art and color. I used to paint. And I just learned as I went along. With a printed outfit, everybody knew you had it. It made too much of a statement. I like something to just be there, understated and classy. I'm not a very glitzy person.

Should everyone adopt those anti-print guidelines?

Personally, I think everybody should have her own style. There is no one style for everyone. That's the great thing about being a woman; you can have your own style.

What is your preference in scarves?

It just depends. I like silks. I have some handcrafted, one-of-a-kind items. I don't like nubby kinds of things.

It sounds like having nice things is not enough to look nice.

I like to think like a picture. What difference does it make if you get a pretty sofa, if everything in your living room doesn't coordinate. By assembling an entire look, you'll look great as a package, rather than, "That's a pretty dress."

Skirts or slacks?

I wear pants 75 percent of the time; pantsuits all of the time. I like the flexibility of a jacket, to go out after work. I once bought a tuxedo thing for evening and wore it with a lacy pocket square.

Dresses?

I'm not a dress person.

Favorites?

I love pins, really unusual pins. If you have the right pin, it will draw somebody's attention to you, believe me.

Do you ever wear linen?

I love linens, but you have to accept the idea that linen gets very creased and you have to like that messy look.

Pub Date: 12/26/96

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